Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Bird Crazy

I know, I know.  3 out of the last 4 posts have been about birds.  But, I've said it before and I'll say it again.  You shoot what you got in front of you.  I actually thought the shots of herons were done for the year due to I haven't seen them at their usual haunts lately.  But, as I was driving by a small park today, I saw a whole 'herd" of ducks and geese on the pond and in between them all stood this heron.  As you can see by the look on his face/beak, I think he was slightly perturbed at all the dinner company.  But, his being focused on his angst towards the geese allowed me to sneak up on him and grab some close shots.

Monday, September 17, 2012

What could be more beautiful....

Nothing more than a happy bride.  I almost feel sad for the bouquet of flowers she's holding.  When I first saw this shot while going through my photos from brother-in-law's wedding of a week ago, I was, at first, really happy.  Then, I saw the big white post holding up a tent awning just inches from my new sister-in-law's  face.  It was just one of those moments where you grab a shot real fast without the time allowance of making sure the shot was composed with no extra elements to take away from the picture. I put the picture aside, but, I kept thinking that there must be a way to salvage this shot.  I am far from being a photoshop guru. Actually, I am far from being proficient with photoshop.  But, I decided to give it a try. And after several hours of trial and error (and numerous YouTube videos on how-to) I think I have a nice shot of the bride on her very special day.  Welcome to the family, Darcie.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

You take that direction, I'll take this one

Got out for an early morning drive today.  First time in a long time that I've done that around here.  And what happens when you haven't done something for awhile?  You tend to forget stuff.  I had myself, my coffee, my dog, and my camera.  What could I have forgotten?  Fresh charged batteries, that's what.  I have 5 batteries for my camera.  Each charged battery last so long that I really don't even think about it.  I just recharge them about every 6 months or if I have a trip planned or something.   What I had forgotten was that I've been "snap" happy over the last 30-45 days what with weddings, camping, etc.  I found some interesting shots to take at one point this morning and that's when I learned the hard way.  I didn't even have to look for a freshly charged one.  I knew all batteries in my bag were done.  I started heading back home when I came across the guy/gals in the shot below.  I was kicking myself.  Let's check some of the batteries in the bag and see if I can get at least one shot out of it.  I got lucky.  I was able to get about 20 shots out of one the batteries before the shutter button refused to "click". This is an example of where you make sure every shot you take counts.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Unexpected Visitor

As a photographer, birds are a great subject.  I think back on hearing about bird watchers and bird photographers and I would think," Why? Birds are everywhere. Why focus on looking for them or taking pictures of them?"  Well, I think I've come up with some answers:
  • Birds are everywhere in the world. When you are short on subjects to look at or photograph, you'll find plenty of birds
  • An almost infinite number of species all with their own looks, colors, mannerisms, etc.
  • Photographing and viewing birds usually brings you into nature
  • Taking pictures of birds is not that super hard, but there are challenges unique to the subject
  • You can practice numerous photographic principles while shooting birds
  • When you focus on one type of bird, you can really tell the difference between an o.k. shot and a great shot.
There are many more reasons that "birding" is enjoyable(just ask the millions of people with bird feeders in their yards), but you get the point.  Tonights shot is from my backyard.  I came home from work and sat at my desk to check emails.  I saw out of the corner of my eye something fly into the backyard and when I looked I saw this guy perched on the tip of children's playset about 15 yards in front of me.  Never did I think he would sit for long, so I watched him a bit and then continued on with emails.  I see alot of hawks around here, but never this close.  After 10 minutes, my urges got to me and went out to my car to get my camera never thinking he would still be there when I came back in.  He was, so I grabbed a couple shots through the glass window.  After about 5-8 shots, I decided to try opening my window since this window has no screen on it (!@#$% cat ripped it up).  Hawks are known for being pretty skittish so I thought my shooting was over.  But, nope, he stayed.  He was focused on something down in the grass so I think that was my saving grace.  I started shooting through the open window, but the angle was at a point where I couldn't get the shot I wanted.  I proceeded to move my computer stuff out of the way, slowly climbed  my "not svelte" frame half on the desk and half off.  I think this particular hawk also had a bit of deafness since I was about as quiet as a my daughter and her girlfriends talking about the latest Justin Bieber album.  He sat and almost posed for me while I shot away for about 10 minutes.  And the best part of the story, besides a great shot of this hawk, is that my desk, a desk I built myself, is still here and in one piece.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Do people still send postcards?

We attended a family wedding this weekend in beautiful downtown Chicago. Since I don't spend much time in the city I seem to always approach it like a tourist. The reception for the wedding was on the 95th floor of the John Hancock building.  Yeah, 95th floor.  I know my children were amazed at the view. I don't know if they realize that I was even more amazed.  Tonight's pics are what I would envision seeing on a postcard if someone visited the 95th floor of the Hancock building.  The first shot is a vintage look at Navy Pier, I guess, Chicago's version of Coney Island.  The 2nd and 3rd are views out some of the windows of the building.  Absolutely spectacular.  The kids got a kick out of the swimming pools at the tops of some of the buildings and actually asked if we could live in one of those buildings.  I said, "Sure, as soon as one of you makes your first 5 million, I'll be glad to move in with you in one of those buildings."

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Early color

If the colors on the trees about 6 hours north of Chicago are any indication, fall color will be here early.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A couple more

And lets go with a couple more shots from up North.  The mornings were cool and crisp with brilliant sunshine.  Everything seems to look better with that combination.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Sunlight on the dock of the bay

If I would have had a subject around, even a bird, I could have titled this "Sitting on the dock of the bay" and everyone would be whistling and/or humming that great song in their heads.  But, it was just me and the morning sunlight.  The kids and I made another pilgrimage to the northern part of Wisconsin for a camping weekend.  I got this shot on one of my morning jaunts with a nice sunrise coming up.