2015—Another Morning Bath

I haven’t shot my hummers lately and now that Mady’s here and uses the fountain as her water dish, the hummers tend to avoid it and scold Mady from afar. This morning I noticed one of the hummers bathing (I think it’s the female) and since I already had the camera on the tripod, I walked outside with Mady close at my side. I plunked the tripod down in a way that prevented Mady from heading straight to the fountain to drink. The hummer looked at me, then continued bathing. I’m pretty sure there’s a nest nearby but I can’t find it.

The most interesting thing about these shots is that the shutter speed was 1/25 so I’m lucky that any are in focus.

Focal Length 400mm (on D7100, equivalent of 640mm); ISO 200; f/5.6, 1/25

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2015—You’re Welcome, Mady!

Mady’s with me for ten days. And, she’s on a diet! She has to shed a few pounds so she’s eating some kibble mixed with cooked carrots or other vegetables. I had some frozen butternut squash that I thawed and cooked and smashed and added to her kibble with a little unsalted beef stock. She seems to enjoy the new food but, typical of Mady, when she’s frustrated by something that doesn’t quite go her way, she backs away from it and barks. The moist kibble sticks to the sides of the dog dish and that’s something she’s not used to happening so I had to stir the kibble several times so she could finish it. I ended up just holding the bowl and turning it so she could eat it all. You’re welcome, Mady!

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2015—White Azalea

I was admiring the white azaleas behind the fountain in my backyard which are in glorious full bloom when I noticed the bees were enjoying them, as well. The modest rain we had here a few days ago caused brown spots to appear on some of the blossoms but that didn’t deter the bees.

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2015—Choppie

Immediately upon my return from Texas and Arizona, I had to make a quick trip to Santa Rosa. I stayed with my brother John and met his newly acquired kitty, Choppie, short for Chop Stick. Choppie recently made his way to Santa Rosa from San Diego where he had been a neighborhood cat, owned by no one in particular but fed and tended to by my nephew Michael who was moving to New York City and couldn’t take Choppie along. Michael felt the best solution was to move Choppie to his parents’ house to live with their other cat, whose name escapes me at the moment but I think is called Black Kitty. John and Pam have adopted so many strays over the years that names like Mama Kitty and Baby Kitty (who at 18 was still called Baby Kitty) and Gray Kitty were the rule, not exceptions like the late “Geraldine” and now, Choppie. When I arrived, Choppie had only recently been allowed outdoors and they were pleased that he has acclimated and stays in the yard. His one foray into the next door neighbor’s yard was immediately abandoned when the neighbor’s dog announced his presence. Pam wanted a photograph of Choppie so that if he strayed, they could have a photo of him to put on “lost” posters. He has been microchipped but a photo is always a good option. Choppie was very wary of the camera. I got only one in focus shot and I lucked out because he was looking directly at me. The orange reflection in his eyes is the bright orange shirt I was wearing. He bolted seconds after I took this shot.

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2015—Panning

I still need lots of work on my panning technique but I did have a few successful results from my trip to photograph the Texas Spring Migration last week. At the High Island Rookery, I took this sequence of six shots of a flying roseate spoonbill in a three second burst with my Nikon D800. After seeing these shots, I don’t plan to defect to Canon any time soon.

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2015—Double-Crested Cormorant

Melinda, Lonnie, and I ventured out to Lynx Lake near Prescott to spend Sunday afternoon seeing what we could see. Melinda and I were anxious to try out recommendations from Moose about the best way to keep focus on birds in flight using Auto Area Focus and all 51 focus points. I haven’t yet mastered using this setting but I had only a couple of chances to try it out because there weren’t many opportunities to capture birds in flight as there were few birds flying on this bright afternoon. We tried photographing shovelers and mallards that were paddling on the lake with a bit more success but the ripples in the water seemed to distract the auto focus system and kept it from tracking on the birds. As Moose has suggested to me, the answer to my poorly focused flight photos is to practice, practice, practice my panning technique.

We came across a dead tree filled with sunning double-crested cormorants. Their turquoise eyes are startling and seem almost surreal.

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2015—Kill-dee! Kill-dee!

I flew from Houston to Phoenix on Friday, leaving one photography buddy for another. In Prescott, my Arizona photo buddy, Melinda, and I walked along Willow Lake this morning. I managed to capture a couple of in focus shots of a killdeer, including one in flight. I cropped these shots.

I still haven’t reviewed all of my Texas photographs yet so there will be more, taken with my Texas photo buddy, Connie, in the coming days.

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2015—Canon Rocks!

I shoot Nikon and until Thursday, I’d never shot a Canon DSLR. When I started having issues with one of my cameras acquiring focus, Connie let me use her new Canon EOS 7D Mark II, a Canon with superb autofocus capabilities. Wow! A few bursts (and the burst mode is truly burst mode) and the roseate spoonbills finally came into focus for me. Getting a tack sharp in-flight shot was one of my goals for this trip but I didn’t expect to get it with a Canon! Does this mean I’m going to go over to the “Dark Side?” Well, not quite yet because I captured the second shot hand holding my D800 with the 80-400mm lens——not an inflight shot but a “just landed” one——so there is hope for me. But, I have to say “Thanks, Connie! Thanks Canon!” for helping me achieve my goal.

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