Short Lens Project

Almost never do I remove the 55-300mm zoom lens from my camera. Primarily, its dedicated purpose is for photographing birds, so the long lens is always welcome. Sometimes 300mm is still too short! Using the long lens crops out a lot before the image is even framed, and so from time to time I’ll put the short lens on the camera. It’s an 18-55mm zoom, and gives me a very different perspective in the viewfinder. I will often see things I want to capture, and I am tempted to put the long lens back on, but I’m forcing myself to use the broader format sometimes, to add some variety to all the close-cropped images. Also to keep my mind’s eye open to the creative prospects of a new view on old things.

 

Joshi Daniel has a blog called “The 28mm Project”. It is almost always head shots of more-or-less candid portraits. We can see that Joshi must get in close to his subject to fill the frame. I think that’s the idea. To get really close and make an intimate portrait. I did that with some of the floral shots. I still have the short lens on the camera, and look forward to continued practice. I may even break out the focus doublers and do some macros.

That is, unless I see a bird that really needs its photo taken.

Keep pointing and shooting!

 

Paz

Winter Gallery

Some photos of the beautiful, snowy, blowy winter before it fades into spring. 

 

An early spring equinox this year, as the sun crosses the equator on the trek northward.

Maybe that means winter will return sooner, too! One can only hope!

These skis are terrible on grass.

 

As of tomorrow, Happy Spring!

 

Paz

Snow Dogs

We were fortunate to have a local dogsledder, Kate Walrath of Run By Dogs, give us a demonstration at the village Library. She told us about different types of sled dogs, including the Siberian Husky and the Alaskan Husky. The latter is a smaller, rather plain looking dog. I was surprised to discover these canine competitors were about the size of my own Sassy June (a Chow-Husky mix called a Chusky). I thought sled dogs would all be big, strong 60-pounders. The small black dog with some white on her face (I wish I could remember her name) is actually a retired racer from Alaska. Racing dogs get a share of race winnings, and they are put into a “doggie 401k”. Kate’s place, called Run By Dogs, is a retreat for retired sled dogs as well as a training facility and a place to learn and enjoy dogsledding. The monies in the 401k’s pay for the dogs’ boarding and veterinary expenses.

Click any image to start a full-size carousel.

 

It was very cold that Saturday, as you can see by the apparel. It was in the mid-twenties, but no wind. It didn’t bother the dogs a bit, though. For the retired Queen from Alaska, this is probably equivalent to retiring to Florida! 

It’s good to get a different perspective sometimes.

 

Until next time,

 

Paz

A Winter’s Day

 

Rodeo

The 127th Annual Fonda Fair, the Montgomery County Fair, held a special interest for us, as my grandson, Max, took up bull riding this year. The Rodeo included barrel racing, calf roping (single and team) and bull riding. To begin, a stunning team of Clydesdale horses parade into the arena flying Old Glory, and carrying the Fair Queens. After the National Anthem, events got underway.

Max is in a red plaid shirt, and the highlight shots of his ride are included herein, along with shots of all the other exciting contests. While the bull riding is some of the most intense rodeo you’ll see, the barrel racing ranks right up there. One can see the thrill of racing not only on the rider’s face, but that of their mount as well! These horses love to run and compete.

Click any image to start a full-size carousel.

Until next time,

 

Paz

Bevy Of Birds

I photograph a lot of outdoors stuff, and birds are probably my most frequent subject. That’s what happens when you combine an avid photographer with an avid bird-watcher! I’ve been assembling a compilation of shots for various purposes, and thought I’d post a sampling, and some of my personal faves. Click any photo to start full-size carousel.

 

Too many to fit in one gallery. So here’s a couple dozen more!

 

 

Of course there are a great many more. Next time I sort through, we’ll do another gallery!

 

Seek peace,

 

Paz

Farewell Winter Gallery

I am very fond of winter. I like the challenges it brings, and there are few things prettier than a world covered in a fresh coat of gleaming white new snow. When the time finally comes for the snow to leave, I always feel a bit melancholy about it. Well, I know it will be back soon, and that makes the long summer more bearable. This spring I spied a fisher running across a cornfield, and I was quick on the draw with the old Nikon. I snapped a few pictures of the little critter, a youngster, before he dashed off to the banks of the Schoharie Creek. Three of my favorite things came together for some other shots, namely a field of corn stubble with snow and Canada Geese. Somehow, they always look best when surrounded by snow. Ironically, the only shot of Snow Geese has no snow in it! Hope you enjoy this last sampling of the season, now that we’re impatiently awaiting tulips. 

