The Steller's Jays Pay a Visit
the Jay's are a quick in and quick out kind of bird. They are larger than even the Varied Thrush and when they land in the little dogwood tree the branches bounce.
Their call is loud, and they love to shout out their arrival. They take command of the tree - everyone else clears out when they arrive.
They bounced down on to the feeder grabbed a few seeds ad ran off. They are related to Crows and have the same set of jerky big bird kind of movements. They are fast and graceful fliers - and seem to have better things to do than to hang with the steady crew of chickadees, juncos, sparrows and thrush that have crowed my deck this last during the late winter snow -- we still have about 2 feet which will take some time to melt.
It's cold out and I'm tired of it.... Still a lot of hummingbirds around like this girl. I relate to her expression. Not amused by four feet of snow.
We will try to be philosophical... but I am fed up.
all we can do is watch and wait.... Going to be some days I think before we get our road plowed and are able to get out.
Busy day here feeding birds.... about seven thrush, well over a dozen juncos, a few chickadees, and a sparrow. A guest appearance by a Jay who did not stay. They are not good at sharing. But seem to all manage to get in. They got here at dawn and are still here now at dusk! Snowing hard. I've been cleaning the snow out of the seed pans but I can't keep up. (Finally made a little shelter but could not photograph it due to snow on the window of my kitchen!)
This guy has a little bit of down slipping away. Was not snowing yet this morning when he was posing.
They seem to spend as much time posturing as eating. The Varied Thrush are about 7 times bigger than the juncos. But the little guys hold their own.
sometimes you just have to wait. Amazing how such a long bird can pull itself into a ball.
Seven varied thrush and a junco (in the red feeder) - more snow on the way. I'll be busy. I have a variety of feeders. A thrush tried to sit on the stick of the red feeder but he was way too big!
Thrush Pay a Visit
The branches shake when they land on the little dogwood tree - but then they are seven times heavier than the chickadees. There were two - but it wasn't until later in the day they felt brave enough to land on the porch and eat some seeds.
Striking a pose. I read that they and robins are related, but the thrush tends to be shy. They do, however, like the Pacific North West.
The patterns on their feathers are so beautiful - also they have stunning orange legs!
Here are the both of them, no doubt a pair. This one is edited in an HDR program - Aurora. It's difficult to find them in the photo, but that's true in life as well. when looking for birds it is always finding the anomaly in the chaotic pattern. But I think this is a very important concept over all and fascinates me in fly fishing and in all my art work
A big snow came yesterday on the heels of a previous one so I've been putting out some bird seed and suet. Among the Juncos and Chickadees, a sparrow appeared at various times through the day. He did not like to share.
I put suet in the bird feeder
The chickadees liked to pick up a seed and take it elsewhere to eat - then come back for more. They all move fast! But these guys are the quickest. I never see them actually fly from spot to spot they just seem to bounce.
A junco waits for its turn at the seed dish.
The sparrow enjoying some seeds...
… and then enjoying the suet.
a feeding flock of birds arrived on my deck - so I put out some bird seed, scaring them away but only for a minute or two. the camera sees what I cannot, so I am intrigued by all the details. Above the photo was run through Aurora below, just photo shop. See enlargements of the faces below
eating corn we see a little pink tounge!
The picture above was process through the HDR program Aurora - below just photo shop. You can see the difference in the textures and how the program treats the highlight. I am fascinated by being able to see such detail - the windows of my house - I am looking through the windows are reflected in the eye of the bird.
A smaller bird sits on the edge of the of the action. the larger one did some chasing of the others away. There were at least 2 dozen birds in the yard coming and going around the deck.
their eyes are brown! The feet have amazing dino structure and show up red with the light.
Taking and Editing Photos - Highlighting Textures to Create Deep Spaces in Low Winter Light - Skagit Valley and Snoqualmie River
There is so much to see in the Skagit Valley - but strangely with this low winter light, the sun always seems to be in my eyes.
Moving a bit south of the Skagit Valley we travel the middle fork road near home.
When I look at these images on my computer I can see the details by closing in on them - since the original files are very large and very detailed (when they are in focus :/) - I can make parts of them as big as possible or make the whole small. How does an image change with scale? Or with our ability to alter our view - enlarging tiny things for inspection or making big things small?
A word about the process - the first picture below is what I see 'as shot' - the second image is after processing the raw file with photoshop. I admit I often use the 'auto' button as a starting point - and then from there I make adjustments … move the little sliders back and forth and see what happens. It's pretty amazing to have the ability to adjust so many qualities of an image. Notice that details like the land on the other side of the water appear out of seeming blankness!
Mt. Rainer from the north part of the Snoqualmie valley with swans.
I always seem to forget just how low the sun is to the horizon in the winter... I looked it up - add 23.5 to your latitude and then subtract it from 90 - Yikes. Makes for about 20-some degrees with an 9 and counting down to 8 hour arc. So getting good light for a photo is tough. It seems the sun is always in my eyes when I want to shoot something.
we are up near Monroe, Washington.
I continue to be very impressed at what effects you can get from a raw file with photo imaging programs. I am using Photoshop to process the raw file - correct any image flaws - then process through Aurora for an HDR effect.
I am using a Nikon D800 - so the sensor records so much detail that even if I've not exposed it quite right the programs can separate and bring back detail that was otherwise 'lost'. the image above, for instance, what shot into the light - a big no-no - but I was enamored of the glittering river and the low winter sun at mid day in my eyes.
The images are all near Throp WA. I am knocked out by the detail I am able to capture with the D800 - in close up, for instance, I can see the frost crystals on the log.
The last two are cell phone pictures.
Pictures I am using as both sources and inspiration -- and an ongoing exploration of digital photography.