Monday, July 16, 2018

Simple Giift

Today Lenore surprised me when she returned from golfing with a simple gift. She presented me with a small stone that she had found while she was playing. It was a gift that meant a lot to me. I was really happy she went golfing as I encouraged her to go. There is no reason for two of us to be stuck at home! Right now I'm not in the best of shape as I'm slowly recovering from gall bladder surgery. I'm getting there but it's painful. It was the best gift she could have given me as it is symbolic of so much. The heart shaped stone was a little rough around the edges. So very much like our love and the things that we have gone through in our marriage with probably more to come. Most of it has been great by the way. I can't think of anyone better to be with on this journey of life than her. I love you, Lenore, always your husband, chris

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Simple Set Up Bird Photography B. O. A. S.

Surprisingly many of the bird images that grace the magazines showing backyard birds were created using set ups. The simplest set up is often jokingly referred to by many photographers as B.O.A.S or Bird on a Stick. These images are made by placing stick or branch close to a food or water source usually a bird feeder of some type. The photographer waits in a blind erected close by and prefocuses on the stick and waits for a bird to land on the stick to create the image. I created the following B. O.A.S. images in my yard. I started by setting up a platform feeder roughly ten feet away from my photoblind. Next I set up a non distracting background approximately six feet behind the feeder. In this case the background is a piece of ¼" hardboard 4' x 4' painted a light green. Next I stood up some 1” x 2”s on either side of the feeder. I clamped a lichen covered stick or branch above the feeder to the 1” x 2”s. I filled the feeder with a mixture of black sunflower seeds and chicken scratch. Then I climbed into the photoblind and waited. I prefocused my camera on the branch and waited. I was using a Canon 7D MkII camera and a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM lens. For settings I prefer using an F stop of F 5.6 or 8.0 to throw the background out of focus. In this instance I had an ISO of 800 as the feeder was in the shade. I photographed for just a little over two hours waiting patiently for the birds to come in and feed. After editing I ended up with 150 images. Out of these there were six great images of Steller's Jays and Band- tailed Pigeons. The Band-tails were nice because they can be a very difficult bird to photograph as they are very wary and really hard to photograph without a blind. If you are interested in learning more about using set up photography please check out my book, Secrets of Backyard Photography, from your local library or purchase it on Amazon where it has been getting excellent reviews. It is available both as a hardbound book and as an e reader. #Team Canon God's love and blessings upon your day, chris Cut and paste the following into your web browser

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Grab and Go

Yesterday Lenore and I planned to go to the Farmer's Market in the big city of Ukiah, CA. We got off to a very late start so that by the time we arrived there was only ten minutes left. Numerous vendors were already packing up. We walked rapidly through the market and purchased some veggies. Along the way I captured some images of produce with my little Canon T1i. It's the perfect little travel camera well suited as a daily camera. I've outfitted it with a Tamron 18-200mm lens that makes it quite versatile. Just grab and go! God's precious love upon your week, chris#TeamCanon, #takenwithmytamron

Friday, June 29, 2018

Simple Images

These Steller's Jay images were created using a simple set up in my front yard yesterday in Mendocino County, Northern California. The set up consisted of a moss and lichen covered oak branch clamped above a platform feeder. The background used was a 4 foot square of Masonite hardboard painted green supported by a background stand. The photography was little slow because it was late afternoon and the wind was blowing. Birds really hate that because it's harder to spot predators with all the branches moving. They were photographed with a Canon 7D MkII camera and a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM Lens set to 275mm. The camera settings used were AV mode, ISO 800, F 5.6 at 1/80th of a sec. I was using a tripod.#TeamCanon God's love and blessings to everyone, chris

Monday, June 25, 2018


This morning I set up and filled a platform feeder about ten feet away from the photoblind out in the front yard. Next I clamped a lichen covered oak branch above the feeder. I climbed into the blind for a long wait. While waiting I could hear the sound of the squirrels chattering in protest in the trees above me. Four Band-tailed pigeons flew down and landed on top of the blind. While they were walking around on the roof heard the clatter of claws on the redwood tree behind the feeder. A Western Gray Squirrel soon appeared next to the feeder. She climbed up the feeder post and made a short leap onto the oak branch. I created a lot of images of her but this one was my favorite a portrait of a Gray Squirrel(P.O.A.G.S.) This image was created with a Canon 7D MkII camera and a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM Lens at 400mm. The camera settings used were AV mode, ISO 800, F 5.6 at 1/80th of a sec. #TeamCanon

