On the ropes

As in my last post, we have Finches feeding off our back porch year around, even when snow is on the ground. Where they nest I have no idea, but I sure know where they eat. As I mentioned earlier, these little guys move pretty fast and never sit still for more than a second or so. Thus, I often have to open my lens wide as possible, and raise the ISO to get a good focus. It helps to shoot continuous high speed too. (Nikon D300, ISO 800, 300mm, f5.6, 1/500 sec. Developed in Lightroom 3 Beta 2)

Red and Yellow Apart

I have found by experience that one of the hardest birds for me to focus on are Finches. They flit and zip all over the place, never seeming to stand still when their favorite food thistle is available—as it is here in one of the thistle socks we have hanging near our back porch. There are four such socks hanging close together, and at times it looks like a real battle is at play when up to 20 (top count thus far) all show up all at once. My solution regarding focus is to use the highest speed available depending on light, and sometimes that means at maximum aperture I will have to raise the ISO, as I did here to 800. Any noise generated in the resulting image can be removed easily using the newest Beta version of Lightroom 3. (Nikon D300, 300mm, f5.6, 1/400 sec)

Dreamlike Gull

I took the original rather flat color image of a seagull I saw in Florida a month or so ago, and adjusted the colors and other settings in Lightroom  (negative clarity being key) so it became much softer in appearance—almost dreamlike in a way. The wind was blowing very hard at the time, and the bird’s feathers show the result. I also liked the way the bird’s eye seems half shut. Sleepy or keeping the sand out?  (Nikon D300, ISO 200, 200mm, f6.3, 1/1000sec)


The saddest outcome of the massive oil spill along the Gulf Coast is the impact on the livelyhood of millions of people who depend on the ecosystems in the region. Having said that, close behind will be the impact it will have on wildlife—especially pelicans and other shore birds. I took this image earlier this year in Florida, as one pelican stands guard while the other rests, albeit with eyes open for possible trouble. Hopefully, the most recent spill will not be as bad as the one in Alaska several years ago—but it looks like it will—maybe worse. When will man learn to be more careful. (Nikon D300, ISO 200, f5.6, 1/800 sec. Developed in Lightroom 3 Beta 2)

Difficult Bird to Find

This is a Snow Bunting. I was lucky enough to get fairly close to this little guy during a two–week cruise to the Bering Sea region including Eastern Siberia. Specifically, I took this photo at Providence Bay, near the Russian city of Provideniya. To say this is a remote location is a gross understatement, and I consider myself very fortunate to have been able to walk the ground where few others have been. The best thing about this for a photographer, is that you absolutely do not have to look hard for something to photograph. (Nikon D70s, ISO 400, 300mm, f11, 1/200 sec. Developed in Lightroom 2.7)

Blue Eyed Goose

I never really paid any attention when I snapped this photo at an old farm in the Blue Ridge of Virginia, but when developing the image I realized this goose has blue eyes. Do all geese have blue eyes? (Nikon D300, ISO 200, 50mm, f5.6, 1/500 sec. Developed in Lightroom 2.6)

Gulls Talking

Laughing Gulls do, in fact, sound like they are laughing as they loudly and constantly shriek their high–pitched cries from overhead along the beach shore. This gull is NOT one of the laughing variety, but is from what I can figure out using my Birds of North America Field Guide, a Lesser Black–Backed Gull, and a rough looking one at that. If this bird could talk, I imagine it saying something like, “Yo, camera person, you talking to me?” (Canon G11, ISO 80, 30mm, f4.5, 1/125 sec. Developed in Lightroom 3, Beta 2, with a Topaz Adjust 4 layer added to add some “spice” to the scene.)

Easter Weekend Rest

After several days working to enlarge our backyard garden (I doubled its size this year), plus yesterday carrying and spreading almost 500 pounds of packaged cow manure (loading it all into my vehicle at Lowes, unloading it into my garden tractor’s cart next to the garage and hauling it to the garden; and then, finally, carrying it bag by bag into the garden to spread with my tiller), I was (to say the least) pooped. Therefore, like this Laughing Gull taking a break in the warm sand in Florida, I’m going to do the same (less the sand) this weekend. Back Monday. (Nikon D300, ISO 200, 200mm, f11, 1/640 sec. Developed in Lightroom 3, Beta 2)