Critique Connie's (Clix Pix) 52 Week Project 2020 ---- Week 32

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May 1, 2007
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Denmark
Brilliant set Connie. All really great but my favourites are the heron on the stone and the guy eating (y)
Nice "neighbourhood" you have with all these birds
 
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May 5, 2005
Messages
19,226
Location
Idaho
Thank you, Terri! It's been several days now since I've seen Alfred, so he must be sheltering in a cooler, shady place away from the heat and humidity that we have been having here. I'm hoping to see him again soon.

I've been trying to get photos of smaller birds for practice -- not always easy when they move so quickly! I found that adjusting my settings made a difference though, so some of the issues I was having were definitely due to user error. Using the 1.4x TC on the 100-400mm means that I do pay a price in loss of one whole f/stop, which on a slow lens can be problematic. Auto ISO helps a lot but I had misunderstood one of the settings in conjunction with it, which was really throwing things out of whack. Got that straightened out now, figured out what I'm supposed to be doing, and the situation is much better.
Glad you are having fun practicing new things. It's always good when you figure out what has been causing you a problem.
 
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  • #263
Brilliant set Connie. All really great but my favourites are the heron on the stone and the guy eating (y)
Nice "neighbourhood" you have with all these birds
Thanks, Morten! That Green heron is really something to see in person. He's smaller in size than Alfred, the Great Blue Heron, but has the typical heron characteristics of sharp beak and long, thin legs.

I am really surprised at the variety of wild creatures we have here, and the birds. When I first moved here back in 1994, I was amazed and delighted when I would go out walking around, and over the years I've captured some with a camera; this year I've been doing more of it than in the past, though, since I am spending more time at home. Since our community swimming pool did not open this season I have more time for other things this summer, too.

Terri: yes, it definitely makes a difference when one figures out what the problem is and resolves it! Some of this was that it had been a long time since I'd used a long lens and teleconverter, and I'd forgotten some things, and some features are a little different on the new gear than on what I had in the past, too. Aside from all that, it's fun to just get out there and shoot, regardless of the outcome!
 
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  • #266
Week 29 was busy and also the last few days of it have been very, very hot, so not conducive to going out walking around much! A lot of the shots this week were close to home....actually shot right from home, usually the deck. Some shots were with the A7R IV but when shooting right here at home I've found the RX10 M4 to be very useful.

Earlier in the week when it wasn't quite so beastly hot out there, I did walk along the boardwalk. I'm not much into landscape photography but it struck me that it would be nice to take a shot of the footbridge at the foot of the lake, which is surrounded by lots of greenery: trees, bushes, etc., and crosses over the feeder creek which leads to the lake. This is where Alfred and his heron buddies hang out, along with other wildlife from time to time.

Footbridge at Foot of Lake.jpeg
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That bird ID book that I bought has proven to be quite useful -- I was able to identify this guy as a Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher. He was standing on the top of the bench when I came along and I was able to grab a shot of him before he took off.

Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher on Bench.jpeg
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One late afternoon when I was out on the deck I noticed an interesting pattern with the way the light was hitting the water, which was ruffled by the wind:

Fluid Patterns.jpeg
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One interesting diversion this summer has been feeding the birds, and I started out with just putting the food right on the deck itself (big mistake, as then some of the smallest bits got caught in the cracks between the boards), but later switched to using a wooden tray which has worked out pretty well. The sparrows have been enjoying it -- when they can get at the food and the tray isn't occupied by the resident squirrel, whom I've named Smaug (avid readers will catch this reference). He's featured in the "Favorite Squirrel Photos" thread, if you haven't seen that. Anyway, the sparrows are NOT happy when he's around! One brave soul has come up to the sliding glass door, cautiously stepping around and past Smaug sprawled out in the food tray, to peer in at me and chirp and squawk indignantly at me: "Yo! Lady! Get Him OUT of there! We're hungry, too!" This particular sparrow, though, was just stopping by at a good time when sans squirrel, the tray was ready for bird action..... it's hard to get a decent shot of them on the deck, but occasionally I've managed.

Sparrow on the Deck.jpeg
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....And here he is, the Smaugster himself, looking up as I am opening the sliding door: "You gonna chase me off AGAIN?"

You Gonna Chase Me Off AGAIN?.jpeg
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Another change from the wildlife, an image with cool colors to remind me that it isn't always going to be 95 degrees and sticky-humid out there.....

