Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Floral Fireworks

There's a flower vendor in the Central Market in Lancaster that always has really interesting, unique bouquets for sale.

Justin occasionally brings them home to me :)

I love flowers about as much as I love birds (alot!) and, now, blogging has inspired me to use them as a photo opportunity as well as something pretty to look at. Thanks, guys!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Birds on the Brain

I've noticed quite a few posts about birds lately and felt the need to add another to the mix, as they are one of my favorite subjects :) But I had to cheat, this one is from a few months ago.

I was sitting on the deck at Mom's and she wanted me to take pictures of the hummingbirds. The hummingbirds sit in the chestnut tree at the side of the house when they are not at the feeders. I was having trouble with them, and started taking pictures of whatever bird would sit still long enough. I thought I had a nice shot at a goldfinch. But when I reviewed my pictures, I realized it wasn't a goldfinch at all!

After a great deal of time with two different identification guides, Mom and I decided it was an immature Chestnut-Sided Warbler (after the oven bird incident, Justin tries to tell me this is a yellow-headed crab finch - yeah right :). This shot makes me smile, because I had no idea what I was shooting at the time I took the photo: a type of bird I'd never seen before!

ETA: Ack! I tried to post from Picasa's "Blog This" feature. I assume that's what caused the problems. Here's the bird :)

Sunday, October 28, 2007

For Sale

Colorful stuff for sale at the Fulton Fall Folk Festival. Getting a mum (or two, or three) is one of my fall traditions. I first saw the red pumpkin on Friday, when it was dreary and drizzling. I thought it made a nice sort of natural selective color situation. When we came back late on Saturday afternoon, the little red pumpkin was still there, but it was sunny this time. To my surprise, I like the pictures taken on the overcast day better.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

It's a Set Up!

I've been meaning to share this, ever since Salty posted me taking this shot with Chad watching on. You can see the set up here.

It's obviously not a naturally occurring situation, but I am not above staging if I think the result might be interesting :)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

My Walk in Details

My Sunday walk provided me with something I'd been wanting for a while: a decent shot of one of my favorite wildflowers (though some would call it a weed), chickory. A bumblebee was nice enough to point out this perfectly lit flower, but off he flew before I could get him in the frame.

This goldfinch is cropped so tightly that the shot is not good for much besides web viewing. But since I can't convince the birds to let me walk up and shake their hands, this is the best I can do :) As it is, I was amazed that this one let me approach so closely. I guess he was really determined to get the seeds from his plant.

And finally, one more leaf filter to round out the trip. This is an extra-munchy sycamore leaf, found down by the creek.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Fording

The road doesn't end here, but the walk does, if you have shoes you don't want to get wet! The fording is where the road meets the creek, without advantage of bridge or culvert.

As the creek marks the boundary of my grandfather's land, its always been a good destination and sometimes turning point for my rambles. This Sunday, I turned right and headed overland, keeping close to the creek for a while. I found that, although no person regularly walks the grounds, there were plenty of paths worn into the forest floor. Deer make these trails, and I was glad to use them. I find it "endeering" that animals that have the run of many acres still create and stick to pathways, even when the underbrush doesn't limit them in any way. I soon stumbled into an area where four deer were bedded down, and we gave each other mutual heart attacks as they snorted, jumped, and ran for it.

Earlier this year, Salty posted about two individuals who had very different experiences with the fording than I had this sunny fall day. You can check their stories out here, if you haven't already done so.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Good Morning from Fulton County

Welcome to Fulton County! This is a view very familiar to me, as it is within throwing distance of my parent's home.

Sunday morning I went on a walk, just me and my camera and my binoculars (and some brownies, but that's besides the point :). The air was crisp, the colors were bright, the birds were singing and I was in heaven. I kept a mental list of the birds I saw that morning, including a friendly downy woodpecker that modeled for me.

I saw mockingbirds, robins, a titmouse, a kingfisher, a flicker, bluebirds, a flycatcher of some sort, chipping and white throated sparrows, goldfinches, blue jays, crows, a mourning dove, and cardinals. I heard a nuthatch, but never saw it. The woods and fencerows were crawling with winged critters, another advantage to morning.

I do a decent amount of hiking these days, but I don't have much of an opportunity anymore to stroll through woods and fields, completely off of any established trail, completely alone. But I did so for many, many hours in my earlier years. I recommend it to anyone, and I plan to share more moments from this walk in the next few days :)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Sweet Side, part II

I wasn't really expecting to see a lot of folks I knew, but I ended up finding my grandfather, an uncle, and six cousins in amongst the various parts of the parade. Pappy surprised us by being third in line with his 1970s-era Mercury Marquis:

One of my cousins is a flute in the marching band (just like I was) ...

