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.
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#3. Check back in during the course of the next day and explore these excellent photoblogs!
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always so jealous when folks can get good waxwing shots! they show up here on (yes) gray, overcast days! :)ReplyDelete
gorgeous header shot! wondered what that bird was, so thanks for the i.d.!
It was gray and snowy here, but we got a couple of sunny days..Love the detail in your photos...ReplyDelete
I cannot help admiring that second photo. What a great capture!ReplyDelete
I'm new with birds. If you know the name of the yellow bird in thumbnail 4, do let me know. Goldfinch?
I would like to have a front yard and couch as you...ReplyDelete
The bird eating is great!!!
your waxwings is a little different from ours. We have he bohemmian ones. Ors are mor redtoned and don´t have the yellow color on around the legs. I wonder if the sound is the same.ReplyDelete
Your waxwing photos are fantastic! The "berry in beak" is wonderful. Great shot! And I love anything with raptors.ReplyDelete
I just love the waxwings so much. Fantastic photos! I know what you mean about the light. Makes it a challenge, for sure.ReplyDelete
Great post as always Dave.ReplyDelete
That second shot is a beauty.
Oh how beautiful these Waxwings look against the grey sky.WonderfulReplyDelete
Love those waxwings! Not bad for a quiet day at home. We had one of those cloudy mornings this past week and I had to crank the ISO up to 6400 to get a shot of a Bobcat about 5 minutes after sunrise. Very soft image!ReplyDelete
Waxwings are the most gorgeous bird -- their plumage is seamless. :)ReplyDelete
Springman, you header is incredible! Wow! Great capture.ReplyDelete
The Waxwings have proved to be a bit of a nemesis to me! Seems I'm hard pressed to get a decent shot. These ones are exquisite!
Our back yard is overrun with Juncos and House Finches and Chickadees. I love them all. I could watch them all day! Takes my mind off people!
Another wonderful read and the header is fantasic to see.. I have visted the Rembrandt museum in Amsterdam.... unfortunatly it was in 1964 and I was only eight years old.ReplyDelete
I have made a note to go back one day...
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Hi Springman! A bring-a-smile-to your-face header with the Common Merganser walking on water; what a great shot! Then those beautiful Waxwings; eating berries would have to be a prize. What a buzz opening that when opening your pics from your camera! You're right thinking about the various light conditions perhaps being considered a mood setting; I'm sure us bird-lovers can appreciate that. For those of you hindered by months of often sunless skies ...we can all be reminded of the weather conditions at the time. It's just another of nature's bounties afterall? Gosh you don't need to step far from home base for some of your best photo opportnities. Happy Christmas greetings from the other side ..ReplyDelete
Your header photo is fantastic - as is also the photo of the bird with the cherry just being swallowed. What I see in the "mind's eye" seldom matches what I capture with my camera - but I keep trying!ReplyDelete
Each week it is an internal battle within me to not allow your great photos to intimidate me but rather to inspire me. I am happy to report, the latter always comes through. I love that header photo.ReplyDelete
Thanks for the inspiration Springman.
Great post , Springman! I love the header shot of the Merganser. Beautiful capture. The Waxwing and the Nuthatch are great captures. It is nice to have a indoor spot to watch the birds. Great photos, have a wonderful day.ReplyDelete
OK you couch potato! At least you got some satisfying exercise for your trigger finger. The cherry gobbling shot is a beauty as is the first cedar waxwing not to mention your header which really is stunning.ReplyDelete
So nice that you leave the cherries for the birds or were there so many you ran out of bottles?
Fantastic waxwing shot - they are such beautiful birds. I really think the one with the berry is amazing!ReplyDelete
Excellant subjects Springman! I'm still waiting for the Waxwings. I have a Crab tree full of apples for the taking. Love your header. I photographed some Mergansers yesterday, but they were swimming too fast just out of reach!ReplyDelete
Take care, and stay safe.
What a treat to see your bird shots! And the one in flight! Excellent!! I'm so motivated and even went on my first bird-watching trip for my post!:)ReplyDelete
Another wonderful post by you! You are so right .. sometimes we must lighten up their environment! But your photos are always so amazing! Envy envy envy here!ReplyDelete
Waxwings are the most beautiful birds and your photos are superb! I also love that header shot.ReplyDelete
Wow, Springman, the Cedar Waxing eating a cherry is amazing! Your header is beautiful too. Have a wonderful Christmas and prosperous New Year. I'm off to three of East Africa's most beautiful Game Reserves, all birding paradise/s. Greetings, Jo, KenyaReplyDelete
Simply floored... floored yet flapping my flightless wings in applause...ReplyDelete
I love all your shots. At least yours turn out atmospheric when the weather sucks. Mine just turn grainy ;)ReplyDelete
Hi there - great shots and thought provoking words. One of my favourite bird shots was of a Rainbow Pitta, taken in a tiny pool of light in the darkness of a swamp. As far as being a "field guide shot" it’s a waste of time - but I think it touches on what you are saying - it’s not always about clarity and depth of field. Sometimes things are dark and uncertain, and I like pictures that show that.ReplyDelete
I took the Pitta shot on slides (which dates me) - so I may have to dig it and the slide scanner out and see what happens.
Cheers - Stewart M - Australia
Lovely post, as usually! I love especially the first photo!ReplyDelete
I love your header shot, how it illustrates the tremendous power required for the merg's running start! As to photography absence of light was so limiting in print photography. The eye always saw more than what the camera could capture. This is no longer true with digital photography and we probably lost something in the process. Some of the mystery has gone out of it. Now we have to use special filters to recreate that effect. Lovely shots of the waxwings, the white-breasted nuthatch and the eagle.ReplyDelete
Amazing images of the waxwing. WOW!! I love the shot of him eating the berry. What a brilliant capture.ReplyDelete
LOVE the new header. Wonderful image and the reflection just completes it.
Thanks for allowing me to link up last weeks post. I was going to link up one I had planned for this week too as you suggested but I have run out of time being away and all. I have a whole file of images to use over the coming weeks!
awesome shots This week...the header shot is WOW..ReplyDelete
Love the waxwings always a thrill to see that sleek masked berry bandit. Im still trying to finish up a painting project...and its draggggin on longer than it should.
Hi! Your caption has been selected and is posted with a link over here today. Your header is just amazing! I stopped there for a while...ReplyDelete
Wishing you and your family A Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year.