Word and Image

Birds

Pigeon?

Ok I’ve lost it. Is this really worth a post? Pigeons? If you live in New York City… There are so many better things to speak of and to illustrate. Pigeons in the country? They were out of place on the roof with the solar panels. Suburbia! Pigeon? They were out of place in my neighborhood and Colleen exclaimed when she saw them sauntering on the roof next door. Lost, they were far from home. Fly away.


Cheer at the bird feeder

Pine siskin, pine warbler, and house finch are in the neighborhood. Hey! It’s neat to see birds we don’t see every day. In fact, I did not know they were natives around here. Ha ha. They have been here longer than I have. Colleen looked them up in our trusty bird guide. We matched the pictures to the names. That’s our story and we are stickin’ with it. Nutley, though he would like, does not get to romp with the birds.


Bird TV returns

I have nothing against squirrels. They gotta eat too. I was tired of the fact that the squirrels were a bit piggish about hogging all the bird food. Colleen was brilliant. Move the feeders. Duh! They are on the front balcony. They squirrels can’t climb there. Bird TV returns!


Around the bird feeder

I was keeping to posting one picture a day. Now, I cheat. I can get around my own rule by making a collage layout. Hey! I have too many images and so little time! The bird feeder is shared by one and all. The birds, a few, eat. The cats have Cat TV. The squirrels disrupt the whole show. (Hey! Squirrels gotta eat too.) My cat Nutley has now been trained (by me!) to go chase the squirrel and then return to the home so I don’t have to get cold on the deck. Ha! (I have to chase Nutley inside, instead.) And, the bonus, I get to take pictures of the proceedings. Colleen has to cajole me daily to go feed the birds. Who knew this could be so much work (fun?)?


Evolution

How many outstanding pictures do I have? How many stories are there? At one picture a day…. one story at a time? I’ve been at it for nearly 10 years. It must be quite a collection spanning a decade of change. People come and go. Changes large and small occur. Relationships change. 2011, I was in NY working in NJ. I had rediscovered a long lost cousin, Amy. John had fallen ill. I had been in touch with Colleen to lose her again until 2014. I had never traveled to the Middle East. Scuba diving was on my bucket list. One great shot – there are so many, or, so few – or would it be an essay story of illustrations? Hey! I never work with a plan. I’m just trying to get from here to there. Where? Dunno!? I’m more of, make lemonade if you get lemons, kind of guy. Story or the image. Image or the story. It’s all good right now, in this place.


Cat TV

There is dynamic interaction between my cats, the birds, and a family of squirrels. I feed the birds. Hey! Squirrels gotta eat too! So they do – the squirrels are all over the bird feeders. Everyone eats. I favor the birds. The cats enjoy the show. They are participating too. Nutley will go out on command and vainly chase after the squirrels. He returns when I call him back. Me? I photograph. I have to say that the darn Sony RR100 VI has a lens that is as good a telephoto as I would want in such a compact camera. Voila! Instant story!


Hidden gem

I’m scanning old slides. Mostly it’s sentimental – family shots. An aside – I thought I was a pretty good photographer. Boy! What experience teaches you about life!. My scanner does its job according to calculated algorithms. Sometimes good, sometimes not. I glanced at the preview just as it made an adjustment leaving the image washed out. I quickly processed the image rescuing my imagination. Under any other circumstance the potential of this slide would have been lost in a mass edit. Gee, I was not so bad as I feared.


Osprey II

This is a redo. I got shots of the nest a while back. I just stopped by the roadside and let the traffic behind weave around me. This time I pulled off the road once again. The sun was wrong. There were three – a juvenile and two adults? It was worth the stop. Sometimes you take what you can get or we have nothing to speak about, or, to look at.


Puffin

Nothing is so valuable as something that took a lot to accomplish. I was on my 4th try. The other attempts to photograph the puffins had been utter failure. Ok! I was in the bird blind until they dragged me out. Things were not perfect. I had forgotten my big telephoto lens at home. All was not lost. One can always make do. I did. It was memorable. It was my one and only time.


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.