Thursday, December 31, 2015

Another Jay in Paradise

BRRRRR! It was really cold out this morning. The blind was covered both inside and out in ice. So naturally all of the zippers were frozen as well. I had set up for Juncos and I got Steller's Jays instead. Because of this my photoblind was way too close to the feeders. When a Jay landed on the perch I backed off as far as I could but the top knot of the Jay was barely in the frame. It ended up that not a single Junco used the perch after that so all I had were the Steller's images. Here is the best one. God's love and blessings on a new year, chris Commercial Break- If you didn't get "Secrets of Backyard Bird Photography" for Christmas you can buy it for yourself on Amazon or many other online book sellers.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Winter Birds or Three Birds and a Post

Last night found me out in the pitch black backyard with a flashlight putting up a perch and a bird feeder. Our floodlight above the back garage door had burned out and it was the only way I could see what I was doing. It was forecast to rain this morning and I didn't want to be creating a new set up in the rain. Now that I look back on it I'm not so sure putting up the feeders and the perch in the dark was any easier than doing it in a light rain. This morning I was up and out the door to the photoblind. We don't get very many species of birds in the winter so I was quite happy to photograph three species this morning. I had Steller's Jays, Dark Eyed Juncos and Hermit Thrushes coming in to the feeder. I could hear both White Breasted Nuthatches and Chestnut Backed Chickadees but none of them were coming in. So here are my three birds on a post. All images created with a Canon 7D with a Tamron 150-600mm lens on a Manfrotto 190 XPROB tripod.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Simple Set Up

This morning I reluctantly crawled out of bed and put on gloves, hat and a winters coat. Brrrrr! It was really cold out. Everything was covered in a light layer of frost. I went to the backyard and set up the bird feeder and a simple lichen covered perch. After I settled into the photoblind it didn't take very long for the Juncos and Chickadees to start using the perch to get to the bird seed. My biggest problem was the slow shutter speeds I was using. I ended up with a number of blurry images and a few that I really like. Here is my favorite from the morning. God bless and have a wonderful day, chris This image was created with a Canon 7D on a Manfrotto 190 XPROB tripod with a Tamron 150-600mm lens. ISO 800, F 8.0 at 1/25th of a sec. #TeamCanon

Sunday's Sunrise

I haven't done much photography over Christmas. Here is the sunrise from over the Mendocino Range and Snow Mountain. God's love and blessings to all, chris Image created with a Canon 7D and a Canon EF-S-17-85mm lens.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

White Christmas

There was just enough snow left on Christmas morning to call it a white Christmas. The Mendocino Range to the east of us got a nice coating of white. We got peeks of it through out the day. I liked this view of it through the clouds as it was like looking through the single slat of a window blind. God bless, chris

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Dreaming of a White Christmas

We awoke to the snow flakes coming down this morning. It has been snowing off and on all day long. Our house is pretty close to the low end of the snow line so it isn't really buidingup. It snows like crazy and then it melts away. We went for a foggy drive down town and then around the Little Lake Valley. The snow ringed the high points all around the valley when we could see it through the clouds. We even got to see a Turkey Vulture on a fence post. May you have a merry Christmas, chris all images creted with a Canon 7D or a Canon 50D.

Let Me Tell You a Tale

I haven't done any photography for a couple of days due to travel and poor weather. Last night while the rest of the family was out I sat down and finished off a simple Christmas puzzle by Nicky Bockman. The blasted cat, Papaya seemed very interested in what I was doing and she came over to see if she could help just as I put the last puzzle piece in. Some help you are cat! Knowing her she was inspecting it to see if it was done correctly. She then sat down and swung her tail onto the puzzle. The odd juxtaposition of the cat's tail and the puzzle looked pretty good together so I grabbed my camera from the table and photographed them. "Let me tell you a an unusual tale about a cat from a Christmas long, long ago..." God's love and blessings and Merry Christmas, chris Image created with a hand held Canon 7D and a Canon EFS 17-85mm lens.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Beautiful Morning

I slept in this morning until eight o'clock. Ah, Saturdays! When I checked outside there was a break in the weather and a beautiful view to the fog shrouded Redwoods below. By the time I went downstairs grabbed my camera and back up the stairs the fog was rapidly closing in. Afterwards I grabbed a bird feeder and went out into the backyard. I set up a perch with a milo (Sorghum) seed head. Every year some pops up and grows in almost the same exact spot next to our patio from fallen bird seed. Milo brings me back some good memories from my childhood of seeing large fields of it growing on the prairies east of the front range of the Rocky Mountains. It was grown for cattle as there were many dairies and the large stockyard in Greeley, Colorado which was close to twenty miles to the east of where I lived in Loveland. You could always tell if there was an east wind due to the smell! After setting up the perch I settled into the photoblind and waited for the birds. There were a lot of Juncos and Hermit Thrushes. They both loved the milo but I only got some images of the Dark Eyed Juncos. When I was finished I stopped on the way back into the house and photographed hummingbirds for about ten minutes. What a beautiful morning. Merry Christmas to all, chris All images created with a Canon 7D and Tamron 150-600mm F5-6.3 Di VC US lens with a Manfrotto 190 XPROB tripod with a Bogen ballhead. #TeamCanon

