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. 

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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

Da Bear, and other Trailcam pix

Here he is, without further ado. The Holy Grail for my trail camera, the black bear.

Black Bear

And some other highlights.

Also shot two thousand frames of waving grass until I mowed in front of the trail camera. If you use one of these, be sure to keep the grass cut as the motion triggers the camera. Or put the cam away until “Seeing Season” returns!

The Trail Cam has been a lot of fun. We’ve caught a bear, many deer, coyotes and turkeys. Some neighbor cats, possums, skunks, dogs, an owl, raccoons and a Chupacabra! The camera ran til August, about ten months, on a set of batteries. No doubt would have lasted a year if it wasn’t taking countless snapshots of empty grass. A new set of batteries and winter’s approach, and we’ll be ready for another great season!

 

Paz

July Gallery

So, I shot so few frames in July I couldn’t come up with 31 pix for the gallery. High point of my July was the annual camping trip to Forked Lake in the Adirondack Mountains with son-in-law Matt and grandson Maximus. Also joining us this year, my son Terence’s son, my grandson Kacey. Fishing was phenomenal, weather was perfect, and I enjoyed it so much I almost forgot about photography! Without further ado…

 

Paz

 

June Gallery

What? August? Okay, so here’s the June Gallery. Three shoots really occupied me in June. First, granddaughter Ellie graduates from Pre-Kindergarten. Many pictures for Grampa to cry over. They grow so fast! Kids at that age are always photoworthy and touch the heart. Then, a trip to Forked Lake with son Ryan and pal Carl. Clouds rolled over Blue Mountain, and I sat and shot dozens of frames. Worthy of its own post, watch for “The Many Moods of Blue Mountain” as a Photoshoot post. The other biggy: Daughter Kerry surprises us with an impromptu wedding, as she makes an honest man out of her long-time beau (and domestic partner) Kenyon. A unique wedding by a unique couple, the whole thing took place right there on the farm, the reception in the barn. Without a doubt one of the best weddings I’ve ever attended (being Father of The Bride had no influence, I’m sure). I’ll do a Photoshoot post for that, too. It was a great time with some great pix, and some trix and pointers.

-Paz

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April Gallery

Thirty Frames Hath April.

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Much of April’s gallery is made up of photos of birds around the feeder on the side porch. Usually I look out this window from my comfy chair, and see all varieties of feeder birds. They thrill me with their beauty and entertain me with their antics. I was going to do a post called “Outside My Window”, or something, just filled with these shots. They’re less than perfect as they’re all shot through window glass. Still, you can’t diminish their beauty with just a piece of glass. Trout fishing in the snow was a new experience for me. Grandson Max is in the photo. As always, these are raw, unaltered “proofs” right from the camera.   -Paz

 

Photo Shoot: The Ice Storm

Crystal Blooms

We had freezing rain fall for two days, painting everything with a bright mirror-like coating. Everywhere I looked, the world was transformed into something magical. I told my wife “You couldn’t shoot a bad picture today.”, as I reviewed some images. In true Photo Shoot fashion, here are “the proofs” (a nostalgic term from print photography days) without editing. Included are the good and bad, for your perusal and edification.

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Everywhere I looked there was a blinding glaze of ice, catching sunlight, emitting all the colors of the rainbow. Two troubles I encountered on this shoot: One, in person, everything looked beautiful and photo-worthy. Our eyes do a better job than any camera ever did at perceiving what is there, taking it all in. The camera was, at times, overwhelmed by multiple light sources, as the photographer tried to capture what the eye sees. Shallow depths-of-field are great for bokeh effects and making your subject stand out, but when there are a million little lights behind the subject, it sometimes started to look like confetti. The second problem was the blinding snow and light, which rendered the preview screen on the camera nearly useless. I relied a lot on experience, and some on the Histogram provided by the camera. (A histogram is a graphic display of the primary light of the subject. At the very least, it will tell you if your shot is dim or bright, or over-exposed.) Here are some shots that were breathtaking in person, but are reduced to brightness and confusion when viewed as one-dimensional images.

Ultimately the million sources of light added some dramatic appeal to many photos. Using a fairly large aperture (f6.3), the backgrounds of the subjects were unfocused. In the right cases, this produced some captivating photos. I found the best shots were a bit lower in light, allowing the sunspots of ice crystals to be more pronounced and reducing background distractions. Focusing on a specific subject (a branch or blade of grass) was more effective than trying to capture “the whole scene”. After day one, I thought a deeper depth-of-field might help alleviate some of the overwhelming visual confusion, but met with limited success.

Of course, the angle of light was an important element to keep track of on this shoot. From one angle, there’s an ice-covered stick, and from another there’s a hundred diamonds gleaming in the sun. One thing I’ve learned in photography, that angle of light is always important.  Regardless of the subject, and especially outdoors, looking at a subject from different angles will show you how the subject reflects the sun’s light to our eyes and camera. Next time you want to shoot a tree or other object in nature, walk around it if you can and see how the light plays. Sometimes it’s about light itself, and its counterpart, shadow, making your composition. Other times, we may not realize that the beautiful tree you drove by looks different from this side. Go back to the other side, and you’ll see what I mean. There’s an “ideal” angle of light for any subject that changes the way it looks, right down to hue and saturation of color.

Frosted Cherry

Golden Crowned Kinglet

As always, don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for other subjects, like this Golden Crowned Kinglet who visited the shoot!

 

Happy Shooting!

 

Paz

Trail Cam Highlights

Why did I wait so long to buy a Game Camera? I can’t imagine. If you’re not familiar with them, a Game Camera or Trail Camera is a digital camera with a motion sensor. It uses infrared illumination at night (so there’s no flash to startle the game). Some cameras shoot stills, some shoot video, some both. Well-equipped cameras can be set up to do either, or select the length of video recording after a trigger event.

Trail Cam

My Trail Camera is made by Wild Game Innovations, and I paid $40 US for it. (Claimed to be $69 US originally). I set it up on November eighteenth, and it has taken about 150 images since. Without further ado, here are the highlights. Click any image to start full-sized carousel.

 

All the neighbors cats, and a dog.

Deer and Deer Hunters

And a variety of critters.

Certainly the bobcat is the high mark so far, and the coyote ranks up there, too. There are black bears in the woods in and around Engleville, and that will be the “holy grail” goal.  Hope you enjoy these highlights.

 

Take care and keep in touch,

 

Paz