Monday, June 18, 2018

"Cash" Coin

I'm forever working on cleaning things up as I'm not the neatest person in the world. My two most difficult spaces are my office and the garage. In cleaning up the office yesterday I ran across a "cash" coin from China. Cash coins were made in China from 350 BC all the way up until 1912 A.D.. Most likely the coin was from my Grandfather as he traveled as a Merchant Marine to Asia when he was seventeen. In present day these coins are considered to be "good luck coins" and the are often worn as jewelry. The coin is in pretty poor shape and not worth very much. Still it's pretty cool to think of all the places it has been and what it may have been used for.God's love and blessings upon your day, chris This image was created with a Canon 7D camera and a 100mm macro lens. The camera settings used were AV mode, ISO 400, F13.0 at 1/25th of a sec. Lighting was provided by a desk lamp.#TeamCanon

Monday, June 11, 2018

Repeat Offender

Oh no another snake! I spotted this Garter Snake hunting goldfish in our garden pond this afternoon. I grabbed my Canon 7D MkII, a 12mm extension tube for close focusing and my Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM Lens. I then crawled on my belly to the edge of the pond and focused on the snakes eye. The snake stayed in place until I stood up and then it slithered into the pond. The camera settings used were AV mode,ISO 400, 1/800th of a sec at F 8.0. The camera was handheld with the lens foot on the ground. Photographed in Mendocino County, Northern California. #TeamCanon God's love and blessings to all, chris

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Annual Visitors

One of the highlights of our backyard is a small pond. It's not very large being about four feet across and being under three feet and in depth. It's a highlight due to all of the wildlife it attracts. The nearest springs are both over a half a mile away so many birds and small animals use it for a water source. The birds bathe in it on almost a daily basis. Perhaps maybe even more as I'm not watching it all of the time. Each spring we get an invasion of the Pacific Chorus Frogs along with a few Western Toads. They come to the pond to breed and they provide a chorus of noise every evening. It's surprisingly loud! They in turn are followed by an annual invasion of Garter Snakes that come to eat the pollywogs as well as the Goldfish that we keep in the pond as well. This afternoon I spotted one of the Garter Snakes sunning itself on a rock in the pond. I grabbed my camera and then crawled on my belly to the edge of the pond. I was far too close and I had to back up go back in the house and add a 12mm extension tube so that I could focus that close up. When I was finished I slowly stood up and made an image of it from up above looking down on the rock where it was resting. God's love and blessings to all, chris all of these images were created with a Canon 7D MkII camera and a Canon 100-400 IS v.1 lens with a 12mm extension tube for close focusing. #TeamCanon

Praying for the Return of the Fog

When I first moved to the Redwoods just inland from the North Coast of California in 1989 I remember the fog rolling in from the ocean at least three to four times a week. It's beautiful to behold and it provides nourishment for the Redwood trees to be healthy through the summer. The incoming marine layer hits the tall trees and ridges causing fog drip that falls like rain around the bases of the trees. Within the last five years or so I have noticed the fog rolling in less and less. Now it seems like the fog only comes in three or four times a month robbing the redwoods and the rest of the forest of the moisture that it needs to be healthy. I wondered if my empirical record keeping had any validity? Today I did a little research and there are plenty of studies that show this to be true. The lack of fog is impacting the health of the Redwoods in California in a negative way. Hopefully the last few weeks mark the beginning of a change in the fog patterns. The marine layer has been rolling in almost every night as of late. That would be a wondrous change and something good we can pray for. God's love and blessings to all, chris This image wascreated with a Canon 7D MkII camera and a Tamron 18-200mm lens, #TeamCanon, #WithMyTamron

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Historic William Schwerin Photo Collection

I've really got my work cut out for me. Here is just a small sample of the prolific collection of my Grandfather William Schwerin's photos. My long term goal is to eventually digitize and post his whole collection of images. I'm starting with copying his photographs and eventually I'll move onto scanning his negatives. It's a pretty amazing collection. The pick up in the top center of this photo shows the shop truck of the Schwerin Brake Service which is still in business today in San Francisco on Bush St. This image was created with a Canon 7D MkII camera and a Canon EF-S 17-85mm lens. #TeamCanon

Sunday, May 6, 2018

City Boy

In my college years I spent some time living in the city of Sacramento. Luckily I lived in an apartment right next to the levee of the American River. I spent a lot of time kayaking, fishing and swimming in the river. It was my saving grace as it helped my sanity by having nature just over the top of the levee. Over the weekend I visited relatives in the Sacramento area. I made it a point to visit where I used to live. I found that the apartments had been converted to high end senior condos for 55 and up. Just down the street in Campus Commons I found some Wild Turkeys strutting in front of an office complex. Judging by how fat this on was they weren't lacking for food! This image was created with a Canon 7D mkII camera and a Tamron 150-600mm G2 lens. Fill flash was provided by a Canon 550 EX flash, #TeamCanon, #WithMyTamron

