Wednesday, June 29, 2016

California Landscapes

Over the past few days we visited friends in AndyOch. It's actually Antioch but our friends have a son named Andy so it has always been a fun play on words for our family. I am drawn to the wilderness. Every time that we visit Antioch I feel a strong need to get out and explore nature. It may just be that I feel a bit trapped when I'm in suburbia. Luckily Antioch has some great parks on the edge of the city to escape to with some great trails for hiking. This time Lenore and I went for a couple of early morning hikes up into Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve. Underneath these mountains there were coal deposits that they would mine for Coal (black diamonds) hence the name of the preserve. It was a perfect way to start the day in God's creation, chris all images created with a Canon 7D and a Canon EF-S17-85mm lens.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Light in the Forest

On Saturday Lenore and I were working on the drainage on our shared road. Some idiot in a four wheel drive tore it up really badly over the winter creating a bunch of ruts where the water has pooled creating great breeding spots for mosquitoes. The road also functions as a fire escape route and the big ruts will make it difficult for passenger cars to negotiate.(Rant Over) Along our route I discovered one of the last fungi that must have popped up during the recent rain. Later on during the night Jay and I went back out and he helped me photograph the fungi by holding a flashlight directly over it. It gave it an unusual look. This image was created with a Canon 7D and a Canon EF-S17-85 mm lens at 33mm. Camera settings used were Manual mode, ISO 400, F 13.0 at 1/8th of a sec. The camerawas supported by a Gorilla Pod on the ground.God's blessings upon your week, chris

Saturday, June 25, 2016


It is indeed the time for ticks. All of us have been pulling them off of us of late. Yesterday Jay found three of them on the dog. It's one of the problems of living in the country. Some of the best things to do are to wear light clothing. Don't walk in tall grass. Don't up against brush on the sides of trails by staying to the center. Do tick checks of you and your pets after you have been outdoors. If you aren't averse to it wear insect repellents containing deet. Below is one of the wee beasties we pulled off of Badger the Wonder Dog yesterday. Photographed with a handheld Canon 7D and a 100mm macro lens. ISO 400, F 8.0 at 1/400th of a sec. Go out and enjoy the summer. God's love and blessings to all of you, chris

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Simply Gorgeous

I love it when I can capture the light glinting off of a hummingbirds gorget like I did yesterday afternoon with a male Rufous Hummingbird. It was simply gorgeous like the hummingbirds throat was on fire. The word gorget comes from the time when a knight-in-armor wore a metal collar or gorget to protect his throat during battle. In hummingbirds the bright intense glint is the result of iridescence, rather than colored pigments in the feathers. A hummingbird's gorget feathers contain very tiny, thin, layers of “platelets,” set like overlapping tiles against a dark background. The light waves reflect and bounce off the tiles, creating color in the manner of sun bouncing off droplets of water in a rainbow. Hummingbirds can angle their gorget feathers too turn the irridescence on and off like a light bulb. It is amazing when they turn towards you and flash their feathers to on! Blessings upon your day, chris All images created with a Canon 7D and a Tamron 150-600mm lens. Fill flash was provided by a Canon 500EX flash set to high speed sync. The camera and lens were supported with a Manfrotto 190 XPROB tripod with a Bogen 3055 heavy duty ballhead.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Hummingbirds Prime Perch

I spent some time photographing the Anna's and Rufous Hummingbirds in the backyard over the past few days. The hummingbirds were using one perch in particular and there were quite a few battles fought over its prime location near the hummingbird feeders. I liked the perch because its closeness to the edge of our patio and it had the forest behind it for a background. Moving the camera six inches one way or another produced different colors in the background depending upon the type of trees behind it. Yesterday I trimmed some oak leaves from below the perch as they kept getting into the bottom of the frame. I was worried the hummingbirds would stop using the perch but they didn't seem to mind in fact they began using it even more. Last night and this morning I got around to editing all of the hummingbird images. There were quite a few including one dragonfly that liked this spot for hunting insects as well. God's love and blessings upon your day, chris All images created with a Canon 7D and a Tamron 150-600mm lens on a Manfrotto 190 XPROB tripod with a bogen heavy duty ballhead.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Creating Intimacy

There are three key elements in creating an intimate portrait. The first one is to get in close. You want to be close enough to be able to see the expression of the subjects eyes which is the most important feature. That usually (not always) means using a telephoto lens to get up close an personal with your subject. This can also be done with a photoblind or just getting your subject comfortable with your presence. The second one is to photograph on the same level as the subject. This applies to photographing children as well as pets and small animals as well. It is usually best to get down to their level by getting closer to the ground where they are. For squirrels and other small mammals it means lying on the ground with your camera in the dirt. For the image of the Anna's Hummingbird below it meant raising my camera way up on my tripod to where I was almost on my tippy toes. The third element is to carefully choose your background behind the subject so that it is non distracting and makes your subject stand out. This means that you will be shooting with a fairly wide F stop to blur out the background. In the case of the hummingbird below I had to slowly move around to find a spot where there were only dark trees behind the hummingbird. Grab your camera and go out and give it a try. See what beautiful images you can create. God's love and blessings to all, chris

Monday, June 20, 2016

Lovely Sister

Yesterday afternoon I was enjoying photographing the hummingbirds in the backyard. Every once in awhile a butterfly would flit by catching my attention as it floated past. There were Duskywings, Mylitta Crescents and a few Western Swallowtails. My favorites were the California Sisters. Luckily I had a few land on the oak tree right in front of me. They are such a striking butterfly with beautifully patterned wings. Hopefully there will be many more to come this summer. What a great way to end springtime. God's love and blessings to all, chris All images were created with a Canon 7D and a Tamron 150-600mm lens. A Canon 550EX was used for fill flash on high speed synch.