Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Cheeky Lttle Fellows

I have never been certain about what species of chipmunk lived in my backyard. Consulting field guides left me confused. There were just too many species and to my untrained eye they they all looked alike. So earlier this week I dug in and did some research. I found out that there are thirteen species of chipmunk in California. The best way to tell them apart is by size,field markings, call and most important of all region. Armed with this knowledge I narrowed it down to two species. Then after consulting the map numerous times and listening to their call I determined that the chipmunk in my area is the Yellow Cheeked Chipmunk. Locally they are often called the Redwood Chipmunks. Yellow Cheeked Chipmunks are endemic to a narrow band of the North Coast. The band is about 25 miles wide from the ocean inland. The band runs from about a mile north of Bodega Bay and Freestone in Sonoma County north to the Eel River in Humboldt County. Within this area it can be found in the humid coastal strip of coniferous forests. I dug out one of my knothole feeders and set it up in the backyard to photograph them. Mystery of the cheeky little guys solved. Have a wonderful day, chris All images were created with my Canon 7D mkII and a Canon 100-400 IS v. 1 lens #TeamCanon

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

One From the Perch

I have been photographing birds and squirrels with the new perch I put up. Naturally the first birds to use it were the ever curious Chestnut Backed Chickadees. They are always checking out everything. I made a lot of images but after editing them all the one below is my favorite. It was made with my usual set up. A Canon 7D mkII and a Canon 100-400 IS v.1 at 400mm. I was photographing from our back bedroom window behind a window hide/blind. The camera was supported on a ground pod with a Bogen 3055 heavy duty ballhead. For my camera settings I was in AV mode so I could control the depth of field. I was using a fairly high ISO of 800 because it was cloudy out. I chose an F stop of F 8.0 to help keep the bird in focus and yet it was wide open enough to blur out the background. the shutter speed was 1/125th of a sec. I hope you week is going well. God bless, chris P. S. If you haven't already done so please check out my book, Secrets of Backyard bird Photography, at your local book store or on Amazon.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Looking Back

On Saturday afternoon I went out into the rain and put up a new perch for the squirrels and birds to use. Yesterday morning I put it to use photographing a few Steller's Jays that came to our backyard in search of a snack. They were a little bit nervous and wouldn't stay on the perch for very long. I think there may have been a hawk in the trees nearby making them jumpy. After editing the images last night the image below ended up being my favorite. I love that pose with the Jay looking back. It accentuates their plumage and makes their eye stand out. This image was created with a Canon 7D mkII and a ground pod on our back bedroom window sill. I was using my Canon 100-400 IS v.1 lens at 253mm. The camera settings used were AV mode, ISO 800, F 8.0 at 1/200th of a sec. I like to use F8.0 because more of the bird tends to be in focus and it is still wide open enough to blur the background out. God's love and blessings upon your week, chris

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Old School Word Processor

Today was the perfect day to sit beside the fire and read a book or watch a movie. It was just pouring rain. Thank you Lord! At one point in the afternoon I went out into the backyard and worked on a set up for photographing squirrels and I got completely soaked. This evening I was looking for something to do and I ran across my old typewriter from my college days. It's hard to believe that I used to have to type up papers on that thing. When I met Lenore I was amazed that she had an electric typewriter! It was so cool and really fast. We have come so so very far since then! Below is a photograph of my old typewriter placed on a black sweep and lit with two banks of LED lights. I photographed it with my Canon 7D mkII and a Tamron 18-200 mm lens at 63 mm. The camera was supported by my Manfrotto tripod with a Bogen ballhead. The camera settings were AV mode, ISO 100, F 14.0 at .4 seconds. God's love and blessings to everyone, chris

Friday, November 25, 2016

Thanksgiving for the Squirrels

Thanksgiving morning I went out and set up a feeder just for the squirrels. The squirrels were happy and the birds were happy because now they both had some thing to eat. Later in the morning I set up my camera and photographed a few western Gray Squirrels from our back window using my window hide/blind. May you have a great weekend and God bless, chris These images were created with a Canon 7D mkII and a Canon 100-400 IS v.1 lens. The camera was supported on our back bedroom window sill with a ground pod and a Bogen 3055 heavy duty ballhead.

