Sunday, February 24, 2008

Consworld at New Location

Consworld is now at

Please, update your bookmarks and links and feeds.

Monday, February 18, 2008

In the Garden of the Gods

A few days in the Colorado Springs area gave me the opportunity to photograph something different. Garden of the Gods is a free city park uplifted 25 million years ago and eroded to the present beautiful formations. I'd been there before, but never had time to explore all the trails and walkways.

Scouting the park for shooting locations the first day and returning a few times during my short stay enabled me to capture several images. I arrived before dawn to capture an image with Pikes Peak in the background only to find the mountain hidden by clouds until well after sunrise. It's only a 2 hour drive from home, so I'll be returning and perhaps get that image I wanted.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

winter snack

This mountain chickadee holds a sunflower kernel between its feet while it eats.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Setting Moon over the Forbidden Park

Shooting the moon again. This was a couple of days ago, the 24th, just after sunrise. Capture at 1/50 second, f/29, ISO 400, focal length 100mm. The rocky hilltop in this image is part of a future state park, still in the planning phase, not yet open to the public. Forbidden, while I grow old. CO State Parks, are you reading this? Hurry!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Carnival Time! I and the Bird, edition #67

Bird lovers can take an international birding trip sighting birds in Australia, Japan, U.S., Ireland, South Africa, and Sri Lanka when they read edition #67 of I and the Bird hosted by Trevor’s Birding of Australia. Trevor invites us to travel ‘round the world on a birding holiday with stops at blog posts submitted for this edition.

I was happy this morning to see my recent post on the mountain chickadee was included as a stop in the tour. I slid my submission in on the deadline date here, but by Trevor’s time in Australia, I was late. Create your bird related posts and submit them (on time, please) to nds22 (at) cornell (dot) edu by Tuesday, February 5th for edition #68 of I and the Bird at Biological Ramblings. Aren’t blog carnivals fun?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Mountain Chickadee: Wintering Close to Home

The little mountain chickadee is often a photographic subject for me in winter. This one posed for a portrait view behind a rail covered with snow. Then, it perched on the feeder hook as the little nutchatches often do. The mountain chickadees seems comfortable with me and the camera as near as about 8 ft. Any closer and I send them flying into the nearby trees. Both of these images were captured with a 100 to 400 lens from about 10 feet.

I'm not really a birder, I just like the challenge of photographing them. I have to keep the field guides to birds at hand to look up any unfamiliar species. I also search for information about my feathered subjects online. In a recent search, I learned that the mountain chickadee stays only a short time near the nest where it hatched. It then moves to a new location and spends the rest of it's life there. No migrating away from winter weather for these little birds. No wonder they seem so appreciative of the seeds I put out for them.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Chalk Cliffs, Moon, Mt. Princeton

This wide angle image was captured in early morning sub-zero weather from just outside our room at the hot springs the last week of December. You see part of Mt. Princeton on the right and Mt. Antero on the far left with the chalk cliffs of Mt. Princeton at the center and the moon above. The moon called to me to come out with the camera and tripod in the wind and cold. Fingers and toes cried for me to go back inside even though I wore boots rated for the temperature and ski gloves while out. You may click the image to see it a bit larger.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Mt. Princeton

When I saw the image above was not the best of my color shots from a recent trip, I decided to do a b&w conversion for Trina, my friend who loves black and white photography. Mt. Princeton is one of our favorite mountains and this capture shows a cool snow devil swirling into the air above the mountain. The time was mid-day, not the best for the landscape shot, and the cold and wind were fierce. I had spent a few days in the area hot springs, but didn’t take many photographs as the night temperatures were well below zero and the days were not much warmer. It seemed wiser to soak in the hot pools than to freeze out in the snow and wind. I drove into a roadside park when leaving the area and hopped out just long enough to capture the scene.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Orchids - white dendrobiums

After the clouds moved in this morning I switched to shooting orchids. I tried some down the throat shots first, but they were kind of boring. Then I started shooting from underneath and after setting the orchids up high enough to get the tripod under at it's lowest setting, I made these images with my canon 40d and 60mm macro lens.

