Bee My Valentines

While out on a training run (that’s right Ron, not a “practice” run) I came up with a clever title for a post. This may seem odd to a non-runner, but trust me, when out on a long run you are looking for ANYTHING to keep your mind off of the fact you are actually on a long run. The enjoyment of being out in nature – hearing the song birds encourage you along the way coupled with seeing animals frolicking about the woods can only keep you distracted for so long. Eventually your muscles break through that nature bliss and remind you … well, that you are on a long run. At those times, I try to concentrate on what’s on tap for the next post. Now that I had the clever title, I sifted through my image queue and found an appropriate set…
Bee on flower taken at Biltmore Estate July 2014
… and then I forgot to write up the post in order to publish on the appropriate day – total failure. All that cleverness left in shambles gasping for air on the floor of the digital darkroom. Finally decided to swallow my pride and go ahead and finish this post 9 days late – sigh. Now don’t get to lenient on me, these Bee shots were taken all the way back in July 2014. So technically I’m like 3 Valentine’s celebrations late but let’s call it a rounding error. I decided to exercise some strategic cropping on these shots thanks to some less than ideal lighting conditions. That Bee you see above… well, it was a little farther away in the original shot.
Bee on flower taken at Biltmore Estate July 2014
Hit the jump to see a couple more pictures of this busy Bee

Continue reading Bee My Valentines

Crown Me

Currently, I’m sitting here grounded from running thanks to recent neck surgery.  Good news for you though, since that gives me more time to post – yeah!

Getting right to it.. meet Mr. Golden

Golden-Crowned Kinglet shot in Jubilee State Park April 2014

Pretty cute eh!?! This Golden-Crowned Kinglet was shot back in April of 2014. Yes, I’m waaay behind, but slowly coming to terms with my latency. This colorful specimen was photographed in the middle of Jubilee State Park. For those familiar with the area, the exact location was a small clearing off the road that leads to the back part of the campground. The easiest way to get there is to walk down the pond trail about a third of the way and then hang a left. You might encounter some thick brush, but if you follow the deer trails it will lead you to the clearing which actually sits on a bit of a bluff. This is usually a treasure trove of field birds enjoying the spoils of the open brush with close proximity to the safety at the surrounding tree line. It might be a bit noisy getting to the spot, so you might have to give some time for the birds to get comfortable again – a little patience usually brings a target rich environment.

Golden-Crowned Kinglet shot in Jubilee State Park April 2014

Hit the jump to see a few more images of this Golden-Crowned Kinglet.

Continue reading Crown Me

By Any Other Name It Would Be A Crab

Greetings everyone! It has been a big weekend with the release of this Wildlife Blog.  In tribute of that new chapter, I bring you another wildlife post…Hermit Thrush shot near West Alton Missouri (Ellis Island) March 2014

This cute little specimen was shot on a birding trip down by Alton Illinois back in March 2014. My catalog system was slightly compromised because I put this up in the Birding Illinois gallery. Technically we were birding Illinois until we went over the bridge into West Alton which puts us officially in the State of Missouri. What’s a few thousand feet between birding friends hehehe. While on the other side of the river we paid a visit to one of our usual spots down there – Ellis Island. This is the first time I explored the trails at the end of the main trail from the parking lot. Most of the time we entertain ourselves with the backwaters on the left side of the trail looking for interesting waterfowl. Little did I know there were some nice trails that take you through a nice variety of landscapes (wooded, clearing etc.). This specimen was hanging out on some vines on the edge of the timber.

Hit the jump to find out what this bird is and see a couple more shots (although the one you are looking at is the best of the lot)

Continue reading By Any Other Name It Would Be A Crab

King of the West

The upside of a recent surgery is I have to stay down for a while (and you know how I HATE that) which equates to more time for posting…. on birds hehehehe.
Western Kingbird shot at Jefferson County Fairgrounds in Golden Colorado May 2014
As is the norm around here, my featured bird comes from a number of years back.  To be precise, all the way back to May of 2014.  I used to beat myself up more on my tremendous backlog of pictures, but the more camera enthusiasts I meet, the more I realized this is pretty common – especially for those of us holding down a primary job completely unrelated to photography.  I know for a fact my brother Ron is starting to experience a growing queue as well which is especially painful for him not that his bird count has plummeted to like three thanks to initiating his new blog (see the link in the navigation bar).  Of course, this means I can spend those cold winter days inside birding from my queue in the comfort of my den sipping hot chocolate – yeah!
Western Kingbird shot at Jefferson County Fairgrounds in Golden Colorado May 2014

Hit the jump to see a lot more pictures of this bird … might even reveal what it is.

