Category Archives: Barb Phillips

Winter Birding – Barb Phillips


Church Service

All these play an important part in my life right now.  I tend to spend more time in some areas, possible more than I really should.
One area that I have really been neglecting lately is…wait for it…. MY HOBBIES.  I bet you thought I was going to write family didn’t you? 
I have quilts that need finished.  I have a crafting room that have spilled over into a wood shed outside.  And for photography, well my camera has been sitting on it’s tripod just waiting. 

I finally made of my mind today that no mater the weather, I was going out to get some bird shots.  Birding is so tricky for me as the longest lens I have is a 300mm.  I do have a 1.4X converter that I use but the draw back is that it cuts down on the light coming into the camera, not to mention clarity would be jeopardized.

Never-the-less I needed to get out.  I decided that the Market Lake Wildlife Area would be a grand place to visit.  It’s not to cold today, 23 degrees and bearable. I head out.  The sky keeps getting foggier, darker and very flat. I keep going determined to find the rockery of Bohemian Waxwings that I had seen just last week.

I’ve only been able to see Finches and Sparrows around the house lately and the Waxwings proved exciting.

You can only take so many sparrows before it’s time to find something new to photograph.
I’ve reached the spot that I thought perhaps I would be able to find the Waxwings.  I slip on my snow boots, check out my camera for battery power and SD card.  Zip up my thermal coat and head out.  I’ve walked I figure 2 miles and I spot them, hundreds of them.  My heart races, my step picks up in the snow and I approach cautiously.  I know that these birds are feeding on Russian Olives for winter food and that they will do so in large groups.  I get within a couple hundred feet, not good enough.  Can I get closer without them all scattering?  I move forward 10 feet, they are still there.  Another 20 feet, they notice me but stay put, I grab some quick shots.  Still I am not close enough for anything note worthy.  I move forward, they scatter in an uproar.  Rats!!!  But wait their coming back.  I move forward almost under them.  They watch, eat, chatter and eat some more. I’m ecstatic,  could today get any better?

 The Bohemian Waxwing is similar to the Cedar Waxwing just a little bigger and more colorful.  I wish that I had one of those fancy 500mm about now.

 I’m loving their colors aren’t you.  Make the house sparrows look a bit plain don’t you think?

 These two were such a comical pare, they must be mates the way they were acting.

 This guy just didn’t know what to make of me and all the clicking noises.  I shot some frames he would turn side to side trying to see what or where the noise was coming from.

Doesn’t take these birds long to have totally stripped a tree of it’s fruit.  No wonder I had to walk in so far to find them.
Side Note – after spending close to two hours watching, listening and photographing Waxwings I decided I had better head for the car as I was loosing light. 
 I begin back tracking the track. I turn to watch a snow owl and a great horned owl, and I’ve lost the trail I made coming into this place.  Anxiety replaces satisfaction. Thought of tomorrows headlines run through my head “BIRDER LOST”.  I do a quick look about and spot the main interstate, I now feel confidant I’ll find my way out of this area. 
 NOTE TO SELF – get better barrings and landmarks while out in the wild.
As you can tell I DID make it home, how else would I have been able to share my day with you. Ü  
Until my next photo adventure.

Blogs, Comments and Google+


Have to get this out in the open first thing.  I am not an expert in the are of Google+ by any means.  The information that I have found I’ve gained via Google searches.

Recently I received an email asking me how I connected my blog account to Google+ .  How did I get my blog post to show up on My Google+ page

I had to do some hard thinking on that one as I couldn’t recall what I had done when Google offered up the Google+ accounts.

After doing a Google search I found the answer.  I am sharing it here for those that haven’t yet connected their blog and their Google+ account.

You can find all the answers and the how to by visiting the Connect to Google+ page  or you can just do the following.  I know that these steps work for blogger faced blogs, not so sure about the other blog hosting sites.

1.  Click on Design on the top upper right hand corner of your blog.
2.  Click on Settings
3.  Click on Posts and Comments
4.  Right under the Post header you should see the 4th option Share To Google+
5.  Click Yes if you want to share your post on Google+ or leave on No if you would rather not.

This is what the Blogger Post and Comments page looks like.  I’ve highlighted the area that you will want to change. 

