As I was completing the loop around the local pond on Christmas morning after watching the dogs playing in the water, I heard the unmistakable croak of the great blue heron that had been fishing nearby and s/he was coming in my direction. With my camera still set on a slow shutter speed and knowing that the trees on the closest island had the potential for an interesting panned background if the heron turned right instead of going over top of me, I ran flat out through the trees and shrubs between me and the pond to get a glimpse of her/him as s/he did indeed turn right. I was just in time to grab a few shots of this majestic bird before my view was obscured by the shrubs. Given the slow shutter speed I knew I couldn’t expect to get a sharp image of the heron, but the background was as I imagined it might be – a general blur with a suggestion of moss-covered branches punctuating the abstract browns and greens, and almost looking as if they’re reaching out to grab the heron. Having played with the TangledFX app as much as I have over the last couple of months, I knew a treatment like that would likely pop that background nicely, and I wasn’t disappointed. The first image is my favorite, the other two I included for context, altho I rather like the wings in the second image.
It was really quiet at the local pond when I first arrived there on Christmas morning. There were some ducks and merganzers fishing on the pond, and a heron, but otherwise it was totally quiet. The clouds hadn’t moved back in yet, and it was lovely soaking up some sun. It didn’t last long, of course. The clouds arrived about the same time as the dogs with their people. I stayed to watch these two brothers chase a stick in the water. It was fun watching them, and I had a little fun processing the images too.
This week’s festive season Monochrome Madness Challenge called for a splash of color. As much as I love the spirit of Christmas I opted not to do a Christmas-themed submission, although I did want my splash of color to be red. I captured this image of a hen lounging in a pile of logs last spring. I converted it to black and white but the hen almost disappeared and I wasn’t quite happy with it so it’s been sitting around waiting for a little something. This week when I added the touch of color I felt the image came to life.
Lots more splashes of color from everyone who submitted an image to this week’s challenge over on Leanne Cole’s blog, click here. Thank you, Leanne!
I have always loved the vivid colors and dark centers of anemone de caen flowers. Last spring I decided to try growing some in pots, and planted twenty-five corms in two pots. Disappointingly, only one plant developed and on careful poking around, no other corms were evident. During the time between planting and new growth I had noticed that the soil in the pots was often disturbed. Initially I thought the cats were digging around in them then realized the missing corms were probably eaten by the racoons that live in one of the trees in the back yard. The first couple of flowers appeared just before I left for France for the summer. I wasn’t too hopeful that the solitary plant would survive my absence, so I was delighted when I returned home in late September to find that although the pot had been buried under construction materials, it was still valiantly trying to bloom. After repositioning the pot so it would get full sun, and giving the poor plant a much needed drink, I was rewarded with renewed efforts by the plant to produce blooms. Anemones don’t always survive our winters here, so I was waiting for it to stop blooming so I could store the corm over the winter. But when the late November cold snap hit us, the anemone plant had just opened a new flower and another bud was close to opening. Although the soil froze, amazingly the flowers weren’t killed. Even so, I felt the plant would now die back, so I cut the blossoms and brought them inside. We had 10 days of freezing weather before warming up to above freezing and that anemone plant is still trying to put out leaves. The pot is now somewhat sheltered and I will probably leave the corm in it after all and will cover it up if we get some really cold temps as well as protect it somehow from the raccoons next spring. Before I cut the last flowers I grabbed a shot of of one of them, and feel such perserverence deserves some recognition, so here’s the image after I processed it on my iPad and ran it through TangledFX.
I previously worked as a news and sports photographer. Recently I have been enjoying wildlife photography. My approach toward bird photos is similar to sports photography. I attempt to capture mostly action and hopefully a unique perspective.