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Welcome to the Pine River Review. Our sight is dedicated to our little homestead located along the Pine River tucked inside the Chippewa Nature Center's 1400 Acres of wild in Michigan's lower penninsula. We love to share our pictures, video, comment, and our own homespun music. Step inside our world as we celebrate this beautiful nook!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

World Bird Wednesday II

                                                  Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)
So here's how it went down. I shot into Midland this morning from Mo-town on the promise of a sunny day and the warning that the next two days would bring a wintry mess. I wanted to get my new 400mm lens out and play National Geographic. It was still kind of cloudy when I reached Midland so I went home and tried to get a couple "small bird in flight" shots near the feeder to bide my time. Finally the sun started to burn through a bit and I pulled out the car, drove around, and hiked into the usual spots. Nothing. The shadows were already starting to get long so I changed strategy. The sun in the west is a good time to go by Overlook Park on the East side of town because the light is over your shoulder that time of day and it lights up the birds dramatically. I drove up the hill but the birds were a little to distant out on the lake for photo-ops even with the 400mm's long reach.

I left and drove around some more and spotted a big bird in a tree. It was way back in this guys yard. Fortunately he was out raking and agreed to let me wander back and get some chances at this Osprey. The bird flew off, I was satisfied I had photographed something but before I gave up and went grocery shopping I figured I'd make one more stop by the lake overlook. Suzanne called on the cell and I sat in the car talking to her for a few minutes. With the conversation finished I got out of the car and all over the lake birds were scattering, my camera was set up to shoot at 1/2000, lens cap off, and there s/he was swooping past me...I got twenty shots off and I was pumped!
What luck!

                                               Happy World Bird Wednesday!



This is the home of "World Bird Wednesday." It is a place for bird lovers from around the world to share their photo-blogs. The Blogosphere connects like minded people from around our planet like no other technology can do. Our second World Bird Wednesday will be open for posting at 12 noon Tuesday EST North America through noon on Thursday. It would be most helpful, though not required, if you would identify your capture by it's common name and/or Latin name.

You are invited to link your blog with other bird photographers in a weekly celebration of these most diverse and beautiful of Earth's residents, the BIRDS!

Three easy steps!

#1. Simply copy the above picture onto your W.B.W. blog entry. It contains a link for your readers to share in WBW. Or you can copy this link on to your blog page to share W.B.W.

#2. Come to The Pine River Review on Tuesday Noon EST through Thursday Noon and submit your blog entry with Linky.

#3. Check back in the course of the next day and explore these excellent sites!

The thumbnails below are links to our contributors blogs where you can view their beautiful posts. The idea of a meme is that you will visit each others blogs and perhaps leave a comment to encourage your compadres!

                                                                Come on it's your turn!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Ducks In The House!

I can peak out my sliding glass door and look down the bank to the Pine River and see them feeding by the far side. They are my new neighbors, a family of Mallard ducks. You can tell though that these are not citified ducks such as the ones that live near my son. These Mallards are always on high alert and in order to sneak out the door and creep up to the edge of the high bank to get a picture of them it takes the height of stealth. Female Mallards are considered dull in comparison to the males but this is just human foolishness. Consider the variations in the coloring of these two buff beauties. It is fun to have them around but the season is moving along and just like the Canadian geese they will be flying off.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

How to Blow Your Mind

Skywatch- Lake Michigan Shoreline
                  Skywatch Friday

I reached out this week to bird photographers and invited them to join a virtual party I called "World Bird Wednesday."
 So mightily impressed am I with online phenomena such as Skywatch Friday and Weekend Reflections that I thought I would like to contribute to a "Bird Photography" meme. Bird photography is a new craze for me brought on by the fact I live in a nature preserve and I recently bought a DSLR camera. I perused the web and alas, I could find no such meme. "So maybe," I thought," I should start one."  Understand that 99.9% of the time these kind of thoughts pass in and out of my mind very quickly. But this time I acted and God help us the world has a new meme!
     The reaction to my random invitations to participate in the inaugural World Bird Wednesday was mind blowing. Twenty high powered nature photographers from four continents contributed to this initial installment!  People speaking to people across the globe without political borders and the limitation of time and space appeals to a person of my ilk. I am so humbled to be apart of, and thankful for this joyous event.
   How do you blow your mind? Trust the quiet voice and act!  Who knew?

Courage in red

 In the round mirror you will see my Engine House. It's the famous 111 year old home of Engine 23 and Squad 3. You can see a wonderful view of it in the opening scenes of the new Karate Kid remake.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010



                         Day One, Let There Be Birds!

