I’d not photographed Black Swans before last weekend. It was by accident that I walked upon them feeding in the shallows of a local lake. As I got closer to them, the male (I assume) raised his long neck and started “hooting” at me, with a deep throated sound. I made my photos and then walked along not wanted to disturb their peaceful activities. They seemed much larger in size than the White Swans I’d photographed before, but that may just have been my imagination. Nice birds, all of them.
Category Archives: Animals
I don’t get that many opportunities locally to make photos of farm animals, so when I do find them, I have to stop and see what I can get with my camera. I pulled off the road and made these out of the car’s window, then cropped the result in post processing to get what you see. I used my Fujifilm X100T camera and its fixed 23mm lens is so good that when I crop in close the image (horse) is still relatively sharp, not like I want but close enough.
Just a hint of Fall colors here in SW Virginia, with our Dogwood Trees turning slightly, backed by still bright green Tulip Poplars, which by the way have devilish leaves to clean up after they hit the ground later in the season. Thankfully, we have a yard man and crew to deal with it all. Such goes with my age and relative health–help from yard man and crew that is.
I’m not sure what the proper name of these flowers is, but we call them “Chickens.” I just transplanted this bunch to this location and they seem to be doing fine. The bushy flowers turn pink in the Fall, then the whole plant dries up waiting for Spring.
We’ve been having late season thunderstorms here in SW Virginia, and yesterday afternoon we lost electric power for several hours. Short outage thankfully. But, it was still dark in the house given the gully-washer rains outside with dark clouds. Thus, out came the emergency lantern, which serves well on the kitchen table. Not wanting to sit in the scary dark by herself, our cat Boots jumped on the table (pulled herself up actually using a chair for assistance) to get “into the light.” Cats are indeed cool.
They glide through the wind on wings wide and strong, looking much, much better above than they do when on the ground, feasting on road kill or whatever. The part of SW Virginia where we live is a stopping point for the annual migration of these large birds so I have lots of opportunities to make some photos, given my bent neck looking up holds out.
Visiting the Booker T. Washington National Monument in Southwest Virginia is always a great photo opportunity, except on those days when it seems like every elementary school kid within a 50-mile radius is there on a field trip. It was pretty much me alone the day I was there recently, and that’s what I like :-) One feels transported back in time while there.
I am not what one might refer to as a “horse person” but I do enjoy making photographs of them when I find them, and can get near enough to make the images interesting. There is a large horse farm near Winston-Salem, NC which I often pass by and from time to time I’ll stop while driving past to see if there are any nice photo opportunities. I especially like the first image because it represents to me a peaceful setting with the grazing horses — a scene which one might use as the basis for a painting. I wanted to add a couple of close-ups as well so as to better tell my photo story.
Here’s a nice contrast between two images I made while on a 2007 cruise to Alaska and the Bering Sea. As we cruised along the Aleutian Island chain toward the Bering Sea, we were expecting rough waters based on what we’d seen on TV, and very wet weather. Not so this day! I liked the small duck who floated by our ship, with nice patterns on the smooth water’s surface. Plus, while I never did capture a Humpback Whale fully out of the water, I did get a very nice image of the tail portion of a large one with water splashing down. It takes a lot of practice to time your shot just right. So, when we saw evidence of whales in the area, there were lots of shutter “clicks” being heard by the many digital camera photographers on board.
Before our 2007 trip to Alaska, my wife Barb and I had been there together on two other occasions. We saw lots of wildlife, including black and brown bears, but never really up close. With our 100-passenger cruise ship anchored in a sheltered bay in Katmai National Park, we formed into small groups and boarded Zodiac inflatable boats with outboard motor, and with a guide at the tiller, off we went to see what we could find over several hours of riding slowly and as silently as we could along the shoreline with lots of undersea vegetation exposed. We were, in my opinion lucky to have an extremely capable guide who knew where to look. And what we saw caused our jaws to drop open in awe, and camera shutters began clicking excitedly. We were required to stay about fifty yards away from any bears we saw, and to be as inconspicuous as possible. Some like me had 300mm telephoto lens attached so we were able to get in much closer visually than the fifty yard limit. Our guide told us about a passenger he had on another cruise who had a habit of whistling to get a bear’s attention so it would look into the camera lens. After he did it twice, the guide told him once more and he’d be banned from further excursions. So, we were being exceptionally quiet.
As we floated along we began to see bear after bear, feeding and otherwise browsing around the intertidal zone. There were two mother bears with cub and I was able to capture several very nice images of them. Then there was the “sleeping bear” we snuck up on. What a scene! In fact it was so good, I had the photo enlarged professionally and framed and it is now hanging over the head of my bed. While the photo opportunities came one after another, we eventually began to find fewer bears. But we did spot an Eagle sitting along the shoreline. And then I spotted a young brown bear walking down the shoreline toward the Eagle. My heart raced and I prayed the Eagle would not fly away. Thankfully, the majestic bird sat solidly as the large brown bear walked by. It was an incredible photo opportunity and something I will always remember.
In summary, that day seeing so many brown bears in Katmai was a distinct highlight of our two week trip But, there’s more to show you so stay tuned for the next installment.