WPC Structure: Wings

For the past 7 years since I moved to the USA I’ve become ever so slightly obsessed by hummingbirds. They’re absolutely amazing! They’re so small, fast, squabbly (is that a real word?), colourful, noisy and un-afraid. I saw one take on a titmouse the other day!

Anyway this weeks WPC of structure is a good excuse to use my weekend shots of the hummingbirds and in particular their wings and the structure of their feathers.

Technical jargon if anyone is interested: the shutter speed I needed to capture these shots was 1/3000 of a second with an ISO of 1600 at F6.3. I was using an 18-300mm Sigma lens on my Pentax K5 at full zoom and when editing I used a huge crop as well. I’m pretty pleased they turned out as sharp as they did (not counting all the binned blurry efforts btw).

I love how they fly right up to you and look you in the face as if to say “Hey giant thingy, what are you?” Now if I could only get one to perch on my finger.

Hummingbird1Hummingbird2Hummingbird4Hummingbird3Hummingbird5Hummingbird6

Structure

WPC: Evanescent

Wake me up, wake me up inside, I can’t wake up,
Wake me up inside, save me,
Call my name and save me from the dark, wake me up
Bid my blood to run, I can’t wake up
Before I come undone, save me
Save me from the nothing I’ve become

Oh, wait a minute. That’s Evanescence…. this week’s word is Evanescent! *goes and Googles the meaning of evanescent*

Evanescent: soon passing out of sight, memory, or existence; quickly fading or disappearing.

4618957083_f2a9f53981_b

Bring me to life, I’ve been living a lie
There’s nothing inside, bring me to life.

Evanescent

WPC: Surprise

I didn’t think I was going to participate this week in the Weekly Photo Challenge as I couldn’t think of anything to photograph and didn’t have time to look through my archives, but yesterday I was up visiting my daughter at her apartment and got the cutest surprise when I saw the baby geese (goslings?) sitting at the edge of the pond right outside her front door.

Goslings lowres
THEY’RE SO FLUFFFFFYYYYY – I’M GONNA DIE!

I suggested daughter kidnap them and let them live in her bathtub but daddy Goose gave me the stink-eye when I made the suggestion.

Goose
Daddy, or mummy, who can tell?

Anyway a nice wee surprise and I was happy that I had my compact camera with me to capture them as my phone wouldn’t have done justice to their cuteness level.
Surprise

Holy Smokes Batman, you’re an empty-nester now!

Weird title, huh? That’s because I’m talking about two things today. Firstly I’m now an empty-nester (I tried to find an old photograph I have of an empty nest, but I couldn’t find it anywhere so I’m uploading this one with a full nest of Red Cardinal chicks)

red-cardinal-chicks-lowres
Baby Red Cardinals

My daughter moved into her own apartment this week and the house is SO quiet now. It’s especially quiet because my husband has been away on a business trip this past week and doesn’t get back till Tuesday. My son will probably never be back full-time at home either; he’s in his second year at university and I reckon he’ll end up staying in further education his whole life. So it’s just me and the dog. I really thought I would be miserable this week but can I let you into a secret *whisper* it’s been great! I mean obviously I’d rather my husband was home but the house is SO CLEAN and tidy! It helps I’ve been busy and have been up to daughters new place a couple of times but I think I’m going to enjoy this empty nest lifestyle.

baby-red-cardinal
Baby Cardinal practising leaving the nest

Now the Holy Smokes Batman part. Well, this morning I decided to have a huge clearout of my closet and anything that I hadn’t worn in 6 years (since I moved to the USA) was going. A genius idea hit me when I started that because it would take me a couple of hours to do this so I would run the oven’s self-cleaning thingy whilst I was working away in the bedroom. My husband normally does all the yucky jobs (like oven cleaning) and uses obnoxious smelling cleaning fluid, rubber gloves, hazmat suit, the works. Hah, why doesn’t he ever use the self-cleaning button says I to dawg (yes, I talk to my dog, who doesn’t?) All I can say is I apologise to everyone on my street and it’s a good job my next door neighbour is a fireman! I walked into the kitchen and the smoke was belching out the oven. Oops.

Anyway here’s another couple of Red Cardinal pics, which have absolutely nothing to do with the story but this is a (kinda) photography blog after all.

Have a good week chummies 🙂

male-red-cardinal
Male Cardinal
female-cardinal-2
Female Cardinal

Birdie on the golf course

Or several birdies on the golf course.

These were all taken at Buffalo Creek Golf Course, home of the 15 foot alligator.

Yes I was playing (sorta). No I’m not very good. Yes I kept getting distracted by alligator hunting. No I wasn’t allowed to drive the golf cart in the ponds or through the sand pits (Seemingly that’s frowned upon on golf courses. Who knew!).

I would have loved to get closer to the Ospreys but there was a stonking great alligator in the pond in front of me, hence the 300mm long zoom plus cropping.

