Monday, March 31, 2014

Hiding From the Rain

Today is another day to be hiding out from the rain and snow out side. It spit snow and literally poured off and on all morning long. After taking a break form editing today for lunch I spotted this Western Gray Squirrel huddled up against a fir trunk trying to stay dry. I am so blessed to be safe and warm inside. God bless, chris
Camera Equipment Used- Canon 7D, Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM Lens at 400mm, Camera Settings- AV mode, ISO 400,F stop F5.6.0,Shutter speed 1/15ths of a sec. Handheld braced against a door frame.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Digging Into the Past

I spent the day looking through old images and working on editing my forth coming book. Looking back on some of my older images from Death Valley from 2004 I was transported in my mind to another rainy day. It really poured in Death Valley. They had to sand bag around our hotel in Furnace Creek to keep the water from coming in. There were people kayaking on the river and canoeing at Badwater. Oh, if I had only known to photograph them! The light in the breaks in between storms were incredible! It was a challenging time for me as well. I had just gotten my new Canon 10D a digital DSLR and it was a learning experience of trying to use it after shooting film for so many years.( I think I did O.K.) Here is one from the files for my rainy day. Badwater at sunrise looking west. God's blessings to you, chris
Camera Equipment Used- Canon 10D,Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM Lens at 115mm, Bogen 3021 Tripod with a 3055 Ballhead. Camera Settings- AV mode, ISO 100,F stop F5.6,Shutter speed 1/60th of a sec.

Friday, March 28, 2014

An Inside Kind of Day

I woke up to the sounds of the wind and rain. I snuggled down further into the warm blankets of my bed to escape the chill. It didn't take much convincing that this was going to be an inside kind of day editing images etc. Later while looking out the kitchen window I spotted this Tan Oak tree in the front yard with the moss fanned out to capture the moisture of the rain. I opened the window and created several images of it. This one was my favorite. May you have a blessed day, chris
Camera Equipment Used- Canon 7D, Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM Lens at 120mm, Manfrotto 055XPROB Tripod with a 3055 Ballhead. Camera Settings- AV mode, ISO 400,F stop F16.0,Shutter speed 8/10ths of a sec.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Rainy Day Birdies

When I arrived at my photoblind this morning I found that the rain had collapsed the roof poles of the blind. This allowed the sides to stay standing and let the water drip into the the interior of the blind all over my chair! Needless to say it was a bit of a wet mess. I shook the blind off and grabbed an old feed sack from the barn to put over my seat. I refilled the bird feeders an settled in for a dampish photo session. There were a lot of birds calling all around me today Juncos, Acorn Woodpeckers, House Finches and Red Shoulderd Hawks were a few I could identify. It was quite delightful when a pack of coyotes joined into the chorus from down the ridge. Not too many birds came to the feeders today but it was quite pleasant to sit in the blind and listen and watch all that was going on. In the lowest pasture all of the horses came thundering across the pasture to group up under the big Valley Oak next to the road. A few minutes later it poured for about twenty minutes. They sure knew what they were doing. Here are a few images from my rainy day. One Junco and some House Finches. God's love and healing touch to all, chris Camera Equipment Used- Canon 7D, Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM Lens, Manfrotto 055XPROB Tripod with a 3055 Ballhead. Camera Settings- AV mode, ISO 400,F stop F5.6,Shutter speed varied.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

In Honor of the Fallen

A procession of law enforcement enforcement officers, firemen and other public safety officers came through Willits, CA this morning. They were on their way to a memorial in Fort Bragg to honor Officer Ricky Paul Del Fiorentino a Mendocino County Sheriffs officer that was killed last week in the line of duty protecting the public. Please take some time to pray for his family and all of those who serve.

Hummers PassingThrough

I have been seeing a lot of hummingbirds this last week. Mostly Rufous and Anna's Hummingbirds. They stop by the feeders for a quick drink. Some like this one set up shop and guard the feeder for awhile. Trying to make the decision to stay around or move on. God's love and blessings, chris

Monday, March 24, 2014

Things are Hopping!

