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 🙂
Today marks the first full day of winter, and while I am very grateful that thus far there haven’t been too many bitterly cold days in the transition between autumn and winter, I know they are coming. I find winter a challenging time, far more so now that I am living in the north than I used to. It isn’t just the temperatures; it is the lack of colour and the length of time that the area is carpeted in snow. Yes, the blue sky days, with the snow twinkling in the sunlight can be beautiful, but this morning, the dull grey skies and ice crystals hanging off the branches seemed to perfectly reflect how I feel about winter. At once both dull and sharp, beautiful and miserable.
I don’t get out to take images that often in winter; I suffer from Reynaud’s syndrome and being out in the type of thin gloves necessary to handle a camera can be a real challenge unless the day is fairly mild. Sometimes it is worth it regardless of the temperature, but those times are definitely the exception.
I spent a bit of time this morning wandering the yard, hoping to capture what I noticed while out walking my dog earlier this morning. By the time I got out though, most of the ice crystals hanging from the moss in the trees had dissipated from the slight rise in temperatures, but those clinging to the evergreens and willows still remained.
Sunday posts this month were supposed to be all about elephants, but this lovely visitor changed my plans for the week. I can’t even explain how nice it felt to have the opportunity to get out and take a few photos, and having both weather and wildlife corporate in the process was a bonus 🙂
I’ve seen a couple of different bucks in the neighbourhood on occasion, but have lately been seeing lots of evidence of them around the yard; they’ve been rubbing their antlers on many of the willow trees around, scoring the bark off and knocking down smaller branches and limbs.
This guy was really unconcerned about me being outside with him, but I kept my distance to not put any pressure on him and cause him to leave the cozy spot he found in the sun to relax.
He’s still in the yard as I type this, and has actually been joined by another, much smaller deer. The little ones are sometimes much easier spooked, so I am going to leave this with just the images I have so far, and let all the deer graze without interruption.
Spring is definitely taking its time to arrive here in Prince George. It’s creeping up, little by little, but the changes aren’t really picturesque. It is nice though to go outside at midday and feel a tiny bit of warmth to the sunshine now, and see that the snowbanks are receding little by little.
The photos I have today aren’t really a sign of spring, but I am hopeful that I won’t have another opportunity to take them again this year, so I guess it somewhat ties into the theme.
I was walking with Spencer early yesterday morning, it was quite cold and the bare tree branches were covered in frost and ice. When the sun came up and hit the branches, it was just so pretty. The trees were sparkling in the warm orange light. I tried my best to capture it, but taking photos while wearing mittens (and while my glasses were fogging up) is not an easy task! I wasn’t about to go bare handed when it was -18, so I snapped a couple of photos and hoped for the best.
Like light playing upon moving water, snow and ice sparkling in the sunlight is something that is challenging to really capture in a still image. I think the magic of seeing it in person is a bit lost, but still, I try.
This week I have really been trying to look for signs of spring. Honest, I have. But waking up today, the temperature was -29C with a high of -12C for the day, and it really does feel like spring is far away. I have noticed a few things though. I can see about a 6″ band of shingles on the roof of my house, from the days when it has been warm enough for a bit of melt to happen. I noticed one lone willow tree, buried in about 4 feet of snow drift at the side of the road, starting to bud (despite the cold in was enveloped in). But mostly, I have noticed the trees.
It has been stark white for a very long time in my back yard, and over the past two weeks, between the strong winds and the the (slightly) warming days, the evergreens have shed the huge cloaks of snow from their branches. There are still bits of snow tucked into the crook of branches here and there, but finally when I look out my windows, I see a bit of green, rather than just white.
Pictures of bare branches in my backyard seemed a bit boring, but frankly, getting all bundled up to do a photo walk this weekend also didn’t hold much appeal. So I went out for a short time to photograph some of the birds feasting on the sunflower seeds. Today, only the chickadees were around, though usually there is a pair of red-breasted nuthatches plus the woodpeckers that pass through. The chickadees made a steady stream from branch to feeder and back again; I couldn’t count them all as they were constantly coming in from every direction.
As a bird lover, one of the sad parts about the temperature warming is soon the birds will have to fend for themselves, once it warms enough for there to be a threat of bears visiting the feeders. I think we have a ways to go before that is an issue though.
Here are a few chickadees for today; fingers crossed next weekend there are more signs of spring around.
This is a topic I haven’t done in a while! I’ve been trying to keep my camera close, as there is such an abundance of birdlife in my yard at the moment. It can be a bit challenging though, with the days being so short, and we’ve had a lot of overcast days recently. But even when the light isn’t great, it’s still awesome to have camera in hand.
I must apologize for the lack of posts over the last couple of weeks. I hadn’t intended on taking any time off the blog in the run-up to Christmas, but time just got away from me.
Christmas Day saw a very unusual visitor to the bird feeder – a Blue Jay. To those on the east coast I’m sure that doesn’t sound very exciting; but they are considered rare in my area, and I’ve not seen one since I was a kid growing up in Ontario, so I was thrilled. The jay was very skittish though and while I have seen it a few times over the past couple of days, they are usually blink and you’ll miss it moments. All I have to show for it are some fuzzy shots through my office window, but at least I have proof that it was here.
We’ve had a fair bit of snow the last few days, and it’s been very busy at the feeders; chickadees and nuthatches, flickers, downy and hairy woodpeckers, gray jays and even a visit from the magpies that I generally only see a couple streets over from where I live. The ruffed grouse has also been around quite frequently. I’ve been battling a bug with a nasty cough so I haven’t been outside much with my camera, but I did manage to capture the magpie and the grouse. Now that I am starting to feel better I am hoping to get out and capture more of birds in the yard, and perhaps with any luck the blue jay will make another appearance.
I was busy working last week and something caught my attention outside, out the corner of my eye. I spotted this gorgeous barred owl in a tree in my backyard, and rushed to grab my camera to take a quick photo through the window.
I decided to take a chance and dash outside and hope to get a better shot. The owl gave me a quick glance, let me snap 3 photos, and then was off, deep into the forest.
I love when beautiful creatures like this decide to make a stop in my yard 🙂
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.
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.