Category Archives: birds

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.

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

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!