Stay Home

Where do I begin… I had my first listing in Oregon. Oregon announced the first case of coronavirus… My birding trip was canceled… I had the first open house and accepted a full price offer on the second day of the open house… Eugene and Springfield area (where I live) had the first and second case of coronavirus earlier last week and both were dead!… Oregon announced the state of emergency last Wednesday, today re-enforced ‘stay home’  and I am now homebound and working from home.

It might be difficult for some people not to constantly connected with the family, friends and the social circle. Otherwise, it is a good time to simply relax, ponder and find a focus on something that you don’t normally do or something that you wanted to do, but have not had chance to do.

Sunrise at Crater Lake

Haven’t done a lot, but I always like black and white images from which you are drawn to focus your mind on fewer details than being overwhelmed by colors and details.

Spark Lake

Took a short drive to Spark Lake with my daughter and her family last year, I ended up with hundreds of kids’ pictures. My attention went to every single move of the kids. The scenery was ‘just’ background for the little ones. If I am not staying home now, quiet and calm, this image would not pop up on me.

A Foggy Morning

We should stay home away from the crowd, but we don’t need to stay away from nature. This pond is only 15 mins drive away from my house.   I can come here to listen to the bird’s chirp and watch the ducks play.

Oregon Lifestyle – 2

On the recent trip to California for a family matter, I saw California is not as brown as it used to. The snowfall has passed down south, and water enriched the land.  Interstate 5 is the primary channel to connect California and Oregon. I barely used my camera inside California, but when the scenery began to change, and I constantly had the urge to raise my camera, I know I am closer to home in Oregon. This time instead of going all the way I-5 north, we decided to take Hwy 97 north… and pretty soon, my camera battery was exhausted.

Born as a Chinese and cultivated as one, I have a strong tie attached to the culture and am so easily attracted to that smokey and dreaming ambiance in a traditional Chinese brush painting. We could not stop at the freeway, and the windshield is filthy. The wind blew hard, an attempt to open the sunroof failed. So I began to shoot through the window.

I like things to be natural, authentic, and less man-made.  The above picture has a blue hue out of the camera, and the image below is almost black and white.

It came the sunset time, the golden tone was coated on everything. So pure and so original.

We love to photograph birds because Oregon has so many of them. The region we drove by was frozen solid, but Raptors are aggressive predators, and they were almost the only ones around besides a couple of Bald Eagles whose white head stood out on the snow.

I hang out with many seasoned birders, but I have to confess that I don’t make efforts to identify the birds or keep track of the bird count. I simply enjoy them and care mostly about how the image turns out.

Simple but Not

Red-wing Blackbirds are so common in the wildlife refuges. I usually don’t pay much attention to them.  But when they are there  in flocks and flying around. I felt I need to do something about it and this something can not be a ‘Just a blackbird’ shot.

First and an easy one, press the shutter when the bird sings.

Even better, when the bird flapped its red wings. It looks like a King-Kong in this pose.

And, it took off in that split second and I captured it ! Can be better if it was not cloudy, but hey, this is my first.

Birds of the Week

Wet and cold winter linger. Except a few early blooms, colors are sporadic and barely visible.  Bird activities seems to usually start in February and that’s where my camera goes.

In my continuous pursuit of Western bluebirds, I found them in more places. They are around, but if not for the luck, they are usually too distant to reach. I desired a clear shot with their gorgeous feather fully shown, but whenever that opportunity popped up, they were in the shade.  It seems to me that their natural instinct teaches them the risk of fatal attraction.Black Phobes are common here. They don’t have dramatic outlook and thus can enjoy their freedom everywhere.  We all want to be unique and outstanding, but being ordinary is not necessarily a bad thing.

Cedar Waxwing is one of my all-time favorites. I have enough of their pictures, but I can never get tired of taking more.

I am not a serious birder. I am in for good images (and the satisfaction of seeing), not for number counts. However, I am happy to add a new bird to my list. This Oak Timouse finally came closer for a shot, but it’s an early morning of a cloudy day…

I thought this is a new bird, but they are juvenile Western Bluebird.

They wear red caps like Acorn Woodpecker, but Nuttall’s Woodpeaker has striped outfit.

Thriving trees and shrubs are in the vicinity, but Acorn Woodpecker is doing his woodwork on somebody’s house.  If your house is aged, be aware.

Enough of birds, I am longing for spring colors, or, more new birds.

 

Sunshine Act

Nature provides me inspiration. Sunshine brings me energy. Nature was my comfort zone and now I am chasing sunshine. Not only me, birdies are more active when they have more choices of berries and seeds. At least I have not seen a gold finch hanging himself upside down till now.

So hard to capture a warbler. They are so fast-paced that chance to have a clear shot depends purely on luck. When the light is good, success rate increases. I have not photographed them from this angel.

And guess what, sunshine brought me a golden opportunity to capture my favorite bird, another Western Bluebird:

Bluebird

Completely unexpected, I ran into a small flock of bluebirds. I may have seen one from distance in the past. This first closer encounter has made my day. Though he hid himself in the shade, I am content with what I got. You know I will continue to pursue that perfect shot particularly such a gorgeous creature.

Bewick’s Wren is not uncommon, but a clear shot in the right angle does not come easy. Two favorite birds in a shoot, I call it a good day.

 

Ready to Act

Winter is cold, but not cold enough to snow not mentioning ice. I love to photograph ice-coated vegetation, but no luck so far. Without hanging out with real birders, I did not know birding is an all-year-round activity. No ice, Birds are active and their action energized me.

However, I am not patient enough to wait around and capture the extreme action moment when the birds caught their prey. It is just the motion prior to the real action.

This is the last blog of the year and it sums up my six years of dedicated photography journey. I am ready to experiment something new which involves a small portion of photography.  I hope to continuously share what I am to capture and what’s in my mind going forward when time permits.

Happy New Year to YOU ALL who have been reading my blogs and my moral support.

Bird Talk and Thoughts

Passing through northern California, I was attracted to the sea of Snow Geese. They are the resemblance of Canadian Geese in our area. It’s so fun to watch their large community gathering on the field, taking off, and marching in the air. Birds have no place to ‘go home’, but their habitat is much beautiful and peaceful than ours. As a single, they might not look as distinctive as other exotic birds. As a whole, their uniform movement is quite interesting.

This is not the first time I intended to communicate with the birds. I could not get a good shot of the hawks until recently. When this Red-tailed Hawk turned his head to acknowledge my greetings, I was thrilled.  

First I saw the Hawk was harassing the Crow. Without having them exposed by the camera, I would never notice that it’s now the Hawk was running for life.  In our real life, we have our turn to be Up and Down. Don’t lose heart. Keep up and stick to the goal.

Egret has that beautiful white feather. It looks, even more, appealing when it’s all fluffy in the cold weather. Birds instinctively know how to keep themselves warm. I, however, cannot figure out why he stood there on one foot. Maybe his foot was hidden inside the feather for heat.

Ever since I began to get some hawk shots, there are more seen and captured. I have to say this is my theory of ‘secret of desire’. When you desire hard and long, things will become to unfold for you. 

Ibis has a unique curved beak and long legs. I have seen Egyptian Ibis in Asia and White Ibis in Central American, but this Glossy Ibis is new to me.

It was a shortstop and a brief bird walk. The findings are quite amazing. I only dropped a few here to share.