Saturday, January 31, 2015

Revisiting an Old Scene

I spent a great time yesterday photographing Acorn Woodpeckers. I also revisited two old images that I have photographed in the past. One of the ways that you can improve your photography is to reshoot old scenes that you have photographed before. You can try another angle, photograph from either a higher or lower position. Try visualizing it from a different location. If you photographed it at sunrise try shooting it at sunset instead. In my particular situation I have photographed this one oak tree before. The last time I photographed it was about a year ago when I photographed it at sunrise in beautiful pink light. Yesterday the fog was thick as I drove past it on my way to my photoblind. Hmmnn.. I thought to myself. "That looks pretty interesting in the fog. I photographed from a couple different angles and then chose the best one for today's photoblog. The farm implement too has been photographed before. I think it was it was just last week. This time I noticed the silhouettes of the horses behind it added an added dimension that was really cool. As the horses grazed I kept moving my tripod trying to get a good angle of them. I was also shooting through a deer fence. This was done by putting the camera lens right up against the fence and not stopping don too far to allow the fence pattern to show through. So when you are out photographing a landscape or a scene again in the future look for ways that it can be photographed in a new and different way. God's love and blessings upon your weekend, chris Both images photographed with a Canon 7D and a Canon 100-400 IS lens supported on a Manfrotto 055PROBX tripod with a Bogen 3055 ballhead.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Bushel of Wodpeckers

Wednesday morning when I was in the photoblind I was excited to hear the call waka, wak, waka echo by. It is the call of the Acorn Woodpecker. Hearing that call I finished off the morning by creating a set up using some feeders and and a small oak trunk that I knew they would feel comfortable using. When I arrived at the blind on Thursday morning I could see them using it as I approached the photoblind. I spent the next couple of mornings photographing them. Surprisingly a group of Acorn Woodpeckers is called a bushel. Who thinks up these things? Acorn woodpeckers are very unique in that they are a communal bird with all the members of the group collecting food in the form of acorns and storing them in central locations usually a tree called a granary. They will either put it into a cavity or excavate tiny holes in the trunk and force hundreds of acorns into place. Their breeding behavior is equally amazing and complex, with all the breeding males and females combining efforts to raise the young. They are quite unusual among wood peckers in that they live this way as groups rather than living as pairs or solitary birds. Visually they are quite striking and are one beautiful bird. some people have nicknamed them clown birds. I just think they are pretty cool. I ended up with a lot of images. This one is my favorite because it emphasizes there communal living structure. God's love and blessings to all,chris Image created with a Canon 7D and a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM Lens at 220mm. Camera settings used were AV mode, ISO 400,F5.6 at 1/400th of a sec. The camera was supported by a Manfrotto 055XPROB tripod with a Bogen 3055 ballhead.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

No Escaping the Jays

One of the main reasons for me wanting to go back out to photographing at my photoblind in the Little Lake Valley was to be able to photograph something other than Steller's Jays and chickadees. Well the Jays must have followed me because there were quite a few that came into the bird feeder. In fact they pretty much took over part of the time. It's interesting to see this change because typically you don't find large groups of Steller's Jays on the valley floor. They tend to stick to the higher terrain surrounding the valley. The other newcomer I photographed was a Eurasion Collared Dove. They entered North America into the Bahamas in the early 1970s. By the the early 1980s they were scattered across southern Florida. Recently they just reached southern Alaska! May God bless your day, chris all images created with a Canon 7D and a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM Lens. The camera was supported by a Manfrotto 055XPROB tripod with a Bogen 3055 ballhead.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Oak Titmouse

Monday morning found me in the photoblind out in the Little Lake Valley. The birds had adjusted to a new feeder being put up and I had a nice variety of birds coming into the it. My favorite had to be the little Oak Titmouse. There is just something I find appealing in this diminutive, spunky little bird. They are just adorable. That is if a little tiny bird can be called adorable. Can they? I created a lot of great images of them but this was my favorite. I just love the curious little look the bird is giving in reaction to the sound of the camera's click. May you have a blessed day, chris This image was created with a Canon 7D and a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM Lens at 400mm. Camera settings used were AV mode, ISO 400,F8.0 at 1/400th of a sec. The camera was supported by a Manfrotto 055XPROB tripod with a Bogen 3055 ballhead.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Portraits of Papaya

