2016 Year in Review #5

I decided to take a look back at my most “popular” posts of 2016 – going only by the number of post views; since many of them are from the earlier part of 2016, I’ll be sharing them again over the next few days, along with a new photo related to the the original post.

I hope you enjoy this trip down memory lane 🙂

Coming in at #5 is the post 2016-02-07: What I’ve seen this week.  I was lucky to see a pair of eagles during my daytime walk back in February, under lovely blue skies.

The photo below was one that I originally dismissed, but looking at it again, I really like the triangles of light hitting the eye, beak and back, which tie together with all the triangles created with the mess of tree branches.

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2016-02-21: What I’ve seen this week

The week ended on a very interesting note, and has left me with a fair number of photos to go through.  On the advice of one of the members of the photo group, I went east of town yesterday hoping to see the northern hawk owls that had been spotted earlier in the day; I managed to see one, perched so high up in a tree, the first time I drove straight past it.

Today, I decided to take a drive about an hour out of town to a park, to scope out potential photography areas for the spring.  It was just too lovely a day to be indoors.  I had Spencer with me and we had a nice walk along the frozen marsh, but on the way out, I started to pull over closer to the side of the road to let a truck past, and the combination of ice covered road and extremely soft snow on the side, I ended up with the passenger side wheels stuck.  A lady tried to give me a tow (who it turns out is also part of my photo group, but we hadn’t met yet), but that didn’t work so we set off to get into cell range so I could call for a tow truck.  While I waited for the tow, it gave me a bit of time to catch up on some podcasts I’d been wanting to listen to, and honestly, the people around here are lovely.  Every single person heading in or out of the park stopped to see if they could help in any way.  I’m very grateful to the kindness of strangers.

And if I hadn’t been delayed an hour, I likely wouldn’t have seen a bald eagle perched high in a tree on the side of the highway (thoughtfully, right near a truck pull out so I could safely pull over).  And since many wise photographers have always said “look behind you”, I turned to scan the opposite side of the highway, and saw two more perched in a tree and one soaring above, calling repeatedly.  So an owl Saturday, and four bald eagles (plus a slightly lighter wallet) on Sunday.  All in all, an excellent weekend.

And with that long and rambling weekend description behind us, on to the photos.

Enjoy, and have a lovely week.

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Couldn’t ask for a prettier late winter day – warm out and sunny blue skies.
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Moonrise, peachy coloured clouds… it was too pretty not to snap a quick photo on our late afternoon walk.
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A slightly odd shot that didn’t quite turn out as planned, but that never seems to stop me from including them anyways. A couple night ago while out with Spencer, I was intrigued by the fast moving clouds and the bright moon. I decided to play around with the new camera and it wasn’t quite doing what I anticipated, but I do like the rainbow effect around the moon.
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The brilliant blue sky, bright sun and fluffy clouds reminded me a little of some of the sky shots I took in Botswana…. until you look down and see the glare from the snow!
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I’ve had requests for Spencer to be included in my posts, so here he is – enjoying his day out.
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The eagle I spotted from the road while driving.
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The fourth eagle of the afternoon

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I waited around just long enough for the second eagle to get its face out from behind the branch.

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2016-02-07: What I’ve seen this week

It was quite an exciting week for photos this week!  Given the continued icy conditions on my road, I’ve been driving a short distance away to one of the main roads to walk Spencer.  Tuesday morning, there were a huge group of ravens and magpies surrounding a ravine, so I stopped the car to see what  had happened.  During the night, the local coyote pack took down a deer, and the birds were tucking into the leftovers (evening at 9am, maybe only 1/4 of the deer remained.

We set off again at lunch for another walk, and this time the ravens and magpies were absent; while walking I figured out why – a beautiful bald eagle was watching over the area.  I grabbed a few shots and he or she flew off through the field, and I carried on with my walk.  On the drive home, I spotted the eagle again and grabbed a few more shots through the open window of the car, before realizing that there were two eagles in the area.  I followed one to the end of the cul de sac, and was lucky enough to be able to get a few more shots in before it was time to get home and get back to work.

Fingers crossed this coming week brings more wonderful photo opportunities.

Have a great week!

