It is dog show weekend and that can only mean one thing.. that’s right, plenty of time to type out a post which, by the way, completes my monthly quota. February is always a tough month due to being ripped out of two full days. But enough whining, I know you want to get onto the post. Today we bring out the big guns. The first set of the Mute Swan series (link here) brought you the pictures of Swan cygnets which are umber cute in my book. Unfortunately, there was room for improvement on the execution of those shots for a number of reasons including distance and light topped off by I just failing to hit my marks. Figured the cuteness factor would help compensate for the softness and the hard light in the later shots. Truth is I put those in the first set because I had a much better offering and wanted to build on the excitement. Going right for the jelly always dampens the experience of that tasty Mel-O-Cream Bismark doughnut. Yum, but I digress. Leading with my favorite and soon to be uploaded Gallery shot on the newly redesigned EddieSoft Photography site (link here):
The reduced size takes a little away from the eye. Normally shots from the back do not work that well, but the fact he (also referred to as a Cob) was looking back at me with that smirky don’t even try to sneak up on me look provided a nice composition. As with all the Mute Swan shots in this series, these were taken at Banner Marsh in Banner IL. Thanks to our friends over at Wikipedia learned that this pose is known as busking and as suspected in this particular setting a display of threat. No fear dude, just hanging out here on the banks of the marsh snapping a few shots… now my wife over there .. yeah, the one over there with that long stick trying to smack the Canada Goose she sees.. well she is dangerous – just ask the Geese that crossed her path on the golf course – the horror, the horror (just kidding, Linda was behaving herself .. or was she?)
Hit the jump to read the rest the Mute Swan series post
Continue reading A Cute Mute Pt 2
I bet you thought the next post would be Part 2 of the Mute Swan post. I felt bad having to go back to the bird topic so quick after the barrage from Project Chekov so trying to ease you back onto the feathered features. Instead figured it was about time to throw out another Book Recollection. Today’s recollection comes to us thanks to Melissa Farris who compiled a product she called Deadly Instinct. I can’t remember what made me aware of this book, but my guess would be one of the wildlife photographers I follow on Google+ brought it too my attention. No need for a lot of convincing past the cover which had the National Geographic seal along with a Lion bringing down a Wildebeest – I’m in. Big thanks to Linda who ended up getting me this book for Christmas. Technically, coming in at only 180 pages, it is really more of a photography book than a reading book. There was a setup at the beginning of each chapter that set the tone for the set of images. Once that page or two was consumed, it was on to a nice collection of shots… umm let me correct that. There were some FANTASTIC shots, a lot of cool wildlife shots and then some I simply put in the TOTAL CRAP category. I’m sorry, but I like my pictures to be in focus and the attempt to show speed by throwing the shutter speed way low resulting in a blur you wouldn’t even know what it was unless they told you is not worth my time – trust me, there were more of these shots than I would have expected alongside the other quality shots. I wouldn’t let the bad shots deter you from enjoying all the good shots, but note to author – there were plenty of better shots you could have used of the Gorillas. The best part of the book was it had a number of pictures from my favorite photographer – Joel Sartore. If you recall I featured one of his books previously called Rare (link here). I had a feeling some of his work would be included based on the National Geographic stamp on the cover. Pretty used to his style these days and can usually pick out his work without seeing the credits first. Was surprised to learn he started on his naturalist journey after seeing the harsh conditions of the Galveston coast. Always cool to learn more about the background of photographer’s you spend a lot of time following.
I should probably mention something before people run off to purchase this book to see the “purdy” pictures. The pictures are not all “pretty” in the hang on your wall and let your visitors gawk over mode. The truth is the intent of the book is to show how lethal, dangerous and aggressive wild animal behavior is. If you are weak of stomach or god forbid a PETA member save your money and go watch the Muppets Movie instead. This book is full of violent, bloody wildlife on wildlife encounters. Oh, and a lot snakes so Linda has been warned to never open the book herself – about 5 pages in there is a particular awesome picture of a Vine Snake that even made me hesitate when I turned to that page. Also very appreciative of the heavy paper stock she used which helps maintain the quality of the pictures. Kudos to the photographers that provided all the outstanding shots to this book. It always inspires me when I see the work of photographers that are clearly on top of their field. A pretty short recollection but the book only took me two nights of light reading before hitting the hay.
Hit the jump to see my takeaways.
Continue reading Book Recollection: Deadly Instinct
I tried really hard, but I just can’t go that long without a bird post. At least I gave you a little bit of a break, but as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow, we are once again featuring a feathered friend .. wait, let me put a little more emphasis on that .. featuring a NEW bird to the blog.
To be honest, I kind of held back on this one during Project Checkov. I had plenty of ‘S’s for that particular post, but I did wimp out and use the Mallard for the ‘M’ entry when in fact I had this water bird available. Wait a minute, I might not have mentioned the whole basis for Project Chekov. I think I at least hinted that there was a theme in a previous post but maybe didn’t state it for those that didn’t figure it out. Each entry of that post started with a different letter in alphabetical order. That element made the effort extremely difficult requiring a number of days to lay out that series with the photographs that were in the backlog. If you didn’t catch that you may have underestimated just how hard that project was. Oh and of course the name was a play on the fact I was trying to complete a bunch of CHECK OFFs on my bird list. There isn’t a real check mark until a picture is taken and it shows up on this blog. There was one and only one reason I didn’t go with this bird over the Mallard and that is due to the end of this title – there were too many shots I wanted to feature and why this post is really spread out over two parts. Rather than get ahead of myself, let’s focus on the aspects of this set of Mute Swans!
All of these pictures were taken down at Banner Marsh in Banner Illinois over different visits to the marsh. Every time we head down there, we are greeted by at least one Mute Swan hanging out among the weeds or enjoying a slow paddle on the water. I never really thought much of it while taking the shots, but this particular Swan has a pretty narrow distribution in North America predominantly around the Great Lakes region. They are primarily a European and Asian Swan but introduced into North America in the late 19th century. Some consider the Mute Swan an invasive bird due to their disruption to the natural waterfowl population.
Hit the jump to see a few more shots of these rather large birds.
Continue reading A Cute Mute Pt 1