Thursday, October 31, 2019

Feathers and Fins

Last weekend found us venturing over to the Sacramento Valley. Our first stop one of my favorites was the auto tour at Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge. The ponds on the south end of the refuge were mostly empty. They were refilling the ponds on the eastern end which led to some great flight images of the Snow Geese as well as some fun images of Great Egrets feasting on crickets and other insects trying to escape the rising waters. Among the Egrets were a flock of Whimbrels.we spotted a lot of other waterfowl as well. That evening we watched the CSU, Chico Choral Ensemble perform "Hear the Joyful Noise". It was an uplifting evening for my soul. The following day we drove up to Battle Creek near Anderson, Ca. The largest salmonid hatchery in the United states is located here. Chinook Salmon some weighing fifty pounds or more come upstream here to in an attempt to spawn. They are guided by a fish weir up a fish ladder into the hatchery. Here they are stripped of their eggs and sperm. Their bodies are used to make fish meal and fertilizer. The eggs are nurtured until they are big enough at which point they are placed in raceways of water to grow until they are big enough to be released back into Battle Creek or other places along the Sacramento River system. Our guide through the hatchery was Jane Dysert. Her photography is well worth the effort to look at and can be found on Facebook and Instagram. God's blessings upon your weekend, chris All images were created with a Canon EOS 7D MkII camera. The two lenses used were a Canon 100-400IS V.1 lens and a Tamron 150- 600mm G2 lens. #teamcanonusa, #withmytamron

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Great Afternoon at the Feeder

This morning I went out into the front yard and set up a knothole feeder for the birds and squirrels to use. I came back into the house and opened the upper door for Badger the Wonder Dog to use to get out onto the deck. He is great at barking at the Western Gray Squirrels when they try to come to the bird feeders. For some reason he doesn't get as riled up when he sees the diminutive Douglas Tree Squirrels. Just after lunch I went out and crawled into the photoblind. I was in for a little bit of a wait. After almost a half hour of sitting I could hear the incoming calls of a Red-breasted Nuthatch. After that it was one bird after another with some short breaks in between. A couple of Western Gray Squirrels tried to come and feed but I told them to go away and they did. The knothole feeder I was using is far too small for the big grays and they will chew them apart to get at the seed in them. I photographed the birds for close to an hour before a little Douglas Tree Squirrel showed up. It looked like it was one of the regulars that stop by fairly frequently. Because I wanted some squirrel images I didn't scare it away. I'm glad I didn't because I got some great images of it. When the lighting started getting overly bright I called it quits. It took me along time to upload and process the images because there were far too many that I liked. Eventually I narrowed it down for this blog to six images. Please enjoy them and have God's blessings upon your day, chrisAll of the above images were created with a Canon EOS 7D MKII camera and a Canon 100-400 IS USM V.1 lens. Fill flash was provided by a Canon 550EX Speedlight. #teamcanonusa

Monday, October 21, 2019

More Bird Photography

This afternoon when I got home from running errands from downtown I created a quick set up. I used a fall colored background and a beautiful bright red sunflower. I placed the sunflower next to the bird feeder for the birds to land on. The birds coming into the bird feeder went from zero to sixty as soon as I climbed into the photoblind. There were Steller's Jays mixed with Red Breasted Nuthatches and Chestnut Backed Chickadees. There were a few Dark Eyed Juncos hanging around but they were't coming to the feeder. It was pretty dark in the shade which made for some difficult lighting. I ended up using an ISO of 3200 which is pretty high to bring up the shutter speeds to something fast enough to stop the action. Even so I was still down to some pretty slow shutter speeds. To help with that I set up a fill flash with a Canon 550 EX speedlight at minus 1 1/3rd stops. After uploading the images I found a dozen of them that I really liked. There were two that ended up being my favorites. One of a Red Breasted Nuthatch and one of a Chestnut Backed Chickadee. Not bad for a short afternoon in challenging light.God's love and blessings to all, chris Both of the images were created with a Canon 7D MKII camera and a Canon 100-400 IS V. 1 lens. Fill flash was provided by a Canon 550EX Speedlight. #teamcanon, #teamcanonusa

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Back to the "Chickadee Challenge"!

This afternoon just after lunch I sat in the photoblind for about an hour and a half. Earlier in the day I created a set up with a perch and a small feeder behind which I put up a fall covered background. Luckily for me the day was overcast with soft filtered light. There weren't a lot of birds coming in at that time of day but there were enough to keep me on my toes. I would get drowsy and then a bird would show up and bring me back to being alert. You probably know what it's like to sit down in a cozy chair after lunch right. Around one thirty or so the wind started kicking up from the incoming storm and I called it quits. After uploading the images to my computer I spotted four images that I really liked. After processing them this little Chestnut Backed Chickadee was my favorite. It was the perfect example of what you can accomplish without using a giant telephoto lens to photograph small birds which is what the Chickadee Challenge is all about. The challenge has its origins from when some years ago an art buyer stated that the reason why I took so many great pictures of birds was because of the big lens I had. While I will admit having a large telephoto helps it's akin to telling a painter the reason they have such beautiful paintings is because the brushes they use. To make a point and to challenge myself I grabbed an old 50mm lens and an older still Canon Rebel DSLR and photographed a chickadee in my backyard. So the "Chickadee Challenge" was born. Create an image of a small sparrow sized bird and post an uncropped image of it. Today I repeated the challenge in my front yard with a Canon 7D MkII and a Canon 50mm F 1.8 lens. The camera settings use were AV mode, ISO 800,F 8.0 at 1/160th of a sec. A Canon 550EX set to - 1 1/3rd stops was used for fill flash. #teamcanonusa, #teamcanonGod's love and blessings to all, chris

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Knothole Feeders

I built two new knothole bird feeders this last week and I have been trying them out in the yard. I just have to remember to take them in each time I use them or the Gray Squirrels will tear them apart to get to the seed. On Friday the birds were using them non stop. They love that black sunflower seed. Here are a few sample images from the feeders. All images were created with a Canon EOS 7D MkII camera and a Canon 100-400IS V.1 lens.The camera settings varied. #teamcanonusa, #teamcanon God's love and blessings to all, chris