I recently got an invitation to photograph eagles with Scott Vilmer ( winner of a gazillion photo contests and all around good guy). Scott is one of those photographers that photographs everything well, always has a camera with him and is very successful.
We met at the Junie Moon Cafe for breakfast and then had a quick photo shoot. Scott had to cut it short due to some yahoo missing a curve near his house in Richwoods and flattening a couple of Rose of Sharon bushes. Like Molly always tells me…”You can’t fix stupid.” Hopefully, Scott can re-plant the bushes and maybe put a couple of boulders in the yard so the next yahoo gets a ‘wake up call’.
Here is a half-dozen– I’m sure Scott’s are better but these will have to do.
Last Tuesday, I had to get out of the house. Decided to head up to Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge. That called for an “O Dark Thirty” wake-up so I could get there around 7am.
There are a couple of photography groups that we belong to that are going to visit the refuge in the next week or two and I kind of wanted to scout stuff out. With the weather we have had, I was not sure if I was going to be early or late in the migration. Our normal migration pattern calls for the 2nd week in March to the end of March for waterfowl.
After being there, I think I might have been early for ducks and late for snow geese.
In any event, I tried to knock off some more of that Winter’s Rust. Here are a few that I liked.
1st shot of the day at the water control parking lot
Shooting back to where the ducks were from where I thought they would be
Lots of Ring-necked Ducks around
Green Wing Teal buzzing my position
Maybe not faster than a speeding bullet but fast enough for this guy
A handsome wood duck drake in courting colors
Drake and Hen Wood Duck– where she goes, he will follow
Two Green Wing Teal with urgent business elsewhere
Hen Green WingTeal in flight
We went up to DiSalvo’s Farm Sunday to see what was happening and to see how the work is going on for his new house. Molly also brought him a home made loaf of bread. We figured he already had the salt and the fire so it would count as a house warming gift as well. :))
We found a few ducks that were using the place. We think these were ‘scouts’ since there did not seem to be a lot of ducks around BK Leach. Now we could be early or maybe we are late— hard to tell with the weather.
After months of not photographing birds that are moving, I had to regain some old skills like finding the bird in the viewfinder (think of it like trying to look down a straw), catching up with the bird and have the auto focus stay on the bird. We had ‘other fish to fry’ and packed it up when the light got harsh ( it did not take long).
So here are 10 shots. The one named farm1 shows some of the difficulties when there is a cluttered back ground– add both subject and background being essentially the same “shade” and my ‘rust’, it didn’t result in total failure anyway.
I had lunch with award winning photographer Lori Biehl not long ago. We were discussing a future project scheduled for late spring. I asked her what she had been shooting lately and she showed me a few images on her phone about ice racing. I was blown a way and I think you will be also. Consider the photographic puzzle presented here. Relatively low light, lots of white and very very slow shutter speeds– add the fact that the subjects are moving pretty fast relative to shutter speeds and it calls for great skill in panning. Lori has it in spades.
Lori truly has a passion for motor racing and has worked hard to achieve the recognition of being a very fine racing photographer.
You can see more at her website Lori Biehl Photography or her Facebook page Lori Biehl Photography-Facebook
We were having lunch when Molly said that she thought there was a bald eagle over the woods behind the house. We had a flock of turkey vultures flying near the house in the morning so we wanted to be sure on the ID.
Sure enough, there was a mature and an immature flying around the woods. I went and got the big lens (600 + 1.4 extender) and ripped off several images to make sure. Yep, eagles. Molly went and got the tripod/gimbal so I would not have to hand-hold while trying to locate the eagles in the viewfinder. They were small in the frame with a bright blue sky and sunshine which made finding them again difficult. I looked up and away and saw three birds circling. Before they got into the sun, I watched the two mature eagles and the immature doing a high altitude patrol.
Molly’s eyesight is phenomenal, not only can she ID ducks on the wing while riding in a pickup truck at 40 miles an hour but she can spot distant eagles and know they are not turkey vultures while making lunch.
These snapshots are by no means what I would call great photography but not everyone has their Sunday lunch interrupted by eagles LOL.
As many of you know, we have been working on a couple of home improvement projects. One of them was finally completed. Thanks to SK Contractors, we now have new ceramic tile in the Kitchen and Upstairs Bath. While we having that done, they also installed some very nice thick and soothing to the feet carpet.
Next project is a gas fireplace/mantle dealio. Commencement date is still unknown even though we have the order and paid the deposit.
By the way, Molly and I each had one image accepted in the Annual Framations Photography contest. The contest is Beyond the Lens XII: A Photography Exhibit.
Link to exhibit: Beyond the Lens XII: A Photography Exhibition
There is an opening reception this Friday night and the exhibition runs January 26 through March 1, 2018. Unfortunately, we will not be in attendance. Molly is under the weather and we are playing it safe and staying in the warm confines of home base.
Here are the images that were accepted: (Click for larger image)
“Cannons At Sunrise” by Molly Forir
“Big Iron” by Bill Coatney
Last Wednesday, we had ‘bidness’ ( as my Texan friends would say) in St. Louis. We also had a time limit due to an appointment with the flooring contractor in Washington at 1 pm.
First stop was to DiSalvo’s office to drop off a special edition duck calendar and a hand blown glass bowl custom-made by Astral Glass in New Haven. Enjoyed our post-Christmas visit with Mr Tony.
Then off to the best feed store in Missouri– El Mel in North St. Louis County. Missed seeing Mr. John but we picked up the 50 lb bag of peanuts in the shell, a blue bird house and pole guard for a house gift for one of our New Haven neighbors. We hope to drop in soon and catch John at work and have some confab time.
We had a short window for a visit to Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary. Molly wanted to see if we could find the Snowy Owl that everyone has sent us pictures of and was featured in the Post-Dispatch recently. Alas, not a feather of the Snowy Owl was found, much less the actual bird. We knew from our many years of photographing the Trumpeter swans that they would most likely fly late in the morning and so we were able to set up for an abbreviated shoot. Molly had limited success that she attributed to being ‘rusty’ but we found out later that her camera was set on One Shot instead of AI Servo.
That leads us to the resolution #1—
check the dang camera before you leave the house
After a client asked for some Northern Shoveler images, I went through various external hard drives and saw that we need to do some ‘cut throat editing’– way too many images that need to hit the Recycle Bin. Memory may be cheap but you never know when you might need it.
Photograph more– get off the couch and get with the program LOL
3 Swan images from our ‘Shoe horn trip’
Molly is not a fan of snow, otherwise we would move to South Dakota or Montana or Saskatchewan. This morning we were greeted by snow and she looks at me and says……..
It just means we are one day closer to spring
and in the spirit of snow
I have been told on numerous occasions that still photography is dead and that if I was smart, I’d learn to do video. They may have a point. However sitting here with fresh bread baking, if I was smart, I’d invent something so you could smell what I’m smelling while you read this.
It is times like this, that make all the trials and delays putting natural gas into this formerly all-electric house worth it. Molly is loving the new Kitchen-Aid oven’s convection feature.
Some quick snaps:
Bread dough set up in warm place so it will rise
One of the loaves just put into the oven to bake
Setting out to cool– smells delicious
Today is Molly’s birthday.
She is off work and we have a day planned–
Christmas tree decorating this morning,Cracker Barrel for lunch and steaks later
Do we know how to live it up or what ??? LOL