Continue reading King of the West

My What Big Feet You Have

Apparently I crossed some kind of red line in the sand from some of my loyal readers. It appears having the audacity to have 8 … count them … 8 posts on the topic of birding is enough to bring out the claws! It is quite surprising that these people are able to be so verbose in their email angst having to tap away on the keyboard with those pointy talons. So kudos to being able to pull that off, but now my email provider is sending me warnings that I’ve exceeded my quota and threatening to send out the National Guard. I even tried to defend myself with the argument that one of the posts was technically just a book report that happened to have some birds on the cover – nope, no appeasing the spurned. Well, we cannot have an unhappy fan base so in an attempt to rectify my wrongs I bring you ….

Hare taken at Rocky Mountain National Park in May 2014

Hoping this cute and cuddly bunny will put everyone in a better mood. This little doe was taken at a trail head in the Rocky Mountain National Park back in May of 2014. (let’s go with “doe” this time because in truth I have absolutely no clue at this point and none of my shots reveal any clues – probably for the best). We had just come off a trail with a healthy collection of snow covering it. The Rocky Mountain May is a lot colder than our Midwest Mays – a lesson learned the first time we went out to Yellowstone at a similar point in the year – burrrrrr. On the return I spotted a Junco hanging out on a fence post and hopped over there to get some shots in the tin. Based on the number of shots I took of that Junco, the birding on the trail must not have been that good. After wearing out my shutter finger I headed back to the vehicle to warm up (guessing this was also at the encouragement of Linda who was likely getting frustrated at my long attention to a single bird). On the way back, this cute fur ball caught my attention hanging out in a small opening under a tree.

Hit the jump to see a few more shots of this bundle of fur and find out why it is so intriguing to me.

Continue reading My What Big Feet You Have

A Biltmore Hummer

This is definitely not a month to dawdle.  You wouldn’t think the loss of only two days would be that stressful when it comes to blogging, but trust me, IT DOES!  This, of course, is more of a byproduct of my procrastination than a deliberate curse on my quota obligations by Pope Gregory XIII.  A large portion of blogs lately have been focused on our birding trip to Texas back in November 2013.  Figured I would break from that theme and give you something completely different.  Are you ready for something new?  Okay, you asked it… today’s new topic is …

Ruby-Throated Hummingbird shot at Biltmore Estates in Asheville NC July 2014

A bird! (hehehehe).  I didn’t really deceive you – this particular bird picture was taken in July of 2014 in a completely different state.  Yep, this master of the air currents was shot on our trip out to North Carolina.  On our way, we spent some time at Biltmore Estate.  If you recall, I was in a bind back in 2014 and pulled out a post covering the Mockingbird that was also shot at that time (link here).  Oh the days when posts used to come out in the same year the pictures were actually taken.

Ruby-Throated Hummingbird shot at Biltmore Estates in Asheville NC July 2014

Hit the jump to see a few more shots of suspended motion.

Continue reading A Biltmore Hummer

Book Recollection: The Art of Bird Photography

Bird Photography by Arthur Morris
Today I bring you the first recollection of the young year. Truth be told, I have been trying to get through this featured book for at least two years. It has been all across North America as it is the book I would grab as my reading material on our cross country birding trips. For some reason I kept getting sidetracked and would only get a few pages further regardless of how many days we were gone. Luck would have it, I was able to FINALLY get through it while our recent trip to Texas – had a lot of driving time which gives plenty of opportunities to turn the pages … when Linda is driving, of course. Do not make the assumption that the struggle to get through this book had anything to do with the quality – it is a worthwhile read, not overly technical beyond some detailed sections of exposure rules of thumb. Even if you do not like reading, this book has some stunning photographs in it – absolutely stunning! I find the better I get at photography, the more appreciative I get of the works from others. Arthur Morris is a top notch photographer – add in the fact those pictures were done in film format is even more amazing. I laughed to myself as he routinely mentions the thousands of film pictures he would take on a shoot – damn expensive in those days and huge separation along with glass costs between the professionals and amateurs like myself.

As a whole it did end up being a pretty quick read once I could dedicate myself to the task. He reaffirmed a number of my hardened principles and gave me some things to think about and likely try. At the end there is mention of a volume two available on CD that had the digital elements added to it – will probably pick that up some time too. As a summary, I wouldn’t hesitate to take a gander at this book (may check out the CD instead for the digital aspects). The shots are worth the time alone and will likely give you few more angles/options/poses to look for when you are out in the field.

In case you are wonder, this book appears to have been published back in 1998 with a large paperback version (the version I have) that came out in 2003. Not sure if I ordered it special or got lucky when I ordered it, but my copy is officially signed by Arthur – nice little touch. Hit the jump to see my takeaways.

Continue reading Book Recollection: The Art of Bird Photography