Birding again

You would never believe that it got so warm today I had to take off my jacket…and it was only a spring jacket. The sun showed its face occasionally, but the skies were mostly cloudy. This morning we even had a thunderstorm, much to Gulliver’s dismay. The crackles and booms turn him into a quivering furball. Storms are expected for tonight too, so along about mid-afternoon, I headed for the park. Didn’t want to chance leaving it for much later and encountering the predicted storms.

The birds were busy, and I was excited to see my first bright yellow and black male goldfinch for this season. …such a striking bird. Unfortunately he didn’t hang around for a photo opp. I also spotted sparrows, titmice, and redwing blackbirds, but most of my pictures are woodpeckers: a downy that picked up a peanut chip I dropped near him on the ground and a red-bellied woodpecker that did quite a bit of posing for me. I’m beginning to suspect that they have a healthy streak of vanity. It’s beginning to thunder already, so maybe I should shut down the computer until it passes over, but not until after I post my pictures from today’s walk.

That’s all for right now. I may be back later, but that depends on the weather. Rain is falling now. I can’t complain though because we haven’t had much rain lately.

Carolyn aka Skip

Meet Cooper

After the sudden loss last month of their beloved sheepdog Millie, my daughter’s family found that it just didn’t seem right not to have a dog around the house. After much research and discussion, they found one that seemed right for their family. Two weeks ago Cooper, a Portuguese water dog, moved in and is doing his best to fill the hole in their hearts. Here are the first pictures I have taken of him:

Chewing on something in the backyard

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Listening to strange sounds
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Being held by Michael…

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Being held by Emmy…

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Millie is missed, but Cooper seems to have found his “forever home”, and I have to admit that he is adorable.

That’s it from northeast Ohio this time. See you soon.
Carolyn aka Skip

I feel squeezed!

My days have been extra hectic lately, and I feel squeezed between my desire, no, my need, to get outside and take pictures and all the other things that are demanding too much of my time. Finally today, I have found a little extra time, but now the weather is being uncooperative. It took a turn back to winter over the weekend, with 40 degree days and cloudy skies taking the place of sunny and 70! Oh well, spring is noted for her fickle behavior, so what can we expect? I took my walk in the park anyway, and here are some of the pictures I captured.

Note: For some reason, I am not able to select “large” for the picture size today, but if you want to see a larger version of any of these critters, just click on them.

First, a “potted squirrel”. I only had to walk out my door and there he was posing for me, sitting in a flower pot under my neighbor’s tree.
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Once in the park, I discovered a lack of birds willing to pose. Most of them must have been nested down, snuggled up, or clinging tightly to twigs so they wouldn’t be blown hither and yon by the very stiff breeze. There was a noticeable lack of bird song, but here are a few that braved the weather.

a cardinal…

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a blue jay…

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…and a downy woodpecker

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My two favorite “posers” for today were the chickadee and the titmouse:

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And now for the two that brought a smile to my face when I brought them up on my computer, a crabby blue jay and a decidedly windblown cardinal that looks a bit like “the morning after” a bad night…

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I hope they brought a smile to your face too!

That’s it for my photo walk today. Despite the chilly wind, it was a good walk. Thanks for visiting my little corner of Ohio today. See you soon.

Skip aka Carolyn

First heron of the season

I headed out to North Chagrin Reservation in search of some swallows, but found herons instead. There was nary a swallow in sight. That I don’t understand because they are usually flying over the marsh and resting on the railings of the boardwalk. Instead, the herons were flying over the marsh and wading in it in search of their meal. So a heron it is today!

First he spread his wings and shook them to fluff out his feathers.

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Then he positioned himself carefully and posed for the “Great Bird Profile Competition.” 
He does look like a winner, doesn’t he? 

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Thanks for stopping by today. I must be up at silly o’clock in the morning, so I am off to bed before it gets any later. This has been a slightly cool but lovely day in northeast Ohio. More of the same tomorrow, I hope.

See you soon.
Carolyn aka Skip

First heron of the season

I headed out to North Chagrin Reservation in search of some swallows, but found herons instead. There was nary a swallow in sight. That I don’t understand because they are usually flying over the marsh and resting on the railings of the boardwalk. Instead, the herons were flying over the marsh and wading in it in search of their meal. So a heron it is today!

First he spread his wings and shook them to fluff out his feathers.

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Then he positioned himself carefully and posed for the “Great Bird Profile Competition.” 
He does look like a winner, doesn’t he? 

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Thanks for stopping by today. I must be up at silly o’clock, so it’s time to sign off.

Eureka! (An addendum to my previous post)

I probably should title this post “Learning the Hard Way” because I learned something new about my camera this week, and it has improved my image quality and lessened the amount of post-processing I have to do. Happily, I am much better pleased with my images. Unhappily, this is something I could have done a long time ago. Because I have been dissatisfied with the quality of my images straight out of the camera, I decided it was time to experiment with the My Menu setting on my Nikon D90. One of the settings I changed was the white balance. I have been playing around with setting the temperature value (if that is the correct way to put it) rather than just using the setting for shadow or shade or daylight. I have a lot to learn about this, but this week I have discovered that it works much better to choose my own color temperature, e.g. 5880K or whatever seems to work well with the scene I am shooting. The very first time I tried it, I noticed a difference in my images. There were a lot more keepers (by my standards at least, and I honestly try to set my standards fairly high). That was the Eureka moment. Here are a few of the photos from my recent photo walks. All of them were taken in our neighborhood park over the past three days.

That’s it for today. Thanks for indulging me in my “aha” moment. I’ve been having so much fun and just wanted to share the results.

Carolyn aka Skip

Spring photography experiments

The title of today’s post is somewhat misleading. Yes, it is spring, and I am engaged in some experiments with my camera, but the two are only tangentially related. Our spring has been an unusually early one, a bit of a treat for us nature photographers. The experiments came about as a result of my dissatisfaction with my recent photoshoot results. I’ve been puzzled about the quality of the straight-out-of-the-camera photos, so I decided to play around a bit with my camera settings. Nikon has a feature called “My Menu.” It allows the photographer to change the camera settings and create a personalized menu using the new settings. Yesterday I started playing around with the setting, and the out-of-camera results made me much happier. Today I made some more changes, went out shooting, and had even more fun. A light rain was falling during most of my walk, the quality of the light was pretty dull, in sharp contrast to the light on my walk yesterday evening, and the temperature was in the low forties! Here are a few of the photos from this morning’s walk:

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And here is”The techy stuff”…

  • Image quality: RAW
  • Active D-Lighting: Low
  • Color space: sRGB
  • White balance: 4550 K
  • ISO: 500
  • Exposure compensation: -0.7 (for most pictures)

That’s all for today. It’s Tuesday, my babysitting evening, and I have a lot to accomplish before I pick up my young charge at her daycare for a full and fun evening with her and her sister. Thanks for visiting. I hope you will come back for another visit soon.

 

Easter Monday morning

The day dawned with sunshine and cool temperatures. I dutifully did some post-family-gathering chores around the house, then headed for the park for a photo walk. The birds were chirping, trilling, and serenading the arrival of spring, and they were more than willing to post for a photo opp. I experimented with some changes to my camera settings, and I was happy with the results.

Thanks for stopping by. Tomorrow isn’t promising us the lovely weather we enjoyed today. The sn _ _ word was mentioned, but hopefully just a tiny bit of it that doesn’t stick around for long. Let’s all cross our fingers.

Carolyn aka Skip

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