"Salt grass fire photography: Darkness, dunes, reptiles" by: Mike Reddell

   I’m trying to make MaLinda feel better after her attack by Yellow Jackets Monday while she was mowing.
   As she circled a crepe myrtle with the mower, the varmints struck her on the face, hands and arms.
   The only times in my memory that I’ve been stung, it’s been by a Yellow Jacket. She later got her revenge – after getting some medical treatment for her wounds.
   Since we have lots of flying, stinging insects around our place, we also have massive amounts of retaliatory and, more importantly, pre-emptory sprays.
   MaLinda applied an appropriate dosage – think baseball glove size - to the Yellow Jacket nest. OK, I didn’t actually see how much spray she put on the nest. I was merely mentally projecting how much chemical I would have applied.
   Whenever a nest appears on our back porch, I’m more circumspect and use only half a can of spray on the trespassing terrors.
                       ...
   MaLinda and I got a call early last Friday morning (July 5) about a raging grass fire beyond the dunes. The fire was in salt grass on the other side of the dunes on private property.
   There were no nearby residences in danger, but it was quite the sight, if not a little frightening.
   Matagorda Volunteer Fire Department was monitoring the blaze, but a locked gate and the swampy terrain that salt grass inhabits made the situation difficult.
   We drove down the beach to try to get a shot – our effort is on display in this week’s edition – but really couldn’t get that close.
   We got some photos atop a dune with little plant growth. Not only did a fence stand in the way, but the dunes beyond our vantage point were covered with grass.
   Nighttime in the dunes screams one thing in our minds – rattlers.
   We didn’t see any, but we didn’t push our luck, even though we had plenty of light. Besides, without the right equipment, nighttime photography is a big challenge.
   Telling former Commissioner George Deshotels about our adventure, he noted is you need foam to fight a salt grass fire. 
   Water won’t work on a swamp grass.
   One thing troubling about our trip was on the traveled part of the beach at about 3:30 a.m. and see the leftover boxes and containers of fireworks presumably set off just a few hours before.
   Indeed, the only traffic we encountered were folks coming to set off their fireworks.
   Some of the discarded boxes and camp fires still were blazing – did I mention we were out to photograph a grass fire? And there was a swift wind coming off the gulf.
   I don’t think warning signs will work on this group. 
   I guess it’s a good thing that holidays celebrated by fireworks are few and far between.
   As long as the power is on I can ride out anything

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