Heron2
I got a birdie on this hole. A Heron to be precise.
Osprey
Osprey. Would have loved to get closer but, you know, alligators.
Heron
Another Heron looking pretty beside the flowers.
Spoonbill
Spoonbill and another bird.
Vulture
Cute Black Vulture.
Cormorant lowres
Cormorant

Photo 101: a pop of colour

Woodpecker8
Red bellied Woodpecker – Yes, even though it’s got a red head. Makes no sense to me either!

A splash of colour in a dull background. I love my bird feeders but I’m rubbish at taking photos of the birds at them. I probably need a longer lens than a 90mm (this shot has a huge crop) The trouble is I don’t know what lens to buy – do I go for a big huge beast that I can’t carry around with me, or do I go for one with a mega zoom and lose the qualilty. I need somebody to just tell me – BUY THIS ONE! I do love my Pentax K5 and really wanted to stay away from the Canons and Nikons, but they do have a better selection of lenses, and by better I mean cheaper! In the meanwhile I’ll continue trying to shoot birds and get frustrated they’re not as sharp as I’d like them to be. (That is shoot birds with a camera obviously!)

The Resolving is going well (not!)

So the 365 (photo a day) is more like a 360 now. I AM trying to take more photographs, but life has the interfering habit of getting in the way. I guess it’s better than the alternative though.

Anyway here are this weeks photos

Airtight bridge

Airtight Bridge, Illinois.

I had seen this bridge on another photographers website and though to myself “self, you gotta go there” so I Google-mapped it last week and set out to find it… in the middle of nowhere! Over rough dirt roads and cornfields (not actually driving OVER the cornfields I hasten to add, I stayed on the roads) and I finally come into this wooded area and down a steep hill and there the bridge was. I parked the car, got out and started shooting, but I have to say I felt a bit uneasy and spooked while I was there. 10minutes later and I’d had enough, resolving to come back with my DSLR (I only had my compact for these pics) and maybe with another person. Getting home I showed my daughter the photographs and she informed me it’s a well-known haunt for local college students and there had actually been a murder committed there a couple of years ago!!! Spooky is the word!

Embarras river lowres

Embarras River, Illinois

Same place as the Airtight Bridge shot, but winter in Illinois is dreich (to borrow a Scottish word) so I messed around a bit in Photoshop to make it look more interesting.

Birds lunching

A Chickadee and Titmouse having a quiet lunch together

It’s blooming freezing here in Illinois so I’ve been making sure my bird feeders are filled up. It’s party time at my house now! I really need to get a longer lens though – this is a huge crop as I’m hiding behind the curtain at the patio doors so not only am I trying to shoot birds with a 90mm lens, I’m also shooting through the glass door. I should treat myself… now to work on hubby so he doesn’t have a heart attack when I tell him how much the lens I want to buy costs…

And that’s about it then for this week photographically-wise. Other resolutions are going OKish. Still haven’t eaten any chocolate, went swimming and walking every other day and haven’t given in to the temptation to hibernate. I’m counting this week as a win.

A footnote – RIP David Bowie, the soundtrack to my youth.

Seagulls (or evil geniuses with plans to rule the world)

Note the fiendish plotting going on behind the beady eyes
Note the fiendish plotting going on behind the beady eyes

Seagulls. Surely they’re just rather big annoying birds who steal your chips at the seaside?

Nope. I know better. They’re evil masterminds with a plot to take over the world. One chip at a time.

“I used to rule the world
Seas would rise when I gave the word
Now in the morning I sleep alone
Sweep the streets I used to own”

New life

Red Cardinal chicks
Red Cardinal chicks

Life is such a roller-coaster, full of incredible highs and lows and rushing around at 100mph that sometimes it’s nice to STOP and just wonder at the miracle of nature.

As an aside – Red Cardinals must be the daftest birds around though – why would they build a nest 2 feet off the ground when there’s a gigantic puppy running around the garden. We had to erect a temporary fence round the tree to keep the dog away from the chicks. There’s plenty of trees round the side of the house where the dog can’t get to, but no, they nest right in the dog’s ‘play’ area!

Photography 101: Double-take

"Stop following me!!!"
“Stop following me!!!”

American Oystercatchers in Florida…. or maybe they’re British Oystercatchers on holiday?!?

Today’s assignment (or should I say last week’s coz I’m way behind) didn’t really take much thought. Well, it did, but I’m too busy to think all that much about it so maybe I was being lazy. Whatever, this is a pair so therefore doubles! Done.

Oh all right then, I’ll also throw in a seagull

"Where's the chips?"
“Where’s the chips?”

A Snowy Egret

"Dang, I just can't get that yellow paint off my feet!"
“Dang, I just can’t get that yellow paint off my feet!”

Some Comorants

"What time does this party start then?"
“What time does this party start then?”

A Black-bellied Whistling Duck

"Wheet whoo!!!".... no, not that kind whistling you silly duck!
“Wheet whoo!!!”…. no, not that kind whistling you silly duck!

And some Vultures

"What do you wanna do now?" "I dunno. What do you wanna do now?" "I dunno. What do you wanna do now?" Sorry Disney :-/
“What do you wanna do now?”
“I dunno. What do you wanna do now?”
“I dunno. What do you wanna do now?”
Sorry Disney :-/