It's been frustrating waiting for the birds to start using the bird feeder at my photoblind out in the Little Lake Valley. Lately at my house which is typical for winter I have been limited to photographing Steller's Jays and chickadees. It will be great to start photographing some new species. Sunday afternoon Papaya Annika's cat was sitting in the living room so I decided she would be fun to photograph. I made a lot of images and boiled them down to an even dozen. Enjoy the many faces of Papaya the cat. God bless, chris Images created with a Canon 7D and a Canon 85mm lens.Camera was set to AV mode, ISO 400, Shutter speed and F stop varied. Natural light hand held.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sweet Little Chickadee

Friday afternoon I made a quick set up in the yard and waited for the Chestnut Backed Chickadees to come to feed. The birds have now memorized the location of the feeder so they started feeding by the time I walked back and sat down in the photoblind. I photographed for about an hour and then went back inside and edited the images. This one was my favorite. I loved the great eye contact of the chickadee looking towards the camera. God's love and blessings to all, chris This image was created with a canon 7D with a a EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM at 200mm. Camera was set on a Manfrotto 055XPROB tripod with a Bogen 3055 ballhead. The camera settings used were Spot Metering, AV mode,ISO 1600 (it was pretty low light), F 5.6 at 1/80th of a sec.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Watching the World Pass By

Yesterday morning I spent a short amount of time out in my photoblind in the Little Lake Valley. The day before I had put up a new bird feeder as I haven't been out there in a couple of months. No birds came to check it out so it looks like I'll have to give them a few more days to find it. Up on the hill behind my blind there is an old farm implement. It sits there on that little rise watching the world slowly pass by underneath it. Many years back when I first started photographing there it had a rusted steel seat on it. Now that has been knocked off and is lying on the ground beside it. Ever so slowly it is rusting away into the ground. Something to ponder and think about. Gods love and tender blessings, chris

Friday, January 23, 2015

Magical Misty Morning

I love the ever changing landscape the fog creates for me in the Little Lake Valley most mornings. The layers of fog rise up, lower down, thicken and thin out. It never seems to stop moving. It's almost as if it is alive. Here are a few images from yesterday morning. God bless, chris all images created with a canon 7D and a Canon 100-400 IS lens braced upon my window sill.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

A Look Into the Not So Distant Past (Depending upon how old you are now.)

Wow, Digital Photography has really changed the way images are made. In the last twenty years there has been an explosion of images and how they are used. My first digital camera was a Sony Mavica that used floppy disks and could hold about ten images. Now a cell phone can produce and hold hundreds of high quality images and video. It can be uploaded and used in an ad or on a social media website in mere seconds. Today's image harkens back in time when I was photographing with film. In addition to my 35mm film cameras I had two 4 x 5 cameras. A wooden field camera and this wonderful old Crown Graphic press camera. I loved to use that camera because it had a built in hood on the back for viewing the ground glass and didn't need a cloth hood like the field camera. Both of these cameras shot 4 inch by 5 inch sheet film both black and white and color transparencies. I mostly shot color. Here is an image of the Crown Graphic photographed with a Canon 7D and a Canon 28-105 lens at 70mm. Camera settings used. Spot metering, Av mode,ISO 400,F 16.0 at .3 seconds. Two LED light sources and a black backdrop were used.Camera was placed on a Manfrotto 055XPROB tripod with a Bogen 3055 ballhead.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Faces of Badger Dog

Yesterday afternoon I spotted our dog Badger sunning himself in a little patch of sun in the house. He was so photogenic I couldn't resist photographing him. All images created with a Canon 7D and a Canon 100-400 IS lens.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015


On Monday I went birding with Lenore. I have always been a casual birder. I would bird only to ID what it was that I was photographing. Mondays expedition to the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge was one of the few times that I was birding with photography thrown in and not the other way around. We had our field guides and we pretty much stuck to ID ing the waterfowl and a few smaller birds such as a Black Phoebe and one LBJ (Little Brown Job an unknown sparrow). One of the highlights of the day was spotting a Bald Eagle way off in the distance near the viewing platform and seeing some Blacktail Deer out in the open. It's always such a wonderful feeling to be out on the refuge with all of the sights and sounds around you. The weather was simply beautiful and we had a marvelous time.God's blessings upon your day, chris All images created with a Canon 7D and a Canon 100-400 IS lens.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Grand Learning Experience

Today was a pretty exciting for me. I have always wanted to learn to weld. I have a lot of building skills and surprisingly welding wasn't one of them until today. I am light years from being an expert but now I have enough knowledge to get me into more trouble than you could ever believe. I took a beginning MIG welding class at WOWSER in Willits and I now feel confident enough to do some simple welding. We were told before class to wear cotton clothing that we wouldn't worry about if it got singed or burned so I grabbed an old camouflage shirt as I headed out the door. During class I had to trade welding masks with someone else. I got ended up with a camouflage one to match my shirt. I looked pretty good. God's blessings upon the rest of your weekend, chris Photo by Jerry Albright. Image created with a Canon 7D and a Canon 28-105 lens.

