Word and Image

Birds

5 star

This next few days are about 5 star pics. They are in my catalog going back years. How did we get to 5 star? My picking method varies enough that there are plenty of worthy pics that aren’t labeled 5 but should be. Here are some that have 5 stars and to me are memorable. I start with a fish and a bird. It’s rare and for me, nearly never, that I was there at the exact moment to see the catch. Not so good for the fish, I suppose. But I was glad to have gotten the shot.


Osprey – two

Look closely. The second head is peeking just under the right wing on the left. Ha ha, your other right, it’s the left of the picture. I stopped short, backed up, and drew angry gestures from passing bikers who had to swerve around my car parked on the grass at the roadside. Hey! I got the shot.


Who’s it for?

Philosophical? Is there a need in me to leave a legacy? Pictures on the ‘net are forever. I wonder? Why do I blog? It was a long time ago and I was encouraged by Amy and supported by many… – Colleen. It’s better than writing a tell all horror memoir of the training and career of my life as a neurosurgeon. Musing. I get to photograph a lot of subjects that have/had passing interest. And by sharing, I hope that some who visit will appreciate the beauty I have seen.


Right place…

…right time. Margie came over for a visit. Her pedigree was uncertain so we ‘masked.’ It was blazing hot and 100% humidity. We sat on the deck and sweltered in place. It was horrible. Colleen hates being hot and sweaty. Funny! She didn’t crack a bead of sweat. So, there we were. I was hot melting in place and the ruby throated hummingbird made an appearance. A few shots, wrong camera, no time, I got what I could. Not bad, eh? Eh?!!!


Ruby throated

Hummingbird. In flight. Ho hum…. It’s a BIG freakin’ deal!! If you are the consumer, pics like these are a dime a dozen. Someone has come before and patients sat and waited and waited. Amazing! They got a shot and it’s commonplace enough that … yawn. It’s not an easy shot. No way! I got one. The circumstances were just perfect. It won’t happen again for me. That’s what makes this so special.


Right tool

The Sony RX 100 M6 has replaced my big Nikon 80-400 zoom lens. Why? ‘cause it’s on hand and available. I have to go find my big DSLR. Ok, enough with the tech stuff. I have to admit the zoom can pull in faraway objects clearly better than an iPhone can do. Simple. Need a telephoto shot? I can get it with the spiffy point and shoot camera nearby at hand. Meanwhile, the blue heron had landed nearby. Not too close nearby, so it was accommodating and waited while I got the camera and got my shots. I feel so fortunate to be able to get the shot and that I had a camera capable to do it. Sometimes that iPhone just doesn’t have the reach you need.


Chicken or egg

It’s not my first time…. passing this farm. The farmer leaves the door open. I never stopped before. I was unsure. It’s confirmed now. It leaves/left me uncomfortable. Do you really want to see how chickens are treated? It was a beautiful spring day – sunny with a gentle breeze. Caged! Prisoners! Captive! Humanely treated? It’s vaguely discomforting. I eat chicken and eggs. I don’t think about the process. Would I? Should I? … it made Colleen a vegetarian.


Empty nest

Sad! We had a sparrow nesting outside our window. The cats saw it. We kept the shade drawn after that. And one day… the nest was empty. Crows are in the neighborhood. I have seen them chased aggressively by red winged blackbirds. Evidently, they found mother sparrow and took her four eggs. Not even a shell was left. I don’t suppose mom will start over again. I am indeed sad. We were all anticipating the arrival of the new babies. Nope. We’re all sad around here.


Long term rental

The barn swallows have returned for the third year. I guess they will be back. Last year they made eight little swallows in two batches. I guess you would call it successful. There are lots of swallows buzzing around but no other nests in proximity. They are fastidious. They poop over the side of the nest onto my garage sill. It makes sense. I would keep my place clean if I were coming back. Again and again. Come to think of it, I posted this mother’s pic two days in a row.


Nesting

We now have a sparrow(?) nesting in the tree outside our window. Ray (the cat) found it. He was clawing at the glass. Thanks Ray. Another photo op. Ray is now in “timeout.” He doesn’t get that annoying the new mom is not allowed. Four eggs! How’d she do it? Those are large eggs for a little bird. Neat trick. Clap hands, we need some cheer (and hope) around here.


Heron

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I’m using my Canon EOS M6 Mark II with a manual zoom. That’s a mouthful. I would refer to it as the M6 but then you’d be confused. Ah! You probably don’t care. It’s about the picture not how I take it. There is a disadvantage over my all-in-one point and shoot camera. It doesn’t have electronic zoom. Don’t ask. But the bottom line: I can’t zoom in a little extra and get that heron really close. You learn to live with the technical limitations of your gear and adapt to whatever is at hand. I had that discussion with the boss over the $2000+ Nikon D780 body. Nope. … not getting it for reasons too numerous (2000+) to counts. No! Hey! I/we was out riding the bike, not bird watching.


