Saturday, July 15, 2017

Quick Visit to the Kastellet

Landing early in the afternoon in Copenhagen Lenore and I went for a quick walk to the Kastellet a couple of blocks from our hotel. The Kastellet is a star shaped earthen walled fortress surrounded by a moat. The walls were constructed in the form of a star shaped pentagram. There are walking trails all around the top of the fortress walls. The military still uses it as base which strangely enough is open to the public with the limitation that most of the interior of the buildings are off limits. We were surprised to see that there was a concert being performed on the parade ground by a drum and fife corp. We sat and watched them for close to an hour. Their finale was amazing and totally unexpected as it was a techno fusion number that was distinctly non military. We had a great time and it was a nice way to decompress from being stuck in a plane for ten hours. God's love and blessings to all, chris All images were created with a Canon 7D mkII. #TeamCanon

Friday, July 14, 2017

Just a Little Lack of Sleep or Downtown Gdansk, Poland

We got back from a trip to Europe the day before yesterday. We had little to no sleep for over 30 hours on the return trip home. Traveling home was pretty tiring. On the train and the plane I caught snatches of sleep here and there but I was always awoken by someone bumping me or the airline crew announcing something on the intercom. Overall we had a really nice trip with only a few small accidents. Lenore crashed her bike in Poland with minor scratches. She is quite athletic and knows how to fall gracefully! On the last day in the airport a lady tripped me with her bag and I slammed down pretty hard on the thin carpet with concrete underneath. My right knee caught the brunt of it and it is pretty swollen and sore. Trip wise we visited, Copenhagen Denmark, Växjö Sweden, Gdansk Poland and Torrevieja Spain. We spent close to a week in each spot. My favorite place had to be Gdansk, Poland on the Baltic Sea. I really loved the mix of forests, beaches and the old historic city. This morning I spent some time uploading images to my computer. This image from downtown Gdansk really caught my eye. I really like the leading lines and the composition. There will be more to follow in the coming weeks.
This image was created with a handheld and braced Canon 7D mkII camera and a Tamron 18-200mm lens.The settings used were AV mode, ISO 800, F11.0 @ .6sec. #TeamCanon, #takenwithmytamron

Friday, June 9, 2017

Yearning to be a Cowboy

This has to be my favorite image from the James Ranch Round Up in mid May. One of the cowboys sons was looking longingly across the meadow at his Dad as they were heading out to round up cattle. You could feel the pull that he had to be out there with his Dad. Through out the day this little eight year old kid proved his worth helping out wherever he could. I get the feeling that he is going to grow up to be a great cowboy like his Dad. God's love and blessings to all, chris This image was created with a handheld Canon 7D MkII and a Canon 100-400 IS V.1 lens. #TeamCanon

Thursday, June 8, 2017

It Must be Raining

Last night we went to sleep with the sound of the pitter pat of raindrops on the roof outside our bedroom window. It's really nice to leave the window cracked just a little bit so that we can hear it. For many it is a joyful sound. For many ranchers it's a bad sound. We are in the middle of haying season and it means a loss of a lot of dollars in the form of moldy hay bales if they couldn't get then out of the fields and undercover before the rains hit. All this morning and today it has been a steadily coming down. I took a break from paperwork and bills to photograph the rain drops on the Lupine and Strawberry plants in the front yard. I hope that you are enjoying your day. God bless, chis All of these images werecreated with a canon 7D MkII and a canon 100-400 IS v. 1 lens on a Manfrotto 055 XPROB tripod. Exposure varied.#TeamCanon

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Eye on the Prize

Here is another one from the round up on the James Ranch. Time for a lunch break from editing. I've only got a couple more dozen images left to process. Whoo Hoo! God's blessings upon your day, chris This image was created with a handheld Canon 7D MkII and a Canon EF-S17-85mm lens at 17mm. The camera settings used were AV mode, ISO 400 F 5.6 at 1/1600 th of a sec.#TeamCanon