      As I have traveled the blogosphere it has been my pleasure to observe the work of fabulous photo-naturalist and in the process learning plenty about the various approaches to capturing these images of natures most intriguing, diverse and illusive of species, birds.  Wonderful meme's such as Skywatch Friday and Weekend Reflections have given me, a very amateur but enthusiastic bird photographer, the desire to contribute to a bird themed meme where I could post word and picture of my small adventures. Alas, I could not find one! In my colossal naivete I thought perhaps I should be the person to start one. So I have taken a deep breath and begun. Think of it, bird photographers from around the world, with a shared passion and excitement for this difficult and enchanting pastime, encouraging and surprising each other with the products of our quest, the ultimate pleasure of capturing the reflected light off a beautiful bird into the magic boxes we now call cameras.
      To my compatriots on every continent, let us share our appreciation for the feathered creatures that  fly above and around us with a freedom terrestrial creatures can only envy!
      It is our world, it is day one.

                                                                                                        Your Host,

This is the home of "World Bird Wednesday." It is a place for bird lovers from around the world to post their favorite bird picture of the week. The Blogosphere connects like minded people from around our planet like no other technology can do. The inaugural World Bird Wednesday will be open for posting at noon Tuesday 11-23-10 EST North America through noon on Thursday 11-25-10. It would be most helpful, though not required, if you would identify your capture by it's common name and/or Latin name. Example: White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis)

You are invited to link your blog with other bird photographers in a weekly celebration of these most diverse and beautiful of Earth's residents, the BIRDS!

Three easy steps!
#1. Simply post the above picture on your W.B.W. blog entry.

#2. Copy this link on to your blog page to share W.B.W.

#3. Come to The Pine River Review on Tuesday Noon EST through Thursday Noon and submit your blog entry with Linky.              

And remember to click on the thumbnails of our contributors and comment on each others blogs!
                                                      Come on, it's your turn!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Weekend Reflections III

I live within walking distance of three rivers and numerous wetland ponds that have tall grasses and cat tails growing right up to their edges. You can find me most sunny mornings laying in wait in weeds such as these for passing fowl. Some days the birds don't come and I give myself over to... The Reflections!

                                               Important viewing instructions below!
Okay, congratulations for being a text reader and not just a picture person! Yes, there is a reflection of a bird in the water but if you'll slowly double click on this picture to enlarge it you'll be able to see the morning sun reflecting in a hundred tiny prisms from the frosty moss behind the Killdeer. That's the subtle reflection!
   I have received so many incredible visits the last couple of weeks from Weekend Reflection folk and in turn visited so many great Blogs that I want to extend a heartfelt Thank You to all involved. You make this FUN!   
 P.S. I'm trying to get a meme started for bird photographers called World BirdWednesday check it out!                                                    


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Skywatch I


     I am very excited to be making my first Skywatch entry this week. Welcome to The Pine River Review!
                     This Image is taken at sunrise from the Western shore of Lake St. Clair in Michigan.
                   Feel free to have a look around our blog for a taste of that Great Lake's State of mind!
                        Please click on World Bird Wednesday and participate in a great new venture!
                                         Check out more Sky at

Skywatch Friday

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Moving Day

These are for my son Joshua and our lovely Jessica who are moving today.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

An Eclectic Variety This Sunny Tuesday

            Here is a Red Bellied Woodpecker inspecting the great maple tree in my front yard. I have found woodpecker identification to be a bit perplexing. Certainly the little Downy and Hairy woodpeckers are nearly identical save the shape of their beaks and I could not understand the wisdom of calling the Red Bellied as such since I could never actually see a red belly on them. Not until today that is when I caught a good look, was fortunate enough to get a clear picture, and you know what? I can see a little faint blush on his breasts. At last I am informed.
            Be sure to double click on this image as there is some nice detail to behold.

 I was making the rounds this Tuesday morning seeing what was up in the air on this sun lit day. Over by the ponds things were quiet, just a couple pair of romantic ducks. A flock of crows flew by and even though I only had a 200mm lens at ready I practiced following the noisy fliers letting the auto-focus do its thing.

I was going to keep this for a surprise but I might as well let Grandma out of the trunk. I know where three immature bald eagles are nesting! I simply have not been able to get a good shot off to show you because they are on the property of a large corporation that employs an efficient private security force. Its like trying to get pictures of UFO's at Area 51. I sneak in, take a few nervous pictures, and head out before the choppers swoop in.  I actually have an out of focus shot of a Red Tailed Hawk diving in on this young eagle taken moments before I met the corporate police for the first time two weeks ago. This I do for YOU!

                                   " It is easier to seek forgiveness than it is permission."
                                                          Old Fireman's Saying

Monday, November 15, 2010

Duck, Ducks, Goosed!