The past few days in the early morning it has been pretty active around the bird feeders and bird boxes. The feeders have been active with House Finches, Jays (both Steller's and Scrub) and Juncos with a few stray California Brown Towhees, White Throated Sparrows and Oak Titmice thrown in. Around the nest boxes by my photoblind there has been a flurry of activity mixed in with a lot of sitting by the Western Bluebirds. They get chased off once in awhile by the Tree Swallows but they always come back. Their strategy seems to be more like squatters. They figure if they stay around long enough it becomes theirs. The nest boxes in the lower pasture have already been taken over by the swallows and the Titmice and nest building has been in progress. It's a lot of fun to observe spring in full swing even though we have a few days of upcoming rain in the forecast. We need the rain so let it pour! God's tender love and mercies to all, chris varied Camera Equipment Used- Canon 7D, Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM Lens, Manfrotto 055XPROB Tripod with a 3055 Ballhead. Camera Settings- AV mode, ISO 400,F stop F5.6,Shutter speed varied.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Holding Onto Some Prime Real Estate

Earlier this week I put up some new bird feeders out at the Burris Ranch in the Little Lake Valley. While I was out there I noticed that the Western Bluebirds were checking out the nesting boxes I’ve put up. Due to the lack of natural tree cavities for them to nest in these become prime real estate during nesting season for all cavity nesting birds. Tree Swallows, Bluebirds and a host of other birds start competing for them. I intended on using that to my advantage. This morning dawned with a cloudy but gorgeous sunrise over the Mendocino Mountain Range. There was quite a bit of moisture in the air that gave it that wonderful layered look. The Little Lake Valley was full of fog that really didn’t burn off until I made my way all the way out to the ranch. My photoblind there sits between the garden and the edge of the junk yard. There are two nesting boxes on fence posts really close to the blind. When I arrived I moved the blind so that it was about ten feet away from them. Within minutes after settling into the blind a male Western Bluebird came to stake his claim. He went in and out of the box several times and then perched right next to it. A Starling came by and chased him off but after several tries it realized the opening into it was too small and it left. The male returned and stayed around using perches all around the box and on top of it as well. At one point he went into the box and took out a feather. He held onto that feather for the longest time! I made quite a collection of images working until a little after ten when the light got way to bright to produce any nice images. Enjoy the images and God bless, chris


I felt like I was going into withdrawals not having done much bird photography in the backyard lately. Yesterday morning I set about making a new set up in the backyard. I found a dead cone flower seed head that was a perfect perch for the Chestnut Backed Chickadees. It took them awhile to find it but once they did they started making regular trips to it. This gave me plenty of opportunities to photograph them between clean up chores around the house. I had a really nice time. This image was my favorite from the series. God's blessings to all of you, chris
Camera equipment used- Canon 7D and a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM Lens at 390mm, Mounted on a ground pod on the window sill with a Manfrott/Bogen 3055 Ballhead. Camera settings used-AV mode,ISO 400,F5.6 at 1/1,000 th of a second.

Thursday, March 20, 2014


All of the Daffodils are blooming in the yard and it's a beautiful day. Today is the first day of spring. This one daffodil caught my eye with the dark forest back behind it rendered black by the camera. Have a wonderful day and may God's blessings be upon you, chris

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

In the Land of Fairies

This morning Jay and I went for a hike on one of the local trails. It was actually more like he hiked and I kept stopping to photograph. The best thing about the hike was that the Fairy Slippers were blooming in abundance. They are known by a few other names as well, Calypso Orchid and Venus's Slipper.They aren't very big which is probably why they are often called Fairy slippers.They are so delicate and incredibly beautiful when viewed close up. I also photographed some fungi and some other early blooming wilfdlowers. May your day be blessed, chris Camera Equipment Used- Canon 7D, 100 mm Macro Lens,Ground pod with a Manfrotto/Bogen 3055 ballhead. Camera Settings- AV Mode,ISO 400,Exposure varied.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

What is That Orange Stuff?