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

One From the Round Up

Editing images from a big photo shoot can be a big chore. About three weeks ago I photographed a cattle round up on the James Ranch near where I live. It was a long, fun, all day affair and I took a lot of images. This is one of my favorite images so far. I've got about a quarter of them left to process. God's love and blessings upon your day, chris This image was created with a handheld Canon 7D MkIIand a Canon EF-S17-85mm lens at 30mm. The camera settings used were AV mode, ISO 800, F 16.0 at 1/640th of a sec.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Pair of Band-tailed Pigeons

I got off to a late start this morning and wasn't into the photoblind until eight o'clock. I also got outsmarted by the squirrels because I had forgotten set out a special feeder for them off to the side. Naturally because of this for the first half hour all I got visiting the bird feeder were squirrels. I climbed out of the blind and set a bowl of seed just for them. By then it was starting to get too bright for photography. Luckily the Band-tailed Pigeons started coming down from the trees and I was able to capture one nice image of a pair of them. May you have a blessed week, chris This image was created with a Canon 7D MkII and a Canon 100-400IS v.1 lens. The camera settings used were Manual Mode, ISO 200, F13.0 at 1/160th of a sec. Lighting was provided by four Canon 540 EZ flashes in 2'x 2' soft boxes. The flashes were set to 1/16th power.The camera was supported with a tripod. #TeamCanon

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Summer Guests

Every summer the wild Band-tailed Pigeons make stops at my bird feeder in the backyard. They are boisterous, noisy and bossy. They rule the bird feeder and eat everything in it. They are however much different than a city pigeon in that they will blast off into the sky with a loud clapping of wings if I so much as show my face in the window. As many of them that there are the population is in decline. Twenty years ago the flocks that visited my yard were forty to fifty in number. Now they are much smaller usually less than a dozen. My numbers are based upon pure observation but official records by game biologists paint the same picture. The population has dropped sixty three percent since the late 1960s. Though Band-tailed Pigeons are listed as a species of least concern,it has many things it is up against namely habitat loss and disease. Trichomonas gallinae, a single-celled microscopic protozoan that creates lesions in the beak and throat that eventually block the bird’s airway and throat, and kill off large numbers of them. Here is a Band-tailed Pigeon from my backyard yesterday morning. It was perched on an old stump that I placed by the bird feeder for them to land on. The pigeon was photographed from my photoblind from about eight feet away. This image was created with a Canon 7D MkII and a Canon 100-400IS v.1 lens. Lighting was provided by four Canon 540 EZ flashes with 2' x 2' soft boxes.#TeamCanon

Friday, June 2, 2017

Life and Death Drama in the Backyard Pond

On Wednesday afternoon I was looking into the backyard checking out my bird feeders for birds when I heard and a saw a commotion going on in our small backyard pond. There was splashing sounds and a flash of orange in the water. I grabbed my camera and ran to the backyard. Two Garter Snakes had a hold of one good sized goldfish and they were thrashing around trying to pull it away from one another. Finally the bigger snake broke free with it and the smaller one swam off. The larger snake climbed up onto the rocks that ring the shore and attempted to swallow the fish. Which was pretty good sized for a Goldfish as it was almost four inches long. First it tried from the side and there was no way that was ever going to happen. Next it attempted to swallow it tail first. Luckily it gave up on that idea almost immediately. On it's final attempt it came from the head and it was doing pretty well when the blasted cat showed up. The snake spit out the fish and slid off into the forest. Yesterday afternoon I set up my photoblind next to the pond and I lay down on a piece of carpet. I got quite a few images of the Garter snakes hunting. They would chase the fish all over the pond until they got too cold and then they would crawl up onto the rocks to sun themselves and warm up. A couple of the snakes would try and ambush the goldfish from above. I didn't observe any goldfish being caught. God's love and blessings upon your day, chris All images were creted with a Canon 7D MkII and a Canon 100-400 IS v.1 lens or a Tamron 150-600mm lens. A 38mm extension tube was placed between the camera body and the lens to allow close focusing. #TeamCanon