You can find Me On Google+.  If you want to add me into one of your circles I would be honored.

While you’re at it why not change your Word Verification to NO,  just makes leaving comments to your blog a little more hassle free.

Hope this helps clear up the Blogger/Google+ confusion.

Reviewing March 2011


I believe that while my memory is adequate, it is far from amazing.  For me, there is a trick to Remembering things.  It all begins with Reviewing.

Reviewing an experience is different that Remembering.  In fact, Reviewing is an important process that actually precedes RememberingReviewing is something that must be done while the experience is still fresh in your mind and in your heart.  

Some people Review their experiences by keeping a journal.  They Record events in detail almost as soon as they transpire. 

My journal keeping  involves my camera.  I gather and save images that will Remind me of experiences, special places and memorial events. 

I enjoy going back in my photo files Reviewing, Remember and Recalling.  Today was just such a day, a day for Remembering.  Where was I a year ago, what was I doing?  Who was I with, where did we go?

The weather here in Idaho was just starting to break for spring.  There wasn’t any leaves, buds or flowers out as the snow, in places was still piled.  Last winter was a very good snow year.

Unlike this year, calving season was just getting started.  The horses were in search for anything green to feed on. As for snow-maching, I was just finishing up my last ride for the season.  This season snow-machining really sucked.

I found some of my favorite photos from last March, some that I had forgotten all about.
It’s good to look back to remember where you’ve been.

There were so so many peacocks last year. This year, no so many as the coyotes thinned them out.  They thinned out the turkeys and geese as well.  I am hoping for a good spring hatch to replace those that are missing.

YES I am proud to say that I live on a working cattle ranch.  I can’t think of any better way or place to spend my days.  I do however get a little tired of the spring mud that creeps into the back porch….

It so hard to get the girls to pose for a photo when there’s feeders full of green alpha hay to get eaten.




“In my world, everyone’s a pony and they all eat rainbows and poop butterflies!”
Dr. Seuss

Horse and mules, that’s what we use to ride, heard and work with.  They get the winter off but come round-up time these guys put in a full days work plus some. It’s been sometime since I’ve road a horse, I am more of the 4-wheeler rider now.

So like I wrote earlier it’s good Remember, good to look back.  Reality check-up!  Am I better today than I was last year?  I hope so.

 “You’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting,
So… get on your way!”
Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

*Side Note- all the above photos where taken March 30th, 2011.

Out and About – Idaho Falls Photography


The weather lately is so unsettled, wind, rain, snow and a bit of sun.  How I wish that I could have just a few days of nothing but warm sunny weather with some puffy clouds through in for good photo effects.
So what do you do when you have the itch to go and photograph something, you resort to the neighbors farm and all the wild (not so wild) life.
I’ve loaded up my 1.4x tele-converter on my 300mm and I’m out the door in hope to capture the allusive peacocks.  So far I haven’t been able to get a good sharp image of these guy, I am really hoping to capture them with tails spread wide and in full color.

This farm is an old working dairy farm.  They don’t do much milking now days, just raising new replacement heffers for the larger dairies.  These gals weren’t to excited to have me interrupting there morning meal.  So tough to get a good photo of black and white animals.

I finally find what I’ve come to photograph, the large male peacocks.  I find this one hanging out in an old tree which appears to be on it last leg.  I am never out of eye contact as I set up my tripod and adjust my camera settings.  Peacocks are one of the best watch DOGS that I know of.  They’re always on the deference.  Come on Mr. Peacock you could work with me here a bit better.  Let’s see some colors, some action, some tail feathers.

This just isn’t going to be my day for the grand display of colors.  I did however manage to get some eye contact.  Perhaps if I bring this guy some birdie treats tomorrow perhaps he will be more will to work with me.

One of the unexpected pleasures you get while photographing at the farm is you never know who or what will show up and want to take along.

This is my new found camera friend, Leahla.  She was adorable and her eyes are to die for.
 I’ll going back as soon as the weather warms up a bit to take more photos of the wildlife with the aid of my new camera side kick.
The following post is being linked to Thursday’s Photo Challenges which are brought to you by –

Mrs Stephanie T

Market Lake Birding Session – Idaho Falls Photographer


Could spring really have arrived to my area?  Sixty seven degrees, the grass is turning green and I am off to go birding at Market Lake.  I here that there is a group of a thousand plus trumpeter swans that have some in on their migration route.  I am excited to see if this is true or not.
By the way Market Lake is a bird wild life area that is very close to my home town.  I love going there in any season to photograph birds, animals, landscapes and sunrises.