Cool Blues and Greens on a Hot Day.jpeg
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  • #269
Thanks, Urban Flyer and Terri! Yes, sometimes I just grab the camera and go out walking, curious to see what I'll find along the way! Some days are more interesting than others, of course. Haven't seen my herons lately, but have been enjoying capturing images of other birds instead. Trying something new and different provides more spark to the project, too, keeps me going and interested.....
 
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  • #274
Week 30 rather reflects that this has been the long, hot summer of Alfred, Sparrows and Smaug..... LOL! I've been using the RX10 M4 for shooting the sparrows and Smaug and his brethren, but it dawned on me that I could put the Bazooka on the tripod right here in the living room and shoot through the (clean) sliding glass door at the squirrels and sparrows. Aha! I tried this setup and found it works pretty well, as the sparrows don't seem to be as spooked when they don't as easily see me. After experimenting with this for a while I then stuck the 1.4x TC on the Bazooka to see how that would work, and it made things even better, although of course on the shaded deck I am dealing with poor lighting most of the time. I was able to move the tripod back a little further, too, which helped in not disturbing my subjects. I later came up with another strategy, buying a bag of oiled sunflower seeds and putting them in a separate tray for Smaug. That has worked pretty well, and at times I've had Smaug dining away in "his" tray while the birdies are happily free to eat their food in "their" tray, as an oblivious Smaug pays no attention to them. None of the photos in this series show the second tray, though.



"Watcha looking at? Can't I eat my meal in peace now that the squirrel isn't around?"

Whatcha Looking At?.jpeg
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"Really enjoying this treat, but I"ll have to eat fast before Smaug comes back!"

A Mouthful of Seeds.jpeg
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Hastily grabbing another bite before that pesky squirrel shows up again....

Got a Nice Mouthful Here!.jpeg
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"Listen, Joe, We Gotta Do Something About That Darned Squirrel!"

Listen, Joe, We Gotta Do Something About that Squirrel.jpeg
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....And Smaug returns and makes himself nice and comfy, right at home....

Yeah, I'm Comfortable and Getting Right to It.jpeg
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In the meantime, another situation where someone hogs the desired space and others are unhappy: this morning I looked out and Alfred was standing on the base of our fountain in the lake. The fountain isn't actually running right now because the timing mechanism got screwed up when the power went out (albeit briefly) during a recent storm. Whoever is responsible for adjusting the timing hasn't got to it yet. The geese, who like to hang out there standing or sitting around and schmoozing, are clearly not happy that Alfred has taken over their favorite site. They keep pointedly swimming past him, glaring at him. LOL! He's been there since late morning and last I looked he was still ruling the roost. Anyway, the minute I spotted him this morning, I grabbed the tripod and hustled it out to the deck, ran back in and assembled the Bazooka and the camera and quickly slipped the works into position on the Wimberley and started shooting. The TC was still on there, too, which was perfect since the fountain is at quite a distance from my deck. Nice to have 840mm reach, as I needed it!

%22Hey, Alfred, Get Off There, That's Our Fountain Base!%22.jpeg
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Joined
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Messages
19,226
Location
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Week 30 rather reflects that this has been the long, hot summer of Alfred, Sparrows and Smaug..... LOL! I've been using the RX10 M4 for shooting the sparrows and Smaug and his brethren, but it dawned on me that I could put the Bazooka on the tripod right here in the living room and shoot through the (clean) sliding glass door at the squirrels and sparrows. Aha! I tried this setup and found it works pretty well, as the sparrows don't seem to be as spooked when they don't as easily see me. After experimenting with this for a while I then stuck the 1.4x TC on the Bazooka to see how that would work, and it made things even better, although of course on the shaded deck I am dealing with poor lighting most of the time. I was able to move the tripod back a little further, too, which helped in not disturbing my subjects. I later came up with another strategy, buying a bag of oiled sunflower seeds and putting them in a separate tray for Smaug. That has worked pretty well, and at times I've had Smaug dining away in "his" tray while the birdies are happily free to eat their food in "their" tray, as an oblivious Smaug pays no attention to them. None of the photos in this series show the second tray, though.



"Watcha looking at? Can't I eat my meal in peace now that the squirrel isn't around?"

View attachment 1666436


"Really enjoying this treat, but I"ll have to eat fast before Smaug comes back!"

View attachment 1666437


Hastily grabbing another bite before that pesky squirrel shows up again....

View attachment 1666438



"Listen, Joe, We Gotta Do Something About That Darned Squirrel!"

View attachment 1666439


....And Smaug returns and makes himself nice and comfy, right at home....

