Sunday, May 30, 2010

House Crazy

First off the title is slightly misleading.Well sort of. I was able to spend just a few hours in the blind photographing birds before church this morning. All I managed to photograph was one lone House Finch. Numerous finches came to my feeder but only one lone male landed on my carefully prepared perch as a landing spot. Now you can see where I got my title from.

On the way to the blind though I spied a Western Tanager on the fence line leading to my upper feeder. While at church I talked to a friend that has several pairs out on his ranch along with a nesting Red Shouldered Hawk and both Cliff and Barn Swallows nesting. I think tomorrow I'm going to drive out that way and put up a mealworm feeder. I'm hoping this is not the case of the grass is greener on the other side of the fence . We soon shall see.

God's blessings to all,


Friday, May 28, 2010

Pyramid Lake or Fishing and Photography

Finally after days of labor I finished editing my trip to Pyramid Lake in Nevada. It's hard to imagine why it took so long. Probably because I keep taking more photographs before I finish editing what I already have.

We drove up in the snow and were unable or is it unwilling to fish the first evening in the wind and snow.We stayed at Crosby's Lodge in Sutcliffe which is a fancy sounding name for a bunch of neat and clean single wide trailers that they rent out to fishermen and boaters.

Each day we would arise at four in the morning and make a lunch for later. We were on our ladders fishing in the dark at Pelican Beach by five thirty. Yes, that's right I did say fishing on ladders. The vast majority of fishermen fish from step ladders. You take your step ladder out into the water until you are roughly chest deep and then you climb up onto your ladder and fish. It enables you to be able to cast farther and be able to sight fish much easier.

After a morning of fishing we would take a mid day siesta and then go back and fish around five in the evening until way past dark. Then we would return to dine in the trailer. We took turns cooking meals so I can say we ate rather well. Joe, Lou and Steve are all accomplished cooks.

There were plenty of pelicans to go around I spent many hours chasing them down and photographing them. They had the nasty habit of trying to eat your fish when you had one on the line. I had to pull one of my fish from a pelican's mouth. When I unhooked the fish it had beak marks all over it. By the way the fish in the lake, Lahontan Cutthroats are huge. The smallest trout I caught was fifteen inches. There were several trout caught that were over ten pounds. It was really cool to be standing on your ladder and have these huge trout swim right under your ladder.

I had a major mishap on the last day of the trip. While photographing my friends fishing I dropped my lens cap into the water. Duh! To further complicate the error I lunged for the lens cap with my 50D hanging on the camera strap around my neck. Hearing a plunking sound I realized that my camera was half submerged in the water. I immediately stood back up and turned the camera off. As I was doing so a blue light glowed and then went dead. OOps! I have never seen a blue light before.
My camera was dead.

I took the camera to shore and pulled the batteries out and took the lens off. When I got home in Willits some 6 hours later I put everything in the oven on low (130 F) for four hours. Then I let it sit overnight. The camera came back to life with the exception of having to clean the lens to camera contacts. That's not to say that corrosion won't kill the camera later. At least it wasn't salt water.

So don't bend over into the water when you have your camera around your neck.

God's blessings to all,


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Chasing My Tail

I spent the morning by first working out and chasing my tail like I have seen both dogs and squirrels do. I guess the main difference is that squirrels can catch theirs. I edited some older image sets looking for images that I passed over. I also pulled and refiled some others into newer catagories so I would be able to find them easier.

Here is one of the ones I passed over. It is a Western Gray Squirrel portrait from a dark snowy day in the middle of winter.

God's precious light and love to all,


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Getting There

Today I made some pretty good progress towards the image I want to create. I almost always have a vision of what I want to create and today I came just a little closer to what I want. A lot of birds came today and it gave me some good opportunities for some nice images. Still looking to create a beautiful flower image with a bright colored bird perched on it. An image that is in direct contrast to the image of the Turkey Vulture I took on the way out to the ranch today.

When I finished photographing today I explored a little bit of the lower end of the ranch down by the barn as there is so much of the ranch that is new to me. I was happy to see a covey of California Valley Quail and pair of Western Bluebirds. This convinced me to move my blind down into a clearing in the blackberry bushes out in the horse pasture.

It also made a lot of work for me as I had to make a barrier out of railroad ties to keep the horses away from both my blind and my feeder. I was one tired puppy when I finished. When I got home I immediately went to work and ordered some live mealworms to be shipped to me for the Bluebirds. The next order of business was to make two more bird feeders. One to put up where I have been shooting and one meal worm feeder to put into the pasture next to the blackberry bushes. Should be some fun shooting coming up.

