2018-08-18: Smoky Skies

Like last year, Northern BC has been hit hard with wildfires.  It’s actually pretty scary looking at the wildfire maps, as it looks like most of the province is currently on fire.  Thankfully, there is currently no danger in our immediate vicinity, other than extremely poor air quality from the substantial amount of smoke that has settled in the region, and the airborne ash that lately has been coating my car every night.

Yesterday morning started out normal enough for the past few weeks, a bit smoky but nothing too terrible.  But then as the morning wore on, it got darker rather than brighter, and at 9:10am it looked like we were in the midst of some type of solar eclipse event.  I went outside to try and capture a few images; it was extremely smoky, cold like it would be in the middle of the night, and all the photo sensitive lights had come on.  It was spooky quiet as all the birds had dropped to complete silence.

By 10am the darkness had passed but it remained incredibly smoky throughout the day.

I was in the middle of work so I didn’t have the opportunity to drive anywhere more interesting to take pictures; this is a view down my driveway to the road… not that you can really even see the driveway in the image.  It was just the sky I was focused on.

This shot was taken on my Fuji camera with the 18-55 lens, shot at f2.8, ISO 2000 and 1/60 sec.  I created the merged panorama in On1 Photo Raw, and for efficiency edited it in On1 (back to the Luminar processing tomorrow).  The merged panorama was a bit of a challenge because the images were so dark.  I had to up the exposure slider on all the individual images, and then reverse that on the panorama.  My camera is basically always set to auto white balance, and I changed it in editing to daylight, and that got the sky to be true to life.

Just to give some perspective, sunrise this week is around 5:55am.

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A merged panorama of 5 images shot at 9:18am yesterday morning.  A single shot definitely captured the spookiness of the colour of the sky, but having the panorama really shows the variation in different areas of the sky.

 

All of us here are praying for the safety of all the incredibly brave people working to put these fires out, and hoping that some favourable weather will be heading their way soon.

 

2018-07-17: Deer in the yard

I missed putting together my Sunday post, but I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to share this adorable deer and fawn that briefly popped by the yard last week.  They showed up for only a couple minutes at the end of a miserable rainstorm, so I am glad I looked out the window at the right time and had my camera handy.  I didn’t recognize the mama, so I only shot a couple of images out the window, as I didn’t want to spook them.  Most of the local deer are used to me being out walking so it probably wouldn’t have been an issue to pop my head out the door, but I actually wouldn’t have had time as they only popped over for a brief visit to the salt lick and then vanished back into the bushes.

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A mama deer and fawn making a brief appearance in my back yard.
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A bundle of cuteness – I love living in the country 🙂

2018-06-24: Monthly Photo Project – Hummingbirds

As promised last week, I have some hummingbird photos to share this week.  I’ve been spending as much time as I have been able outside, enjoying the antics of the rufous hummingbirds.  I probably should have tried taking some video, but I don’t want to delay this post and go out and attempt it.  Perhaps over the coming week I’ll give that a try.

The rufous hummingbirds arrive in Prince George early to mid-May; with the males arriving first followed shortly after by the females.  Their arrival coincided with the weather going from unseasonably warm to ridiculously cold and frosty, so there wasn’t much for them to feed on, making them extra reliant on the feeders that I put out.  I started with one feeder and as more birds arrived hung up extras.  Currently I have four feeders around the yard, and am putting out between 1 to 1.5 litres of nectar per day for the group living in my vicinity.

I have photos of four at a feeder at a time, but have seen more than eight gathered around one, with others hanging out at the other options.  Usually that is early in the morning or late in the evening, when it is challenging to get images.  If I had to guess, I would say there are probably 15 to 18 individuals that are frequenting the feeders, but they move so quickly and erratically, it is really tough to say.  There are definitely lots of juveniles, so their breeding has been successful this year.  With the long days we have, they are busy feeding from around 4am until after 10pm every day.

My yard is surrounded by thick forest, and the hummingbirds retreat deep into the bush between feedings, making it had to get decent images of them on natural perches.  Images of birds on feeders aren’t ideal, but that’s where they are gathering, so I have to work with what is available.  I am going to keep trying to get some images of them on the forest, but I don’t have long to do so, as they usually begin their southern journey mid July.

If you want to learn more about the rufous hummingbird, check out the link below.  They are noted as being feisty – that’s a complete understatement!

All About Birds – Rufous Hummingbird

Now, time for the images.

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An adult female rufous hummingbird.
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An adult male rufous hummingbird.
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Sharing nicely (for once).
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The male taking off to join the fray.
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I nearly got taken out by the birds on more than one occasion while hanging around outside taking photographs.  I think it would have hurt them a lot more than me though.
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Adult and juvenile females heading in for a feed.
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Beak to beak combat.

2018-04-08: Wide Angles Only – Cottonwood Park

It’s only the second instalment of my wide angles only topic for the month, and I was honestly ready to bail on it already.  The days when it was nice this week, I was knee deep in work and couldn’t sneak off with my camera.  Then the weekend arrived with the promise of more free time to get out and explore, and for the most part, dull, grey skies have been the order of the days.  Add to that the slowly melting snow carpeting the landscape in a dirty blanket and you’ve not really got the recipe for epic landscape images.

But, despite all that, I went out for a wander in one of the local parks yesterday and I had a great time.  Sure it was muddy and slushy and lots of paths and areas were inaccessible, but it felt awesome to go out and shoot.  It was also fun to be limited by only having one lens with a small range, and having to focus on things that wouldn’t probably be my first inclination.

