Seen Along the Trail

Photos taken on my daily walks

Posts from the ‘winter’ category

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

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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2013_02_04_nature_081
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

Winter Wonderland

Consecutive days of snowfall have turned our park into a winter wonderland, making for some wonderful photo opportunities. The tree branches and fence rails are heavily laden with snow, and the wildlife have gone into “mooching mode.” With a deep blanket of snow covering their source of food, the animals have become conditioned to turn to humans for help. I posted more about this phenomenon here in my Blipfoto journal. Last winter we had very little snow. It was an easy winter for drivers and for the wildlife, but this week, just the second week of this winter, has been very different. Since Wednesday (four days ago), we have been blessed (depending on your point of view) by something like 15 inches of snow. It’s beautiful and makes for pretty pictures. It really is a winter wonderland. I hope you enjoy the pictures (Click on the first picture to open up the gallery).

Thanks for stopping by today. I hope you enjoyed the snowy walk.
Carolyn aka Skip

Can’t they get it right?

Brrrr! It was a cold morning in the park. I encountered a mother with her snowsuited toddler and felt envious of his warm winter snowssuit. It was cold and it was snowy, but they (the national weather service people), never manage to get it right. They predicted that it would snow through Friday night and all day Saturday, dropping up to a total of 6-12 inches on us and neighboring counties in northeast Ohio. Well, as you can see from the pictures that didn’t happen. It snowed on Friday and then stopped. Someone in northeast Ohio may have seen the predicted foot of snow, but it wasn’t us. I don’t mind, well, not much anyway. We did get enough to make the park look pretty, but I just wish they wouldn’t be so definite about their prognostications. Six-12 inches? No way! Oh well, the winter is still young. There’s plenty of time for snow. Below are a few of my keepers for today. Hope you like them.

Carolyn aka Skip

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Bird watching

My photo walk this morning turned out to be a bird walk. All the photo opps that presented themselves were birds, and they were real “posers”, as in posing for the camera. It was a great morning for a walk: some filtered sunshine, no wind, and relatively mild temperatures for February….somewhere approaching 40 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s a good thing I took my walk early, however, because, by mid-afternoon when I went grocery shopping, the wind had picked up and the sun was AWOL. So let’s take a little bird walk, shall we? You won’t even need your coat or binoculars. Just enjoy the beauty of our feathered friends.

The blue jay, usually camera shy, posed long enough for me to capture two good pictures:


The black-capped chickadee is never camera shy. Put down a few peanuts, and he zips right into camera range.

Don’t you wonder how those spindly little legs can hold him up?

And my favorite for the day: the downy woodpecker. His antics are comical to watch as he lands on the bench and waddles (Truly, he waddles) down the back of the bench until he reaches the peanuts. Here he paused in mid-waddle long enough for me to snap off a few shots. This one was the best of the bunch.

Woodpeckers are much more adept at flying and drilling holes in trees than they are at walking, but they get where they want to go, and this little fellow got his peanuts.

That’s the end of the bird walk for today. I saw more, but these were the pick of the lot. I hope you enjoyed them. If you’re wondering where the deer are today, I was wondering too. Yesterday they were all over the place. Today I didn’t see a single deer. You just never know what you might encounter on a walk in the woods.

Thanks for visiting the south shore of Lake Erie today. See you soon.
~Carolyn aka Skip

So much beauty, so little time!

I don’t have much blogging time tonight, so any extensive writing is going to have to wait for another day, and I will limit today’s post to mostly pictures. The sun was shining this morning, replacing yesterday’s grey skies. I was surrounded by beauty on my morning photo walk, and I am excited to be able to share some sunny, but snowy, landscapes (along with one bird). In my last post, I wrote about setting the bar (i.e. my standards) high. That’s what I tried to do when I chose these pictures, so I hope you enjoy the scenery.

Thanks for visiting my corner of Ohio today.
~Carolyn aka Skip



And now for the bird: a northern cardinal, the state bird of Ohio and a few other states too…