Today was pretty close to being a non photography day. I finished up the first edit of the book and sent it off to the publisher. Following that I went out to the Burris Ranch and set up a couple more bird feeders and did some clean up around the photoblind. I was excited to to see that the western Bluebirds were checking out the nest boxes. One of the other boxes already had some Tree Swallows in residence.On the trip home I stopped to photograph some Blacktail Deer. On a closer look one of the deer had a swollen face and what appeared to be some sort of orange scarring on its face. I've never seen anything like it before. God's light and love to all, chris Photographed with a Canon 7D and a Canon 100-400 IS USM lens

Monday, March 17, 2014

99.9% Moonrise

Today I was busy working on edits for my forthcoming book "Secrets of Backyard Bird Photography". I did manage to break away for a little while to restock my bird feeders out at the Burris Ranch in the Valley. Then it was back home for some more editing. I really wanted to do some photography today I just didn't have the time. I missed yesterday's moonrise due to the clouds so tonight I was ready and waiting. According to TPE the moonrise was going to be at 8: 44 p.m. at 98.9 degrees.It was a 99.9% Waning Gibbous Moon. It arrived as scheduled. OK so it's not a full moon! I'm not going to quibble over .1%. Here is the moon rising up over the Mendocino Range this evening. God bless, chris
Camera Equipment used- Canon 7D, Canon 100-400 at 400. Manfrotto 3055 Ballhead, ground pod on windowsill. Camera Settings- Manual Mode, Manual focus, ISO 400, F 5.6 at 1/60th of a second

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Missing the Moon

Missing the Moon I was all prepared for tonight’s full moon. I consulted TPE (the Photographer’s Ephemeris) to make sure the moonrise was going to be visible from my bedroom window. I checked the bearing and marked the location of the moonrise on the horizon so I wouldn’t miss it when it first peeped over the mountains. The weather report was clear for this evening as well. I was ready and waiting at the appointed time for the moon to appear. It didn’t appear. Usually I have to wait six to eight minutes for the moon to clear the mountains as the time given is based upon a flat horizon. No moon. There was a thick layer of clouds on the horizon. About a half an hour later the moon barely rose above it and even then it faded in and out of view in the thick fog that was forming over the valley. No moonrise but there was such a wonderful, pastel sunset. So soft and beautiful. God’s glory isn’t always big and bold sometimes it’s in the softer gentler things that we overlook. chris
Photographed with a Canon 7D and a Canon 100-400 IS lens at 200 mm. Camera Setting Used- AV mode,ISO 400, F5.6 at 1/125th of a sec.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Rounding up the Strays

Late this evening I was looking through my image files from my journey to Humboldt County in Northern California. I was looking for images that I may have ovelooked in my first edits. I found this image of shorebirds above the Arcata Marsh that I really like. It really portrays the activity in the marsh well. God bless, chris

Friday, March 14, 2014

Colorful Kayaks

At one point on my trip to Humboldt County I stopped by the Woodley Island Marina to look at all of the boats. At one of the docks there was group of about twenty kayakers coming out of the bay carrying their kayaks. Quite a few of them looked pretty cold! After having a short conversation with them I learned that they were taking a class practicing rolling and doing self recoveries in Humboldt Bay. Brrrrrrr! As I was getting ready to leave I noticed that their kayaks looked pretty cool all lined up side by side ready to load onto the trailer. A beautiful splash of color! God's blessings and precious love to all, chris
Camera Equipment Used- Canon 7D, Canon EF 100-400 IS L USM 4.0-5.6 lens set at 100 mm. Camera Settings- AV mode, ISO 100, F 16.0 at 1/60th of a sec.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Humboldt Part Two the Arcata Marsh

Whenever I'm up in Humboldt County in Northern California one of my can't miss places for photography is the the Arcata March located on the northeast corner of Arcata Bay. The marsh is actually a very innovative waste water facility for the city of Arcata using settling and oxidation ponds in conjunction with marsh plants helping to process their waste water. It helps to serve as a great habitat for bird life. I was up and out there before sunrise on Tuesday and I must say it was quite beautiful with the soft light. There were a lot of waterfowl and shorebirds migrating through along with the local birds. I enjoyed a pleasant morning photographing before I met Jay for lunch for a burrito at Carmelos. (I could only eat half). Then I pointed the nose of the pick up southward and drove through the Redwoods homeward. I must say I had a great day photographing shorebirds, Green Wing Teal, Northern Shoveler, American Coots, Sparrows and even a Great Egret eating a fish. God's light and love to all, chris Camera Equipment Used- Canon 7D, Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM Lensand a Canon 10-22 EF-S lens, Manfrotto 055XPROB Tripod with a 3055 Ballhead. Camera Settings- AV mode, ISO 400,Shutter speeds and F stops varied.