Saturday, June 30, 2012

Miscellaneous Wildlife

During our trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains, we visited a wildlife sanctuary on Grandfather Mountain. The sanctuary is home to river otters, mountain lions, black bears, whitetail deer, and eagles. The Golden Eagle was injured by gunfire out West and had to have part of one wing amputated. He has been at the sanctuary since 1984 and they estimate his age to be 40 years plus. The resident Bald Eagle at the sanctuary died in 2010 at the age of 29.

Linking to Camera Critters

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Fly-Over Feeding

This young barn swallow sat on the ground for 30 minutes or more while the parents hunted for insects. Periodically, one of them would fly over the juvenile and feed him from the air. It happened in a split second and the adults would never land. I had to be looking through the viewfinder at the exact time the adults flew over or I'd miss it, which I did more than once.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Kentucky Barns...Retirement

At one time, this barn and the property it sits on were used for horses. It was primarily a boarding facility and I always saw horses in the pasture when I'd drive by. The barn and property have since been sold to a large railroad company. I have no idea what the property will be used for now or whether the barn itself will remain.

Linking to Barn Charm

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Which Snake Am I?

I saw this fella while on our visit in North Carolina. I've had some difficulty making a positive ID, but I think I've narrowed it down to either a Northern Water Snake or a Brown Water Snake. The Brown Water Snake supposedly doesn't inhabit the part of NC where we were, but I know better than to place barriers on Ma Nature. I'm leaning toward a Northern Water Snake and if anyone knows for sure, please confirm or correct me. Maybe it's not either one.

Linking to Camera Critters

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Composition And A Woodchuck

I spotted this head sticking up amongst the tall meadow grass in the evening light. Depending on where you live, this is a woodchuck, groundhog, or whistle pig. I just like this scene for some reason. Let me talk about it briefly...

This photo has not been cropped at all. Obviously, the groundhog does not fill the frame. Many times I think we worry too much about having that frame filling head shot when it comes to wildlife. In doing so, we sometimes miss out. We all know what a groundhog looks like. I would argue that the groundhog is not the sole subject here, but rather the groundhog AND his immediate surroundings. It's also obvious I broke the rule of thirds where the groundhog is concerned. I actually like the rule of thirds most of the time, but in this case, having the groundhog in the center better conveys the vastness of the meadow grass around him. I'm shooting into the setting sun which is usually not the best angle, but I like the effect in this case. You can even see plant particles floating in the air. I determined this was the most pleasing composition to achieve what I wanted to convey.

Now compare the top photo with this one below. I have adjusted the composition to better suit the rule of thirds for the groundhog. But look what happened. Now there is a road sign in the shot and a horse running in the background, both of which are distracting and not very pleasing. In addition, moving the groundhog to the left of the scene doesn't quite have that same effect of being surrounded by the tall grass even though he still is. I have completely changed the feel of the scene just by moving the camera a little bit. For me personally, the top photo is much more pleasing even though I broke a couple of rules because the overall composition trumps the rules I broke.

I simply wanted to convey a couple of things. First, don't get so hung up on trying to get that frame filling head shot that you miss out on a bigger picture. Those eyeball shots are nice, but not always the best photo. And second, composition is everything even if you break some rules in the process.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

American Icon

If you've been visiting my blog for a while, you may remember this eagle from a couple of posts last year. It was injured and could no longer fly so it was taken to a wildlife center for care. I went back recently to see if it was still there and take a few photos. It was and I did.

Over the weekend, I saw my very first adult bald eagle in the wild. Unfortunately, from a photographic standpoint, I was fishing in a bass tournament at the time and did not have my camera gear. The eagle flew over our boat and landed in a stand of trees at the shoreline. Until I am fortunate enough to see another one in the wild when I actually have my camera, the photos of this eagle remain the only ones I have of an adult.