Friday, December 18, 2015

Inside Day

The leading edge of a four day storm hit last night. The rain is falling heavily on the roof so it looks to be an inside day. The wood stove is going, the tree is up(still needs a few more decorations) and I'm looking forward to wrapping presents and mailing out the last of the Christmas cards. Here is the progress on the tree so far. Merry Christmas, chris Canon 7D with a Canon EF-s 17-85mm lens at 33mm. ISO 100 F 13.0 for four seconds.On a Manfrotto 190 XPROB tripod,

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Rare Commercial Break

If you haven't got all of your Christmas presents purchased yet please consider purchasing my book, Secrets of Backyard Bird Photography from Rocky Nook Publishing for a birder, budding photographer or other special person on your list. You could also just buy it for yourself! It is available on Amazon and many other fine book sellers both in hardbound and as an Ebook. Give this book a look as it has great reviews on Amazon as well as many other sites online. Photographing birds in your backyard is a convenient, rewarding, and addictive adventure. "Secrets of Backyard Bird Photography" is a guide to that pursuit. In this book, author and wildlife photographer J. Chris Hansen teaches techniques for creating professional-quality images of the subjects right in your yard. This book covers all aspects of backyard bird photography, including the best camera equipment to use and the basics of attracting birds using bird feeders, perches, backgrounds, and photo blinds. You'll learn about the common camera settings and composition styles used to create outstanding backyard bird images. This book also offers ideas and examples of ways to exhibit your photography, including step-by-step instructions for a variety of fun, easy projects for the do-it-yourselfer. "Secrets of Backyard Bird Photography" contains a collection of beautiful, detailed images that illustrate the important aspects of creating stunning photographs of the birds right in your backyard. Have a great day, chris

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Early Morning Squirrel

I was surprised to see the squirrels were up and about even before the sun arose this morning. I grabbed my camera, gloves and a warm hat and quietly made my way out to the photoblind in the back yard. Immediately I discovered a big problem. All of the blind zippers were frozen shut. I ended up making quite a racket trying to get them working again. Naturally the squirrels left in a hurry. I settled into the blind for a bit of a wait. When one of squirrels returned the lighting was just perfect and I was able to create some really nice images of it. Here are my three favorites. Merry Christmas, chris Douglas tree Squirrels photographed with a canon 7D and a Tamron 150-600 mm lens. AV mode, ISO 800 Exposures varied.

Monday, December 14, 2015

My Humble Offering of a Squirrel

This morning was a wool gloves, hat and winter coat kind of day. It was clear and cold. The clear conditions not the best for photography. I checked the temperature before heading outside and it was hovering just below 24 degrees Fahrenheit. I stepped or rather slid out onto our deck and it was covered in a sheet of ice. Welcome to Northern California! I proceeded to the backyard and I set up the new knothole feeder and moved the bird bath breaking up the ice only to have it seemingly start to refreeze before my eyes. I settled into the ice covered blind and waited. Immediately the Dark Eyed Juncos showed up along with a small group of immature Spotted Towhees. No one seemed to like my feeder or if they did they hopped on and off of it so fast my reaction time to trip the shutter was too slow. The blind started to thaw in the sun and I was treated to the drip, drip of water from off the inside of the blind. It was tempting to give it a good shake but that would scare everything off. Eventually a nervous Douglas Tree Squirrel showed up but it was too afraid to use the feeder. The light was going fast so I zoomed in and settled for a close up portrait of the squirrel. May you have a blessed week, chris Image created with a Canon 7D and a Tamron 150-600mm lens at 600mm on a Manfrotto tripod. Camera settings used were AV mode, ISO 800, F 8.0 at 1/60th of a sec. #TeamCanon

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Sirens Call

On Thursday I had a wild drive to the coast from Willits. Along the way I encountered sunshine, hail, thunder and lightning and heavy downpours that slowed me down to about ten miles an hour due to lack of visabilty. When I arrived in Ft. Bragg the sun came out for about ten minutes and then the rain showers closed in again. The sirens called so I I had driven out to see if I could capture some of the intense surf that was forecast. The surf forecast for Ward Ave. Beach was 24 to 30 feet at seventeen seconds. Upon reaching the beach there were large waves coming in but i couldn't find an angle that I could photograph them well without soaking myself or my camera equipment. I hadn't brought my camera cover so I was stuck.I drove northward to as far as Kibisela stopping at various places along the way to photograph whenever I could find a break in the weather. What a fun and fruitful trip. have a Merry Christmas, chris

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Getting Serious With Hummingbirds

In looking over my last hummingbird images from my previous posting I realized I wasn't all that happy with them. This afternoon I decided that I could do much better. With that in mind I waited for a break in the weather and headed into the backyard. I watched where they were landing and then focused on the backgrounds behind their landing spots. I found that the dark forest worked the best. In editing the images this evening I'm really happy with how they came out. Merry Christmas, chris All images were created with a Canon 7D and a Tamron 150-600mm F5-6.3 Di VC USD, All images were at 600mm. The camera was supported on a Manfrotto 055XPROB tripod with a Bogen ballhead. Camera settings used were AV mode, ISO 1600 F8.0 shutter speeds varied. #TeamCanon