Friday, January 16, 2015


Today was the perfect day for finishing up a rainy day project that I have been working on a little at a time now for the past few days . For the longest time I have wanted to replace my old bean bag for photographing from my pick up. The newer bean bags are great but most of them are too small and they are made to fit any car or pick up. I wanted one that was a custom fit for my pick up. Wednesday I went out and measured my pick up and then designed a pattern to fit it so that the weight of the camera and bean bag not only rested on top of the door sill but onto the armrest in the door below it. I also added flat pocket on top of the bean bag so it can be used with or without an oak plate that will hold my ballhead. Last night I sewed it all together and this afternoon I filled it with styrofoam beads and sealed all the little places where my poor seaming skills left little holes for the styrofoam to escape. Then I cut and drilled an oaken plate that slides into the the top pocket. I'm really happy with the finished product. It was much chubbier than I anticipated so I decided a good name for it would be "Puff". I'm looking forward to using it for photographing deer and waterfowl once the weather clears. Good's love and blessings to all, chris

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Bringing Back Summer

Periodically either Lenore or myself will buy flowers to brighten up our kitchen or dining room. It's not an everyday thing but more of a treat when we want to brighten our mood. This is especially true in winter time. It brings back a little bit of summer and a splash of color into the drabber days of winter. Earlier this week I purchased some yellow flowers at the grocery store and Lenore arranged them in a yellow vase on the kitchen table. Yesterday I grabbed a few of them and placed them next to the bird feeder out in the yard. In less than two minutes the chickadees were using it as a perch to get to the bird feeder. I grabbed my camera and went out to the photoblind and caught some of the action, photographing Chestnut Backed Chickadees as they came to the feeder. It wasn't summer but it reminded me of it. God's love and blessings to all, chris Image created with a Canon 7D and a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM at 390mm. Camera settings used AV mode, ISO 800, f 5.6 at 1/400th of a sec. Camera was on a Manfrotto 190XPROB tripod with a Bogen 3055 heavy duty ballhead.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Simple Set Up

Yesterday morning the fog lay in the valley down below for a long time. It took until past noon to burn it off. It was sunny up where live so I decided to do some bird photography from my photoblind. I went for a very simple set up of a fern branch and a feeder. It took just a short wait before the Chestnut Backed Chickadees started coming for the free food. They absolutely love Black Sunflower Seeds.You have to be quick because they land for a fraction of a second grab a seed and go. They fly off and find a hiding place to stash the seed or they eat it and then come back for more. If they aren't disturbed by the cat, hawk or some other predator the action can be non stop. It takes me a lot more time to edit the images than it does to create them. I had a great time and I came away with some really nice images. God bless, chris Images were created with a Canon 7D and a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM at 400mm. AV mode ISO 800.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Steller's Jays and Turkey Tails

I'm a thief! On Saturday helping Annika walk a friends dogs I spotted a great piece of wood in their yard. It had the most wonderous Turkey Tail Fungi growing on it. I knew it would make the best perch at my bird feeder for the jays to land on. On Sunday morning I was up bright and early setting up a new feeder and attaching the wood to the feeder. The Steller's Jays came in immediately and started to use it. Then there was a loud whooshing sound as a hawk made a fast pass over the feeder and all of the birds scattered. It was a long, long wait after that. I could hear the jays way down the ridge top as they slowly made their way back in my direction. I could hear them in the trees as they were deciding if it was safe to return. They waited and waited while first the Chestnut Backed Chickadees fed. Once the jays were satisfied it was safe they chased off the chickadees and began feeding again. I had just a marvelous time photographing them and I created a lot of great images. Thanks for the wood, David! God's love and blessings to all, chris All images created with a Canon 7D and a Canon 100-400 IS lens. AV mode, ISO 800, F stops and shutter speeds varied. Camera was supported on a Manfrotto 190 XPROB tripod with a Bogen 3055 ballhead

