Almost a great shot

I was photographing some wrens who had recently moved into one of our backyard bluebird houses, watching mom bring treats for the nestlings. An unhappy, homeless bluebird landed on the house, so I re-positioned my camera and was snapping a few shots, not paying any attention to what was happening at the entrance. I didn’t realize it until later, but as I was shooting angry bird, by chance I also got the wren in the corner of the frame . Cool shot, I think, but I wish I had captured more of the wren. Maybe next time.

Bluebird house

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Orchid Orbitals

On a recent visit to Washington, DC, my family and I stopped in at the United States Botanic Garden. It’s a remarkable place, with plenty of great photo opportunities. But what happens when you get back home and find that some of your shots are not terribly exciting, like this one?

Orchid_OriginalI don’t necessarily think it’s a bad shot; it’s just not very inspiring. But it does look like a good starting point for a little Photoshop distortion filter magic. Here are two examples using the same distortion techniques, just a different crop of the original:

Orchid1

Orchid2You can see some of the elements of the original in both, but it always amazes me how differently these images come out. Which do you like better?

Our Backyard Aviary

24 Species in 24 Hours

My family and I had quite an afternoon of birdwatching yesterday. We spotted 22 different species, and never even left our backyard.

We saw at least three different Baltimore Orioles,

Oriole2

two different Rose-breasted Grosbeaks,

Grosbeak2

and at least one of each of the following:

  • Orchard Oriole
  • Tufted Titmouse
  • Black-capped Chickadee
  • White-crowned Sparrow
  • Brown Thrasher
  • House Finch
  • Northern Cardinal
  • Ruby-throated Hummingbird
  • Northern Flicker
  • Turkey Vulture
  • American Goldfinch
  • American Robin
  • Red-winged Blackbird
  • Common Grackle
  • Common Starling
  • Blue Jay
  • Mourning Dove
  • Downy Woodpecker
  • Gray Catbird
  • American Crow

As if those weren’t enough, we added two more to the list this morning:

  • Eastern Bluebird
  • Tree Swallow

All in all, not a bad day!

 

First Day of Spring in Pennsylvania

It’s been a long, cold winter here in the Susquehanna Valley in Pennsylvania. We didn’t have any blizzards, record-breaking snowfalls or floods caused by ice dams or sudden snow melts. Having already been through those, I’m certainly thankful. But we are stuck in a pattern of below-average temperatures which just doesn’t want to quit. Nice days are few and far between, and the long range forecasts indicate no end in sight. So much for getting an early start on the outdoor chores!

Despite my whining, today is the first day of spring, so I thought I’d share one of my favorite flower photos. A chive probably isn’t the first thing that pops into your head when you think about spring flowers, but I think the colors are suitable. Enjoy the photo, the day and the warmer weather to come.

Chive flower photo

Nikon D300, Nikkor 105mm f/2.8, ISO 400, 1/1500 sec @ f/4.0

The Snowy Owl Invasion

According to the Pennsylvania Game Commission, “The winter of 2013-14 will be remembered for being one of the most spectacular migrations of snowy owls in history. It may be a lifetime opportunity for many to experience this iconic bird. By January 6, there had been reports of snowy owls from at least 33 counties, some for the first time in history.” I didn’t get lucky enough to spot one this winter, but the article reminded me of some snowy owl photos in my library. Here’s one of my favorite shots from an outing I took a few years ago …

Snowy Owl Photo

If you want to learn more about this year’s migration, the full article can be found here.