Monday, January 26, 2015

For the Birds

Daytime temperatures in our region of South Carolina tend to stay between 40 and 55 degrees in January, but one day last week, we had a glorious 65 degree day.  The sun was shining, a warm breeze was blowing, and all the little songbirds were out.  I had a stack of work to do and wasn't able to take much time away from it, but I did go outside with my new lens for a half hour and got some shots (as usual, you have to click on the picture to full-size it). 

Here's a Great Blue Heron out in the pond. 

I've been seeing this guy around for quite a while, and I love watching him fly.  A very graceful bird! 

We've got lots and lots of Eastern Bluebirds around here.  Actually, there are several pairs of Bluebirds nesting in boxes not ten feet from my office window.  This Bluebird is a female - not quite as brightly-colored as the male.  You can differentiate the juveniles, too, by their spotted breasts.

A little Chickadee...

Here's one of my favorites...the White-Breasted Nuthatch.

They have such inquisitive little faces.  

They like to creep down tree trunks, looking for insects or perhaps collecting nuts or acorns that they secreted in bark crevices at an earlier date.

Here is a common pose...downright jaunty!

I've seen so many other birds - Tufted Titmouse, Blue Jays, Cardinals, Finches, Wrens, Martins, etc., etc., but not much yet this year.  I'm going to be more intentional about keeping our feeders filled, and see who shows up to partake!

One final visitor in the late day was a lone Red-Tailed Hawk.

The lighting isn't great, but check out those talons!  He flew off before I could get any closer. 

Speaking of lighting, I'm experimenting with a lighting system we bought for my work.  Here is a small set-up in the front living room:

We've since included several more light stands.  Since we have so many trees, it's so difficult to get good lighting in the house.  I practiced on a houseplant.

Natural (but dim) lighting:

Artificial lighting and a blue background:

I appreciate being able to get a sharper image, and I know that I can probably digitally manipulate the background (somehow), but I think I'll mainly use this system for my work photos and not necessarily for my nature ones, unless it's insect photography.  I might pull out some of my samples and see what I can get to show up under really nice light.  I can't wait!

Have a great week!

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