Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Winter Coats

Late yesterday morning I went out into the photoblind in my yard to photograph Steller's Jays. It was 28 degrees F.and the wind was blowing. It was cold! Not Minnesota cold that's for sure but plenty cold for where I live close to the coast in Northern California. I must say I was glad to be wearing my winter coat. It was interesting to note that one of the Douglas Tree Squirrels that came into feed had on its winter coat on as well. Come fall they slowly change their fur to a darker color and grow it out just a little longer. So we were both wearing our winter coats. Stay warm and God bless,chris Image created with a Canon 7D and a Canon 100-400 IS lens at 170mm. Camera settings used were ISO 1600,AV mode,F 5.0 at 1/250th of a sec. Camera was supported on a Manfrotto tripod with a Bogen ballhead.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Steller's Jay Kind of Day

This morning when I got up and looked outside the Steller's Jays were already hopping around the feeder looking for seed. Just before noon I went out to the photoblind for a little photography. After a long wait the jays started coming into the feeder. This image was my favorite of about six that I really liked. God bless, chris

Monday, December 29, 2014

More Boughs of Holly

This morning was spent looking on websites for a new car to replace one of ours that has met its demise. This afternoon I got a chance to spend some time in the blind photographing Chestnut Backed Chickadees. They are such a cute little bird with a big personality. On my hard drives they are labeled cbc because it's so much easier to type! Come winter time the CBC's and the Steller's Jays are about the only birds that hang around my bird feeder in any numbers anyway. Luckily for me I really enjoy photographing both of them and I had a great. This image was my favorite from about five that didn't hit the trash can on my computer. I have always loved the over the shoulder look. God's love and blessings to all, chris Image created with a Canon 7D and a Canon 100-400 IS lens at 235mm. Camera was set on AV mode ISO 1600, F 5.0 at 1/320th of a sec. The camer was supported by a Manfrotto 055 PROBX tripod with a Bogen 3055 heavy duty ballhead. Now that Christmas has passed go out and buy yourself a copy of my book as a present to yourself. "Secrets of Backyard Bird Photography", available at many local book stores and on Amazon in both hardback and as an Ebook. Just cut and paste this into your browser.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Small Secret World

I'm always amazed at the cool and unique things that you can find on the forest floor. It's like there is a secret little world apart from our own right at our feet. As adults we don't spend enough time marveling at God's handiwork at ground level. As children we often spent time crawling around on the ground looking at everything and being fascinated by plants, bugs the rocks and the dirt. The taller we get the more removed from that little world we seem to get. While visiting Little Darby Environmental Education Area east of Willits yesterday Lenore picked up these great clear leaves for me. They are amazing in that they have slowly decomposed to where only the vein structure is holding them together. They are really small beautiful world unto themselves. God bless, chris This image was created with a Canon 7D and a Canon EF 28-105 lens at 105mm. Camera settings used AV mode,ISO 100,F16.0 at 2.5 seconds. Camera was mounted on a Manfrotto 190 PROBX tripod with a Bogen 3055 heavy duty ballhead.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Out Muir Mill Creek

Off to a bit of a late start this morning. I decided to drive out Muir Mill Creek to see of there were any shady areas still holding the frost from last night. Muir Mill Canyon is notorious for being cold. Sure enough there were a few patches of frost here and there and the creek was flowing nicely. i didn't see any salmon or steelehead but I didn't look very hard and I have heard that they were spawning after Thanksgiving. My highlight of the day was finding this big boulder covered in moss that was just dying to be photographed. Sorry Yoxalls for cutting in front of you when I turned around by the bridge. God's love and blessings to all, chris Images created with a Canon 7D and a Canon EF-S10-22 lens supported on a Manfrotto 190 PROXB tripod with a Bogen 3055 heavy duty ballhead. Camera was set at ISO 100,AV mode, F stops and shutter speeds varied.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Deck the Halls With Boughs of Holly

