Distraction and Enjoyment

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Will I ever get tired of taking hummingbird pictures? Absolutely not.

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When the bird is flying above me, can I still pay attention to my driving? Probably not.

They are my daily distraction and also enjoyment. While many migrant birds have gone south, I particularly appreciate their presence.

 

 

 

Point and Shoot – Hummingbird

Just for the fun of dropping my DSLR and tripod to enjoy the ease and freedom of using a point and shoot camera.

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Have I ever tired of taking hummingbird pictures? Never. I am so impressed by their fitness. Look how he firmly erected himself in the air? He was buzzing me to leave him alone,  but tempted by the flower and I was able to snap it at that split second.

Sometimes temptation is good. We were both tempted (IT by the flower and ME by the bird) and as a result I harvested an image I like, better yet, if you also enjoy it.

Backyard Entertainers

Although I continue to take hummingbird pictures while they are on the feeder, but every once a while, a shot like this one can simply brighten my day. Except this one was captured by my husband. I love it so much that I have to share.

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It is quite a skill being able to hang in the air and suck the nectar at the same time. Their wings and body are in a gymnastic form, firm and sculptured. And, they don’t take their eyes off the surroundings while partaking their food.

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Some birds are more bashful than the others. House Finch boys are one of my favorite birds, but they reacted so quickly to human’s presence. I spotted this young bird on the feeder, but he immediately hid himself in the limbs when I raised my camera.

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A mother Nuthatch was feeding her baby. I wasn’t fast enough to capture that moment, but happy enough to have the baby’s picture taken. See the fear and uncertainty in his eyes?20160718-E25A8516-Edit

Have you seen one of Disney’s old classics , Bambi? I still remember that I was in tears when Bambi’s mom was shot by a hunter. It is now the time when the fawns are hopping along with their moms. This one was sitting on our lawn when I opened the door one morning. Mommy deer immediately responded to my appearance while the baby was still a bit confused.

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So lucky to have them around. I never got tired of taking their pictures.

Bird and Bloom

Bird and Bloom. It is Spring.

My merry time is spring. While birds are migrating here and blooms are vigorous, I cannot lift my eyes off them. I am not counting the birds I have seen, but every existence of them is a temptation for me. Their voice is just like my grandchildren’s giggles, irresistible.

This is my first time to actually see an Acorn Woodpecker. He reminds me of the cardinal, the clergyman, a bald-headed cardinal? I do like the background with misty rain.

I had a small history with Mourning Doves. A mommy Mourning Dove laid the eggs on the top of our window air-conditioner (20+years ago). The babies were born, nourished and flew away on their own in about 7-10 days.  Dad was around every day to inspect the progress. Mom was hovering the babies day and night. That was the first time in my life that I witnessed a mother’s love from a bird and the beginning of my love for birds.

The fuzzy little thing, Rufous Hummingbird, is ‘fussing’ in the misty rain. He was far away from me and kept fidgeting, not a very clear shot. But he is too cute not to be shown.

I cannot resist bird singing and neither can I resist the colors of the flowers.

I like to see bird’s eyes clear and keen while I don’t necessarily like my flowers to be crispy and sharp. I just like that dreamy, fuzzy and undescriptive look. What can I do?

Unexpected Visitors

What an unusual summer we have here in Willamette valley! Back in February, we celebrated early sunshine and came in April, all things were blooming and thriving. This is definitely the most colorful summer I have enjoyed around our house. Then, high temperature began to emerge in May, above 90’s and it seemed to stay this way for couple of weeks now. Except maybe two days, I have not seen the hi’s go down below 90 in a 10-day weather forecast.

The good news is, when all the flowers are in their prime, fragrance and pollen are flowing in the air, birds seem to become extremely active. I like to sit on our porch and work from my laptop when the temperature is still mild in the morning. To me, luxury is to be surrounded by flower aroma, birds chirps and pampered by pleasant breeze. It is now late spring and baby birds just learned to fly and they loved to try. I was often so entertained by their clumsy flying behavior that I forgot what I was doing in the computer. Earlier I expected to capture some shots with mom’s feeding babies, but mothers are all so protected with their newbies, I have not had any chance to get a perfect shot yet. But, I get to watch siblings chasing one another and most exciting, I have seen a few unexpected visitors !!!