Thursday, November 24, 2016


Thanksgiving is a time to look back and reflect on all that God has given us and be thankful for it. This morning as I drove into town I was really thinking about how I am truly blessed to live in a small town. Thank you Lord for the little town of Willits where I live. God's precious love and blessings on all who live here.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Trying to Look Cute

The "Blasted Cat" is given supervised visits into the house to be petted and sit on the couch or at nighttime in our bedroom with the door shut. Her only other option is her little cat bed in our sunroom. At all other times she is allowed out during the daytime and we bring her in at night so that she doesn't meet the fate of two of our previous pets as Cougar food. Today during her daily visit she decided the couch wasn't comfortable enough and she bolted up to our bedroom. By the time I caught up with her she had made herself quite comfortable on our bed and she was trying to look as cute as possible so she could stay there. I grabbed my camera to document this behavior before I brought her back downstairs where she belonged. May you have a blessed Thanksgiving, chris Image created with a Canon 7D mkII and a Tamron 18-200mm lens. Handheld. The camera settings used were AV mode, ISO 800, f 5.0 at 1/320th of a sec.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Old School Camera Flash

Ages ago Lenore's Great Uncle Tony was the family photographer. He captured family images that are still treasured by family members far and wide of portraits,family gatherings, parties and get togethers. For some reason unknown to us we got one his Kodak flasholders long after he had passed away. The flash holder was attached to the bottom of a cameras bottom and stood along side the camera in use. When the camera's shutter was pressed they used two "C" batteries to send an electrical charge to a single use bulb that was filled with oxygen and zirconium strips which would then expldode in a bright flash of light which was contained by the glass bulb and the light from the explosion bounced outward from the silver reflector surrounding it. They put out quite a bit of light! Tony's shown below was from the 1960s. They can be found on Ebay for less than 20 dollars as there are a lot of them still out there. I can remember as a very young boy being fascinated by the popping sound they made and how the bulbs were pretty warm to the touch after they had gone off. God's precious love and blessings to all, chris This image was created with a Canon 7D mkII and Tamron 18-200mm lens. Lighting was provided by two LED light banks. The camera was supported by a Manfrotto 190 XPROB tripod with a Bogen Ballhead. The camera settings used were AV mode, ISO 100, F 8.0 at 1/13th of a sec.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Heading into Thanksgiving

There have been a lot of Wild Turkeys showing up on my trail cam this last week. I realize the image quality isn't that great but it is just so much fun to see what shows up on the computer screen when I down load the images. Below is a wild turkey from this morning that was part of a flock of about a dozen or so. If I was him I would hide out for the next month or so! God's love and blessings to all, chris

Saturday, November 19, 2016

One From the Archives

I'm feeling under the weather today. I ended up up sleeping away most of the afternoon and the evening. I guess I need to be on a beach in Costa Rica. I hope you are having a lovely weekend God bless, chris

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Out and About

This morning I was up with the sunrise as I had an eight o'clock appointment in the big city of Ukiah. There was a pretty nice sunrise. After my appointment I stopped and photographed some of the vineyards along the way. Most of the leaves have fallen off and the blackbirds are picking off the grapes that were left behind and not harvested. I made it a point to drive by Centennial Reservoir to photograph the snag on the edge of the dam. I was hoping that there would be a Bald Eagle there today but I was out of luck. I then photographed some water droplets on the fence and headed home. God's light and precious love to all, chris All images were created with a Canon 7D mkII and a Tamron 18-200mm lens handheld. Exposures varied.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Playing With the Chickadees

This morning I played in the backyard with the Chestnut Backed Chickadees. I made a quick set up with some flowers and the fall colors for a background. As I was working on the set up several chickadees landed right next to me on the feeder. They looked expectantly my way as if to say, "Hurry up we're hungry." After editing here are a couple of my favorite images from the morning. God's love and blessings upon your day, chris if you are interested in how these images were created please check out my book, Secrets of Backyard Bird Photography, on Amazon and other online book sellers. It is available as an ebook or in hardbound and is published by Rocky Nook. #TeamCanon

