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Sense of place???

Are you wondering what I mean by “sense of place?” Here’s the scoop. If you follow my blog, you know that I post a (huge) number of birds. I love photographing birds and catching them in action. Sometimes they have the most comical expressions, and honestly, their behavior can be outrageous and sometimes downright risque. However, after posting hundreds (thousands?) of birds just sitting around looking birdlike, I have decided it is time to provide my blog friends with a sense of the place where I take all these photos. I actually have 50,000 images on my hard drive, a huge preponderance of them are birds (or deer), and very few give you a clear indication of their habitat. So from now on I am going to intentionally include more pictures that will provide that “sense of place.” I hope it is a positive addition to my blog. Please let me know what you think.

This morning I was up and out early again. The morning light was wonderful, the birds were active, and I even caught a deer wandering through the tall grass. Hopefully soon I will encounter some fawns to share with you. It’s about time for them to appear. But for today, no fawns, just lots of beautiful birds and some landscape shots to give you that sense of place. Hope you like them.

That’s it for this beautiful Thursday morning walk through Chagrin River Park. Thanks for coming along. I had fun sharing this time with you.

Carolyn aka Skip

On Holden Pond

Holden Arboretum

I visited Holden Arboretum this morning. To the dismay of the Canada geese flying overhead, there was no water for them to land in. They were complaining with loud honks of consternation as they searched for some open water. Some eventually tried ice skating (goose style), but they obviously weren’t happy about it. The next few pictures tell the story.

Looking for a place to land that isn't frozen over.

All the ponds and lakes were frozen over. The geese were honking anxiously as they flew over frozen pond after frozen pond and couldn't find a place to land.

...on Blueberry Pond at Holden Arboretum

...searching for some open water.

It wasn’t easy walking for humans either. At one point I stepped on a patch of ice and almost crashed in a heap! The geese are a lot more graceful than I am!

Thanks for stopping by my corner of Ohio today.
Come back in a few days to see if winter has lost its grip.

Skip aka Carolyn

Long time between posts!

Life gets in the way of blogging and photography sometimes, and you (or at least I) can’t keep up with everything. So I have been pretty much absent from this photoblog for some time now. Can I come back on a full time basis? Truthfully, I don’t know, but a lot depends on the ease of posting from Lightroom to WordPress. If I could post directly to my WordPress photoblogs from within Lightroom, like I can with Flickr and Smugmug, life, or at least blogging, would be much simpler. Does anyone know if that can be done? If you do, please reply in the comments. Meanwhile, I would like to share several photos I took this morning.

Drinking Deeply!2013_07_18_backyard_002
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Bird’s eye view!2013_07_18_backyard_007

That’s all for today. See you soon.

No doubt about it…

Spring has arrived! I wouldn’t be silly enough to believe we won’t have any more cold, wet weather, but I’ve seen the signs, and I am announcing the arrival of spring! Today, on my walk in the park, I spotted a golden-crowned kinglet and a yellow-bellied sapsucker for the first time, and there were lots of people enjoying some sunshine and warmer temperatures. Yay for spring! We’ve waited a long time for it to arrive. Here are my favorite pictures from today:

Hope you enjoyed them!
Carolyn aka Skip

Is it spring yet?

That’s the question everyone is asking these days. Even today, although it seemed a little milder and I didn’t wear my winter jacket for our trip to the Cleveland Aquarium, the temperature barely inched above 40 degrees. In the afternoon I took a photowalk in the park. For that I wore my winter jacket and hat, and I wasn’t any too warm. Here are my favorite photos from the walk. I hope you like them.

Carolyn aka Skip

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The rear of a deer

Several whitetail deer crossed the trail in front of me. As I watched, this one leaped off the trail and into the woods. Their grace and beauty make these animals a joy to watch. A very large herd of whitetails lives in our neighborhood park, which is fine so long as they stay in the park. However, they don’t! Every night, and sometimes during the day, they migrate from the park into the surrounding neighborhoods. There they feast on flowers, bulbs, flowering trees, and, under cover of darkness, the seed I put in our bird feeders for the chickadees, nuthatches, and other songbirds. The deer are also a hazard on the highways. It’s too bad they can’t comprehend boundaries. On the other hand, it’s too bad that people have taken over so much of their habitat with housing subdivisions, shopping malls, six-lane highways and the like.It’s an ongoing problem with no good solution.

That’s all for tonight!
See you soon.
Carolyn aka Skip

An uninvited dinner guest

I have been playing around with creating diptychs and other collages, so today, after I “developed” my pictures in Lightroom, I chose three related images that I think tell a story. Can you follow the storyline? Hint: Start in the upper left corner.

Here’s the sequence:

      Sparrow was ready to tuck into his favorite meal: black oil sunflower seeds.
      The uninvited guest, a tufted titmouse, flew in, thinking the sparrow should share, but the sparrow told him to clear out pronto!
    The titmouse knew when he wasn’t welcome, so he flew away.

I just came across this app for creating collages recently, and it has been a lot of fun. Hope you enjoyed “reading” the story as much as I enjoyed “creating” it.

