Blue Flag Iris Cross for Sunday

•September 24, 2016 • 4 Comments

Blue Flag Iris Cross-8775

Sometimes life gives you crosses to bear and sometimes beautiful crosses! But, I much prefer the latter. Whether a serendipitous gift of sultry breeze and humid clime or divine providence, this Blue Flag Iris found while hiking the boardwalk of Florida’s amazing Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is draped so perfectly into the shape of a lovely wild cross. I found it soothing somehow to see it there with its hues of purple and blue against the green ferns and vines of the wilderness. Something organized and recognizable presenting itself out of natural wild chaos.

Blue flag, Iris versicolor, is an emersed plant which grows from underground rhizomes and is found in swamps, marsh environments or along ponds or even ditches here in South Florida. I see them at my favourite places such as Corkscrew Swamp and the Wakodahatchee Wetlands in South Florida. Seven iris species are found in Florida but the Blue Flag is the only large iris which grows wild here. It is a most distinctive plant with petals which can range in color from a pale blue to deep purple. They are unmistakable when you see their colors standing out from a field of green and no photographer can resist framing one in their viewfinder. Always amazing and beautiful. I took just two pictures of this particular bloom, one horizontally oriented and one vertically…so I give you both here along with a close crop for better viewing. The last two images from Wakodahatchee and Corkscrew respectively and look more like you see them in the field than the wonderful drape of my Blue Iris Cross.

Blue Flag Iris Cross-8775

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The greens and browns of the wetlands are sometimes punctuated by the pretty purple swamp iris.

Blue Flag Iris at Corkscrew Swamp-8777

Perhaps we are given peace through nature’s beauty in many surprising ways!

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Different Day Different Grackle!

•September 18, 2016 • 30 Comments

 

Boat Tailed Grackle against Green Background 9902

Mostly I am attracted to the big wading birds such as Great Blue Herons, Great White Herons, White Egrets, Wood Storks and the like that live here in South Florida. But, as mentioned before in my previous post The Uncommon Iridescence of A Common Florida Blackbird I cannot entirely leave alone any of these gloriously rich looking birds when one is in range of my view finder. I always say that no matter how ubiquitous a species may be, its beauty is never diminished by virtue of there being so many of them. The first two images were taken at the Wakodahatchee Wetlands at different seasons with a background of green foliage.  The second two were taken in sequence when I noticed them in a tree at Kelly Park in Merritt Island, Florida against a bright blue sky and some leaves of fall.

The last image is for the author of Crimson Prose because she likes to play with photo filters for artistic effects. And the bird does have such a nice artistic body position. (Be sure to visit  Crimson Prose for her wonderful story telling and profound knowledge of British history.)

Hope you enjoy these finds as I sort through for stock photos!! Did I say this is taking forever?? Course my day was not limited to the shimmering male boat tailed grackle. I lifted the below info and quote from Audubon off of my previous post as it is ever so true.

 

Audubon was quite taken with the characteristic iridescence of grackles describing  the Purple Grackle  ( Quiscalus versicolor, Viell) (or Common Crow-Blackbird as it was known then) as he observed them in  Louisiana where much to the irritation of farmers they devoured young corn plants.

“No sooner has the cotton or corn planter begun to turn his land into brown furrows, that the Crow-Blackbirds are seen sailing down from the skirts of the woods, alighting in the fields, and following his track along the ridges of newly-turned earth, with an elegant and elevated step, which shews them to be as fearless and free as the air through which they wing their way. The genial rays of sun shine on their silky plumage, and offer to the ploughman’s eye such rich and varying tints, that no painter, however gifted, could ever imitate them. The coppery bronze, which in one light shews its rich gloss, is, by the least motion of the bird, changed in a moment to brilliant and deep azure, and again, in the next light, becomes refulgent sapphire or emerald-green.”

♦ 

 

Boat Tailed Grackle on dried Fern-8642

Boat Tailed Grackle Looking Up-8070

 

Boat Tailed Grackle Arch-8069

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Ever,

Judy

Plume Shadows – Color

•September 14, 2016 • 25 Comments

Plume Shadows - color - 4844

It is interesting sometimes what drives someone’s artistic endeavors whether it starts from the capture point where you decide where to stand for your composition, whether it starts when  you look at your files via the computer, or whether it is entirely driven by the one photo in front of you as you see that one thing, right then regardless of any vision you may have had on site. I seem to be a one photo at a time person and have never ever tried to do batch adjustments. This is why I take forever I suppose. Sometimes I even forget what I intended and sometimes the image I expected the least of might be one I like best out of a shoot. I really seem to let the image call the shots at the time I begin to work on it kind of like a character in a book can get away from whatever the writer thought they intended.

