Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Surprise Visitor

I saw some movement out of the corner of my eye late this afternoon, and turned to see this hawk outside my office window. I didn't think he'd stay long so I just watched and tried to remember so I could identify it later. (I think it's a Cooper's Hawk) It was fantastic to be able to see him up close.

He seemed to be staying for a bit so I hurriedly dug my camera out of my pack. Luckily I don't think he could see me moving through the reflective glass. Of course, the reflections also interfered with my photographs, as did the dirty windows! Still I was happy that I managed a few half decent shots. (click to view larger)

Coopers Hawk

Coopers Hawk

Despite the cold snowy weather, spring does seem to be arriving. At lunch I sat beside a window and watched a mouse scurrying back and forth. And on my walk home the gophers (Richardson's ground squirrels) were out and about. Some of the trees are starting to flower. I haven't seen any rabbits lately, but judging by the tracks in the fresh snow they are around. And of course, the geese are back on the river. The pelicans are usually back by now (April 15th last year), but I haven't seen them yet this year.

I don't think Innovation Place will be too happy about another visitor this winter. Something (porcupine?) has chewed the bark off the trunks of many of the apple trees. Since the bark is chewed off all the way around, I suspect that spells death for these trees. It must be tastier bark since other trees don't seem to be damaged.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Geese and More

Here are the non-ice photos from Sunday morning, mostly of the Canada Geese. It's nice to see them back on the river, mostly in pairs this time of the year.

Click to view larger, or view all 15 photos in this set as a slideshow or overview

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Another sign of spring were the water boatmen beetles in the river. Amazing that they are active in water that must be close to freezing.

water beetles

Not much green yet, the only grass is left from last year.

grass

feather

View all 15 photos in this set as a slideshow or overview

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Ice Too

After breakfast, the sun was shining and it looked too nice to stay indoors, so I headed out, with my camera, of course. It was already -4c and rising, but it's cold standing around taking photos, so I dressed warmly. I was glad I did when I ended up lying on the wet ice for some shots. As usual, click to view larger, or view all 27 photos as a slideshow or overview.

I didn't make it out of the back alley before starting on the photos:

back alley river of ice

You can see why some shots required lying on the ice:

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Some of these shots invite playing with brightness and contrast:

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I also took photos of geese and a few other non-ice things, but I'll save them for a second post.

I was forced to stop shooting when I ran out of memory. I usually have spare memory cards with me, but almost all of them are full of trip pictures and I had set them aside until they were all safely backed up in multiple locations. It was probably just as well that I ran out anyway since 500 photos was plenty to edit. And it was time for coffee :-)

View all 27 photos as a slideshow or overview

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Ice

It finally warmed up enough to think about getting my camera out on the walk to work. It's still cold on the hands but at least I didn't have to worry about frostbite! I know we're all eagerly waiting for the ice and snow to melt, but in the meantime I might as well photograph it :-)

The ice on the edge of the river had melted and frozen into some wonderful shapes and patterns. The only trick was getting close enough to photograph it. Obviously, the ice is slippery and I was a little worried about sliding in. On the positive side, it was shallow and it would have just been embarrassing, not dangerous. Thankfully I stayed dry!

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This last one is looking down from the railway bridge.

The articulated screen on the RX100m2 came in handy for getting a low angle on some of these shots. I wish I'd thought to override the aperture to get more depth of focus - that spoiled a bunch of the shots.

See all 11 photos as a slideshow or overview

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Print of the Week

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This was from Springs Preserve in Las Vegas. There was a small waterfall amidst all the desert terrain and bees were visiting it, presumably to drink. I like the detail, including the drops of water on the bee's back.

Taken with the K3 and 100 mm macro lens.  The photo is cropped significantly, but the K3 has plenty of resolution (24mp) for that. I printed this one 11 x 15" (on 13x19 Exhibition Fiber).

See all my Print of the Week posts

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Wastelands?

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When we were in Phoenix I heard someone talk about how much "wasteland" there was in North America. When you drove from Canada to Phoenix you passed all this land that had no people, no industry, no cattle, no agriculture - not good for "anything".

After all, if it's not good for people, what good is it?

It is this attitude, so unconsciously pervasive, such a deep seated part of our culture, which is destroying our planet.

To me, Phoenix is the wasteland. Housing developments and malls and parking lots and freeways, what are they good for? Just more bloated, polluted, over consuming anthills.

Strip mines are the wasteland. Cattle stripped countrysides are the wastelands. Pesticide laced, fertilizer drenched monocultures are the wastelands.

But mountains and deserts, the last places man has not found a "use" (or more accurately "abuse" for) - these are not wastelands. They are places of incredible beauty, immense value, where nature can have a tiny space to breath. Places man has not (yet) turned to wasteland.

We tell our kids "you have to share". Who will tell homo sapiens that they must share?

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Print of the Week

This photo got a good response from Shelley and on 500px and it seemed suitable for a big print so I thought I'd give it a try.

We were hiking the overlook loop at Dead Horse Point State Park near Moab and the trail went by this tree, a Utah Juniper. The trail was a bit lower than the base of the tree so I could shoot upwards to isolate the tree against the sky. And it didn't hurt that the sky had a few clouds to make it more interesting. The tree itself had an interesting trunk, and unlike many of these junipers, it had a fairly simple shape. As usual, I grabbed my shots fairly quickly so Shelley didn't get too fed up waiting for me!

Utah juniper

I printed it 16 x 20 on Exhibition Fiber and I think it came out quite well. As always, if anyone is interested in a print of one of my photos, let me know.

When I went to print it I found that it wasn't as sharp as I'd like. I went back to my originals to see if I had taken another shot that was sharper. Luckily I had thought about the depth of focus at the time and taken another shot at f16 which was significantly sharper. (Although I hadn't paid attention to the shutter speed, which ended up at 1/90th, a little slow for handheld. If I had noticed I probably would have bumped this up and shot at ISO 400 instead of 200. The shake reduction system helps in getting away with this kind of thing.)

See all my print-of-the-week posts