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On Monday afternoon I spent a bit more time with the northern hawk owl. It was late afternoon and snowing lightly, and he chose the top of the tallest tree possible to perch. This was the best of the few shots I got.
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First spot of the eagle; this was only the second time I have seen eagles in my neighbourhood. The first time was a fleeting glimpse far too quick for me to capture.
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The deer carcass was at the base of this hill. The previous day, the snow was untouched; there certainly was a large amount of activity that went on in the night.
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I stopped the car, put on the four way flashers, and took a few photos (I live in a really quiet area so it’s not a safety issue).
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This is the second of the eagles I saw. I don’t know of the distinguishing features between sexes, so I don’t know if I saw two males, two females or one of each.
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I couldn’t have asked for better light. Midday sun up north in the winter comes in at a pretty gentle angle.
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The branch shadows are a bit unfortunately, but at least the body positioning leaves the stunning yellow eye exposed.
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Up and away. I did briefly see the pair when I returned home, circling high up, reminding me of the vultures in southern Africa.
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What more could you ask for on a Tuesday lunch break?
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I always love the opportunity to capture birds in flight. 1/1600sec, f5.6, ISO 180

Bald Eagle and an Osprey

Here in southern BC, we have spent the last few days with lovely warm weather for February, but have been absolutely hammered with rain as well.  This morning, I woke up to a reprieve from the rain and even a few hints of blue sky.  As such, I finally got out on a morning walk with my camera.  I can’t believe it is February and these are the first 2015 photos I am able to post.  They aren’t the best eagle or osprey photos I have taken and the birds weren’t doing anything weird or wonderful.  I am just so thrilled that I was able to have a dry walk and see some birds that I decided to share.

Based on the quality and direction of the light, and how desaturated the photos were, I decided to convert everything to black and white.

Happy Sunday everyone!

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An osprey peers down at me from a tree along the banks of the Pitt River.
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Tired of being photographed, the osprey flees the paparazzi.
This osprey didn't seem to appreciate the camera being pointed at it, and flew away to a new perch after only a couple photos.  We played this game a few times before it headed off out of reach of my camera.
This osprey didn’t seem to appreciate the camera being pointed at it, and flew away to a new perch after only a couple photos. We played this game a few times before it headed off out of reach of my camera.
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The trunks of two trees nicely frame a beautiful bald eagle. It kept a very watchful eye on Spencer and I.
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The eagle’s penetrating gaze trained in the direction of the osprey. Even though it was a fair distance away, I have no doubt they were aware of each other.

Bald Eagle

It has been wonderful to watch, and capture, drama involving the eagles and ospreys the past couple of weekends, but I must admit, it is also nice to once in a while see them sitting still so I actually have the chance to really focus and compose a shot! 1/1000sec, f5.6, ISO500
It has been wonderful to watch, and capture, drama involving the eagles and ospreys the past couple of weekends, but I must admit, it is also nice to once in a while see them sitting still so I actually have the chance to really focus and compose a shot!
1/1000sec, f5.6, ISO500

Bald Eagles versus an Osprey

I was out for my usual Saturday morning walk, when I heard a great amount of commotion out on the water, and I knew even before I looked that the cry was of an eagle.  The bald eagle had raided the nest of an osprey and stole one of the chicks, and the mother osprey was out for blood.

The bald eagle pauses on one of the eroding pylons in the Pitt River, with the osprey chick still clutched in her talons.
The bald eagle pauses on one of the eroding pylons in the Pitt River, with the osprey chick still clutched in her talons.
Calling out to her partner, the lifeless legs of the chick dangling in the air.
Calling out to her partner, the lifeless legs of the chick dangling in the air.
The chick is dropped into the river, as the eagle begins her defence against the mother osprey.
The chick is dropped into the river, as the eagle begins her defence against the mother osprey.
Even though nothing can be done to save the chick, the osprey mother is relentless in her attacks of the eagle.
Even though nothing can be done to save the chick, the osprey mother is relentless in her attacks of the eagle.
The battle continues.
The battle continues.
The osprey circles back again to try for another attack.
The osprey circles back again to try for another attack.

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The dramas unfolding in nature are better than any soap opera!
The dramas unfolding in nature are better than any soap opera!
The eagle's partner flies in to provide reinforcement.
The eagle’s partner flies in to provide reinforcement.
The nest robber still defends her position as her partner comes in to land.
The nest robber still defends her position as her partner comes in to land.
The landing is aborted and the battle continues in the air.
The landing is aborted and the battle continues in the air.

As the drama continued in the air, Spencer was getting restless and it was time to carry on with our walk.

Bald Eagle – Straight Ahead!

Even though it is a holiday and I didn’t need to get up at the crack of dawn to head to work, I did anyways, so I could head out for an early morning walk with Spencer and hopefully catch a few nice photos of the sunrise or the herons (which I did!).  I’d already snapped over 130 photos on our hour walk, so I decided to put my camera away.  I’ve beaten myself up before about putting my camera away before getting to the car, and hopefully today will have driven that point through my thick skull!