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Perfect for a Cold Winters Night

While pondering what to cook for tonight's dinner I created this wonderful stew which is a variation on Chili Verde. Verde Stew created by Chris the Cook 12/8/2015 Here is a quick and easy to prepare stew for a cold evenings night. Ingredients 24 oz. Salsa Verde canned or bottled 3 pork cutlets 2 Sweet potatoes 1 Sweet medium sized yellow onion 1 Red pepper 4 Cloves garlic ½ Cup cream or half and half ½ Cup grated Jack Cheese for topping 2 Tbsp olive oil 1 Tbsp “Better than Bouillon” vegetable base I Small lime 1 Serving of cooked rice per person or more if you are really hungry Prep Dice onion, red pepper and the garlic cloves. Cube pork cutlets into small bite sized cubes. Peel and cube the sweet potatoes Cooking Directions In a steamer or pan with a lid steam the cubed sweet potatoes for twenty minutes. While they are steaming in a stew pot fry the onion, red pepper and garlic until soft in olive oil. Next add the cubed pork and fry until the outside of the pork appears to be cooked. Pour in the Salsa Verde and the cream and stir in the bouillon thoroughly. Bring to a boil, add the sweet potatoes and simmer for half an hour. Serve over rice and top with grated cheese. And some drizzled lime juice. Eat!

Rainy Day Hummingbirds

There have been rain showers off and on all day today. In the morning made a run downtown for groceries and a workout at the gym. On the return trip I stopped and photographed our local icon the Willit's Arch just to show what kind of a day it was. When I got home I put a rain cover on my camera and photographed the hummingbirds in the backyard. This year instead of the usual one or two Anna's Hummingbirds staying through the winter I've got six plus a couple of strays that seem to drop in from time to time. They didn't seem to mind the rain as there was a buzz buzz of activity at the feeders Have a blessed evening, chris

Monday, December 7, 2015

Rainy Day Bird

We awoke to gray leaden skies this morning. I wanted to photograph birds but a bear tore apart my bird feeder so that kind of shot down that idea. Our view of the Little Lake Valley came and went with the rain showers all day. During a brief respite I made a new feeder and tried some bird photography for about an hour with only one successful image. It was of a Chestnut Backed Chickadee. It captures the light of the day pretty well with the dark forest behind it. These chipper little birds help brighten up any rainy day. God's love and blessings to all, chris The image of the bird was created with a Canon 7D and a Tamron 150-600mm lens at 375mm. They were supported by a Manfrotto 055XPROB tripod with a Bogen ballhead. Camera settings used were AV mode, ISO 1600, F 8.0 at 1/80th of a sec. #TeamCanon

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Holiday Express or The Santa Train

Every year the Roots of Motive Power puts on a favorite long time Willits Event. Santa Claus arrives on their 1916 Heisler locomotive. They offer rides on the train along with free hot cocoa, cookies and other goodies. Then the kids get to tell Santa what they want for Christmas. They are also given a small gift to take home with them. We went yesterday and there were parents, kids and train buffs streaming through all afternoon. The rains held off and it was a fabulous event. Please check out the Roots of Motive Powers website for future events through out the year. Merry Christmas and God bless you, chris All images created with a Canon 7D and a Canon EF-s-17-85mm lens

Friday, December 4, 2015

Garlic or Waiting for the Rain to Clear

I awoke to a glorious gray day. We really need the rain here in Northern California so it's a good thing. While making breakfast I was contemplating what to photograph as I puttered about the kitchen. Then I spotted the garlic bowl. Hmmnnn... that might make a simple still life. I searched through the bowl and grabbed the three most decent ones and a single clove. I arranged them on a cutting board in window light and photographed them with an off white background. After cropping the image down into a panorama I think it looks pretty cool. Hopefully there will be a break in the weather this afternoon so I can do some bird photography in the backyard. I've got an image all planned out. God bless and have a wonderful day, chris image created with a Canon 7D and a Canon EF-s-17-85mm lens at 56mm on a Manfrotto 055 XPROB tripod with a Bogen ballhead. Camera settings used were AV mode, ISO 400, F 18.0 at .60 sec.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Gray Day

Outside it is a lovely gray day. The raindrops are coming down in rolling sheets and the wind is howling. Occasionally a small branch hits the roof making me jump. Hmmnnn... what to photograph on such a stormy day? I grabbed my macro lens and photographed the water drops on the window. After editing them it looked pretty dark. What I needed was something with some color. Looking out the window I realized the best thing would be to include the water drops on the window and one of the the Madrone trees in the yard. I grabbed my tripod and set my camera to F 16.0 for more depth of field. Now I had a bit of color and some pretty cool water drops in the image. What a wonderful way to start the day. May the joy of the Lord fill your day, chris All image were created with a Canon 7D. The close up of the water drops was done with a 100mm macro lens and the Madrone trees were created with a Canon EF-s 17-85mm lens.