Tuesday, 31 January 2012
Always great to see these birds, and on the doorstep too. As usual a nightmare to photograph well, despite their tameness. They are often obscured in the tree, usually on the furthest side to you (not surprisingly), light not right, except in someone's garden, the no-no of having a long lens in an urban setting etc etc.
|Snow-flocked Hemlocks in the Hocking Hills|
I'm glad we stopped at the lake first thing, though, because there was much waterfowl to be seen. Due to the mild weather that we've had thus far, the water was completely open (i.e. not frozen), so there were many more waterbirds than one would find if the lake had been even partially frozen. We saw several good-sized rafts of American Coots and Hooded Mergansers (with females greatly outnumbering males), a couple of Pied-billed Grebes, a Double-crested Cormorant, and a Horned Grebe. Please let it be noted that, with the exception of the Coots (and maybe the Mergs), I probably wouldn't have been able to ID the other waterfowl due to utter lack of experience (especially since they're all in basic, or non-breeding, plumage right now!). Thanks to our fearless leader, Jim McCormac, for pointing out all these great birds!
As strange as it may sound to some, I find an odd type of enjoyment in driving around and stopping and looking and listening for birds. Of course, this is all done on rural roads, so traffic is not too much of an issue, but you do have to be mindful of private property. We stopped and "staked out" a couple of yards with feeders, and if the homeowners would have happened to look out while this car full of people with binoculars was checking out their house, they might have been a little alarmed! One of these feeders got us our only House Finch of the day, though.
Surprises for the day came both in the form of what we saw and didn't see. The aforementioned Horned Grebe was a nice find, as were several hearty-souled Savannah Sparrows cavorting with a large flock of Juncos, a Bald Eagle soaring over Lake Logan, and a few Killdeer holding out on the mudflats at the lake. We had several misses, too, that were disappointing: no Turkey Vultures (did see a number of Black Vultures, though), no Red-tailed Hawk, and no American Kestrel. Regarding the latter two, I suspect our chances would have been better if the weather weren't so dreadful. Who wants to be teed up in a tree or perched on autility line when the wind is blowing the snow sideways? We had also hoped and tried for Red-breasted Nuthatch, Winter Wren and maybe an overwintering Eastern Phoebe, but no luck. And so it goes.
The day wrapped up at Crane Hollow Nature Preserve, where we had a group gathering and pot luck. It was nice to sit in this warm, cozy house with some yummy snacks and in the company of friends, new and old, while we compiled the day's findings. It was a wonderful way to start the new year!
Here's the full list of species that our group saw and/or heard, if anyone cares to know:
- Hooded Merganser
- Double-crested Cormorant (new for the Hocking Hills count!)
- American Coot
- Canada Goose
- Pied-billed Grebe
- Horned Grebe
- Mute Swan
- Belted Kingfisher
- Bald Eagle
- Red-shouldered Hawk
- Northern Harrier
- American Crow
- Norther Cardinal
- Blue Jay
- Carolina Chickadee
- Tufted Titmouse
- White-breasted Nuthatch
- Brown Creeper
- Song Sparrow
- White-throated Sparrow
- Dark-eyed Junco
- Savannah Sparrow
- Swamp Sparrow
- American Tree Sparrow
- Eastern Towhee
- Hermit Thrush
- Eastern Bluebird
- American Robin
- Pileated Woodpecker
- Downy Woodpecker
- Hairy Woodpecker
- Red-breasted Woodpecker
- Northern Flicker
- Mourning Dove
- American Goldfinch
- House Finch
- Carolina Wren
- Golden-crowned Kinglet
- Black Vulture
- Northern Mockingbird
- House Sparrow
- European Starling
Living at the edge of the woods is like living next to a zoo. We get a nonstop stream of animal visitors, perhaps none more majestic than this eight-point white-tailed deer.
Mature bucks are notoriously very crafty and skittish. That's how you live long enough to be a mature buck. But this guy visits us regularly, and has become a little more acclimated to the sound of my shutter release.
Enough so, that I am starting to plan how I am going to light him ? Read more �
Hola a tod@s. Me llam� mucho la atenci�n la mirada de curiosidad de esta hembra de Aguilucho Laguenro (circus aeroginosus), siempre atenta a lo que acontec�a a su alrededor.
I shot the original ad for the LumiQuest Soft Box III back in 2008, using a pre-production sample. I love that light mod, and use it all of the time.
So when Quest Couch asked me to shoot a second version for the bigger LTp and left the subject matter up to me, I eagerly started looking for a subject. Read more �
I think I might be able to help, and this seemed a like a good topic to tackle.
It just so happens that while browsing past images this one struck me. I had already done the edit, and tonight framed it and added a logo.
So, first thing is - sometimes a butt shot is ok and cool.
But if what is happening is that every time you see a bird it flies away, then yeah, that's a problem.