A Bunting showed up in our feeder briefly more than two years ago. Caught by surprise, I only had a quick glance, but the vivid and stunning colors have always in my mind.  When this Bunting suddenly popped up this time, I happened to have my camera next to my laptop. I held my breath and raised my camera very cautiously (in order not to disturb him). But, does he seem to mind being photographed? I don’t think so. I thought I was spying on him, but he is the one does the scrutiny… His appearance has surely made me a great day!

You can listen to their call through this link.  All About Birds have very comprehensive information about all sorts of birds in all regions.

Most of the time I can be very focused on my work except if any of the birds start to sing or just make calls, I would have urge wanting to identify the birds.  American Robin has absolutely the sweetest voice, but they are everywhere and I have heard enough. House Finches are not uncommon, but it is not all that easy to take their pictures. Their song is very high-pitched, crisp and pleasantly distinctive.  Go to  All About Birds site to listen to House Finch song.

Not only their voice, male House Finch’s behavior is sometimes hilarious. They usually react very quickly and flee in no time, but sometimes, he checked you out, little by little and from different angles, just like Bunting. The study says, Bunting and Finches have similar personality. Well said.

Male has that distinguished orange red color from head to breast while female is in plain grayish brown color. One of the reasons that I don’t get tired of House Finches is the companionship that they demonstrated. Their male and female always travel together.  Male bird is the one who carry nesting materials, feed his female while she is in her pregnancy and feed babies after they are born. Not only that, I often saw male was guarding when his female is eating on the feeder.

I captured this pair later in the afternoon yesterday. It was dark outside. I thought they are couples, but I think they are Dad and a baby girl. Babies have rounder head and puffier feather. You can easily detect a baby when it is flying.

Nuthatch is definitely one of my favorite birds, but prior to this week, I have only seen them twice this year. Believe or not, today I saw two of them flying back and forth right in front of me all day long. They would stop to pick up some seeds and instantly go out of my sight. The moment when I picked up my camera, they disappeared. Except that this (apparently) young bird was flapping its wings awkwardly and it fell on my flower basket at least 6 times. It was just too funny to watch.

Hummingbirds are very territorial. I particularly set out two feeders, but there is still no peace among them. They fight their own species and others. Anna’s Hummingbirds (green color) are the aggressive one while Rufous (orange, golden) are my favorite. While Anna’s are guarding the feeders on regular basis, I seldom see Rufous around.

Rufous looks more attractive and they are funny sometimes. We saw one Rufous came to our fountain to drink that I missed the shot. The other one stood on the flower basket hanger and just stared at us fearlessly. It was there for a while that I had enough time to get our 500mm, check out the details. Isn’t it a beautiful bird?

What a wonderful week to receive these unexpected backyard visitors!!! If they will come more often in such hot summer days, I am willing to endure the heat as an exchange for their appearance. I have been wanting to texture tons of flower images that I have taken, But, as soon as my bird buddies came around, I was completely distracted…..

Before and After

Spring is here. Sun is here. New growth is everywhere. But only a few early spring flowers are blooming. I have only two kinds of flowers are blooming in my yard. I became desperate and went to Trader Joe to look for cutting or potting flowers. Thinking of all the flowers I will have soon, I was only willing to spend $3.99. Photographers need to be able to shoot anything and everything under all circumstances, I thought.
In two days, I have been taking these flowers in and out of the house. They are one of the most common flowers you can find. Even if I have good light, good angle of view, they will still come out, common. How do I make them looking better and people would even want to take a look? I did not count the numbers of the pictures I have deleted, but I seem to like this one.