 Seeing black amongst all the white, snow geese and coots
 Heads up we’re coming in for a landing.
 Daydreaming or boredom, which is it I wonder?
 The only way to get up close and personal with wildlife is to have a REAL LONG LENS such as a 500mm.  Nice job Linda.
 Come on guys, can you give me a little breathing room please!!!
  Spring has sprung, the grass has riz and this is where all the butterflies is.  I know, bad English but what do you expect from a non-writer?
Linked with the following photo challenge

Week In Review – Idaho Falls, Idaho Area


The weather finally broke enough that I was able to get outdoors and do some much needed photo therapy.  While attending the High Desert Photography Club meeting this week, my photography juices were flowing.  My desire was to be able to capture some new architecture, find some interesting lines and work on my birding skills.
Old architecture is very hard to come across in and around my area due to the fact that I live in a large farming area.  Any piece of ground that becomes vacant is either planted on or grazed.  I am totally envious of all the photographers that have at their disposal the old rustic farm houses and out building.  Someday I hope to take a road trip and find some of my own to photograph.
I’ve been able to come across some really great restored images of old barns thanks to Pinterest, you can check out my architecture board (which will be continually added to) if you get a chance.  Let me know when and if you drop by.

Now for the reason that you stopped by, to view what I captured this past week.
Life on the Snake Rive is my first photo share.  This time of year the river is packed to the banks with all types of winter migrating birds.  The Canadian Geese happen to be my favorite to photography for two reasons: 1.  they aren’t so leery of people and 2.  there are so many of them.  Here’s my practice at capturing motion.

Coming In For A Landing
Taken with my Nikon D90 f/4.5 @ 1/1000 ISO 200
Now it’s on to practicing my Black and White photo conversions.  There is just something that I find so intriguing about taking the colors from a image. This process is a challenge for me as most times my images come off all muddy and soft looking.  I will have to practice a lot more to get something that has the B&W WOW factor.

  The Big Stretch
 f4.5 @ 1/1250 ISO 200
Summers Final Harvest
Nikon D90 f/11 @ 1/50 ISO 400
Bottles On The Window
 f/11 @ 1/30 ISO 1250 
Woops note to self ALWAYS check your ISO before shooting.

LDS Temple By The River
f/9 @ 1/400 ISO 200 

See what I mean about B&W images looking a bit muddy when converted?  I am after the crisp definition between the blacks and whites, I want the focal point to really POP of the page.  This is still a technique in search and training.

Trumpeter Swans Over The Snake River
f/5.6 @ 1/1000 ISO 200

One thing that I’ve learned while trying to capture birds in flight is you need a very FAST shutter speed, spot metering, long lens and patience.

Line Sight Sparrow Hawk

f/8 @ 1/500 ISO 200
Country Lane
f/10 @ 1/60 ISO 200

White On White

f/8 @ 1/1000 ISO 200 +2/3 EV

And Now for my persona favorite out all this weeks photos-
Birds On A Wire
f/10 @ 1/200 ISO 2100
I was shooting with pure luck having my shutter speed so slow, good thing these guys never attempted to make a move.  I am really liking the brown on brown effect of the Dove against the fall foliage.
Well that does it for this weeks photo review.  I still have lots to learn and don’t mind sharing what I’ve learned in the process of photo practice.  If you have a photo question, ask away and I’ll go out and pratice the photo concept and come back with the answer.
Thanks for dropping by and your comments are always appreciated.
Note to self – CHECK YOU ISO before shooting!

Morning Rituals


Morning ritual, traditions or habit whatever you want to call something that you do everyday to start the day off.  What’s yours?  Do you have to making sure that the bed is made right after you get up?  Do you brush your teeth before you eat breakfast?  Sound weird but I know some people do this.  Do you have to turn the TV on to check on the morning news to help you get your daily start?

My morning ritual is BREAKFAST!!  I can’t have a good day unless I have eaten something and it can’t be sugar loaded.  My personal favorite is EGGS, I can eat them any way shape or in any form.