I feel like I did when I graduated from High School and my friends all left for College and I didn't, I was lazy back then and had paid the price. I was lost and alone in a familiar land, forced to seek a different path. In this case its the ducks that are leaving town, not my 12th grade buddies.       

 For some reason I'm taking the migration kind of hard this year, sort of personal. The leaves have changed colors and fallen. The stark Oak branches reach out with gnarled fingers and grip my very soul...

Okay, the ducks are leaving, get over it,
But you know your bio-rhythms are on a down turn when you sight a Red Tailed Hawk and grabbing your camera off the back seat and fumbling through your memory bank for f stop #'s you get a click off just in time, and it looks good on the little three inch screen on the back of the camera. The whole team is excited! Way to go Hands! Nice job Eyes! Way to get that picture!

What is that?
And if you think I'm talking about the branch across the face your not looking close enough.
Somethings I don't want to touch even with Photoshop!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Weekend Reflections II

Taking the Plunge

I am one month into my Digital Single Lens Reflex camera experience and coming from a point and shoot background I can tell you that there are a lot of surprises both good and not so good. Just taking a Dslr out of the box and cracking the cover on the manual is a bit daunting. This "big boy" camera seemed an overly complicated tool destined to achieve a relatively similar final result for three times the money. It's like the old point and shoot is a jack of all trades, agile and efficient. In good light I did not see a whole lot of difference in Image quality from my ancient Fz20 and my new Canon T2i. The colors were not as saturated straight out of the camera and it was, after all, still ME shooting the pictures so the GREAT improvement I anticipated was not immediate. 

The concept that began to help me was understanding this machine to be a refined light gathering tool. It needs to be dialed into a particular task with a particular lens to take a certain kind of picture. With that knowledge comes the realization another $1000 worth of lenses are in your future to take nearly the same pictures you were already taking faster with a fixed lens on your $350 P&S!

Next comes RAW, the creme de la creme of picture files. No longer do your little Jpegs pop up in good old Picasa for you to fiddle with. Your assignment is to delve into the bowels of your images deciding on the sharpness, saturation, color tone, highlights, and shadows of every single picture. About this time your 'significant other' begins to get a little annoyed with you and your obsessive compulsive behaviour related to the silent hours wrestling a decent picture out of this Dslr thing that might resolve your growing buyers remorse.

Then it happens. The aperture, Iso, shutter speed, focus and subject come together in an alchemy of fortunate accidents and you take your best picture ever. You stare at it for hours transfixed in a happy glow peeping at your beautiful pixels and you are hopelessly hooked.

       Said the boy(Dslr user) shivering in the ice cold river, "Come on in the water's fine!"

                             To see more "Weekend Reflections" click on the link below!


Monday, November 8, 2010

Milkweed Seed Pillows

Here's something I never knew before today. The very same milkweed that nurtures our Monarch butterflies also produces these wind borne seeds whose floss can be used in place of Eiderdown for your warm as toast pillows and quilts! Right now these seeds are floating around the Mitten. I have been trying to follow them with the camera lens as they dodge around erratically in the air as an exercise in tracking and focusing. So far it has been an exercise in futility!
    Below is a little video to illustrate how quickly a fresh milkweed seed fluffs out when it is removed from its pod. Enjoy!

P.S. I'm starting a Bird photography meme called "World Bird Wednesday" which will be open for entries to its inaugural edition tomorrow at noon. Click on the World Bird Wednesday logo to your right for more information!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

To Crop or Not to Crop

Here we have three pictures, or I should say, three crops taken from the same frame. In my quest for "small birds in flight" captures I have come up with a strategy of baiting the birds with the feeder. My focus is set on the feeder or just a tiny bit distant and then I shift the field of view to the side where I anticipate the little guys will come storming in. With most things in life timing and luck is everything but photography requires additional elements. In this case a 200mm f2.8 prime lens on an 18 megapixel Dslr didn't hurt our chances. Why? Because it lets us capture a fairly wide frame at a resolution high enough that the image can easily be cropped down to find the picture within the picture. The White Breasted Nuthatch tells a different story in each of these compositions. Which do you like the best?

Friday, November 5, 2010

Weekend Reflections I

"Weekend Reflections" is a group of folk that post pictures every weekend that have something to do with reflections. Simple. You can click on the link below and treat yourself to this extraordinary groups photography. This is my first submission and I would like to say welcome to any newcomers to the
Pine River Review that may stop by this weekend.
This is a photo of my hand under the water of the Pine River. I love the optical distortion the water creates and the bug like flash of sunlight on my palm.