Saturday, December 31, 2011

It's A New Year But

I still haven't processed half the photos I took in 2011. But I've now nearly worked my way through June.

So, unsurprisingly, you folks will be seeing summer shots from this corner for quite some time. Maybe you won't mind so terribly if you're in wintry climes.

I'm a huge fan of dragonflies. They are aerodynamic marvels who eat mosquitoes, deer flies and other bugs that eat people. Godbless'em.

They come in lots of colours.

Including red.

And white & brown. The one above almost disappeared into the rock on which it perched. Only the brown spots ruined its camoflage.

I don't usually fiddle with much post-production stuff but in the next pic, I played with the saturation and hue a little. It didn't affect the dragonfly too much, but I like what it did to the wood of the dock.

Next up, a clever bunny renders itself invisible by standing still. (No wonder they provide lunch for so many predators.)

The next two pics are titled "Peas & Thank You."

What follows is not one of my sharpest photos but I like the colours.

This next fellow was caught enjoying a bask at the pond near Hilary's.

I am charmed by chickadees. I flat-out love these little birds. They have an abundance of wonderful qualities all out of proportion to their tiny size. I find them difficult to photograph, though. They are constantly flitting and their black eyes often disappear within their black caps. I'm always happy when I get a shot of one and I can see his eyes.

I'll bid the old year adieu with a pic of one of the young cardinals which graced my backyard for several weeks this summer. They were as cute as cute could be.

Hope the next 12 months are great ones for you and yours (and chockful of photo opportunities for us camera jockeys).

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Mostly Bugs

I'm still working on processing photos I took in the summer, so you can expect to see out-of-season shots in this corner of the internet for quite some time. Without a whole lot of further comment, here's a few from July/August.

No idea what this fellow is but he was nifty looking.

Again, I'm clueless about the identity of our next subject. The focus could be better but I like the iridescence of the wings.

This one I know! It's a bumblebee!

And next up: a green bottle fly on a rose stem.

This wasp was gathering minute bits of wood for nest repair.

I walked around the pond at Hil's one day and happily chanced upon a Swallowtail butterfly. Even more happily, it stayed within range for a moment and let me take a couple of shots.

Enough with bugs? Okay. We'll wrap up with a few birdies.

Here's our own Lucy. I like the background pattern of the bars of her cage.

On another amble around Hil's pond, I came across a rare sight indeed: a female mallard doing yoga.

I mentioned iridescence earlier. Here's another fine example from Mr. Grackle.

Ever seen a bird with fur? Me neither. But this one nibbling at the feeder is kinda cute.

That's it for today. Thanks for taking a peek. Hope you enjoyed.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Flora & Fauna & Etc.

You folks may have noticed I have a thing for herons, especially the Great Blues. (I always have, and will try to explain the connection someday, likely in a book.) And although I live in the country and Hilary in a large city, I had never seen a Night Heron or Green Heron before visiting the mid-city pond near her home. Though not exactly common, we might spot night herons 10 times a year and greens two or three. Usually we see them roosting on some deadfall along one side of the pond -- the side farthest away. Even with a spiffy 400mm lens, sharp shots, depending on lighting, range from difficult to impossible.

On a walk around the pond earlier this summer, I startled a night heron and took a hurried shot as he flew away. Fortunately, the photography gods favoured me and I actually caught the bird in the frame and pretty much in focus. I know! I was amazed too! Here's the pic.

This past summer was a great one for flowers. The lilies were especially nice.

What colour describes that one - burgundy maybe?

I don't know what this next flower is called but there's a bunch of them in my yard. Hilary was kind enough to tilt it towards my lens.

Did you notice her colourful wrist bling? Hil's notoriously camera shy but I have permission to show her wrists whenever I wish. Here's a closer look.

Neighbourhood urchins, I mean, children, are frequent visitors to Hil's. Sometimes, we need to feed the little buggers and they're not the most fastidious eaters. Sometimes, they'll drop something on the ground, oh, like a small piece of cracker. Sometimes, a guy with a camera will spot that piece a half-hour later and take a picture of it.

