50mm Lens, Animals, Canon 50D, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photography

Travel Theme: Pathways

When I went on a hike I had the theme of pathways on my mind.  I took this hike at Castlewood State Park in Missouri.  It is a nice day use area, but if you are planning a visit, I would recommend you bring bug spray.  This hike was about 3 miles and featured quite a bit of elevation considering that it was in Missouri.  Here is part of the path; it looked like several paths in a lot of spots:

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/20

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/20

If you did not look closely, you could lose the trail with markers like these:

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/60

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/60

Parts of the are were not very friendly looking:

ISO 640 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/125

ISO 640 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/125

And there was this little guy, making his own path:

ISO 640 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/3200

ISO 640 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/3200

Cheers!

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50mm Lens, Animals, Birds, Canon 50D, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photography

Weekly Photo Challenge: Who Is In The Backyard?

Maybe you don’t think too much about who living in your backyard.  It is perhaps, just the background for the main attraction, your house.  The most unattractive part of our backyard is the hedgerow.  It is really overgrown and full of all kinds of plants, vines, and weeds.  Despite its grubby looks though, it is home to a lot of animals and birds.

The other day when my youngest burst in the house, told me to not ask any questions and bring my camera, I should have known we were headed to the hedgerow.  This is what had been spotted:

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/400

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/400

This is a very young Brown Thrasher.  We have a few of pairs of adults living nearby this Spring, but I had not been aware that there was a nest in the hedgerow.  While I was taking pictures the adults returned. Here is one:

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/200

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/200

They encouraged their young one to come back to the hedgerow.  It took awhile, since the fledgling was not quite capable of flying yet, it had to hop back.

When I was taking these pictures it was quite bright out.  I put the ISO to 100 as one way of    darkening the image.  I knew though that I wanted an f-stop of 5.6 or so; I thought that would maintain enough detail in the close up shots of the fledgling.  In order to further eliminate some of the light, I used a fast shutter speed.  On the fledgling, which was in full direct sunlight, I put it even higher than the shots of the adult birds.  Since it worked out that I had several minutes to take photos of the fledgling, I did try different angles.  The sun was really strong and a lot of detail is missing in some of the other photos.  The one I used in this post was the one that had the most detail.  In post-editing, I just cropped the images.

This post was written in part as a response to the WordPress weekly photo challenge. The theme this week is background.

Questions and comments are most welcome below.

Cheers!

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50mm Lens, Animals, Birds, Canon 50D, Photography

Some Very Small Chickens

The last time I posted about the chickens they were hatching and still in the incubator.  In these first two pictures it is two days later and they are out of the incubator but still spending most of their day under warming lamps.  This is what it looks like when the gang is all together:

ISO 640 50mm 0ev f/6.3 1/100

ISO 640 50mm 0ev f/6.3 1/100

They also spend short amounts of time out of the cage:

ISO 1000 50mm 0ev f/6.3 1/20

ISO 1000 50mm 0ev f/6.3 1/20

You can see that they are going to have to grow into their feet a bit.  They do grow fast.  Here are a few shots from the next day:

ISO 640 50mm 0ev f/5 1/640

ISO 640 50mm 0ev f/5 1/640

ISO 800 50mm 0ev f/5 1/40

ISO 800 50mm 0ev f/5 1/40

And two more from the day after that:

ISO 800 50mm 0ev f/3.5 1/125

ISO 800 50mm 0ev f/3.5 1/125

ISO 800 50mm 0ev f/5 1/160

ISO 800 50mm 0ev f/5 1/160

The chickens in this post are between 3 and 5 days old.  They are currently living in a second grade classroom where they are being observed as part of a life cycle unit.  If you would like to see what they looked like while they were developing, click here to see my post.  While they are is the classroom the children have been filling out chicken journals, keeping track of the chickens since they were eggs.  In a few days the chickens will be moving on to various local farms.  I will post again before they are moved just so you can see how fast they grow.

Cheers!

