Archive | July, 2011

Raving about my most viewed photo

30 Jul

Raven Silhouette I

This (not very good) photo of a raven is the most viewed photo in my Flickr photostream.  I thought maybe it’s been seen so much because it was on my 2nd most popular post, The Difference Between Ravens and Crows.  But it’s not.  It’s not my best picture of a raven or my most interesting picture of a raven.  I cannot figure out why it’s been view more than 4,500 times.  Weird.

Taking flight . . .

28 Jul

 . . . photos.

Going through my blog reader this morning, I came across this great article on taking photographs of birds in flight at the American Birding Association blog.  It has some great tips in it about how to get good at this tricky and very satisfying skill.

I have taken more than my fair share of bad flight photos but I’ve been lucky some too.  (As with most photos, Lady Luck is your best advisor!)  My one piece of advice would be that taking flight photos from below the birds usually results in silhouettes – that can be dramatic but isn’t always what you are after.

From Avia

My best advice to add to the article’s tips is to try to be level with the birds — that’s often difficult but you usually get some great shots that way. This pelican was flying along a jetty last summer where the Rogue River comes out to the Pacific in Oregon.  I used the advice (as I usually do) to take the shots in burst mode.  This was my best of the lot.

From Fauna

The advice about wind in the article made me laugh.  This summer when we were at Chaco Culture National Monument in New Mexico, I was birding near the bathrooms — hey, the birds like shade as much as the rest of us and in the desert sometimes buildings provide the best shade.  The birds didn’t want to leave the area but didn’t want me getting too close.  I am handicapped by my lack of a telephoto lens so I was trying to get as close as I could without scaring the birds away.  This one kept jumping down to fly away right into a head wind.  He flew and flew away from me without going anywhere.  The light wasn’t ideal but I got some fun flight shots in a way I never expected.

From Flight Study

To see a series of the bird in flight, click through to my Picasa album, Flight Study. You can then click on the button for the slideshow. It turned out pretty cool, if I do say so myself.

What was the cutest thing YOU saw this summer?

27 Jul
From Fauna

This little cutie-pie was the cutest thing I’ve seen . . . so far at least!  Oh, and I have to give credit where it is due . . . I did not take this picture.  My husband did.  My camera card was full so he snapped a few amazing cute pics on his camera.  We saw this little guy (gal?) hanging out by the side of the road at Mesa Verde National Park.  So special.

Focus on the little things . . .

26 Jul

Blue Damselfly

One of my goals on my trip was to get better at using my new camera.  I love taking Macro shots but was having a little trouble with focusing.  I think I figured it out while shooting one of the hundreds of damselflies at the Pahrangat National Wildlife Area.  I love how the head is in focus and the tail, closer to me, is not.
Wild Rose

I was able to get focused on this wild rose bud in the Eastern Sierra mountains using the same technique . . . and waiting for the breeze to stop moving it wildly.

Flower, Silverton, CO

Sometimes the camera can do it for you but sometimes you need to force it to capture what you want.

Butterfly at Pecos National Monument

And, sometimes you just have to shoot lots and lots of pictures and hope that the breeze, the flittering butterfly, and your camera conspire to get what you were hoping for.

Skill or luck . . . I’ll take the good results whenever I can.

My sister went to London and . . .

24 Jul

. . . all I got was this utterly amazing Cath Kidston cosmetic bag!  I love my sister!  She’s THE BEST!

Cath Kidson bag from London!

Before or After?

18 Jul

Before . . .

Poppy, Silverton, CO

After . . .

Poppy! (Silverton, CO)

Your votes?

Coolest Birds in Utah (well, sort of)

17 Jul

Ravens over Bryce

(Continuing in my series of photos of bird silhouettes with clouds and sky)

When we went to Bryce Canyon, I was not up for hiking.  We’d hiked the Virgin Narrows the day before and my body was done!  It’s an amazing hike that should be on everyone’s bucket list!  I’ve done it twice now and I’d do it again in a heartbeat but it’s tough and I had a fall that wrenched my shoulder so I wasn’t hiking at Bryce.

So, I stayed topside while Greg, Gage, and Ruth descended into the hoodoo-filled landscape.  Never fear . . . there was a family of ravens to keep me entertained.  There were two parents and four offspring.  They were working on flying successfully above the canyon.  I must have shot a hundred pictures of them.  Don’t worry, I won’t share them all!

Raven at Bryce

Ravens over Bryce

Ravens at Bryce

Oh, and the real coolest bird in Utah?  Well, there are California Condors at Zion.  Greg saw one but I didn’t.  Disappointment.

Coolest Bird in Colorado

16 Jul

When you get to go to a National Park for the first time, you — if you are me — find yourself hoping you’ll see something cool.  We had a great drive to Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park through the amazing Colorado towns of Silverton and Ouray.

We stopped at the first overlook and admired the spectacular view.  Then a spectacular bird flew over us . . .

Golden Eagle

Golden Eagle!