birds, Florida wildlife, natural wonders, old dogs new tricks, perseverance, photography, unintended consequences

In search of…

A Roseate Spoonbill… which had been at the top of the list of birds I’ve wanted to see ever since I saw a photo of one on the Florida Birds Facebook page.  So Saturday it was off to Circle B Bar Reserve, where I had heard that my chances of seeing a Roseate Spoonbill were pretty good.  And I did see them, a glimpse of pink through the thick shrubbery lining the trail.  Getting a good view of them was a challenge, let alone a clear photo.  Plus they themselves were mainly hunkered down in the tall grass and not very active in the cold.  Except for one cooperative fella.

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Immature birds have white feathered heads and paler plumage.  They feed by wading and swinging that spoon-shaped bill back and forth in the water to feed on small fish and crustaceans that are ignored by larger wading birds.

At first I was mainly interested in trying to get better photos than I thought I could take.  This interest in birds is an unintended consequence since birds are such a plentiful and interesting subject for photography.  I’m learning a lot.

 

old dogs new tricks, photography, sunset, technology

Editorially speaking…

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My intention for this post was to take some of the photos from the sunset on the roof of the Clearwater main library, and show how a little bit of editing can bring the best out of a photo.  The photos above are the before and after of the same photo, and so are the two that follow.

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In my iPhone classes I read that if you can tell a photo has been edited then you’ve done too much.  Less is more.  I like photos to represent what I saw as I took the picture.  But I also remember when our local TV station would show a viewer photo of the sunrise or sunset, and they were amazing.  A lot of my interest in trying to take better pictures stems from seeing those photos and wondering why my sunrise or sunset pictures didn’t look like that.  I didn’t know that with the iPhone you only had to tap the sky to set the focus for a sunset photo and it would be immensely better.  Then I discovered editing and had an aha moment.   Editing can’t save every photo, but it can improve most of them.  I’ve also been told that you be trying to get the perfect picture as you shoot it, and not expecting to ‘fix’ them in post processing. There is a definite learning curve and it takes time, but time is what I have the most of these days.  Or I think I do anyhow…

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This is the original of the feature photo.  Like I said, subtle editing.  Wait ’til I learn to use the masking tool…

 

 

 

 

dogs, nature, neighbors, old dogs new tricks, photography, pigs

Meet my new neighbor…

I have a new neighbor, his name is Wilbur.  He’s short, and his wispy hair is quite wiry.  He moves pretty quickly, darting around the yard and digging holes.  He also likes to lean up against just about anything and scratch himself.  He likes to play with the dogs, in fact my neighbor is sure that he thinks he is a dog, and not just because he uses the dog door and likes dog food.  She says he is better behaved than her dogs are. Zoe didn’t seem to notice anything unusual about him.  Maybe she has just learned to expect the unexpected when she goes into my neighbor Sue’s yard.  After all, both dogs quickly accepted the chickens when they arrived, and pay no attention when they visit us in our yard.  But Ozzie hasn’t met Wilbur snout to snout yet.  I decided to let him think about it for a while before we take that step.

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Bayport, birds, dogs, eagles, Florida wildlife, Jenkin's Creek, learning, old dogs new tricks, photography, sunrise, technology

Back to basics…

There I was at Jenkin’s Creek, after a lovely sunrise at Bayport.  I pulled into the parking lot and could see a large bird in the ‘wood stork’ tree, but I honestly couldn’t tell what it was.  Lucky for me there was another photographer there, Tony, and he said that it was a juvenile eagle.  I would probably have to have used Merlin to be sure what it was if he hadn’t been there.  I suppose that I look like I know what I’m doing, what with the tripod (which he said isn’t sturdy enough for my lens), as well as the gigantic lens itself.  So Tony got out his phone and was going to play eagle sounds in an attempt to get this eagle to fly for the sake of the photo op.  So, said he, ‘you probably want to increase your shutter speed.’  Nothing will fluster me more than something like that statement, because I still fumble to make those sorts of changes in the camera settings.  I admitted that I’m a rank amateur with this stuff, and because of that we both managed to miss the shot.  Bet he was glad I showed up.  He said he had gotten some good portrait shots at least.