Birds will do what they are doing until they want to do something else. If you are not there they will do their own thing. If you are there, you can either watch and see what they'd do on their own, or you can influence things and then see their reaction. The trick really is to be observant, and to tell when your presence is affecting things.
With some observation, you can start to guess at what might or might not cause the flight-response.
I've even used that simple premise as a way to get CLOSER to birds. Here's how - if I see a bird, I'm watching, and I see someone else on a trajectory towards me and the bird, I will back off. Give the bird lots of room, so I am no longer a part of the equation. Then I (sometimes, and sometimes succeeding) have tried to predict what the person approaching might do, and what the bird might react by doing. Then I've moved and sat or positioned myself in a non-threatening position, and waited. It doesn't always work out, but some times it does.
Butts shouldn't always be seen as a bad thing.
But if that's all you get to see you need to rethink your approach and try to think like the bird a little.
If you are approaching to the point that the bird always flies away, then, you need to not approach so close and learn to read the birds better. Some birds don't like friends and will always fly away (like a kingfisher) but others will tolerate you if you do it right.
Other things you can do to limit your impact when out looking for birds are:
Monday, 30 January 2012
The Green-winged pytilia is a very attractive little finch with a length of about 13 cm. It is quite common throughout Africa south of the Sahara, although within the southern African region it is limited to the northern part of the region and is also largely absent from central Botswana. Their favoured habitat is the [...]
So, what was previously a daily task of posting an image, something hopefully grabbing, something cool, is now a weekly, or monthly, or who knows task. I really no longer feel a drive to share. I feel a drive to try to take good images. But not to share, not to 'feed the machine' or keep 'posting to flickr daily'.
I don't know that I am shooting any less. Maybe slightly here or there, but I'm still trying to get out and could be shooting 100's a day, nearly a couple thousand over a weekend when I am at it.
The photo in this post is a foliage shot from Vermont taken a couple years ago. I did not post anything from this trip prior to today.
One of the things I've hoped to do is to shoot during an event, a season, and then share just prior to it when it happens again, say a year or two later. This is now one of those things, I waited about 23 months to finally post some foliage images.
It's that time of year. It has to be. In just 2 days I saw 2 hawks flying overhead while I was driving. And not in the place or area I'd expect them, just in residential areas right off 2 lane roads.
Hawk mountain had a 1,000+ Broadwinged Hawk day yesterday, Cape May had a 100+ American Kestral/hr day after a storm this week. I even saw 5 ducks at my local little pond for the first time in ages. There's been a kingfisher and a green heron there, but no ducks until this week.
I even have seen a handful of flotillas of Canada Geese flying generally southish.
If you are looking for volume of subjects, variety like no other time, this is it. Tons of birds are flying south right now.
I wouldn't consider it snow goose time until late November, and December.
Right now it's raptors, hawks, falcons, eagles, owls, and little birdies like warblers, sparrows, all those kinds of birds and hundreds more!
Sunrise isn't so early anymore,
and sunset isn't so late.
It's not hot out.
It's not cold out.
Do you like to complain? There's nothing to complain about now.
I'm going shooting!
Photos � Ono ShouichiBy Irwin Wong -- Multi-light setups, gear reviews and lighting tricks are all worthwhile food for thought. But when people are looking back at your life?s work, will you be remembered for your lighting or for what you tried to tell the world with your camera?
In a long-spanning portrait series, Tokyo-based editorial photographer Ono Shouichi has (to date) photographed two hundred Japanese centenarians. The lighting, while there, is subordinate to the message. As it should be. Read more �
Sometimes, even if you miss that water droplet in the air, you can get really nice photos of the waves formed in the water. They often look like tiny whirlpools.
Sunday, 29 January 2012
There are about 15 creek crossings on the Serrano Canyon Trail. In a wet rainy season you might even get your shoes wet!
From last Sunday's adventure run over Boney Mountain and down to Serrano Valley.
PhotographyontheRun.com Copyright 2006-2011 Gary Valle. All Rights Reserved.
In between sessions with the barn owl yesterday (one good, one bad) I took advantage of the bright day and worked on the garden birds a little more. I was able to shoot with theluxuryof a small aperture and a clean iso for a change and opted to shoot using a background of a stubble field a quarter of a mile away to really make the subjects pop and give them a studio feel.
Some photographers seem a bit too anxious to get the perfect lighting for all their photos and go to great extents bothering the birds with extra light and flash for one perfect picture.
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, April 2009 Marine Iguana (Amblyrhynchus cristatus) Status: Vulnerable more at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/solero/ Follow us at: http://www.
Saturday, 28 January 2012
It's Thanksgiving, a day when many people in the US will eat way too much food and then collapse on the couch to watch the Baltimore Ravens beat the San Francisco 49ers on the teevee. (Heh.)
But thoughts of giving thanks often prompt thoughts of giving back. And there is a lot of collective talent among the readers of this site. So today, a bit of an open thread on ideas for giving back with your camera.
I'll start off with a few specific suggestions from my own experience, but I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments. Read more �