April Gallery

Thirty Frames Hath April.

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Much of April’s gallery is made up of photos of birds around the feeder on the side porch. Usually I look out this window from my comfy chair, and see all varieties of feeder birds. They thrill me with their beauty and entertain me with their antics. I was going to do a post called “Outside My Window”, or something, just filled with these shots. They’re less than perfect as they’re all shot through window glass. Still, you can’t diminish their beauty with just a piece of glass. Trout fishing in the snow was a new experience for me. Grandson Max is in the photo. As always, these are raw, unaltered “proofs” right from the camera.   -Paz

 

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March Gallery

Thirty-One frames hath March.

March brought us two blizzards, one after the other, piling about 40 inches of snow on Engleville. It’s been a beautiful winter, and I hate to see it end, but alas, I have no say in the matter. The deep snow keeps whitetail deer pinned down deep in the forests. These are referred to as their “winter yards”. You can tell it’s been a tough winter when they all break out en masse at the first chance, to forage for food needed urgently as the new fawns are born. And on we go to Mud Season…er…I mean Spring!  -Paz

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January Gallery

January Hath Thirty-One Frames.

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Photo Shoot: The Ice Storm

Crystal Blooms

We had freezing rain fall for two days, painting everything with a bright mirror-like coating. Everywhere I looked, the world was transformed into something magical. I told my wife “You couldn’t shoot a bad picture today.”, as I reviewed some images. In true Photo Shoot fashion, here are “the proofs” (a nostalgic term from print photography days) without editing. Included are the good and bad, for your perusal and edification.

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Everywhere I looked there was a blinding glaze of ice, catching sunlight, emitting all the colors of the rainbow. Two troubles I encountered on this shoot: One, in person, everything looked beautiful and photo-worthy. Our eyes do a better job than any camera ever did at perceiving what is there, taking it all in. The camera was, at times, overwhelmed by multiple light sources, as the photographer tried to capture what the eye sees. Shallow depths-of-field are great for bokeh effects and making your subject stand out, but when there are a million little lights behind the subject, it sometimes started to look like confetti. The second problem was the blinding snow and light, which rendered the preview screen on the camera nearly useless. I relied a lot on experience, and some on the Histogram provided by the camera. (A histogram is a graphic display of the primary light of the subject. At the very least, it will tell you if your shot is dim or bright, or over-exposed.) Here are some shots that were breathtaking in person, but are reduced to brightness and confusion when viewed as one-dimensional images.

Ultimately the million sources of light added some dramatic appeal to many photos. Using a fairly large aperture (f6.3), the backgrounds of the subjects were unfocused. In the right cases, this produced some captivating photos. I found the best shots were a bit lower in light, allowing the sunspots of ice crystals to be more pronounced and reducing background distractions. Focusing on a specific subject (a branch or blade of grass) was more effective than trying to capture “the whole scene”. After day one, I thought a deeper depth-of-field might help alleviate some of the overwhelming visual confusion, but met with limited success.

Of course, the angle of light was an important element to keep track of on this shoot. From one angle, there’s an ice-covered stick, and from another there’s a hundred diamonds gleaming in the sun. One thing I’ve learned in photography, that angle of light is always important.  Regardless of the subject, and especially outdoors, looking at a subject from different angles will show you how the subject reflects the sun’s light to our eyes and camera. Next time you want to shoot a tree or other object in nature, walk around it if you can and see how the light plays. Sometimes it’s about light itself, and its counterpart, shadow, making your composition. Other times, we may not realize that the beautiful tree you drove by looks different from this side. Go back to the other side, and you’ll see what I mean. There’s an “ideal” angle of light for any subject that changes the way it looks, right down to hue and saturation of color.

Frosted Cherry

Golden Crowned Kinglet

As always, don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for other subjects, like this Golden Crowned Kinglet who visited the shoot!

 

Happy Shooting!

 

Paz

Trail Cam Highlights

Why did I wait so long to buy a Game Camera? I can’t imagine. If you’re not familiar with them, a Game Camera or Trail Camera is a digital camera with a motion sensor. It uses infrared illumination at night (so there’s no flash to startle the game). Some cameras shoot stills, some shoot video, some both. Well-equipped cameras can be set up to do either, or select the length of video recording after a trigger event.

Trail Cam

My Trail Camera is made by Wild Game Innovations, and I paid $40 US for it. (Claimed to be $69 US originally). I set it up on November eighteenth, and it has taken about 150 images since. Without further ado, here are the highlights. Click any image to start full-sized carousel.

 

All the neighbors cats, and a dog.

Deer and Deer Hunters

And a variety of critters.

Certainly the bobcat is the high mark so far, and the coyote ranks up there, too. There are black bears in the woods in and around Engleville, and that will be the “holy grail” goal.  Hope you enjoy these highlights.

 

Take care and keep in touch,

 

Paz