Respecting others’ space…

Click images for larger view.

I went out to the migratory bird sanctuary yesterday. The day started overcast and dreary with a stiff breeze but altho it was overcast at the coast too, within an hour it had cleared off for a beautiful sunny day, even though I could see dark clouds hanging over the mountains and in the general direction of home. There were quite a few Canada geese being very territorial, the usual hoardes of mallards, northern Shovelers around every corner. I only saw 3 Sandhill cranes, one solo and one pair, and no sign of my crossbilled friend. No waders yet, but I saw a hummingbird flitting between newly opened hot pink salmonberry blossoms, and I was surprised to see tree swallows have already arrived, swooping around catching flies!

I must have been channelling my best bird energy yesterday because at one point I found myself between a gander aggressively chasing off a pair of would-be squatters, and the gander’s mate. The female that was being chased passed right beside me, and for a moment I wondered if the pursuing gander might turn his ire towards me, but when he reached me he stopped, shook himself, made eye contact almost apologetically then stood beside me for a few moments before meandering back to his mate. Later, in another part of the sanctuary, I threw a handful of grain on the ground for the ducks floating nearby and a pair of geese strolled over for a share too. The grain didn’t last long and everyone went back to what they’d been doing and I captured a few images. Then I sat down on a bench to soak up some sun and watch the territorial disputes that seemed to be going on all around me. The geese had settled down some distance away, and when I sat down the gander got up, walked over to where I was sitting and settled himself down at my feet, looking off in the same direction I was… Very unexpected. It was so tempting to reach down and stroke him, but that would have violated the trust he was extending to me. He stayed there until I moved on.

On my way back to the car I stopped in an observation area to watch a group of herons in a tree. A mallard hen landed on the railing while I was photographing, and when I looked up from my camera I found she was standing mere inches away from my face looking at me. No subtlety there whatsoever, lol! I got out some grain and she was eating out of my hand when a male redwing blackbird arrived and started harassing the mallard, trying to get her to leave. I had to laugh – she ignored him, focusing on the grain, so the blackbird became super-agitated, frantically pecking the mallard all over, but still with no success. I had some finch food in one of my pockets, so I offered the blackbird that seed in my other hand, thinking he wouldn’t eat directly from it. He was a little nervous at first, but he really wanted that seed, so eventually I was hand feeding both the mallard and the blackbird at the same time. Until a mallard drake landed on the railing, pretty much on top of the blackbird. Initially the blackbird flew away, then tried to return but the drake wouldn’t let him near. So I invited the blackbird to fly to my hand. It was clear he understood my intent, but he was quite anxious, made a couple of fly pasts, touched down briefly a couple of times, then landed on my finger and hung on for dear life while he finished the seeds. I really miss having animals at home so it was especially lovely having wild birds interact with me like that…

Kite surfers

Earlier in the week between the initial storminess and the main onslaught of the pineapple express wind and rain train that battered us all this week we managed to squeeze in an afternoon of relative calm. There was still a lot of wind, tho and the conditions were perfect for kite surfing.

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One image, multiple versions with iPad apps

As of this week I am officially on board with Langley, BC’s local continuing education to teach a 9-hour course called iPad Photo Art starting later this winter. It’s an intro to transforming photos into artwork for iPad owners — images that can be used for calendars, greetings cards, numerous home decor projects including framed fine art, etc. Depending on the level of skill of the participants, I’ll be touching on principles and techniques for optimizing images on the iPad prior to importing into various creative apps, how to get the most out of the apps, and many techniques, tips and tricks to create images that stand out in a crowd.

With this in mind, during the coming weeks I’ll be playing around in numerous apps to find the most economical, easy to learn, most creative combination of apps available, along with a few more complex apps. I like what I’m using right now, but need to add a few more effects to suit other people’s tastes not to mention abilities, plus I’d like to know what other apps can do.

My first experiment took an image of a homely echinacea specimen, processed it to improve the image, and then ran it through a few apps to produce different effects. Of course, there were dozens of other possibilities, I just want to get a feel for the apps.



White Rock Pier perches

I took advantage of the lull between the rainstorms to make a quick visit to the pier at White Rock beach yesterday. It was supposed to be overcast, but turned into a gorgeous afternoon. It had been windy the night before and I was hoping that there would be some waves, albeit small ones, to capture. No such luck. A few very small swells just didn’t cut it. So I set up for some bird in flight blurs, but didn’t have much luck with them either! I make a point of never coming home without something to process, here are three of them.

crow on white rock pier light curlicue

The crows find the arches connecting the pier’s lights make great vantage points.

crow on white rock pier light

Looking south from the promenade — the pier at high tide with the dock and breakwater at the far end, and Washington State in the background.

White Rock PierLarger looks better. Click on images for larger view.





Marina at Elgin Heritage Park

Ward’s Marina is located in Elgin Heritage Park, on the south bank of the Nicomekl River, just upstream from where it empties into Mud Bay and the waters of Georgia Straight, a little south of Vancouver, BC and also south of the massive Fraser River by just a few miles. The river here is tidal, and on those occasions when we get really low tides, the water level at the Marina can occasionally drop so much that I’ve seen a few yachts leaning on the dock. The centre channel is deep enough however to allow passage of small commercial fishing boats that dock a little further upstream.

The two regular images in the gallery are looking north-northeast and east, respectively. And then there’s one of my newest blurs, which I am quite pleased with…stationery subject blurs are a  lot more predictable than the flying bird blurs, but even so, some are more successful than others!

Click on the images for larger view.




On Monday evening during a storm we lost our tv and wifi signal and I wasn’t able to post anything before an early morning departure yesterday for a two-day trip to Alsace. Thank you to everyone who liked and commented on my swan image. 😊

For the next few days I will probably have to restrict myself to short, single image posts as I’m heading home to Canada in a week and I may not have a lot of time to process images between now and then. Our quick trip to Alsace included visits to two medieval towns and a large castle high up on a hill. Gorgeous! I shot a lot of images and I’ll feature some of them on mythical horse once I’m back home and have a chance to process them.

Today’s image shows a young house sparrow sharing the birdbath with a clay bird…and of course the birdbath frog. Click on the image for a larger view. House sparrow sharing birdbath with clay bird