Click any image for a full-size carousel.

 

Here’s hoping summer is kind to us. I remind myself I only need to get through five months before the world will start to cool again, and once again we will be greeted by the wonderful world of winter.

 

Until next time,

 

Paz

Sojourn To Sunshine

As the Winds of Engleville rattled our windows and the thermometer refused to climb above zero, we planned a trip to sunny Ocala Florida to visit family. We decided to avoid the stress and hassle of airports and security and jets, and we booked passage on the Silver Meteor train bound for Miami! We would travel almost twenty-four hours by rail, and ride in a roomette, with window seats for both, bunks for sleeping, and even our own toilet and sink! Who knew travel could be this relaxing, luxurious and easy? We saw a lot of America from the track side. Early March is not the most flattering for any place up north, as the snows have melted and now reveal the messes hidden by winter. We ate on the train and slept on the train, and arrived in Ocala rested and ready. Click any image for a full-size carousel.

Our hosts, my wife’s sister and her husband, had planned several low-stress outings for the out-of-towners. We toured the Leu Botanical Gardens, where a vendor show was on at the time. We toured historic old town Ocala to view some classic old Florida homes. 

We trekked to Cross Creek, home of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, author of The Yearling, and Cross Creek. The home is a State Park and Historical Landmark.

Who could go to Ocala without a visit to Gator World, and a chance to hold and feed live alligators?

The highlight of our day trips was Silver Springs State Park, which operated privately up to a few years ago, when the modern tourist trappings of Disneyworlds and Six Flagses lured away those folks that would spend a day at a park where the fastest moving thing is probably a bird, a fish, or maybe you. I was delighted to see the state take this over and keep it open. It is truly an all-American institution, with a fleet of silent, electric-powered glass-bottom boats that ply the crystal clear waters of the spring, which is a hidden Niagara Falls, spewing out enough water to “fill four Olympic-size swimming pools every minute.”  Many, many movies were filmed here, partly owing to the glass-clear water perfect for underwater filming. The Jurrasic look of the isolated river lent itself to Creature From The Black Lagoon, and a number of television shows shot footage here as well. On the path one can still view “Tarzan’s Tree”. The very place where Johnny Weismiller lived with scantily-clad Jane and his boy, “Boy”. (If Boy was Boy, why was the chimp “Cheetah”? Talk about identity crisis.) We were fortunate enough to see on our boat ride Rhesus monkeys that are now wild in the park, having been introduced by a well-meaning showman who thought they would be contained to the island where they were released. Little did he know, monkeys are excellent and fearless swimmers.

Okay, so it’s basically the “vacation slide show” instead of the usual wildlife photos. To folks who live in Florida, it’s probably not too exciting. But for a country mouse from the snowbound north, it was one eye-catching thing after another. We stayed five days and spent two on the train, one down and one back. It may not surprise you to know I shot darned close to 2,000 frames in the week. I’m sure you’ll see more herein. After I spend a few weeks sorting them!

 

Keep shooting! Happy Snapping!

 

Paz

December Gallery

A little sampling for December.

I found it quite interesting when reviewing the Trailcam photos, that the Trailcam decided, on its own apparently, to take a lovely snapshot of the quiet wood at sunrise on New Year’s Day 2018.

It also caught a great shot of a Barred Owl, the moment it landed on its prey.

I was pleased to get my own shot of the owl. 

I’ve also included a shot of Rock Doves, which we all know as Pigeons, taking off from the farm fields of our rural area. This is for Ellen Jennings at Passing By Photo, who told me she’s never seen pigeons outside of an urban environment. Truth is, Ellen, that even in the country, these birds hang around people, their farms and livestock. It seems their favorite place is perched on the silo.

 

Grandson Max moves up to Varsity Basketball this year, and provided us with exciting game pix. Younger sister Lizzy is right behind him, Captaining the JV Girls team. Their game was a real nail-biter. Tied, overtime, and a loss in just the last eight seconds!

We did the National Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count last weekend, and my prize was a shot of a Pileated Woodpecker. I see them from time to time, but this is my first photo of one. It’s quite obscured by a branch or two, and flew off before I could shoot a second frame.

May peace find you and keep you throughout the New Year!

 

Paz