Several years ago I had a little neighbor boy that would stop by the farm on his way to the dairy with goose eggs in tow.  Could never bring myself around to trying one of those huge, hard shelled things.  DP (that’s my hubby) informed me that they wouldn’t kill me, in fact they are said to be quite tasty.  Still can’t seem to stomach one. 

Eggs –
It’s hardly enough for breakfast.
    It isn’t enough when you bake.
It isn’t sufficient to a make meringue,
    or cookies, or even cake.
It doesn’t go far in a salad, though
    you devil it, slice it or chop it.
But it covers the floor from wall to wall
    if ever you should drop it.
I have linked the above image to Kim Klassen’s Texture Tuesdays photo challenge.  If you haven’t found Kim’s site, I encourage you to stop by.  She is a whiz at textures and her photography is amazing as well.
This week theme is open and the image must be centered around the weekly prompt/theme and contain at least one layer of any of Kin’s textures.

I’ve used Kim’s Sand Blasted Texture along with a light brown color over lay.
Broken Brown Eggs is also available for purchase from My Etsy Shop.


Pinterests Inspirations


Most of my fans and friends know about Pinterest, the new age way to bookmark.  I have to admit that I hadn’t heard of if until recently, and now I am hooked.  I like so many others use Pinterest for ideas.  Ideas for cooking, home decorating, photo editing, clothing styles…….

I personally use it for photography ideas.  Here is a sample of what inspired me today.

Sunset Vineyard, Santa Maria, California
photo by jefftangen
I love the leading line that draw you into the image, up to the sun and then back.  It’s a great way to use the rule of thirds and composition. 

Red Delicious, Japan
photo by Katsumi Oyamada
Red and Green have always been a favorite color combination of mine.  Great use of shallow DOF (depth of field).  The back-lighting helps to frame the red apples making them the center of attention.

Niagra Falls Frozen Solid in 1911
photo via ellishouse

Can you just feel the cold?  This is a great B&W, wouldn’t get the same feelings if it were in color.
Mountain Train, Rocky Mountains, Colorado
photo via alcoholo

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the sense of motion. The overpass makes a great leading line as well as the tracks.   One amazing image.

I am not the photographer of any of the above photos, wish that I really was the one that had been there and taken that.  Check out each of the links for more amazing images and get some inspiration of your own.  

Until next time.  Keep your batteries charged and don’t forget to remove your lens cap.

Side Note: you can follow my Pinterest Pins HERE.  


It Takes Courage
by Author Unknown

It takes strength to be firm,
It takes courage to be gentle.
It takes strength to conquer,
It takes courage to surrender.
It takes strength to be certain,
It takes courage to have doubt.
It takes strength to fit in,
It takes courage to stand out.
It takes strength to feel a friend’s pain,
It takes courage to feel your own pain.
It takes strength to endure abuse,
It takes courage to stop it.
It takes strength to stand alone,
It takes courage to lean on another.
It takes strength to love,
It takes courage to be loved.
It takes strength to survive,
It takes courage to live.

Seeing Double


While searching the web yesterday, no really I was just reading through Pioneer Woman’s Blog,  I came across what I thought looked vaguely familiar. There from one of her followers was a post about a dog named George.  This blogger must really love George as she has given him his own blogspot.

I couldn’t help but shoot of an email to the Country Girl and inquire about her dog and let her know that I have his sister, MAX (short for Maxine).

Much to my delight, Country Girl contacted me this morning wanting information on MAX.  Country Girl wanted to see photos, she wanted proof to back of my claim of a dog look alike.
Did I have any photos of my beloved cow dog?  Had I posted about Mas before?  I’m sure that I had but where was it, where were her photos.  After some time doing a thorough photo search, just another reason to use tags in Lightroom, I finally came across one photo.  It’s not the greatest, I recall the Max is very, very camera shy.  In fact whenever she see me with my camera she runs and hides.  What’s up with that?

Any way, you decide if I don’t have George’s twin.  Check out Mas and then head over to George’s page and compare.  The only noticeable difference that I can see is George is a whole lot cleaner.

Note to self:  Get Max to the dog wash and get Max and her BFF Bear their own blog page.