I have been sticking close to home this week while our skies have been heavy with thick cloud banks and not much help for bird photography. When a little bit of good light did brake through, it didn't last long, so I keep my camera close at hand and ready to react. There was no shortage of feathery subjects willing to model for the mixed nuts and seeds that stuff the feeders hung in the Maple tree just outside. A picture window is perfectly placed to observe the action. Sliding open the little side windows that frame the big glass makes it possible to take good unobstructed shots while leaning over the back of the living room couch, coffee and computer still close at hand. This is easy living! The light is excellent from this pampered perch all morning when the sun does shines. A little further out on the lawn a cherry tree has been hopping with Cedar-waxwings. When I see them massing high in the poplar or tamarack trees I whip on my coat, sneak outside and hide close by as they swoop down to harvest the cherries. They, along with the chickadees, titmice, cardinals, woodpeckers and jays are my cheerful companions, a reliable antidote to the low light winter blues.
This has been the extent of my birding adventures this week: My own front yard and couch!
"If we could but paint with the hand what we see with the eye."Honore de Balzac
It's much easier to take pictures in full light and often we will try to push the limits of the available illumination and try to artificially produce a picture that appears well lit even when it wasn't in the first place. Our post processing tools give us a good push in that direction, to make of a thing something it never was. But what of the scene as the eye saw it? Dimly lit and atmospheric. Doesn't that tell it's own story? Of course it does, but the limitations of our cameras to capture such moody, under lit scenes as our eye sees them is difficult to achieve. Our Birds don't always inhabit a brightly lit branch but you would think so given the vast majority of saved images. It really is only a very small part of the story. Birds make their living in the rain and snow and endure the long dark night. There is living detail in the shadows. I am thinking of Rembrandt's Night Watch or Van Gogh's Starry Night. Could we paint such scenes with a camera?
You get the Idea. When my stretch of days ended at the home front, it was time to turn towards Detroit and fight fires. Wouldn't you know it....the sun blazed for the trip down. After days of thinking about Dutch painters and such matters dreary skies bring to mind, I visited Dow's ponds on the drive out and Bam! Just like that I captured today's header photo of the Common merganser walking on water and a nicely lit eagle maneuver.
All said and done, it was nice to be back in the sunshine!
This is the home of World Bird Wednesday. A place for bird photographers from around the world to gather and share their photographs and experiences as they pursue Natures most beautiful treasurers, the birds.
You don't have to be a Bird Watcher or expert photographer to join in, just enjoy sharing what you bring back from your explorations and adventures into nature!
World Bird Wednesday will be open for posting at 12 noon Tuesday EST North America through midnight on Wednesday.
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