Category Archives: outdoors

Winter Birding – Barb Phillips

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Family
Work
Church Service
Hobbies

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.

To Textures or Not – Idaho Falls Photography

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Adding textures on photo images is something that I do often.  In fact I have to admit that I much prefer the clean, crisp image.  But there are times that you come across an image that just yells out “GIVE ME SOME TEXTURE!”

This is one such image that just needed something more than backlighting.
I remembered a couple textures that I have received while attending Kim Klassen’s online texture class.
The only question that I had was, could I remember how to apply it and make the image better than it was?

 I also that this old out building could use some extra help.
I till have the opinion that images should be left to stand on their own.  I like to try to get them right out of camera so that I don’t have to spend a lot of time in front of a computer screen.

Perhaps I will change my mind about textures once I have learned how to only apply them with a soft hand. Once I have learned more about what all Photoshop is capable of. Once I have gotten more of my image up for resale on my Etsy shop.  Perhaps THEN I might appreciate textures more.
The following photos have been added to the texture Thursday Photo Challenge.

Week In Review – Idaho Falls, Idaho Area

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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!

Pinterests Inspirations

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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.  

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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.