Saturday, August 30, 2014
This morning I went out into the backyard photoblind to do some bird photography. My goal was to photograph some Steller's Jays. Before heading out my first objective is always to find the cat. My daughter's cat Papaya often times finds a way to disrupt my bird photography. Naturally she was nowhere to be found. After setting up I settled into the blind and the birds started coming. After I had been photographing for awhile a small covey of quail could be heard coming up the hill. I immediately stopped everything I was doing and froze. They are extremely nervous birds. Soon a little head could be seen over the edge of the patio. Hesitantly a Mountain Quail stepped out onto the flagstone. It stopped and looked around then boldly walked under the bird feeders and started feeding. The others soon followed. All the while I didn't move a muscle. One of the quail hopped up onto the feeder. It walked all over the board holding the feeder pecking at seed that the other birds had knocked down. I waited and waited for what seemed like an eternity. Round and round it walked. Finally after making some sort of decision it hopped up onto the perch by the feeder. It stayed there feeding for quite some time allowing me to create a nice selection of images. The spell was broken by the excited calls of the quail. Something was up! They all crowded up as a group and came towards the blind. Looking past the feeder I could see Papaya crawling on her belly towards the quail. Not wanting the cat to get the chance at the quail I slapped the side of the blind with my hand sending the quail into flight with a flurry of wings.I was happy the quail were safe and that I had gotten some really nice quail images. What a wonderful way to start off the day. Thank you Lord. My new book "Secrets of Backyard Bird Photography" is scheduled to be released on Sept.11th. Please check it out on Amazon and other fine book sellers. It is perfect gift for an early Christmas present for birders or photographers wanting to learn how to photograph birds in their backyards or just get it for yourself as it is available as a preorder. This image was created with a Canon 7D and a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM Lens at 210mm with a Manfotto 055XB tripod and a Bogen 3055 ballhead. Camera setting used AV mode ISO 400 F5.6 ,shutter speed of 1/80th of a sec.
Friday, August 29, 2014
I spent several hours this morning photographing birds in my backyard. Using a simple set up I photographed Chestnut Backed Chickadees and Red Breasted Nuthatches. I wanted to photograph some Steller's Jays but they weren't being cooperative today. God bless and enjoy, chris My new book "Secrets of Backyard Bird Photography" is scheduled to be released on Sept.11th. Please check it out on Amazon and other fine book sellers. It is perfect gift for an early Christmas present for birders or photographers wanting to learn how to photograph birds in their backyards or just get it for yourself as it is available as a preorder. All images created with a Canon 7D and a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM Lens with a Manfotto 055XB tripod and a Bogen 3055 ballhead. Camera setting used AV mode ISO 400 F5.6 ,shutter speed varied.
Thursday, August 28, 2014
After leaving the nesting colony of grebes on Clearlake I paddled up the slough. I couldn't go very far as it has dried up due to the extremely low water levels of the lake. Still there was a lot of wildlife to be seen. Right after I turned around I watched a doe come down to the lake for a drink. Soon afterwards a flock of geese made there obligatory pass by me. There were a lot of egrets though most of them took off as soon as I got anywhere close to them. This isn't Florida that's for sure. I got to see a nice Green Heron with a great mohawk. Later on I drifted behind some brush and I was able to get the closest I have ever been to a Kingfisher. While waiting on the Kingfisher I got watch a Green Heron capture a frog and eat it. The heron took awhile trying to get the frog lined up with its mouth so it could swallow it. I finished up by drifting with a breeze for a close up with a Great Egret in some beautiful light. I was off the water by ten. Thank you Lord for a spectacular day. Camera Equipment Used- Canon 7D, Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM Lens,Bogen 3055 Ballhead with a custom camera support. Camera Settings- AV mode, ISO 400,F stop and a shutter speed varied. All photography was done from a Ultimate 14.5 Native Watercraft Kayak If you are interested in building a custom camera support for a canoe or a kayak please check out my blog on it at http://diyphotocheapodepot.blogspot.com/2011/04/kayak-camera-support.html
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
