Bluebird and Company

The most beautiful thing in life is what inspires awe and love for the world and the people around us. Sometimes, all it takes is a small blue bird. And some company.

Even when the focus is not quite there, it’s still a beautiful bird to behold.

Working for a Meal

The osprey was cheerfully eating its meal when out of the blue (sky), a bald eagle tried to lay claim to the half eaten fish. Instead of working for its own food, the eagle would rather have a meal that someone else worked for. And so a duel begins – the larger eagle chasing the osprey as it moves to the sky.

The osprey dropped the morsel of fish and the eagle’s chase proved futile. All the energy the birds spent fighting over the half eaten fish went for naught. The eagle flew back to a tree still hungry; the osprey, spent, landed on a tree trunk exhausted, readying itself for the next catch.

Channeling Renoir (and Manet)

One can keep going to the garden and take the same kind of pictures. Overviews of flowerbeds with a wide angle lens. Macro photographs of bees. And you can come up with some incredible pictures. Here’s the deal, whatever you do. The most important thing that you can do to make a good picture is understand light. That’s it. Photography, after all, captures light reflected from objects. Or light emanating from light sources. Direct lighting. Diffused lighting. Specular lighting. Harsh. Soft. Color temperature. The angle of light in the scene. Background, side, foreground lighting. Light is always there, in every picture that you take. You might as well learn to work with it.

What does this little blurb have to do with these pictures? Well, you can use a combination of diffused lighting and strong back lighting to create pictures that evoke the feel of an impressionist painting. Are these pictures the next van Gogh, Renoir or Manet painting that takes the world by storm. No. Though when I look at them, I feel the beauty that they saw, and know there is still much to be learned. About flowers. About light. About art. About life.

And what lens did I use for these photographs? Not a macro lens. Not a wide angle lens. I was looking for birds, you see, and I saw flowers instead. Yes, that incredible Sony 200-600mm lens.

Huntley Meadows

I’ve taken a lot of pictures of birds, animals, insects and water drops at this small suburban sanctuary in Alexandria Virginia. Here is a short video featuring swallows and an egret. Pictures from this visit were posted a few days ago.

Fly (and Perch) like a swallow

Isaias has come and gone. We were fortunate that we received a glancing blow from the storm (a couple of inches of rain). The swallows at Huntley Meadows reveled in the slightly cooler temperatures.

And there was one solitary wood duck. There’s probably more, but this one was enjoying the influx of rainwater.

Sunday

Twenty four hours later, I am back at Huntley Meadows.  And the place looked different, not only because the algae moved but because of the fundamental truth that lies beneath our existence.  Every moment is different, change is constant, so embrace the challenges that this brings.

DSC04763_sDSC04813_sDSC04850_sDSC04875_sDSC05105_sDSC05117_sDSC05447_sDSC05463_s

I think I am going to have to take pictures of other birds, whether at Huntley or elsewhere.  My heron and egret quota are full.  Now, if only I was better at spotting birds.

(Here’s the thing.  If you want to say that you’ve reached some sort of quota, then you are not living life to the fullest.  Familiarity does not need to lead to contempt.  It should lead to further exposition and deeper knowledge.)

Saturday

I wanted to go to the same place, on two consecutive days, at almost the same times, to see what kind of pictures are there for the taking.  So off I went to Huntley Meadows last Saturday and Sunday.  Yes, more bird pictures.

DSC04292_sDSC04328_sDSC04354_sDSC04422_sDSC04553_sDSC04654_sDSC04655_sDSC04716_s