Saturday, February 28, 2015

Short Drive in the Country

On Wednesday after picking up our taxes I decided to go for a short drive into the country outside of Ukiah, Ca south of where I live in Willits. Actually in Mendocino County any time you leave any small city town or village you are immediately in the country. It's a beautiful place to live and I'm glad that for this period of time in my life that God has planted me here. Outside of Ukiah there are a lot of vineyards. I stopped by one where they were irrigating. As a photographer I loved the repeating patterns created by the rows of vines. There was something fascinating about the way they were broken up by the pattern of the sprinklers. I must say I really felt sorry for the poor guy working adjusting and repairing the sprinkler heads. It looked like cold, wet work. Enjoy the images and God's blessings to you, chris All images created with Canon 7D and a Tamron 150-600 handheld. Camera settings varied.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Delightful Morning

We awoke this morning to the sound of light rain. It was music to my ears! Not only were we getting some much needed rain but a light rain makes for pretty nice lighting conditions for doing bird photography. I headed out to the Burris Ranch in the Little Lake valley near Willits, Ca. where my photoblind is in the ranches garden. Pretty soon I'm going to have to move it to a new spot to make way for next summer's garden. After I restocked the bird feeders the birds started coming in at a pretty constant rate. There were Dark Eyed Juncos, House finches, Acorn Woodpeckers, Oak Titmice and Steller's Jays. Top dog of the feeder were the Acorn Woodpeckers. Pretty much everyone moved out of their way when they came to feed. The Steller's Jays were probably next down on the rung followed by the House Finches and then the Juncos. The Oak Titmice were just plain bold. They would sneak in and grab seed no matter who was at the feeder. Of course everyone scattered when the resident Red Shouldered Hawk would fly by! I created a lot of really beautiful images. Here are a selection of them for you to enjoy. God bless and have a great weekend, chris All images created with a Canon 7D and a Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD Lens. AV mode, ISO 800, F stops and shutter speeds varied. Camera was on a Manfrotto 190 PROB tripod with a Bogen 3055 ballhead.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Beautiful Collection of Birds

Whenever I spend a lot of time in the photoblind there is quite a bit of editing to do. I was up late last night and part of this morning going through images from the past couple of days. The results show that I had a very successful time. I came away with some really good bird images. Enjoy the images and have a blessed day, chrisAll images created with a Canon 7D and a Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD Lens. Camera was in AV mode, ISO 800 exposures varied. Camera was on a Manfrotto 190 PROB tripod with a Bogen 3055 ballhead.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

My Photoblind Buddy

Most of the time I'm photographing from my photoblind my faithful companion Badger is asleep in a ball near my feet. Before heading out he is the one dancing around me ready to head out the door for whatever great adventure lies ahead. He is a good distraction for whenever the photography gets slow, always willing to nuzzle up to my hand for a gentle pet. Here he is yesterday after a long session in the blind waiting very patiently for me to finish cleaning up and restocking the bird feeders. May you have a blessed day, chris Image created with a Canon 7D and a Tamron 150-600 at 182mm handheld. AV mode,ISO 800,F 8.0 at 1 320th of a sec.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Wool Sock Weather

This morning I was up and around by six fifteen. When I looked to the east there wasn't a cloud in the sky. I could tell it was going to be one of those mornings where the photography was going to be over rather quickly due to the bright, harsh lighting from the sun. After a short shower and breakfast I got ready pretty quickly and headed out the door. One look down into the valley convinced me that I made the right choice in grabbing my heavy jacket as I could see that the valley floor was covered in frost. When I got into my pickup the thermostat showed a comfortable thirty eight degrees. As I descended down into the valley the temperature steadily dropped until it remained a constant twenty four degrees on the valley floor. Arriving at the ranch the thermometer jumped up one degree as I pulled into the driveway. Badger the wonder dog was reluctant to go into the frost covered blind but eventually rolled up into a nice warm ball and fell asleep. I had grabbed my heavy jacket but had forgotten gloves and wool socks. I kept my hands warm by putting them in my pockets and behind my knees. My feet however were getting colder and colder. In the end they were the deciding factor that caused me to leave the blind and head for the warmth of the heater of the pick up. The photography was great. There were a lot of birds and I made a lot of images. In editing them when I got home there was one image of a House Finch that stood out above all of the rest. Please enjoy this beautiful male House Finch. Image created with a canon 7D and a Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD Lens at 300mm on a Manfrotto 190 PROB tripod with a Bogen 3055 Ballhead. Camera settings used were ISO 800,F 8.0 at 1/100th of a sec.