Drying

We’ve had considerable rain this past spring. I almost missed this shot. I’m thankful that the Sony RX100 has electronic zoom capable of matching my Nikon 80-400 zoom. A vulture sat sunning and drying out. I’ve seen cormorants do this behavior. My good luck, I got the shot.


Forgiveness

Cardinal, as in bird, is a very skittish one. He does not like to pose. Male? You bet. This is its specific coloration. The female is another color. Duh! It’s a soft photo. (it’s a nice way to say, it’s out of focus). But you will forgive me, if the eyes have a catch light in them. It just makes the photo seem sharp. Not. But that’s my argument and I’m stickin’ with it. My bad, I was shooting through the window (glass) and the screen. Of course, I was challenged. I got a shot or we would not be speaking about this at all. And, not another word – ’bout me being challenged.


Spring

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The first buds, a pond, water, and geese – idyllic – a great scene – I noticed it out the window. My camera? I was not near the telephoto. I used the Sony RX 100 VI and electronic zoom. It’s soft. That would be my OCD and laziness rolled up in one. Instead, consider tie overall effect to be “painterly.” I could have done better. Then again, the message comes through. It’s spring and a new year has sprung from one of our warmest winters ever.


To market

I’ve done this before. Sad. Everything “tastes like chicken” doesn’t seem so humorous. There were stacks of crates on a truck headed to? Meat or eggs? Either way it’s an awful way to be treated. Point A to Point B, maximize space and profit. Humanitarian treatment doesn’t apply to non-humans? Oh boy! I would almost be a vegetarian. Mostly, you go along happily until it’s in your face. Blissful ignorance. We do that a lot. It’s sad for me to say. Today, I’m thinking about it again.


Squirrels gotta eat too

We bought a squirrel proof bird feeder. It cost $$. Why don’t I want to feed squirrels too? I would have bought a squirrel feeder. The feeder was squirrel free until today. And it works. There is a cage that closes over the holes when the squirrel’s weight is on it. The squirrel was getting something, but not an entire meal. Seeds spilled. Some, including the squirrel buddy, chose the easier way to go, on the deck. At least in this exchange the birds get a higher percentage on the deal.


Screen shot

I am limited by technology and laziness. We have a birdfeeder. It has not been particularly productive to see many interesting birds this year. Mostly it has been LBJ’s. It’s term Colleen uses. Her mother used it before her and it does not mean LBJ, the president. It’s “little brown jobs.” I did not bother (lazy) to remove the window screen this year. Then, a cardinal – male and female – and a woodpecker showed up. My bad, there is definite image degradation due to the window screen. And I was further limited by the camera at hand. The lens was simply not strong enough to pull in the bird. The little image in the corner was due to the limited (Canon) lens. Even at 150mm the bird was tiny in the image. The electronic (Sony) telephoto did a much nicer job. Both camera’s images were degraded by the (window) screen. But, as always there is something to see. Any camera is better than none. Otherwise, this would not be an illustrated post.


Slow day

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Maybe you wonder how I choose/edit my photos. At this point it’s a gestalt. You see it. It triggers an emotional response. Done. I’ve done plenty of bird feeder shots and not so many birds in the trees. Once again, I might add that despite the bright red color, cardinals are not that easy to spot when they are sitting among the branches. Honest. You have to zoom in and isolate your subject or the viewer might miss him. Him, yes, the bright red ones are the males. It was a slow day to find subjects to shoot.


Entertainment

It’s the streets. Anything goes. It’s Scotland. Bag pipes! Statues have been done elsewhere. They are still fun. Harry Who? Owls are there on the street for the public to see and touch. After all it’s Harry Potter land. Fun.


Happy Thanksgiving

Pardon me? These wild guys were wandering through the backyard and probably are not adorning anyone’s table today. By chance the other photo – I have been called a “turkey” – slipped into the post serendipitously. It’s appropriate too. To all the scattered family this year, I wish you all a “Happy.”


Hummingbird

I don’t see them often. Photographing them is not easy – for me. I am thankful for a chance and an opportunity. It’s a work in progress – like so many other things for me. The situation was clearly not ideal. I shot in poor light through a screen and window. The shutter speed was to slow to freeze the wing motion. There’s plenty to criticize. But, then, I got one more pic of a hummingbird. Otherwise, there would be no discussion of technique.


Hummingbird

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This ain’t easy. It’s darned hard to catch a hummingbird. I got one decent shot in a dozen tries. Lucky. As I said it ain’t easy.


Flight time

Our barn swallows reached maturity. They will soon be gone. Four hatchlings flew about and landed on our chair. Three lined up as if they were in their nest. The other was independent. Somehow, they were nonplussed by my presence. No one flitted away. I just slowly walked forward and got my close-ups. Thanks guys. I hope to see you in the neighborhood again. When we returned later I could see more than four birds swooping about. It seems that siblings and family have made our house their home.


Ready to fly

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This group of barn swallow babies grew up overnight. They had a great steady diet of worms and are about to fall out of the nest. There’s simply no room left. I shall miss them. Fly away! Be safe! Come again and raise babies of your own.