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Poppin' Out All Over

There has been a wonderful California Poppy bloom this spring. I went out a couple of times to photograph them this last week. Both in Ukiah and Willits. As beautiful as they are it takes some work to get a beautiful image of them. Part of the reason for that the grasses have grown up faster than the poppies pretty much burying them in the grass. You have to look for poppies that stand out or are isolated from the grasses in some way. I created a lot of images but here are three of my favorites. All of these images were created with a Canon T1i camera and a variety of different lenses. #TeamCanon

Monday, April 23, 2018

Wee One From the Woodpile

Spring is the perfect time for me to find salamanders in the woodpile. I'm usually getting down to the bottom of the pile and salamanders are getting active because it is still moist and getting warm. Yesterday I uncovered this slender salamander under one of the last logs in the pile. At first glance I thought it was a worm until I noticed the tiny little legs sprouting out from the body. I carefully placed it in a glass container. This morning I photographed it before setting it free. Compare the salamander to some of the fir needles in the images and you can get an idea of how small they are. God's blessings upon your week, chris All of these images were created with a Canon 7D MkII camera and a Canon EF-S 60mm USM macro lens on a tripod. #TeamCanon

Saturday, April 21, 2018


Earlier this week while getting some wood from the woodpile I discovered this cool little salamander between the layers of the tarp covering the pile. It was awesome in appearance being black with gold flecking. Size wise it was very small only being about two inches long. It was also difficult to capture because it was really fast and active for a salamander. This afternoon I photographed it before releasing it back into the woodpile where I had captured it. I'm sure it has some pretty wild stories to tell to its buddies. God's blessings upon your weekend, chris Both of these images were created with a Canon T1i camera and a Canon EF-S 60mm macro USM lens. #TeamCanon

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Night of the Newt

The other night we made a late night grocery run. It was pouring rain on the drive downtown and very, very foggy on the return trip home. When we were unloading the car we had made several trips back and forth carrying in groceries when Lenore noticed something slowly crawling across our walkway. She called me over and pointed it out for me to see. I bent down and picked up an orange and black Rough Skinned Newt. We were really lucky that we hadn't stepped on it while going back and forth to the house. I brought it inside and popped it into a jar. This morning I grabbed a mossy limb from a knocked down oak tree and I used it to photograph the newt before setting it free outside. Here are three of my favorite images.God's love and blessings upon your week, chris All of these images were created with a Canon 7D MkII camera and a Canon EF-S60mm F/2.8 macro USM lens. #TeamCanon

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Watching and Waiting for the Long Distance Voyager

I have been watching and waiting for the Rufous Hummingbirds to appear. I always have a few resident Anna's Hummingbirds that hang around all winter. But the Rufous Hummingbirds are special because they travel so far. Rufous hummingbirds are known for having the longest migration, as measured by body length, of any bird in the world! They travel close to four thousand miles making the one way trip from Mexico to Alaska. That is pretty amazing for a three inch long hummer that weighs about the same as a copper penny. The Rufous breeds farther north than any other hummingbird in North America, traveling all the way up to Alaska in the summer breeding season. Truly an amazing migration. This afternoon I watched them for about five minutes before I grabbed my tripod camera and flash. I watched them to figure out the best possible perches they were using before I photographed them. I was looking for perches that were clutter free and had a pleasing background behind them. I photographed them for about half an hour. They were happy and so was I. Here are three of my favorite images. God's love and blessings to all, chris #TeamCanon, #WithMyTamron

Monday, March 19, 2018

It Pays to Follow Directions

Yesterday I spotted the first Rufous Hummingbird coming to our hummingbird feeders. It was a good reminder to clean up my hummingbird feeders and get them out for the deluge of migrants that are going to be coming through. Normally I hand wash all of the feeders in mild soap and water. My brother suggested throwing them in the dishwasher. I've never done that because I was too worried of them melting and I was concerned about the harsh soap. I put the dishwasher setting to rinse only with no soap and gave it a try. After the washer ran I checked them and they were not very clean. I then tried it with no soap and put the diishwasher on the delicate cycle. Major OOOOOPS! After it ran when I checked it all of the bottle portions of the feeders had melted. All of them were distorted on the tops and about half of them had warped threads on the bottom so they couldn't attach to the feeder part on the very bottom. I managed to salvage four feeders using some tape. In putting them together I noticed the fairly bold label "NOT DISWASHER SAFE". They will hopefully hold together until my order of new feeders from First Nature comes in. I like their feeders because the wide opening makes them easier to clean. It pays to follow directions. This can be applied to everything in our lives. chris