I don’t know if it was a sound or the movement over the water that caught my attention, but I looked to the right over the river, and heading towards me at top speed was a bald eagle.  Thank goodness I took my camera in my sling bag, not my backpack, as I was able to get it out in time, turn it on, and snap a few photos.  I am seriously grateful I put my camera into auto ISO mode earlier on the walk (I actually didn’t realize it was possible on M to use auto ISO on this camera – so much still to learn about the new body!) but I’m sure that is what kept me from having a bunch of photos either over or under exposed.

The perfect ending to a beautiful sunrise walk :) 1/100sec, f6.3, ISO360
The perfect ending to a beautiful sunrise walk 🙂
1/100sec, f6.3, ISO360
Getting closer!
Getting closer!
A very intense look to have coming at you at top speed! 1/100sec, f6.3, ISO280
A very intense look to have coming at you at top speed!
1/100sec, f6.3, ISO280
I did not crop this photo; the eagle really was this close.  I had my lens at the maximum reach of 300mm, but I am still quite shocked just how close the eagle passed in front of us.  I'm very grateful I keep Spencer on a short leash at all times, because I imagine to an eagle he looks like breakfast. 1/1000sec, f6.3, ISO560
I did not crop this photo; the eagle really was this close. I had my lens at the maximum reach of 300mm, but I am still quite shocked just how close the eagle passed in front of us. I’m very grateful I keep Spencer on a short leash at all times, because I imagine to an eagle he looks like breakfast.
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My last view of this majestic eagle this morning; moments later he was obscured by trees. 1/10023c, f6.3, ISO160
My last view of the majestic eagle this morning; moments later he was obscured by trees.
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Birds, birds and more birds

Saturday was quite the day for bird sightings while out on my morning walk with the dog.  I haven’t had a chance to do much editing, but since I also haven’t been terribly consistent with posting, I thought I should do a quick post showing a sample of the birds I saw on the weekend, and hopefully I will have a chance to highlight each sighting later in the week.

I'm having some real difficulty with my bird identification, but I think this is a juvenile bald eagle, based on the beak and the size.
I’m having some real difficulty with my bird identification, but I think this is a juvenile bald eagle, based on the beak and the size.
I'm not sure what type of sandpiper these are.  They were in a small pond next to the dike - these were a first for me :)  Not a stunning photo, but just great to see something new.
I’m not sure what type of sandpiper these are. They were in a small pond next to the dike – these were a first for me 🙂 Not a stunning photo, but just great to see something new.
The female was in hot pursuit of the male, and as soon as she got too close, he would fly a little way further down the shore.
The female heron was in hot pursuit of the male, and as soon as she got too close, he would fly a little way further down the shore.
I have been hoping that one day I would be able to get a decent photo of a flicker, and Saturday was my day.  More to follow!
I have been hoping that one day I would be able to get a decent photo of a flicker, and Saturday was my day. More to follow!
So, I had a post called Slow; where I called myself out for not taking my camera with me.  This time, I put it away moments too soon.  After the juvenile eagle, an osprey that I didn't manage to photograph, the flickers and the sandpipers, I thought my photographing was done for the day, and put my camera away, as I was only a couple minutes from the parking lot.  And of course, a pair of adult bald eagles took off from the trees and headed straight towards me. :(  This is the best I could capture... note to self, don't put away the camera until you're in the car!
So, I had a post called Slow; where I called myself out for not taking my camera with me. This time, I put it away moments too soon. After the juvenile eagle, an osprey that I didn’t manage to photograph, the flickers and the sandpipers, I thought my photographing was done for the day, and put my camera away, as I was only a couple minutes from the parking lot. And of course, a pair of adult bald eagles took off from the trees and headed straight towards me. 🙁 This is the best I could capture… note to self, don’t put away the camera until you’re in the car!

Nature – Close to Home

I’m currently taking another digital photography course, so I have been busy the last few weeks snapping photos to meet very specific parameters. I was happy as the assignment this week was for landscape photos, both natural and urban.

Heron Awesome cloud reflections

Moth

I don’t yet have a macro lens, but I do really like the results of the close ups shown below – even though they really make me feel as if fall is on the way.

Dandelion Blade of grass Spent flower

On a larger scale, I captured this lovely sunset near an area where I normally walk Spencer. I often see ducks, geese, heron and the occasional hawk and bald eagle in the area, as well as coyotes if we head out early enough.

River Sunset

Mountain Sunset

Not the sharpest photo, as I was looking towards the shoreline for photos that would highlight texture.  A beautiful sighting though.
Not the sharpest photo, as I was looking towards the shoreline for photos that would highlight texture. A beautiful sighting though.