Friday, August 29, 2008

Yellow Warbler


Goofy Photos

I'm going thru my pics and decided to post some goofy looking ones that, strangely enough, I like, cuz they are so odd.

Panning The Pigeon:

I think the pigeon pic is very pretty for some reason even though, technically, the pic didn't turn out.

Panning The Squirrel:

The Squirrel result is a combo of slow shutter speed squirrel twirls and panning rainlike background (following a moving object while taking pics of it.) I bet I couldn't do that again if I tried.

This one is called "The View from the Chain Link Fence:"

Goofy little sparrow sitting squished in the chain link fence. Now why would he want to do that? It sure didn't look very comfortable.

Flower Art

So I've been trying to get some good shots of these certain flowers and just cannot do it no matter what setting I use on my camera. Could be just bad time of day (not enough light, light too harsh).

I love this cropped area of one picture.
I call it: "Meeting of the Leaves"

I also have been playing around with different artistic effects and liked the results on these cropped areas of the photos.

I used Smart Blur, Unsharp Mask, and Texture.
The artistic effect looks best at full scale, but I had to resize these above ones to fit my blog.

The idea of using Smart Blur and Unsharp Mask came from an online Photoshop tutorial.

I liked a little texture added to it so it looked more like it was painted on canvas or textured paper.

NOTE: That's how my current blog header was made. A different flower setting, though. Same place as the bees and butterfly pics I posted earlier.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Sunflower Season Again

The wild sunflowers are pretty much everywhere now. I took lots of pictures of those last year, so haven't done much with those this year. Then we have the blankets of yellow sunflower fields. They are such a cheerful yummy colorful feast to my eyes. Pictures never adequately portray the experience, though. I think the planted crop sunflowers are maturing a little late this year.

Charolais Against The Great Sky

I thought this scene looked so funny with the white cows (Charolais pronounced sharlay) dotting the field under the great mushroom cloud sky.

Wind Turbines on the Prairie

They look small in a landscape shot like that. And yeah, it was hilly, so just the tops are showing on the ones in the background.

Here's a close-up shot. They are big.

I had to get really close to them to hear them when they are spinning in the breeze. The noise didn't bother me. But I'm not so sure I'd like them dotting my landscape view at home, though.

This next one was backlit so I turned it into a sunset composite.
Just messin' around in Paint Shop Pro 9.
I added a sunset gradient layer (Color Blend Mode), a cloud pic layer (Soft Light), a moon pic layer (Luminance), and then added a few stars on a layer (Screen) with Ulead Particle Plugin.

Okay, so it was probably overkill and it doesn't look very realistic. Maybe I should have stopped at just adding the sunset gradient.
The creativity is always fun, though.

My Best Hawk Picture So Far This Year

Just driving around in the country, I always see hawks. They seldom stick around long enough for me to pull over and get a good picture of them. This guy let me take two shots and then even zoom in for another one before he flew away. I was surprised he tolerated my presence that long. Maybe he was on the hunt for something in the field and very hungry, so did not want to leave? I have some in-flight pics of him too, but they are blurry poor quality.

Not sure what kind of hawk he is. A Northern Harrier maybe?

It wasn't quite as exciting as my best hawk picture last year.
I don't think anything can beat that experience.

Hawks of North Dakota

Friday, August 22, 2008

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

John Mayer Free Fallin'

Wow. I LVE Mayer's version of Free Fallin'.

I've been listening to it over and over again.
I can't get enough of it.

Google it.

YouTube Direct Link
(UPDATE: Link was dead, so I changed it.)

Image Notes:
My clouds pic, duplicate Screen Layer Blend Mode to lighten/brighten, Soft Focus Effect to soften, MuRa's Filter Meister Copies for text effect.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Rock Pigeon Columba livia
Family: Columbidae, Pigeons and Doves


Cool Facts about Pigeons

There may be as many as 28 pigeon color types, called "morphs," but Project PigeonWatch groups them into just seven morphs.

Checker: If a pigeon has a checker pattern on its wings it is called a checker. Checkers can range from very light gray with only a few black checks, to very dark with only a little light-gray still showing. Some checkers have wing-bars; some do not.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Eastern Kingbird

Eastern Kingbird:


Pics provided at sites above don't really look like my pic, but my ND bird book pic does look like what I have.

google images

Also a WESTERN kingbird.
Kingbird photo shoot


North Dakota State Flower - Prairie Wild Rose

The prairie wild rose is a very common sight along the rural roadside, and that is where I found this one, which happened to be in very good shape.

Prairie Wild Rose info from Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center.

Also the state flower of Iowa, evidently.

See another pic here.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Morning Photo Walk

Where I went for a morning photo walk today.

It was a fabulous summer morning out there. Cool 50's and not muggy. Yay.

Yeah, I know those early morning shots of trees and sky are too high contrast to expose adequately, but I just love them anyways. The lighting is so dramatic and capture a mood.

Yellow Cone Flowers

I have wonderful yellow cone flowers in my back yard, so we can't mow the lawn now. HA

Purple Flowers

I sure like these purple flowers, but don't know what they are. In a burst of inspiration I tried a new angle and I liked the composition. It's difficult to take because of the direction of the sun. But one day I happened to catch the scene right before the sun came up over the hill behind them.

Purple flowers, like rocks, look best with a cool tone (white balance) instead of warm. Also I think purple flowers, like white flowers, might be best shot on a cloudy day. Better color rendering. Purple can be a difficult color to get correct in-camera. I often get blue instead of purple in-camera. The color fuchsia or hot deep pink is difficult too (just pink is ok). So is a wine color. A hot deep pink and a maroon wine are often rendered red in-camera,no matter what white balance I use.

UPDATE 25 Oct 08:
The flowers are purple liatris.

More Cloud Shapes

Clouds are fun. We get the most interesting clouds in the late afternoon or early evening.

Can't ID This bird

Here's a bird I caught with my XSi and tele, different area, but same day as the hawk and eagles. I'm sure getting lots of bird photos this year. It's what shows up for the photo shoots.

Can't ID for sure, but I think it's some kind of thrush maybe?

20 Jul 09:
Could be a juvenile robin.
Google Images
"The Juvenile American Robin’s underparts are tinged with cinnamon and heavily spotted with brown."

Kingbird Returns

That kingbird returned for an evening visit once again. I had the bracket removed from the outdoor temperature gauge, so I got better pictures of him now. Ones without that ugly bracket behind his head.

Here's a funny pose.

Looks like he's checking things out down below, hey hey. He had an itch that needed scratching or something.

NOTE: Another Kingbird pic here.

Mourning Dove at Sunrise

A mourning dove has gotten in the habit of sitting on our power line pole and singing every morning at sunrise. Terrible backlit and low light situation but I try anyway. Him and I played this little get closer game for a few mornings. I was trying to see if he'd acclimate to my presence, so I can get closer. Not. He had a clear boundary and stuck to it every time.

It is interesting to watch him when he coos. His chest puffs out and his tails bobs up and down when he's perched on the wire instead of the pole. It looks like he wags his tail. It made me laugh.

So anyway, crappy pictures, really. But I thought maybe I could turn it into a silhouette and add a different background. Something minimalistic with a sunrise tone to it to capture the same mood. I found a gradient that seemed to do it.

The nest? Abandoned. No sign of eggs or babies. Don't know what happened. Maybe the morning cooing is a mourning song.

More mourning dove pics here.