This Old Hat

I'm not sure what possessed me but this morning I photographed my hat! I'll start off by saying my Mom hates this hat. I purchased it on a whim years ago from "Gotta Hava Hat" in Humboldt County. I love it and it's a great hat especially now that chill of winter has arrived. Though I will say that I use it on foggy days in the summer as well. It's perfect for photography because it doesn't have a bill that gets in the way like a baseball cap when you attempt to put your eye up to the viewfinder of the camera. Additionally it can be scrunched down into a little ball and put into a coat pocket. Try that with a baseball cap! In a pinch I have used it to support my camera on the window sill of my pick up. One of the hat's best features is that in the photoblind I can lean forward onto my camera and take a cat nap on its pillowy thick brim. It's starting to get a little frazzled but I hope to keep it for many adventures to come. What's your favorite piece of attire for the outdoors? God's love and blessings to all, chris image created with a Canon 7D and a Canon 28-105 lens at 45mm, ISO 800,F20.0 at 1/8th of a sec. Camera was supported on a Manfrotto 190 XPROB tripod with a Bogen 3055 Ballhead.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Couple of Cloudy Day Birds

Last night I put up a new feeder and a perch. This morning the dog woke me up at a quarter until five. What's up with that? I tried to go back to sleep with little success. I tossed and turned and then got up and watched a cloudy sunrise. When it got light enough to photograph I went out and sat in the photoblind. There were Chestnut Backed Chickadees and Steller's Jays my normal winter visitors coming into the feeder. I had a wonderful time and so did the birds. Here are my favorite images from this morning. God bless, chris Image created with a Canon 7D and a Canon 100-400 IS lens

Friday, January 9, 2015

Another Steller's Day

Before the sun rose this morning I set out a new bird feeder and a piece of bark for a perch. Later on sitting in my photoblind the Steller's Jays came for black sunflower seeds almost non stop. There was one short break and during that time a lone Chestnut Backed Chickadee made a very brief appearance that was almost to quick to follow. I ended up making a lot of nice Steller's images but this one hands down was my favorite. May you have a blessed afternoon and evening. chris Image created with a Canon 7D and a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM Lens at 220mm. Camera settings used- AV mode, ISO 800,F 5.6 at 1/100th of a sec. Cmaer was supported on a Manfrotto 055 XPROB tripod with a Bogen 3055 ballhead.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

My Lovely Little Chickadee

Here along the edge of the Pacific Coast in Northern California we have the Chestnut Backed Chickadees. They are gregarious fun little birds. In winter they are probably the most common bird coming to my bird feeders. I just love'em. Last week I set out to photograph them taking off from the perch next to the feeder. This image was my favorite. God's love and blessings to all, chris Image created with a Canon 7D and a Canon 100-400 IS lens at 275mm on a Manfrotto 055 PROBX tripod with a Bogen 3055 ballhead. camera settings used. Manual mode, ISO 1600,F10.0 at 1/160th of a sec. Four canon 540EZ flashes were used at 1/64th power.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Playing Tourist

Many times living in a beautiful place we take it for granted and don't really enjoy what we have. That happens in our spiritual lives as well. We often forget the gift we have been given and don't utilize and appreciate it. Coming back from Humboldt County Lenore and I decided to take the Avenue of the Giants. It parallels Highway 101 so you still get to where you are going just as in life. The major difference is that it goes at a much slower, quieter pace and you really get to enjoy the most amazing sights up close and personal along the way. There are massive Redwood Groves, giant ferns and the meandering Eel River close by to keep you company. Plus there are plenty of pull outs for you to pull over and enjoy it which we did. Slow down and experience the beautiful gifts that God has given you and have a wonderful day. God's blessings, chris

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Random Images From the Wedding

I have done a couple of weddings for relatives as a favor but it is not something that I enjoy doing. I get asked fairly frequently to photograph weddings. It always surprises people when I tell them that I don't do weddings and that there are a lot of photographers that don't. It's a specialized skill and I admire photographers that shoot them. It's a lot of fun to photograph at a wedding and not be the wedding photographer and have the pressure of having to get that image. I'll leave that up to the wedding photographers. Many of them are really good at what they do. So if you are looking for a wedding photographer go check out the work of Emily Matheson In the mean time enjoy some of my random images from the wedding. God bless, chris