Great Blue Heron

 

Saw This solitary heron last week on North Parr Lake. Not there the next day. Week before someone saw three heron. They are moving north.

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A Little Birdy

You calling me LITTLE ???
You calling me LITTLE ???

OK… not you. It’s kinglet time in “Our Woods” and this year we’ve been out looking for kinglets – the first little guys to pass through on their way to their summer place in Muskoka. They are usually plentiful for a few weeks and then, too quickly, nada. The earliest we’ve seen them is March 31 and the latest April 28. Yesterday and this morning my mission was to identify and photograph the ruby-crowned kinglet particularly, just because they, and their golden-crowned cousins, are tricky to capture on film. Fast little folk, flitting all over, eating bugs, never resting long enough to look at the camera and smile. Nevertheless I tend to picture their energetic mealtime as joyful rather than desperate. The photographer surely qualifies as desperate – tracking the tiny beasts with the naked eye and aiming the camera’s 300 mm zoom only to find them – if she/he’s lucky – somewhere close enough to where they just were. Forget auto-focus! The cedar branches all around will confuse the heck out of that mechanism. No. You’ve gotta focus manually and hope they’re not gone. Kinglets give you a lot of blurry action shots – and fits. Patience. The kinglet quest would, at one time, have been called a “film gobbler.” This morning I lucked out. Anita, so sad…, stayed in bed and missed quite a show: a Northern Oriole perched momentarily high above whistling “C’mon!” to some sexy follower – then one more treetop and gone northward. A female yellow-rumped (Myrtle) warbler feeding almost as fast as the kinglets showed my camera just enough identifiable plumage and the slightest blurry hint of shoulder yellow.  Yep! Myrtle! Check! And lots of ruby-crowneds in the cedars and, bravely following bugs, even on bare branches of deciduous trees only just beginning to bud. The photos that follow are the best I could do. I was so busy and happily hyper that I gobbled my very tasty breakfast of left-over Peking Mallard Duck when I got home. Just kidding. Had Peking duck in Peking (Beijing, whatever…) in 2008 and, trust me, there never are any left-overs. They don’t taste that great, but they are sooo skinny!

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Anywaaayy, first, the softly-blurred ruby-crowneds:

“What rubies?”, you say. Well, the female isn’t ruby-crowned and the male doesn’t show off all the time, but you can tell they’re ruby-crowned because of the white eye-ring. The golden-crowned have a stong b&w streaking through the eye and no eye ring. Continue reading “A Little Birdy”

A Gentle Beginning

Don't Go Yet...
Don’t Go Yet…

Moments like this tempt me to believe that leaves exist just to catch snowflakes.

It’s easy to be grateful for our seasons when we get to enjoy the magic that a gentle snowfall brings to the back yard garden.

‘Nuff said about that. I’ll quit while I’m ahead.

 

A Little More Macro

The two above photos were taken on a walk through “Our Woods.” Since I was part of a twosome and the only keen shutterbug in our faithful pair, I did not set up a tripod. Both of these shots were thus necessarily hand held and taken, purposefully, at f 2.8, the maximum aperture of my Tamron 90 mm macro lens. The camera was my Konica-Minolta Maxxum 5D DSLR, a dependable relic from around 2006. Focus was also manual since I wanted quick and interpretative control over subjects that were moving in the breeze. The speed was 1/400 sec – as fast as possible at 100 ISO.

I also took one of a small bee in a yellow flower, but that will be in a future post. Bees are endangered by various threats such as, many suspect, pesticides. The corporations that make pesticides are, sadly, not endangered. They thrive with the help of deep pockets, too many rights and unscrupulous legal hound-dogs. Apparently they can sue all of Europe simultaneously.

So this little bug got me thinking about the world – which is usually followed by compulsive writing…

Slow Shutter Speed

Small Waterfall in Our Woods
Small Waterfall in Our Woods

My first successful experiment with long exposure times. I like the silken look of the water in this and the lack of obvious scale. It’s pretty hard to tell how big or small the waterfall is. Gotta say I didn’t stay out too long as it was threatening rain (I felt a few drops). This was taken with my old Konica-Minolta Maxxum 5D SLR using a Tamron f 2.8 90 mm macro lens and shutter speed priority. Exposure: 1 s, f-stop 29, ISO 100. I used a tripod and a cable shutter release and manual focusing. Tried different exposure times; this one worked best. Continue reading “Slow Shutter Speed”

OK, I’m A Geek

SONY NEX-5N, 210 mm, 1/400s, f 6.3, ISO 800, MF assist

Bought a new SONY NEX-5N camera a month or two ago. Spent a couple of weeks testing it and decided to keep it. Having some regard for the planet (and my bank balance) I do not upgrade electronics just because something better has just come out, and I spent some time agonizing over the things the NEX-5N  wouldn’t do that my old Konica-Minolta Maxxum 5D digital SLR would.

The answer, after a time-consuming comparison: not much. Continue reading “OK, I’m A Geek”