Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 Favorites Series II

Here's round two of some of my personal favorites from this year. The main reason I like this first one so much is because it's the closest I've ever been to a hummingbird. I like the pose and the fine detail. The tip of the bill and the feathers on the back of his head are just out of focus, but that's okay because his eye is sharp. That's key to any wildlife portrait.

My daughter was my assistant for this shot. I like the colors and the open scene, but my favorite part of this photo is the fact that it's an illusion to an extent. The hill is not as steep or high as it appears. In fact, it wasn't very high at all and the slope was very gradual. I shot it prone on the ground with a wide angle lens and my daughter was far enough away to give the illusion of height.

Green Herons are secretive and don't spend a lot of time hanging out in the open, especially if there is human activity nearby. I was fortunate to catch this guy perched on a foot bridge. I love the colors and the long toes gripping the railing.

This is my favorite storm cloud shot ever. It was July and the rest of the sky was mostly clear with the exception of this storm system. The Weather Service said this cloud formation reached a height of 55,000 feet. For several days after this, there were photos of the formation all over social media and the local news.

What makes this shot for me are the water droplets on the goose's head and neck and the water running off the bill. The catch light in the eye fits in nicely with the water drops, too. Certain waterfowl are so common around here that it's hard for me to get excited about photographing them unless I can catch something like this. It doesn't hurt that this photo was chosen for a 2015 Ducks Unlimited calendar.

Sunrises mean having to get out of bed early, but I enjoy shooting them when I can. I like the sunburst through the silhouetted trees, the reflection on the lake, and the blue of the sky and water.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Monday, December 16, 2013

2013 Favorites Series

In keeping with a "tradition" I started last year, I decided to choose some of my favorite photos from 2013. One thing I noticed while going through the pics is that I didn't take as many photos this year as last.

Just like before, I didn't choose photos based on popularity, but ones that are extra special to me for whatever reason. I might do two or three posts of favorites, but I haven't decided yet.

I certainly didn't take nearly as many heron photos this year as in the past. Despite that, I was fortunate to get a few good shots. I like this one because the angle is different from what I'd typically get. I like the dual "cowlick" action and the fact that the fish is clearly visible between the heron's chopsticks. It almost looks like the fish is jumping in.

This is a photo I took early in the year at the same lake where I photograph herons. I liked how the grass blades and leaves were completely encased in transparent, temporary tombs. I got prone on my belly for this one.

This is probably my favorite Goldfinch photo ever. I happened to catch the little guy in a one wing mid-stretch. The feathers are fanned out nicely and you can just see the light in the right eye. He looks like a bird ninja with Ginsu blades for feathers.

This is a photo I took at my youngest brother's home back in the summer. They have a beautifully landscaped yard with a big variety of flowers. I'm not sure what caused the nice blue background, but I was pleased with the outcome. I like the contrast of yellow and blue and the fact the flowers aren't perfect.

This is definitely my favorite Downy Woodpecker photo. It was the perfect combination of location, angle, and falling snow. These guys aren't always easy to photograph away from feeders.

The fog was rather heavy on this particular morning and the sun was just visible as it rose above the trees. The lone tree on the right is really the one element that made the photo. It works nicely with the fence and road to show distance and it draws the eye.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A Winter Couple

1/200 sec. f/8 ISO 1600

Northern Cardinals
Linking to Wild Bird Wednesday

Today's Tip:
Understanding the exposure triangle (shutter speed, aperture, ISO) and how they affect one another will allow you to make adjustments in order to prioritize the one part that's most important for the subject you're shooting. 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Old Stones

1/15 sec. f/8 ISO 200

Blue Ridge Mountains, North Carolina
Linking to Our World Tuesday

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Giddyup, Housey!

1/200 sec. f/8 ISO 1250

This is the first photo I've ever posted in HDR. I've been wanting to use HDR for a while now, but just recently started playing with it. This photo is actually the third version. The first two were a bit more extreme and though I like how they turned out, they looked more like paintings than photos. I generally prefer to keep my photos more natural looking. I'll be using HDR with more of my shots, but not everything. It often gets overused.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Tuesday, December 3, 2013