Wednesday, June 29, 2016

California Landscapes

Over the past few days we visited friends in AndyOch. It's actually Antioch but our friends have a son named Andy so it has always been a fun play on words for our family. I am drawn to the wilderness. Every time that we visit Antioch I feel a strong need to get out and explore nature. It may just be that I feel a bit trapped when I'm in suburbia. Luckily Antioch has some great parks on the edge of the city to escape to with some great trails for hiking. This time Lenore and I went for a couple of early morning hikes up into Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve. Underneath these mountains there were coal deposits that they would mine for Coal (black diamonds) hence the name of the preserve. It was a perfect way to start the day in God's creation, chris all images created with a Canon 7D and a Canon EF-S17-85mm lens.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Light in the Forest

On Saturday Lenore and I were working on the drainage on our shared road. Some idiot in a four wheel drive tore it up really badly over the winter creating a bunch of ruts where the water has pooled creating great breeding spots for mosquitoes. The road also functions as a fire escape route and the big ruts will make it difficult for passenger cars to negotiate.(Rant Over) Along our route I discovered one of the last fungi that must have popped up during the recent rain. Later on during the night Jay and I went back out and he helped me photograph the fungi by holding a flashlight directly over it. It gave it an unusual look. This image was created with a Canon 7D and a Canon EF-S17-85 mm lens at 33mm. Camera settings used were Manual mode, ISO 400, F 13.0 at 1/8th of a sec. The camerawas supported by a Gorilla Pod on the ground.God's blessings upon your week, chris

Saturday, June 25, 2016


It is indeed the time for ticks. All of us have been pulling them off of us of late. Yesterday Jay found three of them on the dog. It's one of the problems of living in the country. Some of the best things to do are to wear light clothing. Don't walk in tall grass. Don't up against brush on the sides of trails by staying to the center. Do tick checks of you and your pets after you have been outdoors. If you aren't averse to it wear insect repellents containing deet. Below is one of the wee beasties we pulled off of Badger the Wonder Dog yesterday. Photographed with a handheld Canon 7D and a 100mm macro lens. ISO 400, F 8.0 at 1/400th of a sec. Go out and enjoy the summer. God's love and blessings to all of you, chris

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Simply Gorgeous

I love it when I can capture the light glinting off of a hummingbirds gorget like I did yesterday afternoon with a male Rufous Hummingbird. It was simply gorgeous like the hummingbirds throat was on fire. The word gorget comes from the time when a knight-in-armor wore a metal collar or gorget to protect his throat during battle. In hummingbirds the bright intense glint is the result of iridescence, rather than colored pigments in the feathers. A hummingbird's gorget feathers contain very tiny, thin, layers of “platelets,” set like overlapping tiles against a dark background. The light waves reflect and bounce off the tiles, creating color in the manner of sun bouncing off droplets of water in a rainbow. Hummingbirds can angle their gorget feathers too turn the irridescence on and off like a light bulb. It is amazing when they turn towards you and flash their feathers to on! Blessings upon your day, chris All images created with a Canon 7D and a Tamron 150-600mm lens. Fill flash was provided by a Canon 500EX flash set to high speed sync. The camera and lens were supported with a Manfrotto 190 XPROB tripod with a Bogen 3055 heavy duty ballhead.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Hummingbirds Prime Perch

I spent some time photographing the Anna's and Rufous Hummingbirds in the backyard over the past few days. The hummingbirds were using one perch in particular and there were quite a few battles fought over its prime location near the hummingbird feeders. I liked the perch because its closeness to the edge of our patio and it had the forest behind it for a background. Moving the camera six inches one way or another produced different colors in the background depending upon the type of trees behind it. Yesterday I trimmed some oak leaves from below the perch as they kept getting into the bottom of the frame. I was worried the hummingbirds would stop using the perch but they didn't seem to mind in fact they began using it even more. Last night and this morning I got around to editing all of the hummingbird images. There were quite a few including one dragonfly that liked this spot for hunting insects as well. God's love and blessings upon your day, chris All images created with a Canon 7D and a Tamron 150-600mm lens on a Manfrotto 190 XPROB tripod with a bogen heavy duty ballhead.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Creating Intimacy

There are three key elements in creating an intimate portrait. The first one is to get in close. You want to be close enough to be able to see the expression of the subjects eyes which is the most important feature. That usually (not always) means using a telephoto lens to get up close an personal with your subject. This can also be done with a photoblind or just getting your subject comfortable with your presence. The second one is to photograph on the same level as the subject. This applies to photographing children as well as pets and small animals as well. It is usually best to get down to their level by getting closer to the ground where they are. For squirrels and other small mammals it means lying on the ground with your camera in the dirt. For the image of the Anna's Hummingbird below it meant raising my camera way up on my tripod to where I was almost on my tippy toes. The third element is to carefully choose your background behind the subject so that it is non distracting and makes your subject stand out. This means that you will be shooting with a fairly wide F stop to blur out the background. In the case of the hummingbird below I had to slowly move around to find a spot where there were only dark trees behind the hummingbird. Grab your camera and go out and give it a try. See what beautiful images you can create. God's love and blessings to all, chris