Early morning with a little bit of sunlight. Somehow I ended up with a dark background. White flower on dark background sounds good, but not quite what I wanted, so I added a second flower to give it a little twist.  It is this added second color prompted me to think about a purple texture. With three textures added and some adjustments, I was happy to see the transformation.

Our tulip magnolias tree just started budding last week and is now in full blossoms. They are up high. Even standing on a stepper, I am still too short. Instead of macro, I have to use a telephoto lens. It is great that the tree is full of buds, hundreds of them, but not easy to get a shot with a focal point.
Just like Scrub Jay, Hummingbirds are frequent visitors, but it is a challenge trying to get a decent shot of them. An impatient photographer like me, I should not be shooting birds, but I love birds for the reason that I cannot even explain myself.  My original shoot includes a black railing close to the bird. While trying to remove it, I thought why not just adding some texture. Hummingbirds look much cuter in distance and I like the image softer…
Original picture was taken in a cloudy day. Pot was hot. Tea was warm. Charming fragrance of my own naturally-dried potpourri was being released in the air. But the image looks cold. My camera did not do it justice, or, I should say, I did a poor job. The After image has finally illustrated how I actually felt at that moment, the truth. I am gradually and most certainly, understanding the importance of post processing.

A Day of Relaxation

No music, no spa, not in the woods, not on top of a mountain, it was simply around the house…

I have just read an article ‘7 Super Seeds that will change your health’. This is a good article. I think you should read it, go to http://news360.com/article/280825326. The super seeds are Chia seeds, Flax seeds, Hemps seeds, Pumpkin seeds, Sesame seeds, Sunflower seeds, and Papaya seeds. Coincidently, we have chia seeds and sesame seeds in our daily smoothies. We have flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds in our freshly home-made granola. Out of 7, we are consuming 5 of them daily and we don’t even know about it.
Heathy Life – Smoothie in the Morning

One of the reasons that I like to make smoothie is to enjoy the different colors coming out of the mix each morning. I have my basics (such as apples and oranges, chia seeds and ground sesame seeds plus one vegetable item) and I mixed them with anything else I may have in my refrigerator. Like this morning, I added carrots, fresh pineapples and strawberries. 97% of the time, the smoothies is delicious and comes out with beautiful colors.

Lantern Rose shines regardless color or not
Coffee aroma is one reason why many people love it so much. I cannot enjoy my morning without a cup of coffee. I grow up drinking tea. Tea is great, but it is lightweight and not as fun as coffee. Though the air is still cold, the bit of sunshine makes a lot of difference. Sipping coffee and going through the pages of travel photobook is absolutely enjoyable. Coffee aroma plus that sweet memories… what else do I expect? not much.

Total Relaxation

Learning something new keeps me interested in all aspects of photography. I used to think that photographers are not artists, but now I have to say that a photographer is more than an artist, he has to be a technician as well. Something can be accomplished instinctively, but others we just have to learn the nuts and bolts of the science behind.  I have been experimenting various method to process a photo and what I’ve got out of the process is amazingly satisfying.

The images I posted on my blog are the results of my experiments. They are not set for prints and I don’t spend too much time trying to fine tune the details. As long as I remember what I’ve done and you got the point, they served my purpose.
A surprised visitor, Rufous Hummingbird
I thought I spotted a reflection of something shining briefly landed on my photobook. I was utterly stunned when I realized it was a golden hummingbird.  We have mostly a green Anna’s or a grey black-chinned hummingbird come to our feeders. I am not an export identifying hummingbirds, but I know this guy is a Rufous. He was there for a good 2 minutes, moved around and made his feather all fuzzed up. It was a nice surprise. 
A tribute to the soon Passing-Away
Even after I have doubled the dosage of the spray, my lantern roses are still a bit under the weather this year. They grow face-down. If I don’t remove them from the twig, their beauty is hidden. If I do, they don’t last too long. I love to take more pictures, but I also feel reluctant to torture them any more. 
Smoothies, Birds, Flowers, Books, Memories… I am beginning to feel more like in retirement.