Sharing moments in time…

Posts tagged “bird

Weekly Photo Challenge: Mirror

We had plenty of opportunities for this “mirror” challenge while in the Arctic region of Svalbard, Norway.  I chose to use this photo from a glacier bay that was being fed by 5 different glaciers.  The bay contained uncountable chunks of ice floating around – ranging from small icebergs that had calved off the glaciers to much smaller pieces of ice that the glacier had ejected.  This “mini-berg” had been inhabited by many kittiwakes who were preening themselves in the mirror-like reflections in the bay.   A beautiful late afternoon Arctic scene….

Cold Kittiwakes

Cold Kittiwakes



Weekly Photo Challenge: Ephemeral

One of the things that I love about wildlife photography is that you are always trying to catch that one moment that captures the beauty or the essence of your subject.  These moments tend to happen very quickly and you have to be ready for them – sometimes after long waiting times or disappointments.   While we were in Australia, I had caught glimpses of large, mostly white parrots of some kind flying around but in every case, we were either in a car or otherwise unable to capture a good shot of them.  As we found out later, the bird was a Sulpher Crested Cockatoo which are fairly common in some parts of Australia – including the botanical gardens in Sydney.  I went out one morning and spent a few hours trying to catch a shot like the one below.  I think it qualifies as  “Ephemeral” because a fraction of a second earlier or later would not have done this incredible bird justice….

...a fleeting, flying moment

…a fleeting, flying moment

Shadow Feet….

I hadn’t taken my camera out since we returned from Yellowstone so I thought I’d go to a local lake and see if I could find anything unusual flying around,  As it turns out, almost nothing was flying so I just sat there and enjoyed the morning.  After a while, this egret walked up through the water.  The light was behind him and the lake was still….and I noticed that in his shadow you could see his feet underwater while the rest of the water was opaque.  I thought it was a cool effect so I took a couple of shots like this one.

Maybe its time to have my toes done.....

Maybe its time to have my toes done…..

In the Air Again…..

A quick post to say that we’re on our way overseas again – this time to Europe and a river cruise on the Rhine/Main and Danube Rivers.  It’ll be a day or two before we get connectivity again so I figured I’d post this photo to signify we are getting ready for takeoff as this is published.  Before you ask, this is a composite photo made up of the sunrise over the field/mist and an inflight photo of a Great Blue Turaco.  I took both photos in Uganda about two days apart.  I thought I’d combine them to get an interesting subject on a spectacular background.  Hope you enjoy and forgive the photo manipulation on my part…….  I’ll post again soon from Germany.

Great Blue Turaco in Sunrise Background

Seeing Triple

So I got up this morning, had some caffeine, and for some reason thought about trying to capture the hummingbirds in my backyard in a different way.  I have never really used the multiple exposure feature of my cameras but I thought it would be fun – but maybe impossible – to capture a multiple exposure of a hummingbird feeding on our flowered bushes.  So I grabbed my tripod and camera and made the long 30 foot trek to the edge of the canyon we live on. I was a little late for “peak” morning hummingbird time but I did get a couple of opportunities to try the shot.  While this one is a little busy and the flowers aren’t in great focus  (the wind was blowing), the hummingbird did manage to be clear in three different positions in one sequence.

Crowded in them thar bushes.....

Crowded in them thar bushes…..

I also had an opportunity to get a large (single) bee of some sort moving between the blooms…..

Just passing through....

Just passing through….

Maybe not the greatest photos in the world in terms of art but they were fun to experiment with.  A bored photographer is a dangerous thing….



I’ve posted a few pics of local hummingbirds on this blog.  All of them are hovering over, or on, flowers – happily feeding.  I  like this photo because the hummer is  in flight away from the flowers and everything else, including his wings, is blurred.  I also liked the muted background colors with a mixture of morning blue skies, green plants, and a few pink flowers.

Faster than a speeding.....

Faster than a speeding…..

A few minutes in my backyard….

Couldn’t decide what to post today so thought I’d just sit by some flowering bushes in my backyard to see what flew by…….

Orange Hummer

Orange Hummer

My first visitor was what I think is a Rufous Hummingbird.  They’re elusive little guys but I managed to get this one in pretty good focus.

Monday Morning Busy Bee

Monday Morning Busy Bee

There weren’t as many other birds around as there usually are so I figured I’d practice on some bees – got this guy as he was coming into a landing on this flower.

Weekly Photo Challenge: On the Move

When I was at the beach the other day, I was surrounded by what seemed like hundreds of these little shorebirds (Plovers?).  I set my camera to a relatively long shutter speed to try and capture their motion as they all ran by me  as a group.  The effect of the birds, their reflection in the surf, and the motion led to an interesting abstract of the birds – “on the move”.