That’s it for today!
Carolyn aka Skip

Bonanza!

On my photowalk this afternoon, the first “almost sunny” afternoon we have had in a long time, I headed down the trail with some sunflower seeds in my pocket. Passing a bench, I sprinkled a handful of seeds, hoping to attract a few birds for a photo opp. Some chickadees and titmice flew in, grabbed seeds, and flew away, so I sat on the end of the bench and waited for more birds to arrive. Instead of the flutter of wings, I heard footsteps. Looking up, this is what I witnessed over the next few minutes…

deer_seeds

Earlier today I read some tips on this photography website explaining how to create a diptych that will tell a story. Since I had recently purchased an app called My Frames, that helps me create diptychs and collages, I thought I would give it a try. I’m fairly satisfied with the results, but I’m wondering what you think. Can you “read” the story these pictures are meant to tell? I could almost “hear” the doe thinking, “Oh, wow, sunflower seeds. I want some NOW,” as she headed for the bench and reached out with her long tongue. What do you see? Hear?

It was a fun experiment. I think I will have to upload the diptych and enter the challenge. I have never done anything like that before, but there’s always a first time. Becoming a better photographer certainly requires experimenting with new techniques, learning how to tell stories through pictures, and challenging yourself. It also makes my photowalks a lot more fun!

See you soon!
Carolyn aka Skip

Sparrows can be SO confusing!

Juvenile white-crowned sparrow -2

Juvenile white-crowned sparrow -2

I knew it was a sparrow, but I couldn’t find it in my bird app on my iPad. Then I had a brainstorm (Don’t know what took so long) and posted it to my Facebook page, asking for help with the ID. Within minutes, a friend I didn’t realize was an expert on birds chimed in with an answer. So lesson learned! If you don’t know, ask on Facebook! I am not much of a Facebooker. I only visit it rarely because I am too busy taking photowalks and then organizing and processing my pictures, but I’ve just discovered how useful Facebook can be as a birding resource. In my opinion, that’s a great discovery. Here are a couple more pictures of this pretty little bird:

Immature white-crowned sparrow

Immature white-crowned sparrow

His colors are more subdued than the adult.

His colors are more subdued than the adult.

Hope you like the little brown job that I now know is an immature white-crowned sparrow. Live and learn!

See you soon!
Carolyn aka Skip

Something different

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A late afternoon walk in the park garnered nothing more than the usual suspects: the chickadees, nuthatches, woodpeckers, and other little birds. Then as the sun sank lower, it cast a soft glow on the scene, and I decided to go for a landscape shot of the power towers. Not my usual style, but I like it. I hope you do too. These wires lead to a power plant on the shores of Lake Erie, just a mile or less from where I was standing.

Carolyn aka Skip

A photo portfolio

A pileated woodpecker has been here.

A pileated woodpecker has been here.

There is a pileated woodpecker nesting somewhere in our park, and I have been searching for him for weeks. Occasional sightings have not rewarded me with a good picture to post, so I will just have to keep trying. It is a very elusive quarry and perhaps, just perhaps, there is a pair. One day recently I was listening to him drill a hole when another park walker came down the trail and announced that he had just seen him on a different trail. So maybe there actually is a pair. I’ll let you know if (or when) I get any confirmation. Meanwhile, here are three more recent pictures that show how snowy and wintry it has been in our neighborhood…
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Last, but definitely not least, a picture of my hubby and our buddy Gulliver, taken on yesterday’s walk in the park.
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On an entirely different subject…

I need some feedback. I have recently updated and upgraded my photo portfolio at SmugMug.com because I needed a place online to post my photo galleries. Take a look if you have time and let me know what you think about the presentation, navigation, etc.

Thanks!
Carolyn aka Skip

Birding with a camera

Most birdwatchers, or twitchers, as they are called in Britain, carry binoculars. I carry my camera. You can probably guess that I am not a serious birder with a long life-list and a longer list of exotic locations I’ve visited in the pursuit of elusive species. I have high regard (envy?) for the experts who can identify a bird by all its varied calls and songs or a glimpse of it on the wing. I appreciate the helpful ones who will say to me, “There’s a ______, in that tree, the one at two-o’clock in the direction you are facing.” I am not that kind of birder. I don’t have the eye or the knowledge, but I admire people who do. What a wonderful hobby it is! Solitary and, at the same time, social, because the birders I’ve met are always willing to share their discoveries with the rest of us.

I do my birding with a camera. I love to capture pictures of chickadees, nuthatches, woodpeckers, or whatever else presents itself, and I am rewarded by observing their behaviors, both social and antisocial. An hour or two with my camera in the park, wandering along the trails, usually alone, but sometimes in the company of others, feeds my soul. It is time that restores and energizes me. I believe that the Creator intends for us to get out and enjoy His (Her) creation, and for that I am ever thankful. Here are a few of my recent “captures.” I hope you enjoy them.

PS I wrote a “story” about my (failed) attempt to photograph an elusive pileated woodpecker today. You can read about it in my Blipfoto journal.

Carolyn aka Skip

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