God's blessings to all,


Monday, May 24, 2010

Nothing Went Right and I Enjoyed It

Ever have one of those days where nothing seems to go as you had planned it. For me today was one of those days. My daughter Annika was late for school which in turn made me miss the best morning light in my blind. I decided to shoot some bird images for the book I have been writing out on the ranch of a friend. I really need some images of birds and flowers so I set up a flowered branch on my feeder. I watched all morning long as bright colored Gold finches and House finches came to the feeder and none of them would land on it. I was just about to give up when I hear this beautiful bird calling about three feet from the blinds side window. I glanced upward out the window and there on a fence post is a male Lazuli Bunting calling his little heart out. All I can do is stare and listen in wonder as he is so close I can't photograph him. He stayed for about five minutes and then flew to the edge of an old orchard, well over fifty feet away. Which in photographer's terms means he is way to far away to photograph with any beauty.

I took one blurry shot of him just to document I saw him and then packed up and went home and did some badly needed weed eating in the yard. There is tomorrow or the next day to try again.

God's light and love to all,


Friday, May 21, 2010

A Little Birdie Told Me

Haven't posted for a while as I went on a fishing trip to Nevada. When I got back I had a ton of images to process. In fact at this point I'm only half way through editing them. Time to put the old nose to the grindstone and get some work done. I'll post some fishing trip images in the near future.

I spent a few hours in the blind this morning and took some images of some house finches that stopped by my new feeder. I finally got it set up on a local ranch and let it sit while I was gone fishing. When I returned the birds were using it pretty frequently. It's in a pretty good location with a pretty good variety of birds coming by. This morning there was a Crow, Scrub Jay,Bushtit, Junco and House Finches.

So here is one of the first images a House Finch on Teasel.

God's light and blessings to all,


Saturday, May 8, 2010

Eel River Kayaking

This week I had the privilege to spend some time on two separate afternoons photographing Cate and Jeff from Liquid Fusion Kayaking in their freestyle/playboats on the Eel River above Dos Rios. On the second day they were joined by their friend Eric in a SOT whitewater kayak. If you get a chance look them up for a kayaking excursion. They are based out of the Noyo Harbor in Ft. Bragg, California.

It was a lot of fun chasing them down the river from rapid to rapid and trying to find a good vantage point from which to shoot from before they arrived at the rapid. Parking along the Dos Rios road is a bit sketchy at best. Both days were shot in less than desirable lighting conditions as it was in the harsh light of mid afternoon and most of the time I was shooting towards the sun and they were often shadow. In any case I had a wonderful time and I came away with a wonderful set of images and an appreciation for the athleticism that it takes to whitewater kayak. It's been many years since I have been kayaking on a river and it made me miss doing it.

God's light and love to all,


Friday, May 7, 2010

Doggie Kisses or Annika the Photographer

The other morning while waiting for Annika to make her morning appearance I was sitting in the sun petting Badger the Worthless model dog and he started trying to lick me. Isn't that what all worthless model dogs do? In any case Annika showed up and grabbed the camera and started taking pictures. I've got to tell you that Annika's instincts with the camera are pretty good. She has been shooting photographs as soon as she could hold a camera. So today here are a couple of Annikas captures.

Sincerely and God's blessings to all,


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Bag Revisited

Most of yesterday was spent doing domestic duties. Cleaning the house,taking Annika to the orthodontist in the big city of Ukiah etc. Also I took some time to teach Annika how to make Chicken Cordon Bleu for dinner. So I really didn't get any time to spend on photography until late last night.

I got an email from the Crazy Lady Rachel about the bag and she narrowed down the sample images I emailed her to the yellow background. So last night I spent a while reshooting the bag with a yellow background. I think the final product looks pretty good. So I'm off to drop off Annika at school ,go work out and then off to the river.

God's blessings to all,


Monday, May 3, 2010

Bag Shoot

Today I didn't feel that well. I kind of moped around the house. Set up a new Pay Pal account for a Christian Stock agency that will be opening up in the near future. I brightened up this afternoon when I picked up a quick job shooting a bag. There is a talented local woman and her cousin starting up a business selling a wide variety of fabric bags. When I saw the samples I was really impressed. The full gamut of colors and styles is quite amazing.My mind was jumping all over the place as I was talking to her thinking of all the different ways I could photograph them.

In the end I took one of the brightest bags and put it on the infamous wood table at a forty-five degree angle with a bright yellow background that seemed to really suit the bag.I lit the background with a shoot through white umbrella. I lit up the bag with bare lights from the side at level height and from the front head on.

In the end I was fairly pleased wit the final image. I'm going to revisit it later and curve the handles some more and primp up the bag a bit more.

god's light and love to all,