Beach Birds in Motion.....

Beach Birds in Motion…..


Monday Commute from the Suburbs…..

At least there doesn’t seem to be any traffic……

Flying into the week...

Flying into the week…

Africa – Lilac Breasted Roller

I always seem to forget to post pictures of some of the incredibly colorful birds that we encounter during our trips.  I thought I’d post this photo of a bird that seems to be common throughout Africa but is amazingly beautiful.  They are even more beautiful when they fly but I did not manage to get a good flying photo 😦  Hope you enjoy.

Roller showing his colors

Roller showing his colors

Another reason (for me) to give thanks….

I just had yet another reason to give thanks for all of our blessings this year.  A non-profit environmental organization in Queensland Australia sent me a note asking for permission to use one of my photos (posted on my Flickr site in a proposal to “promote restoration of  degraded habitat for iconic species such as the Jabiru”.   They offered to pay me for the use of the photo but I told them it is not necessary – I am absolutely thrilled that one of my photos will be used for such a noble cause.  I have always hoped that in some very small way my photography and this blog might contribute to the preservation of wildlife and the appreciation of the vast diversity of the natural world.  I am extremely grateful that my photo will be put to that use.

Here is the photo that they requested to use – I hadn’t yet used it for one of my posts.  I didn’t even know that this bird was known as a Jabiru as they are called Black Necked Storks in India where the photo was taken.  Our guide in India told us this was the first time he had ever seen one of these distinctive storks actually flying away with a snake as  its next meal.  Hope you enjoy – and Happy Thanksgiving!!

Mobile Meal

Mobile Meal

Another comment on the Budget mess – and a nice Owl picture

As much as I tried, I can’t resist another photographic comment on the US budget impasse.  I chose this photo because of the adage of the “wise old owl”.  It is time for our “leaders” to get the truly wise people together, discard the harmful rehetoric of the “wise guys” (those with more bluster than knowledge), and  find the common ground that we all know is there.  Any of us who have ever been in a management and/or leadership position know that these types of compromises are made on a daily basis at all levels of organizations.  Just lock yourself in a room until you get it done.

The wisest member of the House?

The wisest member of the House?

The second subliminal message of this post meant for our leaders is WE ARE WATCHING YOU, WE REMEMBER…….and WE VOTE.

Weekly Photo Challenge: An Unusual POV

Once again this challenge relates to some of my recent posts – of Puffins in Alaska.  I have to admit this photo is not only an unusual POV – it is actually a mistake!  I was trying to get a sea-level view of a tufted puffin take off run where they skip across the water before flying.  Everything went fine except that with the boat rocking and the inaccuracies of the photographer (me), the focus point ended up being on one of the “hop” splashes instead of the bird.  On the positive side, as soon as I downloaded this photo, I really like the effect of the focused splash with the bird ghosted going away from the camera.  Since this Challenge is part of the ongoing Photography 101 series, the other camera settings that contribute to this shot were a fast shutter speed to freeze the action (1/1000 sec) and a relatively wide aperture for a narrow depth of field (f 5.6).  I hope you enjoy my mistake!



Alaska – Horned Puffin this time

Yesterday was tufted puffins – today the horned variety.  Named after the small “horns” that can be seen coming vertically off the eyelid.  These puffins can also be distinguished from their tufted relatives by the yellow based/red tipped beak.  They are also pelagic birds that are commonly seen on the ocean surface or diving for fish – they actually are built for “flying” underwater to be able to catch their prey.  I caught this one starting its take-off “roll” skipping across the waves as our boat went by…..

Aquatic Aeronaut

Aquatic Aeronaut

Alaska – Puffins!

During last years’ trip to Alaska we went on a couple of excursions hoping to get decent pictures of the colorful Puffins – the small black and white torpedo shaped birds with the colorful beaks and the expressive eyes.  At the end of the trip we had seen a few puffins but failed to get any compelling photos.  This year we saw many more puffins (both horned and tufted) and I was able to capture what I think are some pretty fair photos.  I’ll just use today’s post to introduce you to the tufted Puffins.

Tufted Puffin shaking off the rain

Tufted Puffin shaking off the rain

This is a tufted puffin – easily identified by the yellow tufts of feathers running down its neck.  The orange beak and feet make the puffins very identifiable even when passing by low over the water at high speeds.  This puffin was at a little island called “gull rock” which is a rookery for many types of marine birds including the puffins.  While the puffins spend most of their lives at sea (they are pelagic), they breed on the islands and produce a single egg.  After hatching, the fledglings leave the nest in about 40-50 days.


