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

Weekly Photo Challenge: Jubilant

When I see the word jubilant I think of bright colors, orange and yellow:

ISO 400 4.3mm f/2.7 1/200

ISO 400 4.3mm f/2.7 1/200

I had been stalking these wildflowers most of this week, but rain has made it difficult to get a good shot.  I finally caught a break two days ago in the evening when the rain stopped and the sun made a brief appearance.  I took this photo with my point and shoot camera on the macro setting and set the ISO at 400.  There was a slight breeze, but at 200th of a second, this flower seems frozen in time.  I kept the editing to a minimum.  I cropped and sharpened a bit in Photoshop, then added a grain filter and vignette in Lightroom.

What do you think of the editing? Do you also associate certain words with colors?  Feel free to leave a comment below.

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, 70-200mm IS lens, Birds, Canon 50D, Canon Powershot ELPH 320 HS, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photography

Weekly Photo Challenge: Forces of Nature

Last week this robin decided to move:

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

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

Out of the nest and into the hedgerow.  I was wondering what made him decide to go.  One of his siblings had left the day before.  It’s hard to tell from the photo above, but here is what he left behind:

ISO 800 f/2.7 1/320 0ev 4.33mm

ISO 800 f/2.7 1/320 0ev 4.33mm

These other two robins would wait an additional day before leaving.  When they went to leave one flew directly to the hedgerow.  The other decided to walk most of the way:

ISO 1000 f/6.3 1/320 0ev 200mm

ISO 1000 f/6.3 1/320 0ev 200mm

Here this last bird is, with an adult on the lookout as it makes it’s way to the hedgerow.  The adult offers up a snack as enticement:

ISO 640 f/6.3 1/160 0ev 195mm

ISO 640 f/6.3 1/160 0ev 195mm

Made it all the way to the hedgerow with a bit of coaxing.

So of the four birds this year, two flew directly and two walked.  I’m not an expert on birds but one difference I noticed was that the birds that walked seemed to have shorter and fewer feathers on their backside.  I was wondering though, given that they seemed to be a be leaving a bit sooner than they should have, what forces compelled them forward.  In past years we have had other hatchlings leave too early for obvious reasons.  One was forced out in a storm.  The other was the surviving member of an attack by a larger bird of prey.  The small bird was taken by it’s parents into the hedgerow at least two days earlier than it would have gone on its own, we suspect that it did survive.

So that is the end of the story for this year’s nest.  Thanks to all of you who followed along.  Let me know what you think of these final pictures.  Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

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50mm Lens, 70-200mm IS lens, Birds, Canon 50D, Canon Powershot ELPH 320 HS, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photography

Weekly Photo Challenge: Intricate

The original post for this week’s photo challenge mentions a robin’s nest as a possible example of intricate.  I’m going to take that a step further and suggest that it is not only the nest that is intricate, but that those weeks of being an egg and hatchling are perilous and require a lot of intricate details go right for the young bird. Two years ago four of the five health hatches were taken away by a larger bird of prey, a simple example of what can go wrong for these young ones.  This year’s nest is doing well so far, four healthy hatches.  The nest is getting crowded as the birds are growing, here is the nest first thing this morning:

ISO 800 4mm f/2.7 1/200

ISO 800 4mm f/2.7 1/200

I have been taking a quick photo on the macro setting with my point and shoot every morning to get a beak count before I set up my larger camera.  I had taken this photo and was inside getting the chairs for my larger set-up when I heard a lot of squawking and looked outside to see that one of the birds was on the ground and hopping away.  Much to the distress of the adult birds the young bird was sitting out in the open like this:

ISO 800 200mm f/6.3 1/250

ISO 800 200mm f/6.3 1/250

The adults spent several minutes trying to corral their youngster:

ISO 800 200mm f/6.3 1/250

ISO 800 200mm f/6.3 1/250

The baby hopped back closer to the nest and was fed by the adults:

ISO 800 195mm f/6.3 1/250

ISO 800 195mm f/6.3 1/250

But the nest is too high up for this baby to get back in.  The adults managed to lure it over to a patch of wildflowers we have.  A few minutes later, the young bird was led by the adults into our hedgerow which will provide more cover while the bird is learning to fly.