Today was the perfect day for some bird photography. It just lifts up your spirits to see the sunshine. I have been chomping at the bit to get outside and sit in the photoblind. I gathered up some Holly boughs from a friend and put them up by the bird feeder. I climbed into the blind and the birds started coming in a steady stream. I think they were enjoying the sun as well! This image was my favorite of one of the many Chestnut Backed Chickadees that came for some free sunflower seed. God bless and Merry Christmas. chris Image created with a Canon 7D and a Canon 100-400 IS lens at 320mm. Camera settings used AV mode,ISO 1600, F 5.6 at 1/160th of a sec. Camera was supported with a Manfrotto 190 PROBX tripod and a Bogen 3055 Heavy duty ballhead. If you are still looking for a late minute Christmas gift please take a look at downloading a copy of my book, "Secrets of Backyard Bird Photography" on Amazon. Just cut and paste this link to your browser.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Thank You Lord for the Sun

This morning I awoke to bright sunshine streaming into our bedroom window. After over two weeks of gray light it was a very welcome sight. After breakfast I worked on my bird feeder getting it set up and filled. Jay needed a ride downtown because he was going to the big town of Corte Madera with friends. On the return trip I had to stop for road construction. When I looked to my left I could see a mossy tree trunk in the darkened forest brightly lit up by the sun. I composed an image of it just in time for the traffic to start moving again. By the time I arrived back home the fog rolled in from the ocean submerging my house in its gray light. God blessings to all, chris Image created with a Canon 7D and a Canon 100-400 IS lens at 300mm. AV mode,ISO 400,f 5.6 at 1/160th of a sec.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Nut Crackers

Nut Crackers first came from the Erzgebirge region of Germany. Their popularity surged in the United States when soldiers brought them home at the end of WWII. There is a legend in Germany how the nut cracker came to be. A wealthy farmer offered a reward to anyone that could crack the walnuts on his tree. A carpenter told him cut the nuts in half with a saw. A soldier told him to shoot the nut open. It was a local puppet maker who came up with a beautiful solution. A puppet made of wood and painted in bright colors. It had strong jaws that could be used to crack the walnuts. The farmer rewarded the puppeteer for his ingenuity by giving him his own workshop. In Germany, the nut crackers are said to bring good luck and protect the house. Supposedly they keep evil at bay and protect the people of the home. Merry Christmas, chris Image created with a Canon 7D and a Canon 85mm F1.8 lens. Camera settings used Manual Mode,ISO 100,F 2.8 at 1/160th of a second. Two Alien Bees studio lights with soft boxes were used to light the nutcracker. A black background with red Christmas lights.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Going to the Dogs

It's pretty gray outside this morning with some much needed rain. Last night it poured and poured. On rainy days whenever I can't figure out what to photograph there is always the dogs. It's also a great day to clean the office. It's a never ending job because I'm not a particularly neat person. Earlier I got started on cleaning the office but then I got side tracked with an idea to photograph Badger the Wonder Dog with the same out of focus red Christmas lights that I used for photographing the ornaments last night. Here is the result. He looks pretty curious and happy because he knows he is going to get a treat.Have a warm and happy day, chris Image created with a Canon 7D set on manual mode and a Canon 85mm f 1.8 lens.Camera settings used were ISO 100, F2.0 at 1/160th of a sec. Black background with red Christmas lights. Lighting was provided by two Alien Bee 1600 Studio lights with l
arge soft boxes.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Tiny Bit More Rain

It was gray all day today mixed with some scattered rain showers. I did my shopping this morning and then made another batch of Peppermint Toffeee. Tonight just before midnight I photographed a few Christmas ornaments. I loved the red out of focus bokeh that this lens gives. God's love and blessings to all, chris Image created with a Canon 7D and a Canon 85mm F 1.8 lens.ISO 400,AV mode F 2.0, Manfrotto 055PROBX tripod with a Bogen 3055 heavy duty ballhead.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Great Day for Tea

