Critique Connie's (Clix Pix) 52 Week Project 2020 --W E E K 42!

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  • #321
Thank you, Terri! Yes, I've really been enjoying doing the bird photography in particular, and it was a huge thrill when I actually managed to get a decent BIF shot!! I'd tried a few times before but my timing was off. It helps, though, that taking off from the water is a bit more challenging for Alfred, and he's a little slower in the beginning as he starts the process, so that was advantageous for me. I am so glad that I bought that 100-400mm back in June, as I've used that lens so much the past several months -- it is a perfect walking-around-the-lake companion for me. I am also very pleased overall with my A7R IV and lenses, and, yes, this gear does seem to suit me!

One thing that I've tried to do each week is to offer a variety of images and subjects, to make it more interesting both for myself and the viewer. As the seasons change and the weather starts to get colder, undoubtedly there will be a lot more indoor shots again, abstracts, macros and tabletops.....plus some geese and ducks shot from the deck. That should be more fun this winter than last time, now that I've got the Wimberley gimbal on the tripod, which will make handling the longer lenses much easier. In the meantime there is autumn and (I hope) wonderful colors to capture with the camera as the leaves turn and trees and foliage burst into brilliant yellows, oranges and reds....
 
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  • #322
It's Sunday and it's time for posting a colorful Week 39's images! A familiar cast of characters makes yet another appearance, including my favorite, Alfred, plus a real surprise, a rare treat......

One afternoon I lucked out and spotted Morrey standing on a rock in the area near the footbridge, waiting for some lunch to come swimming by:

Waiting for Lunch to Come Along.jpeg
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At one point, I noticed a bird zipping by and I watched as he landed on top of a high branch not all that far from Morrey, a bit further from me. I zoomed in for a better look and was amazed -- here was our resident, usually very elusive Belted Kingfisher, actually standing still for a moment and in a position where I had a decent chance of getting an image! WOW! When I got back home I immediately pulled out my bird book to verify that, yes, this indeed was a Belted Kingfisher. I'd been seeing this guy zipping around the lake all summer but never had been able to get any shots before. I seized the moment, this golden opportunity:

Belted Kingfisher.jpeg
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Another afternoon it was rather breezy as I was walking along the boardwalk, and I saw that the water in our fountain was creating a delightful rainbow, so I aimed the camera at it to capture the colors:

The Rainbow Connection.jpeg
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Back to Morrey: after I'd gotten a few shots of him from one angle, I then walked across the footbridge and to the other side for a different perspective and watched him as he was clearly enjoying the day:

Morrey Enjoying the Nice Day.jpeg
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Ah, but this week also included a nice photo session with Alfred, as one afternoon when I was walking along the boardwalk I spotted him standing in an area not far from the footpath, so that I was surprisingly close to him and had fun watching him and capturing a few images. At one point he leisurely stuck his beak in the water and when he raised his head again he had a tiny crunchy treat:

Alfred With a Crunchy Treat.jpeg
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Alfred steadily gazes ahead, watching for signs of fish moving in the water:

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Eventually Alfred decided to move to another area and see if he'd have better luck grabbing a more substantial morsel:

Green With a Couple of Touches of Blue.jpeg
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The boardwalk is also a place where the smaller birds, including the sparrows who feast from the trays on my deck, also hang out:

How's the Weather Up There?.jpeg
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We are already seeing signs of autumn approaching as some of the foliage around the lake changes colors:

Early Autumn Colors.jpeg
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  • #324
Thanks, Terri! Yes, it was a great week -- or rather, a few great shooting days -- for me! I was really genuinely surprised when I looked at the bird who had just landed on that branch and thought, "could that be --? Really, could it be the Kingfisher?" I snapped away, taking advantage of this rare and unexpected opportunity, and although I was 90% sure that this was indeed the Belted Kingfisher I didn't send up balloons of celebration until after I'd returned home and checked my bird book. Yup, the guy I'd just shot looked just like the one in the photo in the book. :)

I was also pretty chuffed that I was able to get so close to Alfred that I didn't need to crop the headshots that I took of him. 560mm (400mm lens plus 1.4x TC) did the job! So, yes, Week 39 was pretty cool and colorful! Now on to Week 40.....
 
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  • #326
Thanks, Nick! Yes, I haven't quite figured out what is not right about the Kingfisher shot; could be over sharpening, I should give that image another try, dial it back a bit..... The kingfisher was quite a distance away and high up, and it is also possible that movement plays a role, too -- either his or my own, and insufficient shutter speed would have been an issue as well. That is one thing about these high-resolution cameras: they show everything all too well, including user errors!
 
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  • #327
OK, so I went back to the original RAW files and found a somewhat better image of the Belted Kingfisher, the one I should have processed in the first place! It's still not ideal, as I really needed a longer lens and a tripod, neither of which were available right then.... I also need to remind myself to slow down and not rush through editing; I tend to look through images, grab one to process and then sometimes don't get back to the file again, which isn't good. I was just too darned excited about having seen and shot this kingfisher! I also took another look in my bird book and realized that this is a "she," not a "he," so that now she's properly identified.

One of the problems with the first image was that you can't see the eye, just that big white spot in front of it. Thankfully she turned her head and I was able to get a shot of her with the eye showing, which is much more attractive. In editing this time, I didn't crop as heavily, which helps, and I also didn't run the image through Topaz Sharpener AI, which I think was another problem with the first image. When I'm excited, I have the tendency to be too quick to select an image and then edit it quickly, which of course is not a good approach. I need to slow down with that!