Nothing is wasted in nature.

A bottle of bubble solution, the stuff that keeps Benny airborne, attracts a fly. Both of which attracted me.

Back to the fauna for a sec. I like Clematis plants. They're a great plant for guys with brown thumbs as they require no care and bloom much of the summer. And they look nice, even when a tad wet and bedraggled.

Sandpipers are busy little birds and fun to watch.

A flowering thistle is an apt symbol for sending a mixed message: The flower says "come hither" while the thorns say "stay away."

There's more but I've seen a few of you tapping your feet and checking your watches. So, I'll wrap this up with a pic I took when Hilary and I were visiting a mall specializing in Asian products. Most of the shops seemed to sell cell phone/iPod-related products, or foodstuffs from the Orient. There were hundreds of colourful signs designed to lure folks into the booths. The following one was my favourite.

That'll do for this go-round. It's Thanksgiving weekend here in Canuckland. I hope wherever you are, you're enjoying friends, family, and nature's bounty.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Cute Critters

Youngsters of just about any species are cute. (Note I said "youngsters" rather than "babies" or "newborns." Many babies, especially newborns, are butt-ugly. Sorry Moms. It's true.)

I had the pleasure, during much of July and August, of witnessing the coming-of-age of a pair of young cardinals. They're siblings, and often squabbled, as sibs will do. But they're just as cute as cute can be. Evidence follows.

Wasn't lying, was I? I think she's a girl-bird. In the following pic, her brother (pretty sure he's a male) is playing a little peek-a-boo on a lattice.

Here's a little better look at him.

Next up, a young, speckled robin just beginning to develop his/her blushing breast.

Now for a canine cutie, peering somewhat forlornly from behind a fence.

Did you know squirrels eat apples? Now you do.

I happen to live with what is possibly The King Of Cute. Uh-huh. You know what's coming don't you?

Here's Ben, intently guarding against his sworn enemy, the aforementioned apple-eating squirrel.

Here's Ben, checking to make certain his diligence is being noted.

In the next one, the rascal has absconded with Son #1's water bottle and keeps a wary eye out lest the previous owner dare try to reclaim it.

And although the final couple of shots leave much to be desired from a focusing and framing standpoint, they do illustrate Ben's craziness (and yeah, it's often cute too.)

When he needs exercise and nobody wants to walk him, we've developed a few alternatives. One favourite activity is killing bubbles. As a bonus, he gets to defy gravity.

That one wasn't high enough.

Hope you enjoyed. See you next time.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Back In God's Country

In my lexicon, "God's Country" means there's lots of trees, rocks and water -- which pretty much describes much of Canada. And it certainly describes the family cottage which has been part of the Baron domain since 1968.

Hilary and I were there earlier this summer and what follows is some of the photographic evidence.

If you're a regular at Hilary's blog, you're familiar with a certain brightly-coloured hammock my sister and her husband bought for cottage use. Over the years its colours have faded but Mother Nature rejuvenates it periodically. Rain has a way of super-saturating colours and when the sun re-emerges, the effect is often magical. (It rained a LOT on that particular visit.)

Here are two shots of the hammock which I particularly liked.

Most sunset photos taken at the cottage are loving homages to the Creator's palette - a riot of orange, red, yellow, purple and magenta. The one that follows is a little different. (I DID mention the rain....)

In between cloudbursts, we had a few visitors.

This fellow found something extremely nibble-worthy and didn't mind a bit if he had an audience.

One of these visits, I'm going to get a terrific shot of a hummingbird. Until then, this one will have to do.

This green-eyed mosquito hunter took a shine to Hilary's shoe.

And her jeans...

On grey days, the aluminum boat almost merges with the metallic sheen of water and sky. As a result, other colours stand out.

When the sun breaks through in late afternoon it brushes everything with gold.

We'll close this edition with a shot of Hilary demonstrating what cottage time means to many - relaxing with a good book.

Hope you enjoyed the virtual visit. Let's do it again sometime.