Thursday, June 1, 2017

One More for the Island Series

You just never know what is going to pop up in our little backyard pond. Yesterday afternoon I was photographing Garter Snakes (photos tomorrow) when I spotted this Rough Skinned Newt swimming about. I grabbed a net and fished it out. I photographed it and less than five minutes later it was back swimming in the pond again. I wonder if it will be there tomorrow? God's love and blessings upon your day, chris This image was created with a handheld Canon 7D MkII and a Canon EF-S17-85mm lens at 30mm. The camera settings used were Manual Mode,ISO 100, f 11.0 at 1/160th of a sec. Lighting was provided by two Alien bee Studio Lights with large 2 foot x 4 foot soft boxes. #TeamCanon

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

One Steller's Day

This morning I got off to a late start. By the time I got set up and in the blind it was already eight thirty and the sun was starting to hit the tips of the new perch I put up. While I was working out the fine tuning of how to compose the image and what exposure to use a Steller's Jay flew in and perched. I quickly composed an image and took it. Then the Band-tailed Pigeons started dropping from the trees. That's when the batteries in my camera died. I thought I had just put in a fresh set. Obviously that was not the case. Always check that you have fresh batteries in the camera and a fresh set handy when you go into the blind! I waited and watched the pigeons until something flared them off. Then I climbed out of the blind and went back into the house. The sun was now too bright and I have some editing images to catch up on as well as some domestic chores. Have a blessed day, chris This image was created with a Canon 7D and a Canon 100-400IS v. 1 lens at 130mm. The camera settings used were manual mode, ISO 200, F 13.0 at 1/160th of a sec.Lighting was provided by four Canon 540 EZ flashes in 2' x 2' soft boxes. Two were on the perch and two were on the background. #TeamCanon

Monday, May 29, 2017

Up an At 'Em

I was up before the sun rose this morning. It took me over a half an hour to get my gear organized and a set up redone in the backyard. After it was complete I climbed into the photoblind and sat and waited. Almost immediately the Steller's Jays started coming in to feed. Once they realized that it was safe the Band-tailed Pigeons startd dropping down from the trees and fighting for positions at the feeder. With some patience I waited until they came over to the perch I had set up next to the bird feeder. Here are a couple of images that were my favorites. God's love and blessings to all, chris #teamcanon Both images were created with a Canon &D MkII and a Canon 100-400IS v.1 lens. Fill flash was provided by a Canon 550 EX flash set to - 2-1/3 stops.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Into the Forest

This morning when I awoke and looked out the window I could see the fog was starting to burn off and shafts of light were breaking through. What a perfect day for a walk down our road into the forest. I found that the Douglas Iris were just starting to finish up and the Bracken Ferns up fully up and growing. It was really nice walking through the fog drip with a slight breeze barely moving the trees. What a delightful way to start the day. God's love and blessings to all, chris Both of these images were created with a handheld Canon 7D MkII and a Canon EF-S10-22mm lens.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Please Be Safe Out There

This was one that I did for fun last night. I found a bark beetle right next to our gas fire pit and it sparked my my creative juices flowing. But it actually has a serious message behind it. Fire season is almost upon us. The grasses and forests are already drying up. Please be safe with fire,power equipment or vehicles that could cause forest fires. Have a great week and God bless, chris Bark Beetle climbing out of a match box. This image was created with a Canon 7D MkII and a Tamron 18-200 mm lens. Lighting was provided by two Alien Bee Studio lights with large soft boxes. #TeamCanon, #withmytamron

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Potpourri of Pictures

Here is a mixture of images from the past few days in my backyard in Mendocino County, Northern California. All of these images were photographed from my photoblind on our back patio. The perch used was an old rotten and mossy corral board. There was a nice showing of birds that came to the bird feeder. There were Red Breasted Nuthatches, Steller's Jays, Band-tailed Pigeons and Chestnut Backed Chickadees. I had a separate feeder set up for the squirrels to use but one Western Gray Squirrel came for desert after it had finished eating the other food. God's love and blessings to everyone, chris All of these images were created with a Canon 7D MkII and a Canon 100-400IS v. 1 lens along with a Tamron 150-600mm lens. The camera was supported on a 190 XPROB Manfrotto Tripod with a Bogen 3055 heavy duty ballhead. The camera was set in AV mode, ISO 800. Shutter speeds and F stops varied. A Canon 550EX was used for fill flash set at -2 stops.#TeamCanon #withmytamron

