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

Weekly Photo Challenge: Face

It’s Spring time so it’s time for chickens:

ISO 1000 50mm f/5.6 1/40

ISO 1000 50mm f/5.6 1/40

Time for cute little faces like these:

ISO 1000 50mm f/5.6 1/60

ISO 1000 50mm f/5.6 1/60

I love taking photos like these.  These particular chickens were hatched in a second grade classroom as part of a life cycles unit and were moved today to a farm.  They grow quickly, but for now they are fluffy and have large feet.

The main challenge for taking photos like these is to catch the chickens at a moment when they are still.  It means a lot of photos end up in the trash bin.

Cheers!

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Animals, Birds, Canon 50D, Canon Powershot ELPH 320 HS, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photography

Weekly Photo Challenge: Muse

When it comes to my photography and what I choose to shoot, there is no doubt that nature is my favorite subject.  To narrow it down further than that, I would say that I prefer to shoot animals over landscapes.  For this week’s photo challenge, I am limiting it even further, this post is for the birds.

First, a short update on my chickens. I wrote back in May about a chicken that we were helping get back on its feet. Literally, one of the things we did was reset his legs, so that he could walk.  Although small, he seemed to be healthy, so we reintroduced him to the rest of the chickens.  We were a bit concerned that he would be too small to get near the heat lamp, but I guess we should not have worried:

ISO 800 14mm 0ev f/5 1/40

ISO 800 14mm 0ev f/5 1/40

Almost right away another chicken took him in and was helping him stay warm.  This photo, taken by my oldest child the day after his reintroduction, made me so happy.  With care like this, I think he will do well.

My other bird up date is on the robins:

ISO 1000 50mm 0ev f/6.3 1/125

ISO 1000 50mm 0ev f/6.3 1/125

We had a healthy nest outside our kitchen window this year, and all of the hatchlings made it to the relative safety of the hedgerow.  In addition to having a great time photographing them, one of my posts was featured on Freshly Pressed.  That particular post has approximately 500 likes on it; 100 likes is usually what my posts receive.  I’m happy to say that we have spotted these hatchlings a lot this spring.  It seems that a few of them have chosen to stay near the hedgerow, so it has been fun to watch them grow and thrive.

In addition to my bird stories needing an update, this blog needed one as well. All the extra traffic on my blog made me take a second look at my About page.  Turns out, I hadn’t updated it in about two years.  So I took a few minutes this week to make it a bit more current.  Take a look if you are curious, feel free to leave a comment there or here on this post if you like.

Cheers!

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

Weekly Photo Challenge: Life with Chickens

Enveloped, that’s just a polite way to say my life has been taken over by chickens right? In my case, this chicken in particular:

ISO 1000 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/40

ISO 1000 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/40

This little chicken, while cute, is not particularly healthy.  It was born in an incubator a few days before this photo was taken, but has a few problems that require fixing if it is going to go on an live a life with other chickens. It is part of a life cycles unit that a friend of mine teaches to second graders.  It’s a great unit in my opinion in part because it includes perfectly healthy chickens and those that aren’t.

In this case, you can see two problems from this photo:

ISO 1000 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/40

ISO 1000 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/40

The first is that wet bottom.  Chickens who are born with this problem die unless you clean them up.  This chicken was cleaned up fairly easily, it just required a few sessions with a sponge and mild soap.  The photo above was taken post bath, looking much cleaner.  With that taken care of, it will then eliminate waste normally and grow some more feathers back there.  The second problem is its legs, can you see how they are splayed?  It is visible in this photo as well:

ISO 1000 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/50

ISO 1000 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/50

Seconds later the chick flips over to its back where it is stuck, in part because its legs are spread wrong.  The problem for a chicken that gets stuck on its back is that its lungs are on its back and it will die if left like that for too long.  Also, we conduct this test on the chick:

ISO 1000 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/50

ISO 1000 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/50

We would like this chick to write an essay and he clearly wants no part of it.

Actually, what we are looking to see is if the chicken will grasp the pencil.  You can see that he does not.  So at this point we bind the legs:

ISO 1000 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/125

ISO 1000 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/125

That’s a band-aid holding his legs in a proper position.  At this point in life, the chicken’s legs are malleable, so setting them like this will hopefully get them into the proper position so that this chicken will walk properly.

So what’s next?  Hopefully the band-aid will be removed after about a day and this chicken will walk properly.  The next step will be to wait to see if it will grow properly.  This is a very small chicken, much smaller than its hatch mates. Once it grows a bit it will head on to the farm and hopefully have a nice chicken life.

