Spring weekend for the Birds

The first week in April (Easter Weekend) was a very warm weekend and I managed to get up to my cousins cottage. I decided to concentrate honing my camera skills on my telephoto lens. For some reason I have finally managed to master the use of it. I have decided after just a weekend being a wildlife photographer is a lot harder than it looks. I clearly need a higher pain threshold then I currently have. My weekend was mostly concentrated on birds but I did try to get a few other creatures (and the word is try).

I tried several time to capture a pair of Hairy woodpeckers (if I am incorrect feel free to comment correction below) which was nearly impossible even with my telephoto on the 200 mm setting. This was the best photo I had which I did crop and magnify. The woodpecker would land low on the tree then move at lighting speed up the tree!

During our long walk my sister spotted this fuzzy crawler crossing the road. My sister is pretty good at spotting the wildlife thankfully this one was a slow mover and I could take my time getting a shot.

My sister also spotted several hawks flying over head. I had a lot more difficulty getting a decent shot since they were flying fairly high and almost outside the reach of my telephoto. Thought this photo was beautiful for its simplicity even if the bird is not seen up close.

This was the first attempt at capturing a female Robin who was hanging out by the water, hunting for food and just playing in the grass. I decide to observe the Robin’s behaviour and come back later in the afternoon at what photographers call one of the golden hours. I had no idea how long it would take for me to get that perfect moment.

It was clear I had been spotted. I got quite an interesting game of peek a boo with the tree, preening and head bobbing. I wasn’t quite sure if she would even venture closer to me so I get her into the better light. I was at this point laying flat on rocks with my upper body in one really akward position. I am aware you have to take birds from their perspective but it is really painful. I was about to give up since I was hitting the absolute edge of my pain threshold and beginning to get one big kink in my neck. When this shot happened and made it all worth while.

This was the one magic moment and the one I had been praying for. My first really good bird photo and my realization that I not so sure I am all that into wildlife photography. I ended up with sore ribs, sore shoulder, kink in my neck, a lot of mosquitoe bites and a sore hand! Yes I said mosquitoes, think this is going to be a bad season for bugs if it stays warm.

Just before we departed I was surprised to see a group of ducks playing in the water and flying up and down the river at really fast speeds. I only managed to get one okay photo I needed something closer to a 300 mm to capture these birds. I have not yet been able to identify them either and this is the first time I had personally seen them at the cottage.

I had a lovely Easter weekend and there is another blog post coming based on this weekend. Had a mysterious object show up and once I figure out an editing technique will post the story.

Till next time!

Screaming Good Time!

I had always thought of myself as a pretty tough girl. I go camping at least once a year and spend quite a bit of time at my cousin’s cottage. Apparently this last trip I discovered I am still at heart a soft city girl. Never helps when three women are left to fend for themselves well stocked with wine!

First fun of the trip was Wednesday night. We decided to watch a few episodes (actually 4 of them!) of the first season of Mad Men. Did not know we were to be accompanied by the loudest cricket we have ever heard. We thought at first it was one of the fans so we turned them off. Then we though one might be near a window so we closed the window. Nope that did zilch to turn down the volume. Who knew crickets could be that loud. As we were getting ready for bed my sister quickly figured out that the offending cricket had to be in the cottage somewhere and she was right. Only one problem who would be the brave soul to capture it and take it outside apparently that volunteer was me. First few attempts failed and as soon as the thing jumped everyone screamed. After a huge fit of giggles successfully got the cricket out of the house unfortunately we quickly realized there were two. It was the invasion of the ugly black bugs that can jump! Second removal went a lot smoother.

Thursday was interesting because I found out ants can bite. I was wondering around the back yard and was pretty nonchalant about the little bugs crawling on my foot. Then much to my surprise they suddenly started biting. I have never been more shocked. My sister was laughing at my frantic attempts to get them off. Stupid ants!

Thursday was also the night of the big storm. In Campbell ford we got a sheet lighting , heavy rain and wind. We were enjoying a quiet dinner in the sunroom with just candles so we could enjoy the storm. I quickly discovered I have not just a flight response but a flight and fright response. After one particularly spectacular lighting flash, the biggest crack I have ever heard occurred (a maple tree nearby was split in half). My first instinct was too scream then dash to the livingroom. My sister thought I saw something (watches way too many horror films) and quickly followed my lead. Mom was right behind her. Poor Harry (my Mom’s cat) ended up in the livingroom flattened to the floor, poor guy!  Tempete slept through the entire storm and screams, lucky cat is pretty deaf. After much laughter and more wine we settled in to watch more Mad Men. Slightly more difficult than it sounds since we had a couple of power outages while watching and the PS2 does not have scene selection.

It was a really fun five days at the cottage with lots of adventures. On Saturday evening we lost power for several hours, which meant dinner and socializing by candlelight. Only twist is that with no electricity the water pump doesn’t work. No water means no working toilet!  I also had a great time experimenting and learning my camera. I had three of Scott Kelby’s digital photography books with me and learned some great tips from them. I will post photos in my next blog post. I haven’t had a moment to process them although I do not touch my photos up that much. I am still learning how to use various programs like Photoshop and Lightroom.

Post again soon!