Portrait of a Roseate Spoonbill

“Okay, perfect. Now, stand up straight with one foot in front of the other, step into the sunlight, look at me, and hold it right there.” Snap!

If only a wild bird would follow directions like that! If only a beautiful roseate spoonbill would show up when you go out with your camera hoping to capture something interesting. In the wild, the photographer shows up often and prepared with know how and good equipment hoping that the birds and the events will happen someday.

When it is time to process a digital image, some experience with Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom comes in handy. I was grateful to be prepared when this Roseate Spoonbill and I met at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary.

#roseatespoonbill, #roseate, #bird, #portrait, #naples, #birdphotography, #corkscrew, #corkscrewswampsanctuary, #wildlife, #success, #secrets, #howto, #birds, #florida
I could not have posed you any better, Roseate Spoonbill. Thanks for looking at the camera and stepping into the light.

Who Am I?

This mostly white bird seen in the southwest Florida swamp stumped some experienced bird watchers who were guessing its identity. What do you think? Yes, it looks like a heron with that long beak, but it’s not blue…at least not yet.

 

#heron, #blueheron, #corkscrew, #florida, #naples, #corkscrewswampsanctuary, #juvenile, #whoami, #birdphotography
This juvenile blue heron has just a hint of blue on its beak and in its feathers.

My first guess was the Wurdemann’s Heron, a ┬ámostly white mutation of the Great Blue Heron, that I had recently learned about and sighted in Rookery Bay. ┬áDon’t we love to put our newly found knowledge to work? But the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary naturalist gently corrected me: this is a juvenile Great Blue Heron.

If you have some birding knowledge to share, please leave a comment to this blog. I’m happy to start a conversation.

Roseate Spoonbill Lift Off

If you can capture a photograph of a Roseate Spoonbill when it spreads its wings to take flight, you are in for a visual treat even better than a strawberry parfait. You need to steady your lens on the bird, focus, make sure your shutter speed will freeze motion and wait.

#roseatespoonbill, #florida, #bird, #feathers, #pink, #corkscrew, #profile, #flight
Roseate spoonbill spreads its rosy wings to lift off the fence railing just a few feet from me.

These large wading birds are quick, so you must anticipate their take off. The Spoonbill’s motion parallel to the focus plane helped this image work. My settings on the Sony a7rII are ISO 1250, f /5.6 (pretty wide open lens to let in more light), 244mm, and 1/2500 second shutter speed. A higher resolution image is available on my website in the Florida Gallery: www.cathykellyphotography.com.

Grandparenting

When your little girl grows up and gets married and has a baby, some magical things happen. You get to hold a new baby again, and remember just how special that feels.

#baby, #newborn, #grandparent, #tiny, #toes, #feet
My grandson’s tiny toes.

You can comfort them when they cry, and tell them they are safe and sound in your arms. While you hold them, you wonder what their future will be.

You will fall in love and hope you live a long time to watch them grow.

Tulips at the Frick

The Frick Collection in Pittsburgh is exhibiting Paul and Bunny’s Mellon’s art collection, which normally hangs in the Virginia Museum of Fine Art in Richmond. Most of the paintings are from the Impressionist period, including works of Monet, Van Gogh, Degas, Sisley, Pissaro, Redon and Morissot, but there are also some equestrian paintings and some post Impressionists like Matisse and Picasso. It’s a fantastic exhibit!

At the same site, you can visit the historic Frick home called “Clayton,” see the late Whitney Snyder’s collection of antique cars and have lunch at the Cafe. Just outside the Cafe, I also enjoyed these tulips in the garden — living, breathing works of art.

#tulip, #spring, #may, #pittsburgh, #frick
The best way to photograph a flower is to keep it simple. Shallow depth of field isolates the subject in the frame. Yes, I was down on the ground, kneeling in the mulch.
#tulips, #redwhiteandblue, #pittsburgh, #frick, #flowers
I liked the contrast between the red and white petals and the bed of tiny blue flowers behind them.
#tulip, #redandwhite, #spring, #may, #pittsburgh, #frick, #macro, #flower
Even though this tulip was past its peak, the texture, colors and detail were inviting.

White Dogwood Welcome

On May 10, this white dogwood tree is in bloom and is welcoming visitors to the back porch of my home in Southwestern Pennsylvania.

#spring, #dogwood, #whitedogwood, #backdoor, #pennsylvania, #sewickley, #may, #home
Welcome to the Kelly’s house in Sewickley.

For the past week, I’ve felt a bit of “creative block.” Back home where my surroundings are familiar, I can’t seem to find a subject to photograph. Then, I noticed the sun hitting the white dogwood blossoms, and I thought I’d better go have a look through the lens before a hard rain or a sharp wind gust tossed them all to the ground. A wide angle lens made the flowers take center stage in the foreground.

Walking the Brooklyn Bridge

Next week, I’ll be back in the Big Apple, and I’m looking forward to seeing New York’s iconic sights again. Looking back at the images I have made in past years, I came across this 2013 black and white photograph that celebrates the geometry of the Brooklyn Bridge.

#brooklynbridge, #newyorkcity, #thingstodo, #visitNYC, #newyork, #flag, #bridge, #NYC, #nikon, #blackandwhite, #bw
While walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, I looked up and noticed the patterns made by the cables.

This style is a departure from the vibrant sunsets and colorful birds I have been shooting in Florida, but this subject begs for black-and-white interpretation with its emphasis on pattern.

Next week, I’ll wander no farther than Central Park with my young grandchildren, newborn and not yet 2. But Central Park in the Spring is something special. Stay tuned!