I've had a trip planned to kayak the Albion River for a couple of weeks now. My friend Joe called and told me he couldn't make it. Then I got a tip from the librarian that there were thousands of Western Grebes nesting over in Clearlake. Last night I debated back and forth . Still go to the Albion or risk it and go to Clearlake. The scenery and the seals of the Albion are always incredible. There was an incoming tide right at sunrise. The drive however is pretty twisty and windy. It's always a big deal to load and unload kayaks on the boat ramp there. The drive to Clearlake is about the same length but it's pretty smooth sailing. Then I checked the weather report online. Clearlake was going to be clear and the Albion was going to be cloudy in the morning and clearing in early afternoon. That settled it Clearlake it was. I got up at five had a quick breakfast and I was out the door. I got to the lake just a little before sunrise. By the time I launched my kayak the suns rays were just breaking the horizon. I had paddled only about fifty yards when a family of River Otters splashed into the water off of the bank. The lighting was pretty poor but I managed to get one useable documentary image. Paddling out to the entrance of the slough I was amazed by what I was seeing. There were hundreds of Western Grebe nests going off out of sight in both directions! It was unbelievable how many there were. Each nest was a mound of floating vegetation about three feet in diameter and about six inches high. Just incredible. I photographed a few nests and a few nesting parents and then I went back up the slough so as to not disturb them any further. God's love to all, chris Camera Equipment Used- Canon 7D, Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM Lens,Bogen 3055 Ballhead with a custom camera support. Camera Settings- AV mode, ISO 400,F stop and a shutter speed varied. All photography was done from a Ultimate 14.5 Native Watercraft Kayak If you are interested in building a custom camera support for a canoe or a kayak please check out my blog on it at http://diyphotocheapodepot.blogspot.com/2011/04/kayak-camera-support.html
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
This morning I had a bit of fun this morning with an extra mailbox we have. How do you end up with an extra mail box anyway? I set it up as a feeder in the backyard. I had a Western Gray Squirrel and a Chestnut Backed Chickadee come for a visit for the free food. The results are a bit whimsical and cute. God's love to all, chris
Monday, August 25, 2014
This morning I woke up eager to get started a bird photography project I have in mind. As soon as I stepped outside I noticed the fog drifting through the trees. What a beautiful sight! I ran back inside and grabbed my camera and put the viewfinder to my eye. Where did the fog go? It was gone in the short time I had taken to go inside and get my camera. Oh well I thought to myself perhaps another day and I went back to work. I hadn't been working for less than five minutes and the fog was back. I practically sprinted into the house to grab my camera. Once back outside I composed a beautiful image and pressed the shutter release. Absolutely nothing happened except for the silence of the camera. Dead battery! I rushed back indoors and quickly put in a fresh set of batteries. By the time I had returned outside the fog had already cleared again. AAArgh! By now I was frustrated and as I headed for the backdoor of the house I looked back over my shoulder to see a wall of fog pouring in from the coast. I calmly put on a pair of sandals and walked down our road. I braced my self against a tree and created the image you see below. Patience, patience,patience. God's precious light and love to all, chris Image created using a Canon 7D and a Canon 10-22 lens at 13mm. Camera settings used were AV mode, ISO 400, F 16.0 at 1/10th of a sec. No tripod was used the camera was braced against a tree.
Friday, August 22, 2014
This morning we were out looking for breakfast in Chico, Ca. We stopped by the Tin Roof Bakery. For me it was strictly window shopping. You can look but you can't touch or buy. Almost everything in the window case looked good but it is all stuff that I can't eat! Lenore bought some cronuts and I had a tiny bite that was delicious and full of sugar. God bless and have a wonderful evening, chris Created with a Canon 7D and a Canon 10-22 IS lens. Handheld camera data not recorded.
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
One of the things I love about sunrises is how the sun shines through the trees at the horizon. It makes branches come alive almost like glowing crystals. Here is an image from a couple of weeks ago of the sun cresting one of the ridge tops surrounding the Little Lake Valley. I really love how the tree limbs are sparkling in it. I used a telephoto lens to create this image. I had to be very careful to focus to the side of the sun and then swing the lens back to the sun without looking through the viewfinder to keep from damaging my eyes from the sun. A much smarter way of doing it would have been to use live view on the back screen of the camera. There is always more to learn! God bless, chris
Sunday, August 17, 2014
I'm starting to see more and more grasshoppers in the yard. Fascinating little creatures. Can you imagine having to dig your way to the surface after being born? Or have the ability to jump thirty or more times your body height and more than the length of a football field? On top of that having the ability to fly! How about having ears on your abdomen or the ability to play music by stridulating. Which is rubbing your back leg on the front of your wing to make music. Even though they are amazing they aren't friends of farmers due to the damage they can do to crops. Mine do a little bit of damage to the garden but not really enough to hurt anything. Here is one I captured off of the driveway photographed and then set free. Such cool looking little beasts. God bless, chris Image created with a Canon 7D and a Canon 100-400 IS lens at 150mm with a 36mm extension tube for close focusing. Camera was mounted on a Manfotto 055XB tripod with a Bogen 3055 ballhead. Camera settings used were AV mode, ISO 400,F11.0 at .60 sec.