Anyway, Belted Kingfisher, Take 2:


Kingfisher on a Stick 2.jpeg
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  • #328
And here we are at Week 40!! This one wasn't as exciting as last week, and I didn't get out to shoot as much, but enjoyed the nice cool autumn weather and seeing my feathered friends anyway.....

The geese are back for the colder months now, and we see and hear them pretty much every day. On this particularly nice day some of them were feeling frisky:

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On another day this guy and I eyed each other straight-on:

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Autumn is one of my favorite seasons because of the wonderful colors in the flowers:

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One afternoon when I was setting out on my walk, I had a brief meeting with this little guy in the bushes near the boardwalk:

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Further down the boardwalk, my camera and I greeted this young mallard, who cocked his head and assured me that everything in his world is just ducky:

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Autumn and October are definitely here when people start putting out the pumpkins:

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Ah, but we can't let a week go by without saying hello to Alfred, our resident Blue Boy:

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  • #329
Week 41 is here! A mixed bag this time, as the seasons change, easing from summer to autumn.....

It's fun having our geese back on the lake again! I think they're enjoying being here, too, as there seems to be plenty of food for them to forage, both in the water and on land. Captured this guy as he was cruising along soaking up the sunshine and appreciating one of the last warm days we'll be having this year:

Cruising Along on a Sunny October Day.jpeg
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Now with autumn's arrival we are seeing more and more leaves falling from the trees, and some land in the lake:

Leaf in the Water.jpeg
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On one of my walks around the lake a gentle breeze was creating beautiful music with the wind chimes on a neighbor's deck:

Wind Chimes.jpeg
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Sometimes the flowing water in the nearby creek can make for some interesting images, especially when there's a leaf caught in there:

Flame.jpeg
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As I mentioned in another thread, I have recently bought a Westcott Ice Light 2, which I think will be a fun and very useful tool for lighting some of my tabletop and macro projects this winter..... One of my first experimental shots with it:

Symphony in Blue.jpeg
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Another leaf in the water on another sunny afternoon:

Yellow Leaf.jpeg
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Last, but certainly not least, Alfred as I captured him against an amazingly colorful backdrop of reflections in the water:

Alfred Against Colorful Background.jpg
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  • #330
Here we are at Week 42! This year is inexorably moving along....

Although in general it was a pleasant week weather-wise, we had our share of dreariness and rain, too:

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On one of those days it was fun staying indoors and playing with my Slinky:

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Finally got outside when the sun reappeared and we had one of those wonderful, clear October days with blue skies, ample sunshine and colorful leaves:

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Somebody's been hanging out on his deck too long:

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Sunshine and shadow:

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I love how the autumn colors reflect so beautifully in the lake:

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  • #332
Yep, definitely unmistakably fall now in this area, although we still have been having some warmish days. Unfortunately a lot of the trees are already just turning brown, no pretty colors, while some haven't even begun to change yet at all. I'm another who likes to shoot the rain -- not standing outside in it, though, but from the safe protection of my deck! I like raindrop shots, either as they're coming down pell-mell or later when they're lingering on leaves and branches.
 
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Connie. I missed last week. Not sure why. Between the meme, CS, and 52 weeks, I get confused. I don't think I will do this many projects at once again. I love your abstract shots. It's so different from the way I shoot and that my brain works. I just love seeing where your creativity takes you. I love the wind chimes shot from last week. This week I can't pick a favorite. I love the rain, colorful leaves and the pond reflections so much. Well done!!
 
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  • #334
Thanks, Terri! Yes, when the call was first going out for the Octoberfest month-long shooting participation, I briefly considered it and then realized that it would probably feel overwhelming to me very quickly and I also didn't want to be limited to just one or two lenses for the entire month. Sure, I could've done a few shots for each day for the Octoberfest and then also additional shots with my other lenses, but that would have wound up taking me so much time not only to shoot but to process as well. I hop in-and-out of the CS when the topic there is something that catches my fancy or when I'm out shooting and along the way take a few shots of something and then think, "oh, hey, this would be great for the CS!" I try to keep the current topic floating around in my head when I'm out there shooting.

That's what is so neat about photography: each of us has our own unique style and creative vision and it is so much fun seeing how others view the world and depict it photographically. For some reason I've always had this tendency to look at things partially, so to speak, seeing what happens when I don't show the entire subject as it actually is but instead just one or more parts of it, which can then suddenly become mysterious and not readily identifiable. I also love colors and the way they interplay, and living on a lake I have the wonderful opportunity to watch the water doing interesting things with color and reflection on a daily basis. Fall is prime time for this!

I've never really thought of myself as being creative; very often -- most often, actually -- when I set out to shoot it is without a specific idea in mind, a specific subject or way of approaching that subject. What usually happens is that I'll see something, and if it's not a living creature like a squirrel or Alfred which is likely to take off, I'll spend some time shooting the subject from various angles and seeing what happens when I do this, when I do that..... Sometimes it's actually not until I'm in the "digital darkroom" on the computer viewing an image that I'll see that I could get an interesting image with impact by cropping it in a certain way.....

As the colder weather sets in and I'm staying indoors around the house more, I'll be exploring more subjects in different ways and undoubtedly there will be a lot more abstracts appearing over the next few months!
 
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  • #336
AAAAGGHH!!! October is way too early for snow! That said, I do recall a year when we had it early, too, in October and no one was pleased, no one was prepared. Fortunately it was only a couple of inches and they melted away quickly......

In contrast, tomorrow is supposed to get up into the high 70's.... I'm happy with that forecast!



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