Today it rained off and on all day long. First thing this morning I did a little grocery shopping came home and stoked the wood stove. Then I went into the kitchen and baked chocolate chip cookies and peppermint toffeee. It was the perfect day to sit by the wood stove and drink tea. It was also pretty exciting to find that my book, "Secrets of Backyard Bird Photography"was the number one book featured by Rainy Day Magazine in a feature called the "Rainy Day Gift Guide". God bless, chris Image created with a Canon 7D and a Canon 28-105 lens at 45mm. Camera settings used. Program mode, ISO 400,F 4.0 at 1/5th of a sec. Camera was set on a Manfrotto 055PROBX tripod with a Bogen 3055 heavy duty ballhead.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Last Minute Gift

If you are looking for a great last minute gift for a photographer or birder that you may know look no further! Please just order them a copy of Secrets of Backyard Bird Photography. It is available from most major online book sellers like Amazon in both hardbound and as an Ebook. This book is perfect for learning in a simple step by step manner how to photograph birds in your own back yard. It covers the food, feeders and equipment needed to create some simple set ups to make images of beautiful birds. It has many great projects for your backyard as well. Copy and paste the following link to your browser to take a look or order a copy. Thank you, chris

Monday, December 15, 2014

Fake Flake

Brrrr.... It's cold out today. It feels like it's going to snow but it's just not quite cold enough yet. I really want to get out and do some bird photography but the breaks in the rain just aren't long enough. Today I photographed a plastic snowflake. It looks pretty cool but my indoor creativity is starting to hit the wall. I'll need to research some things on the internet to photograph over this next rainy week. The dog went insane at three a.m.last night. Momma bear and her two cubs came by and raided my bird feeder which only holds about two cups of bird seed. The two cubs were bawling away. I swear it sounds like a cow is being killed with the sound that they make. Before they become a big problem I've decided I need to take the bird feeder in now every night. Better to do that than have them shot for being problem bears. God's blessings and have a wonderful day, chris Images created with a Canon 7D and a Canon 28-105 lens and two Alien Bee 1600 Studio lights with large soft boxes attached. Camera was set to ISO 100 F16.0 at 1/160th of a sec.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Back to the Woodpile

Yesterday was another inside kind of day. It was gray and cloudy all day except for a break in late afternoon when a rainbow appeared promising hope! . While getting some firewood I discovered a Pacific Tree Frog (Pseudacris regilla)AKA Pacific Chorus Frog and Northern Pacific Treefrog, Northwest Chorus Frog under the tarp use to keep the wood dry. At first I was unsure it was a Tree Frog because it was a colored a very dark gray almost black. By the time I got around to photographing it the frog has changed its coloring to a light tannish brown. It is amazing how they can do that. They are such a neat little frog with pads on their feet that allow them to climb even glass. Here are a couple of images that I really liked before I set the little creature free. God's love and blessings upon your day ChrisRainbow created with a Canon 7D and a Canon 100-400 IS lens at 100mm. Camera setting used was AV mode, ISO 1600, F7.1an 1/1600th of a sec. The Frog was photographed with a 100mm macro lens. The camera was set to AV mode, ISO 1600,f 4.5 at 1/15th of a sec. The last frog image was ISO 1600, F 8.0 at 1/25th of a sec.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Muddy Waters

The storm dropped a lot of rain and luckily the powerful winds forecast never occurred. The fact that the house never was shaken by any wild gusts of wind was fine by me! It was pretty much just a strong winter storm similar to many of the ones that we have weathered over the years. Sadly there still was some flooding of low lying areas of the Little Lake Valley. I took Badger on a short hike up the upper reaches of Willits Creek. It was running pretty high but it wasn't running over its banks anywhere. Here are a few images from our hike. God bless and be safe and dry, chrisImage created with a Canon 7D and a Canon EFS 10-22mm lens on a Manfrotto 190XPROB tripod with a Bogen 3055 heavy duty ballhead. Exposure varied.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Roll Out the Photos