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50mm Lens, Canon 50D, Flowers, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Weekly Photo Challenge: Escape

I went biking this past weekend and was thinking about this week’s photo challenge, escape.  I guess going biking was a way of escaping the housework.  Maybe this sounds crazy, but I think both being outside and cleaning the house are necessary things that I don’t want to escape.  Then I biked past this flower that had definitely escaped:

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/640

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/640

Escaped ideal growing spots anyway.  There is almost nowhere for this plant to spread.  It is a small beauty growing in an ugly space.  In case you are wondering, this plant is Squaw-weed, it is a native plant of Missouri and will grow quite well in your garden in you live this area.  I have some in my garden and it is a great spreader.

As for this particular photo, I was shooting pretty much in the middle of the day on a hazy day, so not great conditions.  I bracketed the exposure because I wanted to so an HDR image to get more detail.  I use Photomatix for my HDR images.  When it came to editing though, it turned out that I didn’t like the high detail version that came out.  I decided I liked a softer look instead.  So, while my HDR image still has detail in terms of the color, I decided against a super-sharp image, an escape from my usual method of editing.

Cheers!

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50mm Lens, Animals, Birds, Canon 50D, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photography

Looking through the Incubator Window

For the last few weeks I have been taking pictures of chickens as they developed.  Today’s first picture was taken while the eggs were on lock down.  That means that they are in this incubator until they hatch.  It is nice and warm in there:

ISO 640 50mm 0ev f/5 1/60

ISO 640 50mm 0ev f/5 1/60

These eggs were put in the incubator on a Saturday and by Monday they had started to hatch.  Here is one just out of it’s egg for a few minutes:

ISO 640 50mm 0ev f/6.3 1/40

ISO 640 50mm 0ev f/6.3 1/40

In this photo you can see that they don’t all hatch at once:

ISO 640 50mm 0ev f/5 1/60

ISO 640 50mm 0ev f/5 1/60

It takes a few days for all the eggs to hatch, and not all of them do.  Being born is a tough process for a chicken, if for whatever reason something goes wrong the chicken will not make it.  This particular group of chickens did well overall.  I will be updating you as they grow, and they do grow fast!

As the photographer, the biggest challenge in getting these pictures is the glare of the window.  I just had to move around and get the best angle I could.

This post was written as a response to the challenge, Thursday Lingering Look Through Windows.  Check it out, and feel free to participate.

Cheers!

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Animals, Birds, Canon 50D, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

When Nature gives you a Pattern, Wear It

I recently finished a series of 10 images for a photography class I was taking.  All of the images are of birds.  Here is a Eurasian Eagle-Owl:

ISO 200 300mm 0ev f/5.6 1/200

ISO 200 300mm 0ev f/5.6 1/200

The pattern of feathers help the owl blend in with its surroundings.

For this particular series of photos, I rented a 70-300mm lens.  I did also use a tripod for this image.  I used a bracketed exposure setting because I wanted to make an HDR image.  In this case I have three exposures, -1,0,1.  I used Photomatix to process the image into an HDR version.  Once the images were combined I used a “painterly” option that is available in Photomatix.  For this image I was interested in maintaining and highlighting the detail in the feathers.  After I was finished creating the HDR image I edited the photo in Photoshop.  I sharpened the image a bit by going to Filter-Other-High Pass.  In the layer panel, I chose blending mode “Hard Light”.  For my class I printed a 10×15 version that I matted.

Questions or comments about this image? Feel free to leave them below.

This post was written in response to the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge which this week has pattern as its theme.

Cheers!

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50mm Lens, Animals, Birds, Canon 50D, Canon Powershot ELPH 320 HS, Nature, Photography

A Nest Update, Is there Enough Space?

When this nest was built, the first thing I noticed about it was that it was deeper than last year’s nest, but more narrow.  So, I was a bit concerned when I saw five eggs, I was wondering if there would be enough space for everyone.  It was amusing to see this photo when the adult robins were off the nest:

ISO 800 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/160

ISO 800 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/160

You could fit a few more in there the way they are all crowded together.  It is a good way to keep everyone warm while Mom is away though.  I took this with my Canon Powershot on May 7th.  A bit later with my 50D, I got this shot:

ISO 640 50mm 0ev f/7.1 1/100

ISO 640 50mm 0ev f/7.1 1/100

It looks like the food is being inserted directly into the baby’s stomach doesn’t it?  You can see a bit of leftover shell attached to the nest as well.  That is interesting to me because usually the adults get rid of all the shell pieces right away.