I got up really early Saturday morning and I spent some time in the backyard photoblind. I was hoping for some good Band-tailed Pigeon images but the feeder got knocked over by an over zealous Steller's Jay. They were scared them off when I climbed out of the blind to set the feeder back up. Later a few Western Gray Squirrels showed up and this one really gave me the look when I made too much noise in the blind. Image created with a Canon 7D and a Canon 100-400 IS lens at 390mm on a Manfrotto 055XB tripod with a Bogen 3055 ballhead. Camera settings used were AV mode,ISO 400,F6.3 at 1/250th of a sec.
Friday, August 15, 2014
Yesterday morning I spent an enjoyable couple of hours in the backyard photoblind. The Western Gray Squirrels chattered and complained about my presence. It took some time but eventually the Steller's Jays ignored the squirrels warnings and protestations and came to get some sunflower seeds. Once they started they didn't stop. Free seed is always a good draw. I called it quits when the blasted cat Papaya showed up. I had made sure she was contained before I went out to the blind but some family member must have set her free. I didn't really mind as I had one really nice image that I was looking forward to share. God's love and peace to all, chris Image created with a Canon 7D and a Canon 100-400 IS lens at 210mm. Camera settings used were AV mode,ISO 400,F6.3 at 1/400th of a sec. Camera was placed on a Manfrotto 055XPROB Tripod with a Bogen 3055 Ballhead. Please spread the word to all of the photographers and birders you know about my upcoming book, "Secrets of Backyard Bird Photography". It is available at Amazon and other fine book sellers and is scheduled for release on Sept.11, 2014.
Yesterday afternoon I sent sometime photographing Common Buckeye Butterflies on the mint in my backyard. As much as I dislike how the mint can try and take over my backyard it is a great draw for butterflies. The Common Buckeye or as it is more simply known just Buckeye, (Junonia coenia) is a butterfly is found in the Canadian provinces of southern Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, and Nova Scotia and all parts of the United States. It is especially common in the south and throughout Central America down into Colombia.In California where I live it is one of the most common butterflies along the coast.In addition to the Buckeyes I photographed a beautiful skipper butterfly and a very hairy fly species unknown. Have a blessed day, chris All images created with a canon 7d and a 100-400 IS lens with an extension tube for close focusing. Camera settings varied.
Thursday, August 14, 2014
I was rather undecided about what to photograph this morning. There were so many things I could photograph! I finally settled on doing some hummingbird photography. I made up a new batch of nectar and I headed out into the back yard. I had a marvelous time photographing hummingbirds on the petunia blossoms. This image was my favorite. I love all of the brilliant emerald green colors in it. God's light and love to all, chris If you are interested in learning more about hummingbird photography please check out chapter six of my new book, "Secrets of Backyard Bird Photography". It is available for preorder at Amazon,Barnes and Noble and other fine book sellers. It is scheduled to be released on Sept.11th. Great for an early Christmas present for yourself or someone you may know. http://www.amazon.com/Secrets-Backyard-Photography-Chris-Hansen/dp/1937538559
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
The past couple of days I have been carrying my camera around with me. This has resulted in a mish mash of images. I'm always amazed at the beauty that can be found in the simple things around us. A doe on the side of the road. Grain patterns in wood. Blood moon arising in the smoke and the clouds on a blue sky day. God's love and blessings to all, chris Camera used in the creation of these images is a Canon 7D. Camera settings varied. Please take some time to check out my up coming book "Secrets of Backyard Bird Photography" on Amazon. This book is perfect for aspiring bird photographers and birders that want to learn to photograph backyard birds. http://www.amazon.com/Secrets-Backyard-Photography-Chris-Hansen/dp/1937538559
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
I got to spend some time yesterday in the photoblind with Papaya the cat. Luckily she made her way into the blind after I had created my images. I normally attempt to capture and contain her before I climb into the blind but I couldn't find her anywhere when I looked. I figured something must be up when all the birds stopped coming in. I could sense that something was out there. Sure enough about five minutes later she came into the blind wanting to be petted. It was about time to stop anyway as the light was starting to get a little harsh as it was. I got some really nice Steller's Jay images and a couple of a Band-tailed Pigeon images just a short time before she showed up.A very nice way to start my day. God's love and blessings to all, chris Please take some time to spread the word of my forth coming book. "Screts of Backyard Bird Photography" is being released on Amazon on Sept. 11th though it can be preordered now. Perfect for photographers or birders that want to learn to photograph birds. http://www.amazon.com/Secrets-Backyard-Photography-Chris-Hansen/dp/1937538559 God's love and blessings to all, chris Image created with a Canon 7D and a Canon 100-400 IS lens, Manfrotto 055XB tripod with a Bogen 3055 Ballhead. Camera setting used- AV mode,ISO 400 Shutter speed and F stop varied.
