Seen Along the Trail

Photos taken on my daily walks

Posts from the ‘photography’ category

Back yard bonanza!

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Intending to take a photo walk in the park this morning, I discovered I didn’t have to leave home. I simply opened the kitchen window, stuck the lens of my Nikon through the opening, and snapped away. I never made it to the park, but I got lots of great pictures because some colorful migratory warblers flew in for a pit stop at our Bird Bistro. Click on the grosbeak to bring up the gallery where you can see our visitors. It was fun and photography right in my own back yard. No field trip required!

Thanks for visiting my corner of Ohio today.
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

Do you have a preference: mono or color?

I’m making an effort to learn something about black and white photography. With digital cameras, it is so much easier than it used to be with film, but there are still things to be learned about processing mono images to bring out the various tones to their fullest effect. There is definitely a learning curve for someone (like me) just dipping their toes in the water for the first time. Color attracts me. I am drawn to it. Mono or black and white images are very different creatures than those in full living color. We live in a world full of colors, and I am thankful for that; however, I’m willing to take a giant step outside my comfort zone and see what I can learn about processing monochromatic images. So I am beginning to experiment by posting some mono photos along with my usual colored ones and also by participating in the MonoMonday challenge on blipfoto.com. Here are two images for comparison…first the mono, then the color version:

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

I trekked through a field of mud and stubble to reach this little ice-covered pond, hoping to find the Eastern bluebird and meadowlarks others had seen in the area; however, all I got was some pictures and the possibility of learning more about mono vs color processing. No meadowlarks or bluebirds unfortunately! So after making my way through the stubble and back to the trail, I ended my morning by walking around the bog to get a few pictures there. Our winter weather has been pretty extreme, and the bog has been covered in ice so thick I was able to walk on it last week to get a picture of the screech owl that nests in the bog. Now the ice is melting, and this is what it looks like:

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

In processing the mono image, I chose to add some grittiness to it because that’s the way it seems to me when you take away the color. I’m not sure if I like it that way, but experimenting with the processing is probably the best way to learn. That’s it for today from the north coast of Ohio. If you have any thoughts about mono vs living color, please share them in the comments.

Thanks for stopping by my corner of Ohio today.
Carolyn aka Skip

P.S. I also posted a different mono image on Blipfoto today. If you are interested, you can see it here.

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

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

Cold; no, scratch that! Freezing!

We ventured out this morning for brunch, followed by our traditional New Year’s Day photoshoot on Headlands Beach. Seven people and two dogs made the trek this year. That’s Lake Erie you see behind us in the distance. Headlands Beach is located about 25 miles east of Cleveland, Ohio, and in the summer time, crowds of beach-goers fill the park, and the air is redolent with the scent of hot dogs, hamburgers, and other picnic foods cooking on the grills. Today, the crowds were absent. The temperature at our home was about 27 degrees Fahrenheit, but it was a lot colder on the beach. Figure in the wind chill, and it was finger numbing frosty. My fingers still weren’t thawed by the time we drove home, and I told my grandson this venture had cured me of any possible interest in an expedition to the south pole. Not that I ever expressed such an interest. We didn’t linger on the beach. I set up the tripod; they gathered around the (cold metal) bench, and blip! I snapped the shutter a few times, and we headed for the cars.

In the picture you see my husband and two of our daughter standing behind the bench, with three of our grandchildren in front.

Waiting for the summer crowds to show up!

Waiting for the summer crowds to show up!

I told Alison to "Stand there while I check the focus."

I told Alison to “Stand there while I check the focus.”

The intrepid ones who braved the cold winds off Lake Erie

The intrepid ones who braved the cold winds off Lake Erie

Michael volunteered to take this shot so I could be in the picture.

Michael volunteered to take this shot so I could be in the picture.

That’s it for this first day of the new year. I hope you vicariously enjoyed your visit to the beach. Happy New Year, everyone!
Carolyn aka Skip