This next series of three shots were taken on May 8th, all with my 50D:

ISO 640 50mm 0 ev f/6.3 1/200

ISO 640 50mm 0 ev f/6.3 1/200

ISO 640 50mm 0ev f/6.3 1/200

ISO 640 50mm 0ev f/6.3 1/200

Looks like a tug of war there!

ISO 640 50mm 0ev f/6.3 1/200

ISO 640 50mm 0ev f/6.3 1/200

Looks like a couple of the babies are getting a bit squished.

Thanks to everyone who is following along, your comments are always appreciated.  If you are new to this story, here are some other installments: How I am getting these shots and some freshly hatched shots are here.  My first update is here.

Cheers!

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Birds, Canon Powershot ELPH 320 HS, Nature, Photography

A Nest Update

I am happy to say that all five of the robins in this year’s nest have hatched.  Here is a family photo:

ISO 800 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/400

ISO 800 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/400

Part of the reason I am sharing this photo is because of the size difference between the birds.  The five of them were hatched over a 36 hour period.  Look how much bigger the one at the bottom of the frame of the photo is than his siblings.  He is eating whole food now, at least some of the other birds are still on a regurgitated diet.  Now that everyone is hatched the next step is to see if they will all adequately be fed.

This post is a continuation of a series.  If you would like to see earlier photos of the nest and see how I am getting these photos, please click here.

Cheers!

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Animals, Birds, Canon Powershot ELPH 320 HS, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photography

Weekly Photo Challenge: From Above, A Nest Story

I was super excited this spring when a robin began building a nest outside our kitchen window.  I have written about how I set up my camera to get images of the birds.  For the series of images in this post I am using my point and shoot camera.  Never underestimate the usefulness of your camera that is “just” a point and shoot.  I took all of these photo with my Canon Powershot:

ISO 800 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/160

ISO 800 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/160

This year’s nest with five lovely blue robin eggs.

ISO 800 4mm 0ev f2.7 1/100

ISO 800 4mm 0ev f2.7 1/100

This robin was approximately two minutes old when I got this photo.  The mother had left the nest to discard the egg shells, I watched her leave and then got the photo.

ISO 800 14mm 0ev f/5 1/60

ISO 800 14mm 0ev f/5 1/60

This photo was taken 8 hours later.  The feathers have started to form.  When I tweeted this picture, Chris at Learning, Running, and Creating, was the first to notice how clearly you can see the second robin making its way out.

ISO 800 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/160

ISO 800 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/160

So, no surprise the next morning there were two in the nest.

ISO 1600 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/200

ISO 1600 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/200

This photo and the next were taken this morning, and as you can see it was a busy 24 hours in the nest.

ISO 1600 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/250

ISO 1600 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/250

So now we are waiting for the last egg to hatch.  Hopefully all the birds will make it, but in all honesty, five is a lot for one nest.

So, you might wonder why I am taking this series with my point and shoot.  The answer is simple, space.  My Canon 50D does not fit in this space. Or, I guess to be more exact, it fits, but then can’t focus.  I have been unable to angle the 50D in a way that would allow for a picture.

Maybe you are wondering about how I get these shots with the grown robin parents around?  I spend a lot of time watching from inside.  My office has pretty much moved to the kitchen.  The adult birds have a pretty regular schedule.  Most mornings sometime after 7, and at about 4:30pm, they are out of the area.  I use that time to set up and adjust my camera equipment.  Also, for whatever reason, this year’s birds are pretty tolerant of me.  I eat my lunch outside near them most days, and they just stay on the nest.

Thoughts about this post? feel free to leave them below in the comments section. If you haven’t seen my photos from last year and would like too, you can click here.

I am also capable of saying things in 140 characters or less. I tweet about photography @marantophoto if you would like to follow along.

This post was written in response to the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge.  The theme this week is From Above.

Cheers!

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Canon Powershot ELPH 320 HS, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Thursday Lingering Look at Windows, From Inside

I took a tour of the Budweiser Brewery in St. Louis and when I saw this window, I knew that I would add it to the Thursday Lingering Look at Windows.  I took the original shot with my point and shoot camera but then made an HDR image out of it in Photomatix.

Cheers!

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