It seemed like a bit of a stressful moment for the adult birds as they saw to their young offspring.  Their chatter attracted the attention of other animals who came to watch.  In addition to myself, there was another pair of adult robins, a pair of mourning doves, a northern flicker, a squirrel, and a rabbit.  All of these animals, attracted by the noise, came to watch the moment unfold.  After it was over the robins went back to the business of feeding the rest of their remaining offspring.

ISO 1000 50mm f/6.3 1/250

ISO 1000 50mm f/6.3 1/250

Just a few of the intricacies that go into being a robin. As for me, to capture these few moments required two cameras and three lenses.  I started with my point and shoot.  The rest of the photos were taken with my Canon 50D.  I used my longer 70-200mm lens for the yard shots and then switched to the 50mm when taking the last photo.

I’ve been posting photos of this journey on Flickr and Twitter, so feel free to join me there and follow along. Your comments are welcome below.

Cheers!

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50mm Lens, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Weekly Photo Challenge: Ephemeral

I was out the other day during a short break in the rain to take photos of my neighbors flowering dogwood tree.  Those photos were what I thought of when I saw this week’s photo challenge was ephemeral.  I find this tree’s blossoms beautiful, but they are so fleeting.  They are one of the first things that bloom in this area and because the weather is very unstable, the blossoms often get damaged within a few days.  Here is one of my processed images:

ISO 320 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/1600

ISO 320 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/1600

You will notice that the shutter speed is pretty fast.  It had to be to deal with the wind.  Luckily there was enough overcast light to handle that sort of speed.

I will put the original photo below, but when I went to process the image I knew that I wanted my final image to look quite a bit different than the original.  Within Photoshop I opened the image in Camera Raw and desaturated it into a black and white.  Then I used an adjustment brush and a very light yellow color to paint over the bloom.  Then I opened the image in Photoshop and cropped it a bit.  I created a layer and added blur.  Then I added a mask and painted back the detail in the bloom.  I then added a bit of noise to the whole image.  Here is what the beginning image looked like:

ISO 320 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/1600

ISO 320 50mm 0ev f/5.6 1/1600

With these edits, I created an image that I think reflects the fleeting beauty of spring.  Do you think it works?  Do you have a favorite spring tree?  Feel free to leave a comment 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, Canon 50D, Canon Powershot ELPH 320 HS, Flowers, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Travel Theme: Blossoms

I live in suburbia.  Over the years I’ve lived in several variations of suburbia.  Whichever variation of suburbia I am living in I like to put native plants and wildflowers in my gardens.  The native plants I put in over the last few years are struggling this season because we had a non-native winter, far colder than usual.  So are first spring flowers this year are not native plants but wildflowers.  I love photographing these blossoms as they appear in the yard. On this particular shoot, I took both of my cameras with me.  This first was taken with my Canon Powershot:

ISO 100 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/100

ISO 100 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/100

This version was shot using the color picker setting in the camera. I selected purple and it changed the rest of the image to black and white.  I do wish the camera had picked up more of the purple.  I did love the way the light turned up in this image.  It was beautiful in that particular moment, and I think the camera honored that.  This image was edited in Photoshop, I cropped it and sharpened it.  Here is the original:

ISO 100 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/100

ISO 100 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/100

This next flower I shot using my Canon 50D:

ISO 125 50mm 0ev f/2.5 1/400

ISO 125 50mm 0ev f/2.5 1/400

I chose a very shallow depth of field to draw your attention to the front blossom and deal with the very busy background by blurring it.  This photo has also been cropped and sharpened.  Here is the original:

ISO 125 50mm 0ev f/2.5 1/400

ISO 125 50mm 0ev f/2.5 1/400

So, what do you think of my editing?  How is your spring going, did your plants struggle this year? Ours are just now starting to bounce back.

Cheers!

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