It is my hope that this chicken will stay with us for a few more days and then be healthy enough to move on.  I am hoping to take more photos to document its stay with us, look to my Flickr and Twitter accounts for photos.  I will write a follow up blog in the coming weeks, so stay tuned.  Have any questions or comments? feel free to leave them below.

Cheers!

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Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Travel Theme: Fresh

For this week’s travel theme fresh I’m back in the classroom.  A freshly hatched chick:

ISO 3200 50mm 0ev f/4 1/25

ISO 3200 50mm 0ev f/4 1/25

And outdoors with newly hatched robins:

ISO 800 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/60

ISO 800 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/60

These photos were taken with different cameras.  The chicken photo was taken with my Canon 50D.  The lighting was quite dark but I wanted to give the photo a soft light look.  So the ISO is high, the f-stop is low, and the shutter speed is slow. The chick was resting it’s head on the shell and was being very still, so the slow shutter speed was not a problem.

The robin photo was taken with my point and shoot camera using the macro setting on the camera.  While I didn’t do any post editing on the chicken, the robin photo has been cropped and sharpened.

Cheers!

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

Chicken on the Loose

Extra! Extra! Read all about it here! One little chicken attempting to make a getaway!

You can see he has spotted the opening:

ISO 1000 50mm 0ev f/5 1/100

ISO 1000 50mm 0ev f/5 1/100

Edging a little closer to check it out:

ISO 1000 50mm 0ev f/5 1/100

ISO 1000 50mm 0ev f/5 1/100

Making his getaway:

ISO 1000 50mm 0ev f/5 1/100

ISO 1000 50mm 0ev f/5 1/100

The truth is though, there is no such thing as an extra, unwanted chicken, so he was returned to his home.

I took this series of shots in relatively quick succession, so there was no time to adjust the settings.  I have decided not to do any post editing because I think the imperfections help to tell the tale of this attempted hasty escape. Do the imperfections bother you? or do you sometimes prefer a photo to be displayed as shot? Your comments and thoughts on the matter are welcome below!

These photos were taken as part of a life cycle unit in a second grade class that I was documenting this Spring as is my entry for this week’s photo challenge at WordPress.

Cheers!

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

Twist of Fate

Where you are born can make a difference in your life. It turns out the same is true for chickens. Every year I have followed a 2nd grade class as they go through a life cycle unit that involves hatching chickens.  Not all the eggs make it to a healthy hatched chickens.  That’s true of chickens everywhere but sometimes if you are a chicken born in a 2nd grade classroom and you need a little help to start your life, you get a lucky break.  Meet this year’s lucky break:

ISO 800 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/160

ISO 800 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/160

Not cute, like the other chicken photos I have shown you.  The reason for this is pretty simple, this chicken needed some help getting out of its shell, so it is still sticky and gunky.  Shortly after I took this photo though, he was cleaned up a bit, so the next day he looked like this:

ISO 1000 50mm 0ev f/5 1/200

ISO 1000 50mm 0ev f/5 1/200

He is still not the cutest, although his feathers have begun to grow in.  Because he is small, he has to be separated from the other chickens who peck at him.  Here he is three days later, moving day:

ISO 1000 50mm 0ev f/5 1/50

ISO 1000 50mm 0ev f/5 1/50

He is still small, but able now to hold his own with the other chickens.  He moved to his permanent farm home shortly after I took this last photo. So, he has lived his first week.  Under other circumstances, he would not have made it, but a twist of fate and he has enjoyed the luck of hatching in a 2nd grade classroom.

Not a pretty chicken is he? He was particularly hard to photograph because he was always in motion.  The lighting wasn’t helping me either.  While these aren’t my most technically good photos of the year, this was the most interesting storyline to develop in this year’s life cycle unit.

Cheers!

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

Chickens as Art

This week the photo challenge at WordPress asked us to consider a work of art.  It is my opinion that some of the most beautiful works of art are created by mother nature.

A yellow chick with black accents:

ISO 800 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/100

ISO 800 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/100

 

Still beautiful, even on a bad hair day:

ISO 800 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/100

ISO 800 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/100

These chickens are part of a 2nd Grade life cycle unit which I have written about here and here. When I am shooting photos like this I am generally trying to have the chicken in focus and the background blurred a bit.  Generally an f-stop setting of 5.6 works.  I also attempt to freeze the motion of the chicks, so my shutter speed is ideally 1/100 or faster.  To achieve the shutter speed I often have to set my ISO at 800 or higher.  To my eye, these settings achieve a clear picture without noise.  Both of these photos have been cropped, but that is the only post editing I have done on them.

What do you think of my “found” works of art? Have you ever considered chickens to be art?

Cheers!

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