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So I decided I needed to work on my camera skills, and off I went to the dog park.  And I easily upped the shutter speed to account for the action I was hoping to capture.  It’s a lot easier when there are no witnesses to my fumbling.  Maybe I’m getting better at all of this after all.

1221doggie1221doggie21221doggie3Obviously the dog in this last picture has zoomed out of the focus point I set, but what I like about the photo is that the leaves he kicked up are perfectly in focus.  That made me smile.  Note to self, perhaps you ought to increase the focal area next time.

And the sunrise.  I never get tired of going out for the sunrise, and sunsets for that matter.  This one got prettier than it looked like it would with the fog.  And it was foggier when I got home than it was when I left.  Practice, practice, practice…

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birds, dolphins, Florida wildlife, Jenkin's Creek, learning, nature, old dogs new tricks, perseverance, photography, technology

Lightroom Chronicles…

Lightroom is THE photo editing program to use, or so I’m led to believe.  And I have it in my computer since the subscription to Photoshop includes Lightroom.  I always thought of Photoshop as the ultimate editing tool, and I’ve gotten pretty comfortable using it for the basic sorts of edits that I do to my photos.  But I’m told that Lightroom is easier, (ha!), and you can edit a photo the way you want it, then you can turn those edits into a preset and apply those same edits to all the photos you might choose to, all in one click.  It’ll probably be great once I’m used to it, maybe…

An alternate title for this post could be, ‘If It Ain’t Broke…’, because I was merrily writing posts and taking pictures, and not unhappy with the results.  But all of this raving over Lightroom caused me to take RAW images the last couple of days, the better to edit them the way you want them in Lightroom.  First I went to the eagle nest where nothing at all happened.  And I didn’t think that anything was going to happen at the fishing pier either, until the dolphins showed up.  Not only was I on the pier, so above the dolphins, but I had the 600mm lens on the camera, so better photos of dolphins than I’d been able to get before.  But RAW images!  Needing to be edited in Lightroom?  Why can’t I ever seem to leave well enough alone?  If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.  Should be my new motto.

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I’d be too discouraged to continue if not for this female grackle that landed on the railing nearby.  Maybe this is more the sort of photo that could benefit from being a RAW image and the editing technique I was trying to master.  I only got two pictures before she flew away, but these two pictures will keep me interested in learning something new.

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We played with Lightroom in a class a while back, and I had forgotten that we set a watermark.  It feels a bit pretentious to me, amateur that I am…

 

 

coping, dogs, life goes on, loneliness, memories, old dogs new tricks, photography, technology

Significant others…

As the significant male in my life Ozzie leaves a bit to be desired. Oh, he’s attentive enough, and gazes into my eyes adoringly. He can’t seem to resist me when I’m sitting back in the recliner. That’s when he comes over and plops his head down onto my chest… and grinds his chin into me as if he is scratching an itch. Thank goodness that’s all he does these days, because he used to come flying out of the bedroom where he’d been sleeping on the bed, and head straight for me at full speed. 20367_308243312136_1003066_n
I had only a second or two to put down my coffee and put the laptop on the table beside me before he would launch himself into my lap. The bigger he got the less cute this became, especially once he grew enough to seemingly be all elbows. Charley thought it was funny, and wondered why Ozzie didn’t do the same to him. I wished he would have, but no, he only did that to me.
Maybe if he didn’t choose to pester me when I’m actually typing an email or blog post, or when I’m in the middle of placing an online order or paying a bill, I might not mind so much. But it feels like nagging, and for the longest time I told myself that it was nice to do what I want to do all the time. All day every day.  No adapting myself to another person’s needs or wants.  Except for the dogs, but I can tell them to go lay down and they do.  Now all day every day can seem like too much time to fill. Too much solitude, maybe that’s why I’m out for the sunset every night. My version of prowling the streets at night looking for… what exactly? I have no clue, but something is missing.
At my recent doctor’s appointment, at which I was a rock star with my weight loss and fabulous A1C reading, I told him that I’m having trouble finding my way back to my ‘happy place’. He said, “That’s my story, how about you?” Really?  Another comment about online dating? I objected, and even he had to chuckle over ‘Hot Photonut’, but he said that he personally knows lots of lonely men. I told him to pick a couple of healthy specimens and send them my way. He replied that HIPAA would probably object…

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