I’m definitely going to have to get creative though if I am going to come up with something for each Sunday of April.  Stop by next weekend to see what I have come up with.

I hope you enjoy the selections for this week.

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A foot bridge heading into Cottonwood Park in Prince George.  1/150 sec, f13, ISO 400 at 10mm.
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Do you feel like you are being watched?  The park features several carvings in the massive trees that line the paths.   1/180sec, f6.4, ISO 400, 10mm
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Another view of one of the carvings in the trees.  1/450sec, f6.4, ISO 400, 10mm.
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This is as colourful as the day was when I was out wandering.  Even then, I still applied a “colour boost” filter during editing.  1/5800 sec, f4, ISO400, 10mm
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The trees reaching their barren limbs up towards the sunshine.  Soon, there will be leaves to obscure all the birds that chirped and sung as I wandered along.  1/340 sec, f20, ISO 400
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I had never contemplated photographing a small, fast moving bird like a chickadee with a wide angle lens.  But the birds in the park are so tame and used to people, that I had one land on my hat while I was taking images of the face in the trees.  I crouched in front of this stump after seeing the birds landing on it, pre-focused, and waited for one to stop by.  1/680 sec, f4, ISO 400 at 24mm

2017-10-03: WPC Window

Since I started working from home 2 years ago, I have posted quite a few images taken from my office window.  There are times when it is difficult not to be distracted by the deer wandering through the yard, the birds congregating at the feeders in the winter, or a rare visit by the fox or bear.  The photo challenge for this week is to either feature images that include the framing of a window, or taken from a window.

I hope you enjoy these images taken from my office window.

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I have a ground level window, and one of the deer spotted me with my camera and was very intrigued, and kept coming closer to get a better look.
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Mama with one of the youngsters.
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When it was very hot and dry in the summer, I made sure there was a small dish of water out for any birds or animals that needed a drink.  The mama deer makes use of that on a soggy day.
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Coming back for a second look.
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This young deer was very aware of me watching, and very curious.

 

Please visit:
www.jennifersawickyphotography.com for wildlife, landscape and nature inspired artwork.

and

https://shopvida.com/collections/jennifer-sawicky for textiles inspired by my photography.

 

WPC: Window

2017-08-13: Smoky Skies

Wildfires have been raging in British Columbia for the past two months, and while thankfully we have remained removed from the height of the chaos, we are definitely close enough to feel the effects.  My city has been one of several hubs for people that have been evacuated from their homes due to the proximity of the fires, and depending on the wind and other atmospheric conditions, we have been on occasion inundated with smoke.

The past week has been smoky on and off and I’ve been photographing the intensely orange sunrises over the past few days; things turned quite eerie though yesterday afternoon, and this morning the smoke is so thick, I’ll be foregoing my normal walk around the neighbourhood.  It’s rained on and off through the night, and it smells like a huge, washed out campfire outside at the moment.

Here are few images from the past week.

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Sunrise yesterday morning while out walking.  
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A reflection of trees on my car, which was covered in a layer of fine ash.
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Sunset is currently around 8:45pm.  This was last night at 7:01pm.  The sky began turning a strange yellow/grey/green colour around 2:00pm, and it just got creepier as the day wore on.
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Sunrise through a layer of smoke on Wednesday.
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This morning outside my home; the smoke hanging thickly amongst the trees.  An hour later, it’s grown darker rather than brighter.
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Tuesday also provided a rather colourful sunrise through a layer of smoke.

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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Please visit:
www.jennifersawickyphotography.com for wildlife, landscape and nature inspired artwork.

and

https://shopvida.com/collections/voices/jennifer-sawicky for textiles inspired by my photography.

2016-08-29: Black Bears

When I got home from my lunch time walk with Spencer, I spotted two black bear cubs on the lawn near the entrance I use.  I quickly went in a different way so as not to disturb them, and grabbed my camera.

What a fantastic lunch hour!

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The low hanging feeder was emptied, but despite checking out the one up the tree, they didn’t bother with it (I wonder if that’s because those seeds were coated in cayenne pepper to keep the squirrels away?)

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One of the cubs was significantly smaller than the other, and at one point, they had a scrap in the yard, with a lot of snarling and growling.

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2016-06-05: What I’ve seen this week

I spent some time Saturday morning watching the birds in the backyard, and happened to be at the right place at the right time to see a male and female western tanager pass through the yard.  It was only the third time I’ve ever seen these birds, and the first opportunity to photograph, so needless to say, I was thrilled.

I had another interesting sighting earlier in the week; while out on my bike I spotted an interesting bird with a very long beak.  After looking on my bird app, I figured it was likely a long-billed curlew, a first time I have seen the species.  I hopped in the car with my camera to see if they were still in the area, and luckily managed a couple photos.

That’s enough of the chatter, I hope you enjoy the birds I have seen this week 🙂

 

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A dark-eyed oregon junco with her chicks.  Even though the ground was full of sunflower seeds that I spilled earlier in the day whilst filling up feeders, the chicks still wanted Mom to feed them.

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I was watching the hummingbirds with camera in hand when I saw a flash of yellow land behind some branches.  I moved slowly to get a better vantage point, worried I would scare the bird off before getting to ID it.  
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The male and female tanagers arrived at separate times and only stayed a minute or to.  I was really lucky to have seen them.

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A long-billed curlew.
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A pair of long-billed curlews with a chick (mid photo far right).  I was taking photos when pulled over on the side of the main road into my neighbourhood, so I didn’t spend any time adjusting settings; a couple quick photos then I was off.