View attachment 1666442



In the meantime, another situation where someone hogs the desired space and others are unhappy: this morning I looked out and Alfred was standing on the base of our fountain in the lake. The fountain isn't actually running right now because the timing mechanism got screwed up when the power went out (albeit briefly) during a recent storm. Whoever is responsible for adjusting the timing hasn't got to it yet. The geese, who like to hang out there standing or sitting around and schmoozing, are clearly not happy that Alfred has taken over their favorite site. They keep pointedly swimming past him, glaring at him. LOL! He's been there since late morning and last I looked he was still ruling the roost. Anyway, the minute I spotted him this morning, I grabbed the tripod and hustled it out to the deck, ran back in and assembled the Bazooka and the camera and quickly slipped the works into position on the Wimberley and started shooting. The TC was still on there, too, which was perfect since the fountain is at quite a distance from my deck. Nice to have 840mm reach, as I needed it!

View attachment 1666443
You are having a lot of fun watching these creatures!! I'm glad you share it with us. The photos are great to see.
 
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  • #276
Thanks, Terri! In looking again at the last image, the one of Alfred, I'm thinking I probably need to work on the exposure level a bit, as it is looking a bit underexposed.... should've caught that when doing the initial post-processing but I think I was too excited and eager to post and share! Alfred stayed out there pretty much all afternoon and so I spent another hour or so with the camera shooting him (and the geese, who were wandering by from time to time) -- it was fun just watching him and them! If it had not been so darned hot here (not quite as humid, thankfully) I would've grabbed the 100-400mm and gone down to the boardwalk and gotten a bit closer to Alfred, but the sun beating down on me would've been brutal. This way I was warm, but still comfortable on my shady deck.

Once I got through with this afternoon's photo session I once again replenished the two food trays for Smaug and the small birdies. While I was out there shooting every now and then I'd hear the sparrows complaining -- I was in their way, I was taking up their space and opportunity to get something to eat! LOL! I think I hadn't been in the house more than five minutes than they were eagerly back at the wooden tray hungrily attacking the seeds again.

I know I'll never achieve the level of excellence that many of our bird shooters here demonstrate, but, yes, I'm sure having a lot of fun with this!

Next week I'll try to offer more variety in my images again, though -- I don't want to bore anyone with offering shots of the same type of subject(s) or the actual same subjects over and over.... I don't think anyone other than me would enjoy seeing eight or ten shots of just Alfred or just the sparrows! :)
 
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  • #279
And it's time to close out Week 31! More variety this week than earlier, including getting back to my beloved macro lens..... Also experimented with the 35mm f/1.8. Two of my top three favorite lenses, especially the 90mm macro, got some time on the camera this week!

Starting with what I eventually learned is called a Swamp Hibiscus.... I was walking along the boardwalk, returning from distributing community newsletters to a couple of buildings, when I saw that these had now burst into full bloom. Came back in the house and retrieved the camera and slipped on the lens, went out and took a few shots, and liked this one the best since just as I was about to press the shutter button, a bug came flying in to check out the pollen scene!

Flying Visit in Search of Food.jpeg
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A group of friends was sharing images of their masks -- mostly cloth ones made of pretty fabrics -- and I decided to try something interesting with my disposable surgical masks:

Masks.jpeg
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Another day when I was walking to the mailbox kiosk the hood ornament on a neighbor's Jaguar caught my eye and I thought, "hm, bet I could have some fun with that!" A while later I spent some time experimenting....

Classic Jaguar Hood Ornament 2.jpeg
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One morning as I walked out to the kitchen, the sun was streaming in nicely through the window over the sink and I noticed how it was hitting the basket-type paper filter that I had set out on the counter the night before in preparation for making my coffee. I wasted no time in grabbing the camera and the 90mm macro and spent a happy half-hour or so playing with light and shadows and the interesting texture of that paper filter. When I was finished, I promptly put the subject to work by filling it with the appropriate measure of coffee and got the coffee machine brewing. I enjoyed a nice fresh cuppa java while working on editing the images....

Shadowplay.jpeg
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Aw, you knew I couldn't resist including Alfred in this bunch after all! I was able to get down to the boardwalk and a lot closer to him when he decided to spend some more time standing on the fountain base. He's gazing thoughtfully upward as though looking for the comet:

I Guess It's Too Early in the Day to See That Comet.jpeg
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Playing with light again another day in a different way:

Light, Shapes and Patterns.jpeg
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The water's surface makes a nice mirror when doing some personal grooming:

Looking in the Mirror for Personal Grooming.jpeg
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