Monday, August 11, 2014
Turkey Vultures “Cathertes Aura” is Latin for cleansing breeze. They are also known as Turkey Buzzards and in the Caribbean they are called John Crows. They are found from southern Canada all through the continental US to the tip of South America. During fall they migrate to the western and southern coast of the US and down into South America. When they migrate they form large swirling flocks called kettles.They are one of the few birds that have a sense of smell. In fact they have the largest known olfactory system of any bird which they use to locate their favorite food carrion or dead animals. When they are sitting in a group in a tree above a dead animal the group of birds is called a wake. One other unusual physical feature about them is that they don’t have a voice box. This limits them to hissing a a screeching sort of grunt as they can’t sing. They will often make such a noise when alarmed and taking flight. If cornered Turkey Vultures will vomit on their attacker. Even baby vultures will do this when startled. Because vultures feed on dead carrion they lack feathers on the head and feet. This limits the time needed for preening and prevents bacterial growth. It also gives them the red headed appearance that remind people of them resembling a turkey. Hence the name “Turkey Vulture”. One of the more bizarre facts about them is that they can’t sweat. As a result of this they will sometimes pee on their legs in the summer heat to cool down! This process is called urohydrosis. That’s pretty wild and stinky as well! They are also one of the few birds that has a rather large wing to weight body ratio. Their wings are very large for their body allowing themselves to gorge on food when they find it and still be able to fly. Because of this when they haven’t eaten in awhile their wings have too much lift. So to keep from rising they tip back and forth as they are flying to lose lift from their wings. The last fact that I will leave you with is that when they dry their wings in the sun with their wings spread out it is called a horaltic pose. I'm sure that is a lot more than you will ever need to know about Turkey Vultures. God bless, chris Images created with a Canon 7D and a Canon 100-400 IS lens
Saturday, August 9, 2014
It pays to clean up! This morning I cleaned up the leaves and trimmed back the bushes from our front walkway. In the process of washing the dirt and leaves off the walkway I discovered a Steller's Jay feather that was just dying to be photographed. I'm always amazed that they are such an intense vibrant blue. Enjoy and God bless, chris Image created with a Canon 28-105 at 75mm in natural light. Camera was set on a Manfrotto 055XB tripod with a Bogen 3055 Ballhead. Camera setting used- AV mode, ISO 400,F16.0 at 1/200th of a sec. Please check out my forthcoming book "Secrets of Backyard bird Photography". I would appreciate it if you would take some time to share this book title with others you know that are birders or photographers that would want to know more about how to photograph birds in their backyards. http://www.amazon.com/Secrets-Backyard-Photography-Chris-Hansen/dp/1937538559 Thank you very much.
Friday, August 8, 2014
I must admit that I got off to a late start this morning. By the time I got out to my photoblind and poured out some bird seed out onto the feeder it was approaching nine o'clock. The lighting was pretty iffy and the blind inside was like a sauna! It took some time but a few Steller's Jays paid me a visit. They just can't resist those black sunflower seeds! God's love and blessings, chris Both images created with a Canon 7D, Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM Lens mounted on a Manfrotto 055XB tripod with a Bogen 3055 Ballhead. Camera setting used- AV mode, ISO 400,F5.6 at 1/500th of a sec. Please check out my forthcoming book "Secrets of Backyard bird Photography". I would appreciate it if you would take some time to share this title with others you know that are birders or photographers and would want to know more about how to photograph birds in their backyards. http://www.amazon.com/Secrets-Backyard-Photography-Chris-Hansen/dp/1937538559 Thank you very much.
Thursday, August 7, 2014
Pies, cobblers,cakes and crisps or if you prefer you can just eat them right off of the cane. Right now the blackberries are ripening and they are delicious! Lenore and I got up early this morning to photograph the sunrise over the Little Lake Valley. We were hoping for a bright red sunrise but there wasn't enough smoke. On the ride home we stopped on the side of the road and picked some nice plump blackberries. Pick one eat one. They were a delightful addition to breakfast. God's precious light and love to all, chris