Yesterday we awoke to a very gray day. I had a lot of work outside to do in preparation for the incoming storm. I put away my photography blind so that it wouldn't get destroyed by the wind like one of my last ones. I tucked away my backdrops so they wouldn't blow away as well. Then I put away the light patio furniture and some other stuff so we wouldn't lose it. When I was done I was ready for some photography. I keep a notebook of image ideas. Every once in awhile I'll dig the book out and add another idea to it or I'll work on bringing one of the creations to life. Today it was one of the latter. It's also one I promised I'd roll out for everyone to see once I finished it. After cleaning up outside I gathered up my photography gear and went to work. I had a blast working on getting the lighting right. I am really happy with the result. I see some room for improvement and I'll put that idea to work if I try it again in the future. Enjoy and God bless, chris PS It is raining cats and dogs right now as I am typing this. It rained hard all night long. Luckily the winds have been mild. Image greated with a Canon 7D and a Canon 100-400 IS lens with an extension tube added for close focusing. Lighting was provided by four Canon 540EZ flashes set to 1/64th power. I wrapped the flashes in plastic bags to keep them dry. Camera settings used were manual mode, ISO 400,F8.0 at 1/160th of a sec. Camera was supported with a Manfrotto 055PROBX tripod and a Bogen 3055 heavy duty ballhead.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Into the Forest

Yesterday the clouds and fog covered the ridgetop all day. Luckily there was a short break in the clouds at around four-thirty. It didn't clear enough to see the sunset but it did allow this beautiful diffused light to fill the forest. I was immediately drawn into seeing the repeating pattern of the tree trunks. I grabbed my camera and went out into the forest and photographed them. It was so refreshing to be out and about in the outdoors. Here are my three favorite images.God's blessings upon your day, chris All images created with a Canon 7D and a Canon 100-400 IS lens. AV mode,ISO 1600, F stops and shutter speeds varied.Camera was supported on a Manfrotto 055 XPROB tripod with a Bogen 3055 heavy duty ballhead.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Old Santa

Yep, it's still foggy and cloudy outside with a big storm on the way! We have been preparing for the Christmas by putting up the tree and setting out Christmas knick-knacks all in preparation for celebration of Christ's birth. One of the decorations we often but not always set out is a small collection of Santas. This morning I decided to photograph the most interesting Santa of the bunch by putting it on a stand with some red Christmas lights behind it. I used a short telephoto lens made for portraits at its widest lens opening so that the lights would be rendered as big out of focus red dots. I tried a variety of lighting situations but this is the one I liked the best. Now it's back to work outside securing things that might blow away in the storm. Have a blessed day, chris Image created with a Canon 7D and a Canon EF 85mm lens. Camera settings used were AV mode, ISO 400, F 1.8 at 1/40th of a sec. Camera was supported by a Manfrotto 055 XPROB tripod with a Bogen 3055 Heavy duty ballhead.

Monday, December 8, 2014

When It Rains

We have been praying for rain and out prayers have been answered! The forecast is for rain through next week with a brief break tomorrow. The fungi are loving all this moisture and are popping up everywhere. My photography has been limited to brief dashes outdoors during short breaks in the weather and whatever indoor ideas I can find or create like playing around with some light painting. What I really want is a downpour because I have an idea for an image I have had planned out for sometime now. Hopefully I can roll that image out for you to see really soon. In other news Friday night three bears came for a visit during the heavy rain. The dog started barking and I went to the upstairs deck to find out what was going on. Before I could reach the deck I heard a horrible bawling from outside below the deck. I stepped out and saw a bear running toward the house. I yelled it turned and ran the other way. I went back inside and grabbed my flashlight. When I went back out I spotted two bear cubs in the fir tree out front. Momma was in the background phlumping that she wasn't happy. I'm not sure why the bear was bawling but I'm sure not going out into the pouring rain and dark to find out. On Saturday I walked out and found that they had bent over the metal poles holding up my bird feeders so they could eat the bird seed. We had really small acorn crop in early fall so I think the bears are really hungry with winter coming on. God's love to all, chris Images created with a Canon 7D, Fungi used a Canon 100-400 IS lens. Settings used. ISO 400 F11.0 at 1/250th of a sec. The light painting was done with a Canon EFs-10-22mm lens ISO 400 f 11.0 at a 30 second exposure. The camera was supported with a Manfrotto 055 PROBX tripod and a 3055 heavy duty Bogen ballhead.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Rhymes With Orange