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Last Flower in the Vase

Late last night I awoke to the patter of rain on the roof top. This morning it was still going strong. It's such a lovely sound! A good day for indoor projects. When I came downstairs the vase on the book shelf had one last flower that was still standing upright. Perfect subject for an indoor day! I grabbed my camera, macro lens, tripod and an LED work light. I photographed the flower head with the light off to the left side of the blossom. Simple flower for a rainy day. God's precious love to all, chris Photographed with a Canon 7D mkII and a 100mm macro lens. Supported with a Manfrotto 055XPROB tripod and a Bogen 3055 heavy duty ballhead. The camera settings used were AV mode, ISO 800, F 10.0 at 1/40th of a sec.

Monday, November 14, 2016

When, The, Red, Robin, Comes, Bob, Bobbin', Along

It's really nice to have a little garden pond in the backyard. Our little pond draws in a lot of wildlife from insects to birds and everything in between. This morning I was looking out the window and I watched a Robing drop in for a drink. Coming in right behind it there was a Hermit Thrush. Luckily my camera was already set up on the ledge in our back bedroom. Very, very slowly I swung my lens from off of the perch where I had it focused down to the pond. I took a number of images until the noise from the camera's shutter scared both of them off. It was nice to get an image of a Robin down on the ground because where I live they are almost always high up in the trees eating Madrone berries. May you have a blessed week, chris Both images were created with a Canon 7D mkII and a Canon 100-400IS v1 lens. #TeamCanon

Friday, November 11, 2016

Squirrel and a Logo

OK I'll admit it. I wasn't feeling very creative on Wednesday morning. I had photographed a Douglas Tree Squirrel on a stump in our backyard and I was surfing around looking for something interesting and creative. I found a website that would design and create a custom signature logo for photographers at forty- nine bucks a pop! Really forty- nine dollars for a signature? I looked at some of their samples and thought. Hmmmnn... I could do that with my medium computer skills. I searched online for some tutorials on how to create your own signature logo. After about half an hours work I had my own custom signature brush. So I guess with that much labor forty- nine bucks really isn't that bad! Enjoy your day and have a blessed weekend, chris This image was created with a Canon 7DmkII and a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM Lens propped on our back bedroom window sill.The camra settings used were AV mode, ISO 1600, f 5.6 at 1/100th of a sec.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Must Be Coming for Thanksgiving

The quality of the images from the game cam that I own isn't the greatest but it is so much fun to see what passes by on our driveway when we aren't around. There is a Gray Fox that goes by quite often, usually around 5:30 a.m. many mornings. During the day there are Western Gray Squirrels and Jays and deer. At night we often get a lot more deer, sometimes the neighbors cat, skunks and the stray raccoon or two. On Monday night earlier this week we got a really nice Black Bear! The best one had to be a flock of about seven Wild Turkeys. I think they were coming a little early for Thanksgiving to check out the menu! God bless, chris

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Time Marches Slowly Onward

If you are lucky enough to live where the seasons change you get to observe nature at its best as you watch one season gradually roll into the next. Fall is one of my favorite seasons for getting to see the leaves change in beautiful hues of yellow, oranges and reds as they slowly shift into brown. Early in the morning while taking the dog for its morning constitutional I spotted this one particular Tan Oak leaf that had holes in it. They were probably from an insect chewing into it and I found it interesting. I grabbed my camera, macro lens and a tripod and made a variety of images of it. After editing them this one was my favorite. It truly captures the passage of time. For this leaf is slowly turning back into the earth from which it had sprung. God's light and love to all, chris This image was created with a Canon 7DmkII and a 100mm macro lens on a Manfrotto 190XPROB tripod with a Bogen 3055 Heavy duty ballhead. The camera settings used were, AV mode, ISO 800, F 16.0 at 1.6 seconds.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Critter at the Door

