2020-05-18: Monochrome Monday

I had grand plans for photography and posts this past week, but my schoolwork got me bogged down, so much so that I even missed my usual Sunday post.  Now it’s nearing the end of the long weekend and the weather has cooperated to get out for a round of golf, so a quick image and then I am off.  After a long winter and lots of time during the week spent at the computer, I have to have my priorities!  Have a great week everyone!

 

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A grey heron preening in the early morning, seen while out on a game drive from Lion Sands River Lodge.

2020-05-03: Backyard Birds

I’ve been letting the feeders run to empty now, given the likelihood of bears in the back yard, but that hasn’t slowed down the volume of birds in the yard at all, at least not yet.  Today I spotted a new species for the first time, a Townsend’s Solitaire, and while I didn’t get a great image of it, at least it got me outside for a few minutes to capture the other visitors, before it started to rain.

The one bird I didn’t get any images of today is a hummingbird, and they have arrived back here as well.  They are one of my favourite birds to watch, and hearing them buzz and chatter from the bushes or investigate me when I am out walking the dog is one of the joys of summer.

Just a couple today, I hope you are also getting the chance to get outside and enjoy spring.

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I only got my camera out when this bird was spotted to try and snap a picture to help with identifying it.  Since it is a new species for me, I thought I would share, despite it being a bit blurry.
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A dark-eyed junco nibbling on seeds on the ground.  It is so nice not to be seeing snow any longer!
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A group of white crowned sparrows and house finches.  I am struggling to identify the brown and white striped bird in the bottom left corner.  I am pretty sure it is the same struggle I have every year!

2020-03-15: African Birds

It was far too cold for me to get out and photograph any local birds this week, so instead I have come up with quite a random assortment of African bird images to share this week.

Wishing everyone a wonderful week ahead.  Stay safe out there!

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A pair of crested francolin, part of a large group that were foraging along the side of the road.
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My personal favourite, the lilac breasted roller.
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A female bearded woodpecker seen on an early morning game drive.
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This photo makes me laugh, because when I look at it, I can hear the bird calling “Go Away”.  These are a pair of grey go-away birds.
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A coqui francolin pausing from it’s foraging to give me a photo op.

2020-02-23: Heading into the photo vault

I have some bird images that I took on my first trip to Africa, which I printed to fill a frame with 4 – 5″ x 5″ openings. While I see it every day, I haven’t really given it much thought in years.  But today when I looked at it, I wondered if with the skills and software I have now, I could improve upon those images.

All of these were shot in raw format with a Nikon D5100 with a 55-300mm kit lens.  I did the best I could at the time with editing them, but we all know that software has come a long way in the last 6 years, not to mention there has been a ton of room for improvement in my skills with editing (and still so much to learn).

A lot of these were taken during the harsh light of midday; but when you are out and about, you shoot what you see, when you see it.  You never know if you’ll even see the same species of bird again, let alone have another opportunity to photograph it.  And as it stands, after 6 trips to Africa, I have only seen carmine bee-eaters on that very first trip while in Zambia, so I am glad I did capture what images I could 🙂

For each image, first is the original edit, and second is the updated edit.

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A lilac breasted roller in flight.  A challenge I still enjoy trying to capture; these are my favourite bird.

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A red bishop in breeding plumage.  

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A pair of blue-cheeked bee-eaters.

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A flock of carmine bee-eaters.

I think in every case, the re-edit made substantial improvement.  As soon as I remember to pick up a replacement light magenta ink cartridge for my printer, I am going to reprint these and replace the original images in that old frame.

I have a few other ideas of images I would like to explore from my archive, so watch this space in the coming weeks and months.

Have a great week!

2020-01-19: Barred Owl

I spotted a barred owl hanging out in the backyard a couple of days ago while I was having lunch.  It spent a bit of time trying to hunt, and the rest trying to nap.  It was -28C, so I took the photos through my window, as it was just too cold for me to get out to take a couple of pictures.  Besides, Murphy’s Law would have kicked in, and by the time I got bundled up enough to head outside and take a few images, the owl would have flown away.

Thankfully things have warmed up a little bit here; still cold, but at least not bitterly cold.  I hope your week ahead is looking up too 🙂

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Trying to catch a few zzz’s

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Puffed up against the cold.
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Scanning for something to eat.

2019-10-27: Weaver Nests

I’ve been having fun this weekend working on some of my photo art images, but decided to share a few images of interesting weaver nests today.  They caught my eye, and I decided to just go with it.

On my most recent trip, we saw communal nests of the red-billed buffalo weaver and the typical hanging basket style nest of southern masked weaver (that’s my best guess, as we didn’t actually see anyone in residence).

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Loads of tiny basket style nests, abandoned for the season.
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These nests are built on the north and east branches of the tree; I believe in order to keep the nest cooler.  Our guide told us that this was one way to determine direction if you are lost out on the bush.

On previous trips I saw several other great examples.

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In Etosha National Park, the Sociable weaver nests had gotten so large, it brought down the branch of the tree.
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One of the many sociable weavers still in residence in the broken nest.
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In Amboseli National Park, another tree filled with the basket style nests of the weavers.  I don’t recall which variety would have bee the architects here.
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A black headed weaver gathering supplies to work on a nest in Queen Elizabeth Park in Uganda.

2019-09-15: Photo Arts – Birds

As much as I had hoped that my photo art topic would allow me to get comfortable with Topaz Studio version 2, I haven’t actually even tried it yet.  Fingers crossed that this week coming up I can make some time to a watch a tutorial or two and get familiar with the program operation, but for now, I have stuck with the original version, and I am really happy with the results of this weeks experiments.

I decided to focus on birds this week, and played around with two basic combinations of software.  The sunbird and hornbill were edited primarily using the Topaz AI Remix module, while the rest were done with Impression (along with the usual basic edits to start for tone, cropping, etc.).

Do you have a favourite this week?

I hope you enjoy, and wishing you a great week ahead.

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Lilac breasted roller
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White bellied sunbird
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White backed vulture
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Ground hornbill
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African wood hoopoe

2019-08-31: Birds – Shades of Blue

Travelling through southern Africa, pretty much any time of year, will provide the opportunity to see a great variety of birds.  Today I chose to focus on ones with feathers in shades of blue.  I hope you enjoy the variety of images today, and wishing you a wonderful weekend!

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A lilac breasted roller
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A burchell’s starling
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A white-bellied sunbird
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A pair of cape glossy starlings
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A green wood-hoopoe
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A cape glossy starling
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A wire-tailed swallow
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A double-collared sunbird
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A lilac breasted roller