Now, I'm not a great orchid grower like some people I know. I just have a couple of dendrobiums (species unknown) that I bought at the grocery in town. I'm sure they must be the easiest of all to grow, for they bloom often even though the air is quite dry here. I don't put them in my little greenhouse for the nighttime temperatures in there hover above freezing in the winter. I abuse tomatoes, herbs, and strawberries in there over the winter, just keeping it warm enough to keep them alive and producing sweet fruits and leaves. I treat the orchids a little better.

Colorful Landscape - It's All About Light

The photos in this post were all taken this morning within about two hours time. Up before dawn and watching the pretty clouds in the west, I thought it might be a good morning for a colorful dawn light glowing on the clouds and Lions Head. I put the wide angle on the camera and positioned the tripod as the first of the pink began to show up in the clouds.

Later, with early sunlight on Lions Head I changed position to photographed trees still in shadow against the brightly lit rock of Cathedral and Lions Head. Where the earliest sunlight on Lions Head produces red and orange, a bit later the light reflected from the rocks is more yellow in color as seen below.

An hour later heavy clouds almost fill the sky and filter the light. The color in the photo below is so muted I could have got almost the same shot in black and white.
Yet, the day is still good for color photography. When zooming in to photograph birds or flowers, or just about any close up of a subject, better color and detail is possible with overcast skies or filtered light rather than direct lighting. I put the wide angle lens away and switched to a macro lens to photograph orchids blooming in the house in the soft, cloud-filtered light from a window.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Winter Sunset

In January, I see the sunset over the Kenosha range with the Platte range in front hiding all but the highest Kenosha peaks. Image capture 1/9/08. 1/100 sec, f/8, 22mm, 400 ISO.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Happy This Year, 2008

ponderosa with snow

I've been busy enjoying time with my family who are on holiday from work and school. A few days at our favorite hotsprings, a day of playing in the snow at a nordic center, and just hanging out at home reading, relaxing, and keeping the fire burning. There have been a few images captured, but I haven't looked at most of them as I'm on holiday, too. Happy New Year.

Friday, December 28, 2007

I and the Bird #65

Thanks to Amy Hooper for hosting I and the Bird #65 and including my recent post, pygmy nuthatch.
I and the Bird is a bird lovers' blog carnival.

This is my second time to have a post in an edition of I and the Bird. Thanks to wren at Wrenaissance Reflections for suggesting it to me the first time around.

If you'd like to participate in the 66th edition of I and The Bird, please send the URL of your blog post to the next carnival host, John, at bornagainbirdwatcherDOTcom with the words "I and The Bird" in the subject line. The deadline for submissions is Tuesday, Jan. 8.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Battle Scarred Mule Deer

Light snow was falling when I saw this beautiful buck. He was searching under the snow for food and came up with some unidentifiable plant material. The puncture wound by his eye looks like it will heal. Had the tine on his rival's antlers gone in any closer to the eye, he probably would have lost the eye. He has scars on his neck and chest as well, but he looks like he may make it through the year if he stays out of trouble. A couple of does and three young deer were following him, so perhaps he was the victor in one of his battles. I've seen a larger buck in the area and wonder if some of the scars on this one came from fighting the big guy.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

pygmy nuthatch

The little pygmy nuthatches have been trying to empty the feeders around my house this week. In the image above, one rests for a moment on the hook that holds the feeder. 1/1250 second at f/5.6, focal length 320mm, ISO 400

The pygmy nuthatch above is sorting seeds. He tosses the ones he doesn't want over his head as he searches for the black sunflower seeds he loves. I'll have to fill a feeder with only black sunflower seeds! 1/640 second at f/5.6, focal length 400mm, ISO 400

Now here he is below with the prized seed. My, what big feet for such a small bird. The pygmy nuthatch is about 4 inches long from the tip of the tail to the tip of the beak. 1/1000 second at f/5.6, focal length 400mm, ISO 200

With more snow in the forecast, these little birds seem to be stocking up today. I know that some bird species hide a stash of seeds. At the rate the seed is leaving my feeders today, it wouldn't surprise me to find these birds hiding the seed somewhere. They seem too small to be eating it all.