Sunday afternoon when I went to go out the front door I was surprised by a little critter climbing up the side of the door. It was a Mormon Cricket that stood out like a sore thumb on the glossy surface of the door. Had it been on tree trunk with its fantastic camouflage I probably would have missed it. Mormon Crickets aren't actually a member of the cricket family but are a Katydid. Their name most likely stems the "The Miracle of the Gulls", an 1848 event often credited by Mormons for saving the Mormon "Latter Day Saints" pioneers' crops in the Salt Lake Valley. According to Mormonism, seagulls miraculously saved their crops by eating thousands of crickets that were devouring the fields. This must also be why some people jokingly refer to gulls as the Mormon Air Force. Mormon Crickets still can be a threat to crops even today as well as being a slick road hazard when large infestations of them cover the roadways in the millions. In the western United states these population explosions occur about every three years or so. Mostly in Western Colorado and Utah. This is a female as evidenced by the large stinger looking body part is actually an ovipositor for laying eggs in the soil. God's precious light and love to you, chrisThis image was created by placing the cricket on a white sweep. It was then lit using two LED light banks one on the insect and one on the background. I used a Canon 7D mkII camera with a 100mm macro lens. The camera settings used were AV mode, ISO 800, F 8.0 at 1/500th of a sec.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Fire in the Sky

This morning the sunrise was pretty spectacular over the Little Lake Valley and the Mendocino Range. There was a big bank of clouds over the mountains with a slim gap for the sun to slide into. It was like the sky was on fire. What a gorgeous way to start the day. God's precious love and blessings upon your week, chris Both images were created with a Canon 7D mkII and a Canon 100-400IS v.1 lens propped on our window sill.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Spoils of War

I was up at sunrise and it is going to be a beautiful day. The Little Lake Valley down below was filled with fog which will burn off quickly. I was trying to get a few more hummingbird images. There was one male Anna's Hummingbird that was guarding the feeder with a vengeance. He was perched on my light stand and would dive off and attack any other hummingbirds that came anywhere near by. After one brutal skirmish that he knocked another hummingbird almost to the ground he came back with a feather he had plucked from his hapless victim. His trophy from the battle. It looks like it's not that easy to be a hummingbird! May you have a wonderful day and God bless, chris Both images were created with a Canon 7D mkII and a Canon 100-400IS v.1 lens on a Manfrotto Tripod with a bogen ballhead. #TeamCanon

Friday, November 4, 2016

Fly Away

The hummingbirds in my backyard have finally flown away. They are heading south and over to the coast where it's warmer. Also better habitats with more flowers. I have gone from a high of about fifty hummingbirds down to four. Here are a couple of Anna's images from yesterday and this morning. God bless your weekend, chris Both images were created with a Canon 7DmkII and a Canon 100-400IS v.1 lens. Camera settings used were AV mode, ISO 800 at F 8.0 shutter speeds varied. The camera was supported on a Manfrotto tripod with a Bogen ballhead.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Creeks are Flowing

This morning I took a short walk next to Willits Creek along Thimbleberry Trail. I was hoping that all of the fall color hadn't been knocked down by the rain. Luckily it hadn't and I was able to create a few nice images along the way. When I got to the first creek crossing I found a dead deer from a Mountain Lion kill. That made me a bit nervous and I made my way out of there back to the car. They've got to eat too. Just so long as I'm not on the menu! God's love and blessings to all, chris All images were created with a Canon 7D mkII and a Canon EF-s-17-85mm lens. Exposures varied.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Gift From the Rains

This morning i went out to see what my trail cam had captured over the past few days. There were only a couple of deer recorded on it. No skunks, foxes or raccoons probably because it has been raining so hard. After I put a new SD card in the camera I noticed a little patch of fungi right at the base of the tree. A gift from the rains! I went back inside and grabbed my macro lens and a ground pod to photograph from. I was only happy with one image that has some little creatures on it that look like they must eat fungi. With all of this moisture we will soon be having fungi pop up all over in the forest which means the mushroom hunters will be out in force. Fungi collecting is a pretty good sized industry where I live with most of it being sold to local buyers and then shipped to a market in San Francisco where it is sold off with a big portion of it being air freighted to Japan. May you have a blessed week, chris This image was created with a Canon 7D mkII and a 100mm macro lens on a ground pod. The camera settings used were AV mode, ISO 800 F 8.0 at 1/10th of a sec.