And another was proud of his tractor, and trying to play it cool while his photo-crazy cousin snapped a bunch of pics ...

Mom and I "fleamarketed" like crazy all of Friday and most of Saturday, but I'm glad that we took an hour or so out of our day to watch the FFFF parade.

The Sweet Side of the FFFF, part I

After Salty's post, I can understand how some might get the wrong idea about the Fulton Fall Folk Festival ... but I have a softer, sweeter side to show you:

The FFFF Parade is a Saturday tradition. When I was in marching band in high school, we dreaded this parade because it seemed like miles and miles of tractors signed up for it and slowed things down.

But one of the great things about it, for kids, is that people in the parade toss out candy along the way. The auto parts store where my Mother works, and where we normally watch the parade, is right next to the fairgrounds, where the parade ends. It was hit or miss to be a kid watching at NAPA. Some of the folks had run out of candy. They had thrown to all the kids who had the sense to sit closer to the beginning of the parade route. But those that had candy left over, those were the best, because they'd toss out great big handfulls to the last kids along the route. I guess it all evened out it the end :)

We watched from a different vantage point this time. These tykes were right in the middle of the route, and were having a great time stuffing all the tootsie rolls and smarties into the bag provided by Mom.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

To See & Be Seen

One final picture from last weekend, before I head to my parents' house to enjoy the Fulton Fall Folk Festival (I'll call it the 4Fs from now on) this weekend. If you've been keeping up with the Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer, you'll know about the deer below already. They are quite trusting when people familiar to them are near, and and we got to stop in for a visit .

Normally I avoid placing shadows in the frame, but this time I thought they added a sense of being watched to the deer in the picture, and also helped to show how close we were to them.

I have a feeling Salty and I may have dueling 4F blogs come Sunday :)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A Family Affair

One thing I've realized about my photography is that I rarely have people in my pictures. This last weekend was a welcome change!

It was wonderful how my Uncle, Aunt, and Cousin made the shoot a family affair. My Aunt did not have a camera with her. But several times she pointed out interesting colors or compositions and the camera crew started shooting away. When a daisy wouldn't stop blowing in the wind, my Uncle steadied it so Chad could work his magic. And then, all three were willing to reenact the daisy shoot, to allow me to get some shots.

Teamwork gets the job done!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Green & Gold (Leaf Filters)

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.

Then leaf subsides to leaf.

So Eden sank to grief,

So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

-Robert Frost

A church near my apartment has this on its message board: "If you are reluctant to change, think of the beauty of autumn." I believe there is truth and comfort in this statement. When we were in New England, we drove by the church where the famous poet Robert Frost is buried. He lived in New Hampshire and Vermont for many years, and I think his words capture the pairing of autumn and change so gracefully.

If you are interested in the story behind the "leaf filters," my fellow filterer Chad has recounted the adventure far better than I could here. My Uncle has documented the technique (me manhandling a leaf) in his latest post.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Framed in Fall

This weekend, I was lucky to be in the complete company of my "Family of Bloggers". We haven't all been in the same place since before we started blogging! We had a blast traipsing through the woods and playing with the fall leaves.

Some of my favorite effects are ones that happen completely by accident. This time, I was trying to take a macro shot of a leaf, and noticed that I could see Justin through a tiny hole. I told him to hold still, changed a few settings, and got this interesting perspective. Once Chad returns home, we'll post some shots we got using leaves as filters.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

A Whale to Watch

I'm trying something new: blogger's video function. I took some footage on our whale watching excursion. Of course, this is hand held on a rocking boat with a still camera's video function, so it has really great picture quality :P Here's a photo, too, in case the video thing doesn't work out so well :) These are humpback whales; the guide said they're the most playful of the ones they typically see. These guys seemed to be having a good time, doing their whale things :)

Fall in Vermont

We're back from out last road trip, and finally getting caught up with everything. I was excited to see New England in all its fall glory. This is a church spire in Bennington, VT. The fall color had not peaked in the valleys, but the higher mountains had some. We drove to the top of Equinox Mountain on a mostly cloudy day. We were just underneath the clouds:

We had more luck with the leaves and the sunshine in New Hampshire, but I'll save that for the next post. Instead, I'll offer up something that Vermont surprised us with:

Hot air balloons! The Quechee area is apparently the hot air balloon capital of Vermont. The lower one in the picture ended up wedging itself the entire way into the valley - the tops of the trees were covering the balloon. I think it would be really neat to get a ride in one of these puppies!


On a separate note: a girl leaves town for a few days and comes back to find her Dad has launched his own blog! I'm sure most of you have seen the post and link on Salty's page, but if you missed it, check out Dad's posts as the Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer.