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Archive for Photography

Nature Walk Photos, December 21, 2018

I’m learning so much more about birds lately.

The birds I was most interested in growing up were birds of prey, and that carried into when I took up photography last time. Part of this is that they’re large enough that you don’t need a very long lens to capture them. Thanks to the new camera and lens, I’m able to get much better photos than before. Many of these are cropped to some degree to get a good composition, but still – I’m seeing them much closer than ever before, and so smaller birds are easier to chase.

Because of that, I’ve been looking them up in bird identification guides. Birds with names I recognize, but couldn’t name at sight are suddenly so much more familiar to me now that I’ve had time to photograph them.

Today, I saw house finches, carolina wrens, cedar waxwings, a female downy woodpecker, and a few more things that I didn’t manage to capture quite yet. In particular, blue jays are proving to be real bastards. They make a racket when they see me, scaring off all the other birds, and they don’t like to come out into the open enough for me to get a good shot. I will take great satisfaction from finally capturing a decent photo of a jay.

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Nature Walks, December 16-17, 2018

Bird photography is hard.  There’s a bit of a dance to it, at least how I practice it.  I understand that most serious bird photographers use blinds and sit in one place, but who has that kind of time?  Instead, I combine my photography needs with my exercise needs, and I hike out into wild spaces. 

When I see a bird perched in a way that is conducive to a decent enough shot, I begin the slow process of approach.  You can’t look right at the bird a lot of times, as they’re sensitive to your line of sight.  And if you move too quickly, you read as a predator, and they fly away.  If you move right, keep your eyes down, and push forward slowly, you may close distance enough that the crop won’t be too bad.  You have to watch the bird during this to make sure they don’t move. And often, they do.  And so the bird backs up, you get closer.  Bird backs up, you reframe and get closer.  It takes me an hour to get a handful of decent shots.

I’m thinking about googling up the location of public bird blinds in my area, honestly.

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Photography

Nature Walk Photos, December 13th, 2018

Merry Christmas and happy birthday to me.  I invested in a new camera yesterday, an E-M1 Mark II Olympus.  It’s my first time shooting without a mirror, and I have to say, so far I’m pretty impressed, although I really would have liked better light to practice with this morning.

I went out to the Baker Wetlands today because I thought for sure I’d find some good wildlife to chase, and there was a decent amount of activity out there, not that I could see any of it. It was basically working in pre-dawn conditions due to the cloud cover.  Still, I managed to snap a couple of shots that I liked, and I’m really in love with this new camera.

A big reason I’ve decided to take pictures again is for my health. I hiked about a mile and a half this morning in pursuit, and it didn’t feel like exercise. I was engaged and in the moment the entire time, only stopping to check my phone for the time once and a while (because no matter what, I have to get into the office and build websites for part of the day). 

We’re in the depths of winter here now, as you can see. I’m looking forward to spring already.

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Nature Walk Photos, December 12, 2018

I’m trying to ease back into photography.  Apparently the way I do that is take a two hour hike into the woods near our house to chase birds. 

I feel good for having done it.  I’m very much out of practice, and it’s going to take me some time to rediscover my eye for these things, as well as technique.  I was fascinated by how much of my operation of the camera itself was muscle memory, though. I hadn’t picked this up seriously in about five years, since moving to Kansas, and surprisingly, my hands still knew how to adjust all the settings as I went without much thinking. 

Here are some photos that weren’t too terrible.

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Photography

Uzés, Day Six: Medieval Garden Photos and City Panoramas

Today’s entry is going to be short on words and long on pictures, which after the 2500 word bomb yesterday should probably come as a relief to all ten of you following along. You’d think that if I can write 2500 word blog posts, I could write a 2500+ word story without so much hand-wringing, but…

This morning was spent at the market in the Place aux Herbes again, shopping for groceries and general culinary delights.  For lunch, we tore into a variety pack of tapenades and other dips along with our daily staple, fresh baguette.  I’m becoming quite the fan of tapenade, which is just strange, considering you couldn’t pay me to eat olives before this trip. I guess the secret to getting me to eat something is to turn it into a dip. So very American of me, I suppose.

This afternoon, we ventured into the Medieval Garden of Uzes, which is at the base of the Bishop’s Tower not far at all from where we are staying.  There, I took many panoramas of the town itself as well as the plants and flowers of the garden below.  In one chamber, we found ancient graffiti carved into the stone walls, much of it made by prisoners in the 1600s proclaiming their innocence.  Finding a decent translation of what that was about has eluded us thus far, but I’m hoping to research it later. Seems there was something about a tax revolt? The place felt a little haunted in a peculiar way, at the very least by rats, which scurried away into the nooks and corners when I first walked in. Like so many places here, you can feel the history all around you in a way you just don’t in most of the United States. Being here really drives home just how young the country is (I guess if you ignore the centuries of Native American culture that was wiped out before we took everything, anyway).

It’s been a relaxing day, and I’m looking forward to seeing the roman ruins in Nimes tomorrow.  For now, enjoy this gallery of photos from day six!

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