Monday, June 20, 2016

Lovely Sister

Yesterday afternoon I was enjoying photographing the hummingbirds in the backyard. Every once in awhile a butterfly would flit by catching my attention as it floated past. There were Duskywings, Mylitta Crescents and a few Western Swallowtails. My favorites were the California Sisters. Luckily I had a few land on the oak tree right in front of me. They are such a striking butterfly with beautifully patterned wings. Hopefully there will be many more to come this summer. What a great way to end springtime. God's love and blessings to all, chris All images were created with a Canon 7D and a Tamron 150-600mm lens. A Canon 550EX was used for fill flash on high speed synch.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

In the Steps of Millions

On Thursday we did a spur of the moment trip to San Francisco. Both Annika and Jay were home and it was a beautiful day. We were deciding what to do and Jay suggested going to the city. We all agreed and surprisingly managed to leave within an hour. I grabbed my camera and one lens to keep my gear simple. It was a beautiful California day with puffy white clouds in the sky and the hills have already turned a golden brown. We drove south down highway 101. We stopped for coffee in Cloverdale and a had burgers in Petaluma. Just before the Golden Gate Bridge we pulled off and drove up to the overlook of the bridge in the Marin Headlands. It was fun to play tourist. There were people all over with cell phones, selfie sticks and cameras all taking pictures of the bridge and we joined them. It's hard to fathom how many millions perhaps billions of images have been made of this iconic bridge. We have a few images that my Grandfather took during its construction. We ended up staying there for over an hour before we headed into the city. Here are some images of the bridge. My favorite image is the last one of the container ship heading into the bay under the bridge. God's blessings upon your weekend, chris All images creted with a handheld Canon 7D and a Canon EFS 17-85mm lens

Friday, June 17, 2016

Break in the Rain

We were supposed to go camping this weekend but we were deterred by the rain. I'd much rather camp in the snow than the rain. Today it has rained off and on all day. During one of the breaks I grabbed my camera and photographed both hummingbirds and Lenore's world famous roses in the backyard. The ross were just gorgeous covered in rain drops and soft beautiful light. May you have a wonderful weekend. God bless, chris All images were created with a Canon 7D and a Tamron 150-600mm lens. Fill flash was provided with a Canon 550 EX flash.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Maybe a Little Rain Today

Rain is in the forecast for today. I was up early putting the cat out this morning. When I looked to the east and I really liked all the layers of trees, mountains and contrasting light over the Little Lake Valley. with the heavy cloud cover I knew it wasn't going to last very long so I ran downstairs and grabbed my camera and a telephoto lens. I love to shoot selective landscapes with a telephoto zoom. It's fun and creative choosing interesting patterns in the landscape. All images created with a Canon 7D and a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM Lens. Camera was handheld and braced. May God bless you with his precious love today, chris

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Patience for the Portrait of a Hummingbird

If you live in the Americas the chances that you have hummingbirds nearby for at least part of the year are pretty good. If you or a neighbor have a hummingbird feeder the probability of having hummingbirds goes way up. Most hummingbirds that visit feeders are fairly tolerant of people. Because of this you can often get fairly close to them. This can be very helpful in capturing the portrait of a hummingbird especially if you toss in one of their potential habits. Most hummingbirds are creatures of habit. They love to perch in the same spot after feeding. This morning I sat and watched the hummingbirds in my backyard from out the window for about twenty minutes before I even picked up my camera. During that time period I discovered several perches that they loved to use. Next I grabbed my camera and focused it on the perch they were using most. I stood motionless behind the camera for about ten minutes or so. You could also just sit back in a chair and not move too much. Following that I moved forward a couple of steps and repeated the process. I did this several times until I was about eight feet away. (My camera won't focus any closer than that!) From this distance I was able to get some really nice portraits. Be sure to watch the backgrounds behind your subject. One other thing that you can do if your camera has a remote is to set your camera on a tripod focused on the perch. Then slowly over time move the camera closer and closer to the perch while you sit much further away. It is incredible how close you can get your camera to a hummingbird using this technique. Go out and give it a try. It's good to be outdoors enjoying nature. God's love and blessings to all, chris

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Crickets are Cricketing

With the weather warming up little critters are starting to hatch out. I found this cute cricket out in the front yard. I photographed it in natural light with a handheld Canon 7D and a 100mm macro lens. My professional insect wrangler Annika held up a white card to fill in the shadows. God bless, chris

Monday, June 13, 2016

Monochromatic Monday

This morning I was up a little after six thirty. I was checking to see if our deck was dry enough to stain as I power washed it yesterday. When I looked to the east I could see the mountain layers covered in a thin layer of fog with the silhouette of the Madrone tree. I went back inside and grabbed my camera and a telephoto lens. Soon one image led to another all without color. just another "Monocromatic Monday". God's love and blesings upon your week, chris all images created with a handheld Canon 7D and a Canon 100-400IS v1 lens.