So here is this image I worked on ages ago and saw only as a black and white because of all the texture and feather detail and the marvelous geometry of those parallel plume shadows and so that is what I did with it and never looked at it again. You might remember it from the previous post called Plume Shadows from back in 2014.

Since I decided to put images on Alamy, the stock photo site, to see if some of my work might have usefulness for things like nature calendars or maybe even artistic purposes for someone who can use the compositions or poses for something, that has forced me to look back and see what I  have. I may never get to taking any new pictures at the rate I am going though. I posted the black and white with them and thought I should put the image up in color as well. A prospective buyer, I am sure, would have a lot more options with a color image than my previous treatment.

Perhaps some might have wondered at the past post what it did look like in color, so I thought I ought to show it here too. The bird is in full breeding colors with the deep blue lore and reddish streaking to the otherwise yellowish bill. The beak is rather beautiful in color.  The detail of all the feathers just adds to how magnificent the Great Blue Herons are. The feathers vary so much between the ones at the wing margins, the wings, chest, legs of the bird, the distinctive black at the crest and those terrific plumes. I can still remember the first time I got a close look at a Great Blue and realized how complex its coloring and feather structure really is. I thought they were all pretty much gray blue birds with a black crest swoop and that was it so I was completely fascinated.

Sorry for the wordy intro for Plume Shadows in color and hope you enjoy him in all his glory.

 

Happy Trails,

Judy

 

 

 

Wood Storks at Nest & A Cute Preen

•September 4, 2016 • 19 Comments

Wood Stork Pair Nesting 9301

While gathering some images for my stock photo page at Alamy I came across these two previously unattended to images and thought I’d share them here. They are from a shoot at the rookery in March of 2015. Generally, when I take pictures I start out attracted to certain ones (in this case it was some nesting egrets)  which I work on but then I’ve done another shoot before long and neglect to review all of what I already have for the current excitement of a new venture out.  Terrible I know. The stock photo effort is getting me back into the older files to sort out items which could be useful to someone else whether a nature calendar or something along those lines. This may or may not be a productive exercise but it is still fun to rediscover a shoot.

The top picture is rather sweet of presumably the male bringing the faithful nest sitting female a twig to arrange in the nest. This bringing of twigs and arranging them goes on a long time into the process even after chicks are hatched. I guess it is universal in the animal kingdom, or at least some, that the male secures the furniture and the female does the arranging and decorating. Rightfully so I would say!! She looks up ready to take the twig he is presenting.

The second image is of a single wood stork at the nesting colony in the process of preening his cute little rump with its black tail feathers. The image offers a great view of the head of the wood with all of its marvelous textures. Easy to see how it earns one of its nicknames, Old Flinthead, with the flinty strike- a- match- on- it texture of the neck. I find wood storks most interesting to look at and observe.

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As Ever,

Judy

Beware of Attack Chicken

•August 26, 2016 • 31 Comments

 

_Rainbow Cloud MorningF6A4080-wps

The month of August afforded my husband and me the opportunity to dock our Contender 35 Express boat at the Plantation Harbor Marina in Islamorada, Florida to base out of for a few weekends.  While the first  two images presented here do not entirely do justice to this wonderful facility they serve only as prelude and context to what follows….the story of our neighbors ‘attack chicken.’ Chickens belong in barnyards or farms not places where you’d dock a boat to enjoy the absolute quiet that a sultry, humid Florida summer day can offer.  Right!? Could be it is too sultry and too quiet located here among tied up vessels with occupants just waking to percolate their morning coffee and sit in boat chairs to watch the light change. This morning the predictable combination of sunlight on early rising and moisture laden clouds even produced a bit of rainbow spectrum to add to the almost unnatural quietude and serenity of the morning. Soo quiet…could be we need that chicken!!!

_Boats at Dock-F6A4085-wps-2

A small fraction of the vessels docked here at the marina waking up to a new day. Our boat is the second one in from the left visible in the photo. It is directly across from the home of the attack chicken which you can see has a bridge enclosed with some plastic panels.

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It is not that the owners don’t make you aware there is a chicken somewhere around.

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And so the first morning I sat sipping my morning coffee on my gently floating boat and mulling over the amazing saturated silence only to notice a handsome rooster had walked a plank off of its vessel home onto the dock between us. It strutted a bit, up and down in front of our across the dock neighbor’s plants and proceeded to pierce the dulled silence of the humid morning doing what roosters do in the morning.

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So naturally the attack chicken became my first ever rooster image. Two weeks later I presented said chicken with two portraits of himself.

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However, I am not sure he was impressed or cared enough to crow about it!!

