Many years ago, when Bob and I relocated from central Pennsylvania to the south shore of Lake Erie, I was a stay-at-home-mom with three little girls. We moved into our new home in January, and we hadn’t been living here for long when I realized that something was missing, something I was accustomed to in my former home, something I had taken for granted: sunshine! That’s when I first realized that living on the south shore of Lake Erie is a mixed blessing…great in the summer, but not so great in the winter, unless you really like grey days!
That long ago experience is significant today because this morning the sun was shining, and I was finally able to get a few good pictures of the little juncos, or snow birds, that are winter residents of the back yard bird buffet. They are adorable little birds and fun to watch, but getting a sharp picture of the little snow birds is a challenge because they blend right in with their surroundings. The sunshine made a big difference this morning, and here are the pictures I captured. It was definitely a rare event.
That’s it for today.
Thanks for visiting the Back Yard Birds.
My project for this week is assembling a portfolio of my winter trail walks . Although I take regular walks in Chagrin River Park which is only five minutes from my home, another of my favorite places to walk is Holden Arboretum. If you follow my blog regularly, you have seen many pictures from my walks along the Arboretum’s trails. Today’s post is a compilation of my personal favorites from the last three months of trail walks in the Arboretum. It is a special place, and we are blessed to have it so close to home…not quite as close as Chagrin River Park, but only about 20 minutes from home to the entrance. So put on your boots and let’s head down the trail for a snowy walk!
As we continue to ease eagerly into spring, I hope you enjoyed today’s wintery trail walk.
Thanks for joining me on the trail today.
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.
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…
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!
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.
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…
Last, but definitely not least, a picture of my hubby and our buddy Gulliver, taken on yesterday’s walk in the park.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.