Alaska – A young’n bald eagle

Just realized that I hadn’t posted a pic of a bald eagle since we’ve been up here.  When our bear camp was cancelled we spent a few days chasing after eagles to fill our days and our memory cards.  This young eagle was just taking a high dive off a stump in a place called deep creek which is north of Homer.  They are majestic flyers – young or mature.  Hope you enjoy!

Nice form!!

Nice form!!

Back to Yellowstone – Angry Bird? (Duck)

I took this photo of this Goldeneye Duck at trout lake in Yellowstone park back in May.  It was a nice calm morning as you can see by the water but this duck looked really aggravated that we were sharing his lake….

"Yeah - I'm look'in at YOU!!

“Yeah – I’m look’in at YOU!!

“Quoth the Raven – Nevermore”

I’ve taken various photos of Ravens at different times and places and have always been disappointed in the results.  They are difficult models due to their dark colors hiding the details or the sheen of their feathers blowing out any highlights.  This is probably the best Raven shot I’ve done to date.  There were a number of these amazing birds surfing the air currents off of Santa Rosa island (part of the Channel Islands National Park) about 30 miles off the coast of California, north of LA) where we were camping last week.  I figured with the monochromatic nature of the bird that a Black and White processing might be effective – I added a little blue tint to give it a more “cool” look.   Hope you enjoy it.

Raven riding the wind

Raven riding the wind

Weekly Photo Challenge: Golden Hour

Great topic with many wonderful opportunities.  Here’s a couple from the Bosque Del Apache in New Mexico last December.  All of these are Sandhill Cranes during their winter stay in the south.  All three of these are at different stages of the Golden Hour.  The first is just when the sun is slightly above the horizon, lighting the crane but not the surrounding hills.


Landing lights on….

The next was taken about 20 minutes later – Sandhills on the pond as the magnificent New Mexico sun slips behind the mountains and paints the sky….

The cranes seem to enjoy the New Mexico sunset also!

The cranes seem to enjoy the New Mexico sunset also!

The last photo was taken almost immediately after the previous one.  One of the final Sandhills coming in during the last light of the golden hour.

Last light landing

Last light landing



Weekly Photo Challenge: Companionable

I’ve shared numerous pics of my two dogs on this blogs and even one or two of my wife – so I thought I’d try some different companions.  I went out earlier this week hoping to get a few good birds in flight photos but nothing much was flying around – luckily, it turned out to be baby duck day at Lake Murray with numerous groups of newborns cruising the Lake.  I zeroed in on this couple of sibling “companions” as they went about their business.

Birds of a feather - or at least feather "fuzz"

Birds of a feather – or at least feather “fuzz”

I know the rules said you can never get enough cat photos but I hope that also applies to ducklings – even though these “companions” sometimes appeared to be going in different directions…..


Which way do we go?

Which way do we go?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Curves

This one was a pretty easy choice for me since I was checking out a new lens combination at the San Diego River inlet last evening.  This very cooperative lesser blue heron gave me a good test subject as I took a variety of photos.  Of course herons are great examples of long, graceful curves that are constantly changing as they move around.  Here’s my curvaceous beauty for the challenge.

"Look at the curves on that one!!"

“Look at the curves on that one!!”

Weekly Photo Challenge: Fleeting

As wildlife photography is my favorite genre, Fleeting is a concept that I am very intimate with – seemingly every opportunity is characterized by the quickly changing and imminently vanishing nature of….nature.  It almost like all the creatures have minds of their own!  In any case, to me nothing captures this aspect of photography better than birds.  In many cases they will come close and pose only to quickly depart the scene as you raise your lens….  This is one of those moments where my lens caught a quick view of that moment.  This was taken during our Yellowstone trip a couple of weeks ago…..

"Bye bye!"

“Bye bye!”

Backyard Hummingbird

While up in Yellowstone with my Scottish friends, I was surprised that they do not have hummingbirds over there – and had never seen one.  I took this photo in my San Diego backyard on Thursday to send to them as just a quick snapshot of our frequent visitors.  I always find these guys fascinating.  Whether you have them around your locale or not, I hope you enjoy.

Hummingbird Humming

Hummingbird Humming

Osprey Diagonal

While I was out the other morning at the beach, I saw a large bird coming at me and immediately thought it must be one of the local ospreys.  It definitely was and it flew directly over me on its way across the inlet.  I got this nice shot of him showing his colors as he stared down at me with those yellow eyes.  OBTW – this will be my last post for a few days as I make my way up to Yellowstone National Park.  I’ll hopefully have some nice photos to share once I arrive there…..

Looks like he might be checking to see whether he could carry me...

Looks like he might be checking to see whether he could carry me…