Friday, May 19, 2017

Elusive Mountain Quail

The most elusive, challenging and difficult bird to photograph in my backyard is the Mountain Quail. There is a very small covey nearby and they occasionally come into my backyard. When I'm in the photoblind I can hear them coming by their soft feeding calls. Yesterday morning was a textbook case. I could hear them coming up the ridge. Because I was photographing small birds I knew I would have to back off my zoom lens before they arrived or they wouldn't fit in the frame of the image. I slowly pulled back the zoom and waited quietly. Mountain Quail are extremely skittish and will flush at the merest sight or sound of motion. I waited and waited for about five minutes. One quail made an appearance and hopped up onto the perch I had set up. Ever so slowly I inched the camera over to focus on it. I realized I hadn't pulled the zoom back far enough and I was too tight. I made one image. Then I attempted to try and slowly back the lens off a little bit more. Instantaneously the quail jumped off the perch and ran into the forest! As I stated before they are very skittish. Better luck to me next time. God's blessings upon your weekend, chris This image was created with a Canon 7D MII and a Canon 100-400IS v.1 lens with a Canon 550 EX for fill flash.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Tiesel Toppers

Yesterday morning after I finished up with the rock perch images I switched over to using a dried Tiesel heads as a perches. Both the seed head and the stalks are full of prickly spikes. I'm always amazed to see birds using them as perches. They must have really tough feet! Here are a few more House Finch images. I hope that all of you are having a great week. God bless, chris All of the images above were created with a Canon 7D MkII DSLR camera with a Canon 100-400IS v.1 lens. The camera was supported on a Manfrotto 190 XPROB tripod with a Bogen Heavy duty ballhead. Fill flash was provided by a Canon 550 EX flash set to -2 stops. The camera settings used were AV mode, ISO 800, F 8.0 shutter speeds varied.#TeamCanon

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Rockin' It!

Yesterday afternoon I found a nice medium sized rock covered in moss and lichen down by the creek. I carried it up to my bird feeder and gently placed it on top of the bird feeder. This morning I cleared all of the seed off of the feeder except for the side facing my photo blind. That way the birds landing on the rock would be facing either sideways or looking down at the bird seed. Here are a couple of my favorite images from the morning.A male House Finch and a White Breasted Nuthatch. God bless, chris Both images were created with a Canon 7D MkII and a Canon 100-400 IS v.1 lens. Settings used were AV mode, ISO 800 at F 8.0. Shutter speeds varied.#TeamCanon

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Mellow Yellow

Yesterday afternoon I went out to the Burris Ranch in the Little Lake Valley. I sat in my photo blind for a couple of hours and photographed House Finches. There were plenty of them and not too many other species. I was amazed when a young Raven stopped by at the bird feeder. It was far too close for photography so I sat and watched it feed. I had a really nice afternoon. God's blessings upon your day, chris

Saturday, May 13, 2017

A Little More Technology Comes to the Little Lake Valley

Yesterday afternoon I did a little bird photography out in the little Lake Valley. On my drive out I saw that they were working on the new cell tower on the North end of the valley. There was a big pile of branches lying near the base of the tower. I photographed for about two hours there were more than enough House Finches and very little of anything else. On my drive home the cell tower was bristling with branches. They attached all the branches to the tower in less than two hours. What an amazing transformation! Just as I got into the town limits of Willits I passed an Apple mapping van. They stopped for a little bit and the drove onward and turned down Bittenbender Ln . I in turn drove up Sherwood Road towards home. I wonder if they are going to map all of the streets? God's blessings upon your weekend, chris#TeamCanon