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Rainy Day Gray

I'll admit it. I'm a softy when it comes to photographing small mammals. I really like to photograph prairie dogs, pikas, rabbits, chipmunks and squirrels. Such is the case this last week when I photographed the Western Gray Squirrels coming to my bird feeder in the backyard. Often times I set up a second feeder to keep them away from where I'm photographing birds. This time I didn't care because I was enjoying photographing the squirrels. Enjoy the squirrel images. God's love and blessings upon your week, chris All of these images were created with a Canon 7D MkII camera and a Tamron 150-600mm lens.The camera was supported on a ground pod on our bedroom widow sill.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Spring is on the Way

It is starting to feel as if Spring is just around the corner with migrating birds starting to return. I spotted some Western Bluebirds checking out nest boxes last week. Ducks are starting to take on their breeding colors. The Ruddy Duck males bills are starting to turn a shade of bright blue. Spring is still being held at bay as we had six inches of snow last weekend. Here are some of my favorite snowy images from Saturday as well as one of my favorite bird images from last week. God's love and blessings upon your week, chris All images were created with a Canon 7D MkII camera and a Tamron 150-600mm G2 lens. #TeamCanon, #WithMyTamron

Monday, February 26, 2018

Split Rail Fence or What's Up There?

This image was my favorite image from a series of images that I did this last week. I found a mossy covered section of split rail fence to use as a perch. I set it up right next to the bird feeder for the birds to land on. Right now there is very little variety of birds coming to my feeder though that will change soon. Right now there are pretty much only two species of birds visiting the feeder on a regular basis. Chestnut Backed Chickadees and Red Breasted Nuthatches. This was my favorite Nuthatch image. God's tender love and blessings upon your week, chris This image was created with a Canon 7D MkII camera and a Tamron 150-600mm G2 lens. The camera settings used were AV mode, ISO 800, F 8.0 at 1/200th of a sec. #TeamCanon, #WithMyTamron

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Simple Lichen Perch

I'm always searching for new perches to use for my bird photography. The best ones are usually found when I'm either driving or walking to our gate and back after a windy night. Saturday I found a really nice lichen covered one on a walk with Lenore and Badger to the gate. After our walk I set it aside for future use. I ended up using it yesterday afternoon and early this morning by clamping it up next to the bird feeder for the birds to land on when they came to feed. There was a mix of Chestnut Backed Chickadees and Red Breasted Nuthatches coming in with the stray Gray Squirrel or two that I yelled at to go away whenever they tried to climb up to the bird feeder. Here are three of my favorite images after editing this morning. God's blessings upon you, chris All of the images were created with a Canon 7D MkII camera and a Tamron 150-600mm G2 lens. #TeamCanon, #WithMyTamron

Monday, February 12, 2018

Battle Worn Beautiful Warrior

This last weekend Lenore and I trimmed the roses and cleaned up a few flower beds. We were amazed to see an Iris blooming in the front yard. This is the first flower bloom we have had this year. You could tell it was tough by how it looked. A bit rumpled, tattered and torn. It managed to pop up close to the wall where it is the warmest. Many, many years ago my dad was splitting up some Iris in his yard and he gave me a bunch to plant in my mine. He left this earth long ago but every time I see one of these Iris in bloom I'm reminded of what an incredible gardener he was. Every place he ever lived he always found places to put in beautiful flowers and a large vegetable garden. Thank you for the wonderful memories, Dad. God's love and blessings to all, chris This image was created with a Canon 7D MkII camera and a Canon EFs 17-85mm lens at 85mm. #TeamCanon

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Batchelor Group of Tule Elk

Nature works to return to a natural state. Highways and bridges crumble. Grasses grow up in the cracks of sidewalks pushing and pushing to make them wider. Native species work at repopulating areas where they once were found. Sometimes it is done with the help of man. Such as it is with the Tule Elk. Prior to the Gold Rush in California they were widespread in many parts of the state. During the Gold Rush they were market hunted to near extinction for their meat and hides. Luckily there was a small remnant population found in the Central Valley on one of the many, many ranches of Henry Miller in 1874. He felt the herd should be saved. From that small herd there are now over 5,700 elk found in herds in many parts of California. There are even limited hunts by special permit. Elk have been slowly returning to around Willits where I live as well. At the end of last week when I was driving to the north end of the Little Lake Valley I watched a small batchelor herd trot out of the brush. Once they got out into the open they stopped and began milling about. A closer look through my telephoto lens revealed that some were foaming at the mouth. My guess is that they had been being chased either by dogs or coyotes. As they made their way closer to the road I got some nice images of them before I drove off and left them be. God's love and blessings upon your week, chris All images were created with a Canon 7D MkII camera and a Tamron 150-600mm G2 lens. AV mode, ISO 800, F 8.0 shutter speeds varied. #TeamCanon, #TakenWithMyTamron