Small storms have been arriving off of the ocean now for almost a week with a few breaks like yesterday afternoon when the sky partially cleared for about an hour. This made for some great "Angels Breath" (crepuscular rays) coming through the trees. Today it is pretty dreary out with the rain forecast at 100 percent. I have plenty of indoor work to do so it's not a problem. There is always images to sort and file along with the general domestic chores to keep the house functioning. Here is some angels breath and an image of some orange slices and an orange from yesterday afternoon. I guess now it's not true that there isn't anything to that rumor that "orange" rhymes with no other word. Orange rhymes with Mount Blorenge in Wales. It also rhymes with sporange. Sporange is the sac which hold the spores on the underside of plants like ferns. "Silver" has the same rumor going for it, but it rhymes with chilver the name for a ewe lamb.God's blessings upon your day. Orange image created with a Canon 7D set on manual with a Canon 28-105 lens @ 75mm. Exposure was ISO 400, F20.0 at 1/160th of a sec. Four Canon 540EZ flashes set to 1/64th power were used to light the image. The angels breath images were created with a Canon EFS 10-22mm lens. The camera was in AV mode, ISO 400, F16.0 at 1/200th of a sec. The camera was supported on a Manfrotto 055PROBX Tripod with a Bogen 3055 heavy duty ballhead.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Because It's Fun

The stormy weather continues so I stayed inside this morning. What creative thing could I do on a rainy day? I know water drops have been overdone but it is so much fun. I set up some flashes and had a great time. First I did some red drops and then I switched to green. I got some really nice ones but nothing spectacular. Then I made the decision to increase the flow rate to see if I could get some water drops to collide in mid air. I'm so glad I did because I got one that is just fantastic. Take a look and see if you agree. God bless and have a wonderful day, chris Image created with a Canon 7D with a 100mm macro lens and two Canon 540EZ flashes set to 1/64th power. Camera settings used were. Manual mode,ISO 400, F 16.0 at 1/100th of a sec. The camera was supported on a Manfrotto 055PROBX Tripod with a Bogen 3055 heavy duty ballhead.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Inside Endeavors

Last night the wind just howled. The yard was covered in debris this morning. There were leaves, needles, twigs and sadly the remnants of the new knothole feeder I just put up. It looks like I'll have to search out some more mossy bark and build a new one. I went downtown to work out and buy groceries. What an amazing difference in the weather. At my house on top of the ridge the wind was blowing and it was cold. When I arrived downtown it was calm and warm. When I got back home I made a quick set up to do some smoke photography. I did some red smoke and some blue. My favorite was some blue smoke that looked a lot like a pregnant woman that was just beautiful. What do you see? God's love an mercies to all, chrisAll images were created with a Canon 7D and a 100mm macro lens. Camera was set to manual mode. Exposures varied. Lighting used was a snooted Alien Bee 1600 studio flash from the side.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Indoor Pursuits

Yesterday's weather forecast for today was partly cloudy. They got the cloudy part right! It is pretty dreary out. We can praise the Lord for the rain. I got out of bed early made breakfast and then created a new set up for the birds in the yard. It will take them awhile to figure it out as it is a new knothole set up in the mossy piece of bark. Hopefully I'll get a short weather break and give it a try over the next few days. Meanwhile I will just have to keep myself happy with some indoor pursuits. This morning I made some water and oil images with a macro lens which is always fun as the number of color combinations is endless. Here are just a few along with the view to the east this morning from my bedroom window. Have a great day and God bless, chris Image created with a canon 7D and a 100mm macro lens. Camera settings varied, ISO 400, AV mode