Monday, February 23, 2015

An Early Sign of Spring

One of the earliest signs of spring in the Little lake valley is when the Quince start blooming. Right now as you look across the valley there are little splashes of red here and there where the Quince are in peoples yards. This morning I headed out to the Burris Ranch and I created a set up using a Quince branch for a perch. The birds were delighted with it and so was I. This image was my favorites from the series a male House Finch. The image was made with a Canon 7D and a Tamron 150-600mm lens at 450mm. The camera was set to AV mode, ISO 400, F 6.3 at 1/3,200th of a sec. The camera was supported by a Manfrotto 190 PROB tripod with a Bogen 3055 Ballhead. Please enjoy this little bird. God bless, chris

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Join the Chorus

This has been one weird winter. We have gone from heavy rains and howling winds to warm spring like weather. It was in the low seventies yesterday. Not exactly winter time weather. We are doing a lot of yard work taking advantage of beautiful conditions.It's going to be interesting because we typically tend to get the most snow in March! While cleaning up in the backyard I came across this Pacific Chorus Frog. They used to be known as a Pacific Tree Frog. I created quite a few images of it but this one was my favorite because it really showed off the pads on its front feet which they use in climbing.The pads stick to most any surface including glass. Each night of late we are audience to a small chorus in the backyard as they are starting to breed in our little backyard pond. Please enjoy this little creature. God's love and blessings, chris Image created with a Canon 7D and a 100mm Macro Lens. AV mode,ISO 400 F 6.3 at .3 seconds.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Nice Morning of Bird Photography

I ended up sleeping in this morning until almost nine o'clock Yikes! Lucky for me it was foggy down in the Little Lake Valley creating some great conditions for lighting for photography. On the drive out to the Burris Ranch I stopped and photographed a valley oak. They look pretty cool in the fog. When I got to the ranch I quickly put up a new set up and restocked the bird feeders which were totally cleaned out. There wasn't a bird in sight. Within a few minutes of settling into the photoblind the birds started coming in. I guess they must have been pretty hungry. First came the Dark Eyed Juncos followed by the House Finches and then the Acorn Wood Peckers. I even had a Starling land on the end of my lens before hopping off onto the bird feeder. All images created with a Canon 7D and Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD Lens. The camera was supported with a Manfrotto 190 XPROB tripod with a Bogen 3055 ballhead.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Cotton Candy

Yesterday morning I had to drive down and pick up our dogs from the boarding kennel in Ukiah where they were staying while we were gone. They went absolutely crazy when they heard my voice from the office. Badger was jumping in the air and around in circles when they brought him out and Lance was pulling for all he was worth to get to me. It felt so nice to be wanted by our pets. On the drive home I spotted this tree in bloom in front of a vineyard and I just knew I had to photograph it. When Lenore saw it on the computer screen she told me it reminded her of Cotton Candy. God's love and blessings to all, chris Image created with a Canon 7D and a Tamron 150-600 lens at 300mm on a Manfrotto 055 XPROB tripod with a Bogen #055 Bogen Ballhead. Camera settings used ISO 400, F 5.6 at 1/500th of a sec.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Mini Vacation

Over the past four days we headed over to the Sacramento Valley to pick up a car. We made a mini vacation of it and visited both Chico and Sacramento. The daytime temps were in the high 70s so the weather was fantastic. In Sacramento we researched a couple of places along the American River to kayak. I used to kayak there many years ago and I wanted to see how much the river has changed. In Chico we made a couple of visits to Teichert Ponds to observe the wildlife. We ate out a lot and probably gained some weight. Photography wise I squeezed in some images along the way. Enjoy the images and God blessings to you. chris

Friday, February 13, 2015

Third Times a Charm

Yesterday morning I tried out a new telephoto lens. A Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di Vc Usd Lens. It's a pretty big deal for me because I don't purchase new camera equipment that often. After my appointment with the tax man I headed out to the ranch in the Little Lake Valley for some bird photography. I had a nice mossy section of a tree trunk set up near my photoblind. I put out some black sunflower seed and after about a twenty minute wait the birds started coming in to feed. The first image was of the moss on the tree trunk as I attempted to get a prefocus of the spot where I wanted to catch a bird coming into feed. I pressed the shutter too hard and click. An image of moss on a tree trunk. Whoops! The second image was of an Acorn Woodpecker with it's head turned way down and its eye was barely visible. Poor timing on my part and another mess up. My third image with the new lens was a keeper. A beautiful close up. After that I just had fun getting used to what the lens could do. The lens performed flawlessly. My biggest problem was operator error. I kept forgetting which way to turn the lens to zoom it in or out. I was using spot focusing and locating the sensor onto the birds eye and it was working really well. Next I tried grid focusing and it worked OK. I really liked the spot focusing better. It was spot on. Forgive the pun! On the trip home I found a Blacktail Deer doe resting in the shade. I used the Vibration Compensator VC for the first time and it was really cool to see the image snap into place. So far I'm really happy with this lens. All images created with a Canon 7D in AV mode, ISO 400 with a Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di Vc Usd Lens on a Manfrotto 055 XPROB tripod with a Bogen 3055 Ballhead.