Now that I am aware of the northern migration of the Cedar Waxwing, I marvel at its arrival in my Serviceberry tree every year in May. In winter, I have seen them on the golf course in Naples, Florida. How incredible that these birds find my little tree on their journey north — just for a few days.
This morning I was sitting on my deck listening to about 8 different bird species sing, while the Merlin ID app on my phone identified each one. When the Cedar Waxwing appeared, I sprung from my chair and got my camera off the dining room table.
This occasion allowed me to practice the bird’s eye focus feature on my Sony a7rV camera, with 400mm lens, handheld.
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Most of the desert scenery was bathed in full sunshine, but as I hiked into to the shadows of the canyon wall, I noticed this striking scene with rim lighting on the Saguaro Cacti. As I set up my tripod, I noticed the way the backlit layers of yellow and green desert shrubs framed the foreground in the lower left. “This will be my best photo of the day,” I said to myself.
This image also succeeds with its limited color palette. The interplay of yellow and shades of green unify the image, don’t you think?
This brilliant red bird was busy feeding its chicks while I observed in Tucson, Arizona. I had never seen the Vermilion Flycatcher before in my life, since its habitat is primarily Mexico and reaching over the U.S. border to portions of southern Arizona. The adult male exhibits this brilliant red color on the body, with gray and white wings.
During my week in Tucson, Arizona I practiced some Macro photography, using a special lens that will focus on objects very close to the lens. My eye was attracted to the shapes, patterns and subtle color hues of the agave plant.
Macro photograph of an agave plant in Tucson, Arizona, May 2023.
I can visualize a large print of this image (40″ x 60″) hanging in a home or office with contemporary decor.
In Naples, Florida in late April the weather was hot and sunny every day; temperatures would typically climb to 88 degrees Fahrenheit. Somedays, the heat and humidity were annoying.
So we drove north for two days to our Western Pennsylvania home and voila — the weather here is cloudy and rainy with temperatures in the mid-50s. This Spring weather can be kind of annoying too, especially when it’s time to walk the dog.
The silver lining of this “time travel” from summer heat to spring rain is the blooming dogwood. Our home is surrounded by four dogwood trees, blooming now in pink and white blossoms. In between rain showers, I took a few photos.
I’m trying out my Macro lens, since I’m going to be taking a class in Macro Photography next week. I’m on my way to Tucson, AZ in a few days for the North American Nature Photographers’ Association Summit Meeting.
These two Great Blue Heron juveniles have grown tall and are almost ready to fledge. They were watching anxiously for parents to come deliver food (no luck), and the brave one was trying to jump and fly.
Like the Bald Eagle, the Great Blue Heron grows to nearly full size before it can fly and catch its own food. I find this stage fun to observe, photograph and share.
Next month I look forward to a portfolio review with Ron Rosenstock, a very gifted landscape photographer, at the NANPA Summit (North American Nature Photographer’s Association). Doing my prep work, I have been studying his work, admiring many of his black and white images.
With just that ounce of inspiration, I found a recent photograph that I captured in Florida and decided to process it in black and white. My eye was attracted to this Anhinga bird because of its texture and feather pattern. (I also have taken dozens of photos of Anhingas, so they aren’t new to me. I will only take more photos if I think I can create a new look.)
A young child near me asked, “What are they doing?” Without taking my eye away from the camera, or my finger off the shutter button, I replied, “Making new Great Blue Herons.” I cannot not tell you how lucky I felt in that moment, to photograph this very special scene.
This photographer was ready at the right place, the right time feeling very grateful to make my favorite photograph of the season in Southwest Florida. If you are interested in owning a print, please contact Cathy Kelly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Observing a Great Blue Heron pair in Venice, Florida, I witnessed some special body language. It was an hour before sunset in March when this scene unfolded.
In the next blog post, I will share some rare photographs of the pair mating. I was super excited to be ready to capture this moment with my camera mounted on the tripod with all the right exposure and focus settings, ready to click.
“I’m hungry, Mama!” seems to be the universal cry of the baby. Just look at those big yellow beaks on the young American Egrets in the nest. I just love their scruffy appearance as the new feathers develop. They are neither elegant or silent yet — characteristic of the adults.
These baby egrets have not fledged yet and depend on the parents to deliver food. They seem to be getting restless as they wait for their feathers to develop. It is exciting to witness the dynamics of nesting season in Southwest Florida.