As  post script I would like to say that his post is dedicated to Mr M.R. Emberson author of the blog,  “A Wing and A Way” The Influence of Birds on Culture. Go visit him here and see his wonderful detailed research articles. It is a wonderful site….go check it out.  His posts also feature the wonderful artwork of his wife who among many other wonderful birds drew a lovely Rooster..just a tad more flowery looking than the attack chicken of Plantation Harbor Marina, Islamorada, Florida!!

May our days be serene and punctuated never by anything more than the crow of a rooster in the morning!!

As Ever,

Judy

Woodstork Portrait & LR play on Green Heron Scene

•August 13, 2016 • 27 Comments

 

Woodstork Portrait_0940-41-wps-2

More later on this but I have been working hard getting started with a stock photography site to try and sell some of my images and put them to good use. So I’ve been a bit sluggish with putting up new things here on WordPress. For the stock photo items I’ve been endeavoring to select images which I thought had some impact or told a story or were a good representation of the activity or bird. So in the process I’ve run across images I never did anything with and have decided to use along with ones I’ve already worked on. See the side bar for my barely gotten started page on Alamy. The link goes to my images so far but if you search there you’ll see other peoples images come up as well. Stock is mostly about keywording for what a client needs for a project rather than necessarily being a specific photographer/contributor oriented. I plan to post more information about Alamy after I’ve had a little more experience but it seems to be a good stock site with respectful treatment to the photographer/contributors. I have more uploaded but they won’t show for a couple of days while they QC and I then work on various fields.

I just thought I’d post this image of a wood stork in a nice pose. I get stuck on pictures sometimes for the craziest reasons….like I love the feet on this one and that fly on the leg. At the time the bird was actually close enough that I couldn’t fit the whole thing in one shot from were I was standing, so this is actually a composite of two shots taken with the intention of seeing if I could make one complete detailed image. So its pretty big and the blend worked very well. It is a late day shot which I have brought up the light on but might look a little dark still.   So this was a little work and I hope it’ll be useable in the end since I like so many of the details and the pose. There were some purplish areas in the sky which I know were late day clouds but I thought they looked icky so made some color corrections. Not that I don’t like purple sunrise or sunset colors…just here nope!

So this might still be a work in process and since I’ve only done laundry today and worked on Alamy uploading I might be too bleary eyed to be the judge. Just thought I’d share…..I mean aren’t those great legs!!! Maybe this will go into Lightroom for a tweak test too. Making progress on learning Lightroom and it actually gives me some different things than my current system. Was working on an older picture the other day that I couldn’t get right lighting wise…and in LR I found a combination of lighting that made it look very nice. Well colorful anyway.  In fact just decided to go and get it. It is a green heron which was standing in the pneumatophores under of black mangrove tree but the lighting was dark and uninteresting..no mood at all despite the great sounding setting. But lets see how it looks here: probably more lively than the woodstork. Well the learning never ends!

 

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Sorry for the sluggish presence lately because I love WordPress and keeping up with everyone here!!

 

Thanks,

Judy

 

 

A Nice Day at the Nest with Woodstork Fledglings

•June 28, 2016 • 18 Comments

 

Woodstork Fledgling - Wingspread

Last year was the first season at Wakodahatchee that the Woodstork population set up housekeeping at the front pond apple tree island. This was due, I believe, to disturbance to the further out areas where they usually nest. Having missed most of the nesting season this year, I did have the opportunity to stop by the rookery on my way south from a visit to Merritt Island last week. I was delighted to find that the Woodstorks chose the same front island to nest build again this year and some fledglings were still hanging around their nests. I did not have my 300mm bird lens with me or even my small sensor camera for a telephoto boost, but took the opportunity to enjoy a beautiful sunny, summer afternoon watching birds. I did have my 5D and 100mm Macro lens with me and so tried that combination out for the first time in this locale and this application. The 100mm lens is a newer one of mine and  I haven’t used it much yet so this was a learning experience which paid off in getting more group shots of the nesting Woodstorks. Where I stood at this nesting island would have been too close for my 300mm to easily get all of the fully extended wingspread of these youngsters getting used to their beautiful fully feathered wings in one frame. I love doing portraits but it is nice to show the neighborhood too. Probably 200mm would have been about perfect for the day.

I loved the wingspread position of the Woodstork in the first picture and elected to treat it as a black and white to show the feather detail and stance better. I like those white feather flips next to the body of the bird…just like the whole natural design of bird wings. As you can see from the rest of the images, the leaves were lush and green as these young (but big) birds stood about on their platform of twigs looking quite chatty and amicable. No hint of any territorial disputes today!! Just everyone, including the photographer, being mellow!!

Fledgling Woodstork Wings Outstretched at Nest

 

Young Woodstork looking Amicable at the nest

 

Woodstork Siblings and Neighbors-Juvenile at Nest

 

Woodstork Fledglings at Nest

 

A Happy Summer to Everyone, May it Offer Many Adventures!!

Judy