Thursday, March 31, 2011

I Finally Got My Own Hawk

I'll admit it. I have been jealous of my Aunt Terry for some time now. She has had this hawk that hangs out by her bird feeder all winter long. She gets these great pictures of it too. I live in the forest so I get glimpses of hawks when they come by my bird feeders. Today that all changed. I now have my own resident hawk.

I was out at the ranch sitting in the blind and I saw this streak of blue coming into the feeders. All the little birds scattered as there was a Scrub Jay coming in. Suddenly the blue streak was intercepted by a dark shadow. There was a crash as something hit the top side of the blind and then I saw the Scrub jay heading for the trees. I saw a shadow on the ground circle in front of the blind and then something landed on top of the blind. I hit my hand on top of the blind and it didn't move. About five seconds later I heard the fwoof of wings and I watched a hawk land in the trees about thirty feet away. I quickly focused the camera on it and took numerous images of it as it surveyed the feeders. It stayed there for three or four minutes before it flew off.It was a beautiful Sharp Shin Hawk.

God's blessings to all,


Into the Trash

One thing about bird photography is that it isn't always easy. A lot of images end of in the trash. That was the case for the majority of the images I created this morning. Little birds are fast and they don't often sit in one place too long. Because of that habit I ended up with a lot of chopped off tails and beaks or a blur of motion going out of the frame. When things all come together though I end up with a beautiful image or even better a series of images. Today I was very happy to have one Goldfinch image that worked out really well.

God's precious light and love to all,


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men

No matter how hard you plan things they don't always go according to your plan. This morning after my work out I completely redid my bird photography set up. I really wanted to get some nice images of birds with some different colored blossoms. Well the birds were not in on the plan apparently because not a single bird used all the new perches that I provided. The gold finches however really seemed to like the teisel that I put up as an afterthought. So a Goldfinch on a Teisel it is.

God's love and blessings to all,


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Attitude is Everything

Ever have one of those days? I woke up feeling kind of grumpy. After spending some time in the photo blind and doing some thinking about God and focusing on photographing the birds I felt a lot better. Nothing really about my day changed externally in my environment it was just an attitude adjustment that I needed to make.Once I made that switch my day seemed a whole lot brighter.
The usual fare of birds came by the blind this morning. The quail actually came by twice much to Badgers dismay. But, none of them went up onto the perches I so carefully put up yesterday. A whole flock of Pine Siskins did come in though and they busily got to work on the finch feeder. in the end I created some nice Siskin, Goldfinch and Titmouse images

God's precious light and love to all,


Monday, March 28, 2011

Images from Todays Photo Adventure

This evening I finally got some time to sit down and process some of the images from this morning. I think my favorite was the Oak Titmouse. I also processed some of a Scrub Jay, White Breasted Nuthatch,House Finch, and the ever present Dark Eyed Junco.

God's light and love to all,


The Long Wait

In one of my lasts blogs I referred to having patience. Today I successfully put that to the test. My plan was to get into the photo blind before the quail came to feed. With that in mind I had to forego my morning workout at the gym and I headed straight for the blind after dropping off Jay for zero period at seven ten a.m.. Badger and I were in the blind by seven thirty and now began the long wait. While waiting I took numerous images of juncos, nuthatches and finches on the rock that I wanted to photograph the quail on. I had a one by six redwood ramp going from the ground up to the top of the rock that I wanted the quail to use. Around eight I could hear the quail calling from the lower pasture but they didn't seem to be getting any closer.
Finally around eight thirty I could hear the quail in the upper pasture. They were moving up the hill. I kept focusing and practicing on the little birds on the rock. Finally at eight forty five a quail hopped through the wire fence surounding the area where I'm photographing. In a matter of minutes there were about two dozen of them in front of me. Badger was really agitated by having the quail so close by. I had one hand on him and my other hand on the shutter release as the quail started feeding. Soon two of them began walking up the ramp. They paused several times before one of them finally climbed onto the rock. I took several exposures. I had the image for the day that I really wanted to create. The rest of the morning was just icing on the cake.
Thank you Lord for such beautiful creatures to photograph and such a wondrous place to do it.


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Something Other Than a Junco Please

After church got out I looked at the weather and thought why not? The rain wasn't really coming down that hard. After all it's just a drizzle . Within minutes I was headed out to my photo blind on the ranch with one thought in mind. I wanted to photograph something other than a Junco.

It's funny because last year I rarely saw juncos when I photographed there. This year I think they followed my truck down from my house just to keep me company. There are just so many of them. At any given time I can look out and see at least five or six of them around the feeder.

Being in the blind in the rain is a very peaceful, pleasant experience. The sound of the rain on the blind roof blocks out most of the sounds. The silence is punctuated by the birds calling to one another outside or the rare sound of a car passing by the ranch gate on the main road. it's kind of meditative in a way. You get a chance to think about a lot of things.

Today I had a fairly steady supply of juncos that ebbed and flowed with the sporadic flurry of when they saw a hawk or other unseen predator nearby. What was great was that every once in awhile a house finch or nuthatch or a titmouse would slip in. I ended up filling an eight gig a byte card with mostly.. well you guessed it junco images. I did however get some really good opportunities at photographing a White Breasted Nuthatch. In the end I was very happy how one of those turned out.

God's light and love to all,


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Patience My Dear Boy

Today was one of those days where living on a ridgetop clearly has its disadvantages. All day long it was foggy and rainy. It was at least until Jay and I did a run to the dump about three thirty in the afternoon and we discovered it was pretty nice down in the valley below. The clouds were stacking up against the ridgetop keeping us in a perpetual fog bank while the valley below was blessed with quite a bit of mixed sunshine.

After completing my chores downtown I headed out to the Burris ranch to restock the bird feeders. When I was done I rearranged the perches and decided to try a little photography as the weather was so nice. For some reason none of the birds liked the perch I had chosen to try and get an image on so I tried a different one. The birds ignored that one also. I tried a third perch and the birds started using the second one I had just been on. I recognized that I was being impatient and decided to stick with the third perch that I was focused on. My patience paid off as I was soon rewarded to take image after image for quite awhile before it started getting dark and the rain came.

God's love and blessings to all,


Friday, March 25, 2011

Eight Critter Images From Snow Day

I spent the afternoon processing images from my time spent in the blind yesterday morning in the snow. I chose eight images to share from my experience. I also built a new platform bird feeder that will hopefully keep my bird seed a bit drier. Still feeling productive I built a new background holder for doing hummingbird and small bird photography when I feel the need to add some different colored backgrounds in the future. My old one was getting pretty trashed and needed to be replaced. All in all a pretty good afternoon.

God's precious light and love to all,

Dark Eyed Junco
Steller Jay
Western Gray Squirrel

Hope for the Future

This morning I awoke to the sound of the annoying buzzing of the alarm clock because I overslept. I love it when I awake on my own and I am able to turn that blasted thing off before it can ring. I dropped Jay off at school and had a quick work out at the gym. When I came out of the gym things looked hopeful as the rain had stopped. I then headed out to the valley to restock my bird feeders on the Burris Ranch. Along the way the sun came out briefly and thought I may be able to do some bird photography. Alas, by the time I reached the ranch gate the rains came pouring down. What was cool though was the fact that both Mr. and Mrs. Bluebird were sitting next to one of the nesting boxes when I drove up. Also there was a covey of quail having a grand time at a ground feeder I placed in front of the photo blind. When I got home it was rather dreary and there was this flower in the front yard pushing its way up through the snow. When the rains stop I'm looking forward to some great photography.

Thank you Lord for giving me both a short term hope in life as well as an eternal one in the future.

God bless,


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Rocks in the Head

OK I'll admit it. I'm a sucker for cool rocks. When I was a little kid my Dad made me throw away all the really colorful rocks I had collected on the beach from Lake Waskesiu in Canada when we were on vacation. Perhaps that incident tweaked my brain in some form. In any case I always pocket interesting or cool rocks when I find them. This has resulted in my office having a few of them tucked away on the shelves. Nothing overwhelming mind you just a few. Today I was looking for something on the shelf and one of them caught my eye. Hmmmnn.. that would be really neat to photograph. So I did. The black background I chose wasn't completely black and that was a challenge. It was a fun thing to do on a stormy afternoon.

Marine animal bore holes in limestone, Clam fossils, Tufa, Iron pyrite, Fishing net weight

God's love and blessings to all,


Just Another Day

Today started like any other day with the rustling of sheets as Lenore and I checked the clock to see if it was time to get up or not yet. She got up and rousted Jay out of bed and I heard him stumbling to the shower. After he got out and went back to his room and I heard him say. It's snowing out. I looked out the window and it was too dark to see anything yet. Later on when I finally got myself organized and functioning I could see that it was snowing lightly. Jay and Lenore soon left for school and I followed with Annika about ten minutes later. By the time I drove down town and dropped Annika off at school and returned I had to use four wheel drive to make it back up to the ridgetop where I live. Right now its just a little past noon and we have about eight inches of snow.We had a brief break of sunshine which Badger and I took advantage of and now it is snowing again

God's love and blessings to everyone,


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Badger Dog Super model

Today was filled full of rainy day weather,doctor appointments and errands in the big city of Ukiah. Picked up the taxes. I owe, I owe, so off to work I go. When I finally arrived home the rain was still coming down outside. Badger obliged me by allowing me to create some images of him. He is always an excellent model. Will work for dog biscuits and hugs.

God's love and blessings to all,


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Goldfinches Have Arrived

Last night Lenore told me that the weather report for today was going to be a sliver of sunshine in the morning and then it was going to cloud over. Because of her report I went and worked out at the gym and then immediately headed out to the Burris ranch for some bird photography. I was glad I did because the photography today was a lot of fun. Whole groups of birds were coming in and they were bold in their feeding habits due to the impending rain.

The best thing of all was the Gold Finches both Lesser and American started coming into feed at a finch feeder I put up this year. I moved it yesterday away from the other feeder and that seemed to do the trick. Today I photographed House Finches, Oak Titmouse, White Breasted Nuthatches and Gold Finches. It was a phenomenal day.

God's love and blessings to all of you,


Monday, March 21, 2011

The Clouds Parted

This afternoon I was working away on the computer when the clouds parted and the sun partially came out. That was enough for me to grab my tripod and camera and head out to the Burris Ranch for the first time this spring. When I drove through the ranch gate I was greeted by the Ruth the ranches owner. She told me that the bluebird has been standing his post over the bluebird box where I photographed him last week. That's a good sign of things to come.

I sat in my blind for a little over an hour and a half. I photographed a Titmouse over and over again as it seemed to be the only bird that liked my set up except for the Dark Eyed Juncos of which I already have a vast collection of images of. I saw a Wren but he wasn't in a very good position to photograph. The same with a Spotted Towhee. There was one House finch that landed just long enough for me to catch a couple frames of him. I was really happy to be photographing something different.

What a beautiful afternoon spent with the birds.

Thank you Lord,