Archive | February 2013

Winter Birds – American Tree Sparrow

This little American Tree Sparrow was quite fun to watch in the snow, as he hopped around and pecked a little specs in the snow. I was able to get to within 10 feet of him, and he was content to let me sit and watch him (at a distance) while he went along with his routine of jumping around, pecking, looking at me, and repeating. I knelt down for some time just watching him, and snapping a picture whenever I thought he was in a good position. It was very relaxing…cold… but relaxing to see this little delicate creature carrying on with his life, without a worry in the world.

 

Snow Day!!! #2

So I had plenty of opportunities with this heavy snow to get some decent pictures of the landscape. It was cold… But a chance to capture the beauty of the snowy scenery was worth it. Especially since I got to come inside and sit next to a nice toasty fire with mug of coffee to sip, as I sorted though the pictures I took. Ahhh… What more could a photographer ask for? 😉

Snow on a ___Tree

Snow and red berries.

White

Snow resting on a mossy tree.

Snow resting on a mossy tree.

Icicle on a cedar tree.

Icicle on a cedar tree.

Cottonwood leaves in the snow.

Cottonwood leaves in the snow.

Small Blackberry plant in the snow.

Small Blackberry plant in the snow.

Snow covered cedar trees.

Snow covered cedar trees.

Behind snow covered cedar boughs.

Behind snow covered cedar boughs.

Snow Day!!! #1

We have gotten quite a bit of snow here recently, and we decided that we needed to build a snow fort. My little siblings built a fort in the back yard, and my oldest brother and I build one in the front, with all the snow we shoveled off the driveway. It is one of the best forts we’ve ever built. Here are a few pictures:

My Brother standing next to our snow fort.

My Brother standing next to our snow fort.

My brother on our snow fort.

My brother on our snow fort.

My Brother crawling out of our snow fort.

My Brother crawling out of our snow fort.

My Brother inside our snow fort.

My Brother inside our snow fort.

 

Christ Prep. Academy Basketball

This past year my older brother played basketball for a local christian school, Christ Prep. Academy. I wanted to work on my action photography skills, so I became the ‘unofficial’ team photographer. I took probably 15,000+ pictures this past season, but these are a few of my favorites. (#32 is my brother, hence there are a lot more pictures of him than anyone else!)

#15

#15

#31

#31

#32 (My Bro!)

#32 (My Bro!)

#32 (My Bro!)

#32 (My Bro!)

#32 (My Bro!)

#32 (My Bro!)

#32 (My Bro!)

#32 (My Bro!)

#32 (My Bro!)

#32 (My Bro!)

#33

#33

#35

#35

#35

#35

If you are a photographer, what is your favorite lens to use for Action/Sports photography, and what settings do you use?

The Path of Life….(Raccoon Style)

I took this picture while walking along Hillsdale Lake. I was trying to sneak up on a few Killdeer, but noticed this trail that the raccoon had made, and decided to snap a picture. I was impressed with how perfect each print was, how it was uniformly pressed into the soft mud…

The Path of Life (Raccoon Style)

The Path of Life (Raccoon Style)

 

I experimented with some extremely soft vignetting around the trail of footprints. I like the effect but would like your opinion, as I am always trying to get better at editing my photos. What do you see that you like/dislike or would/would not do?

Happy Valentines Day!

Happy Valentines Day!

Although there are many ways to celebrate Valentines day, I thought that I would share a post about the story behind valentines day to those who don’t already know.

St. Valentine was a priest near Rome in about the year 270 A.D, a time when the church was enduring great persecution. His ministry was to help the Christians to escape this persecution of the Romans, and to provide them the sacraments, such as marriage, which was outlawed by the Roman Empire at that time. (The Roman Emperor Claudius II supposedly forbade this in order to grow his army, believing that married men did not make for good soldiers) Saint Valentine is said to have been arrested for performing clandestine Christian weddings for the soldiers. According to legend, in order to “remind them of God’s love and to encourage them to remain faithful Christians,” Saint Valentine is said to have cut hearts from parchment, giving them to the soldiers and persecuted Christians, a possible origin of the widespread use of hearts on Saint Valentine’s Day.  During his imprisonment, he is reported to have performed a miracle by healing Julia, the blind daughter of his jailer Asterius. The jailer’s daughter and his forty-four household members(family members and servants) came to believe in Jesus and were baptized.

Legend states that the evening before Valentine was to be executed, he wrote the first “valentine” card himself, addressed to the daughter of his jailer Asterius, who was no longer blind, signing it “From Your Valentine.”

I found this story quite interesting, and hoped that you enjoyed a lil’ bit of history behind the holiday.

I only have one picture that I thought I’d use in this post, but here it is.

Love

Love

(This picture was not an original idea, I had seen many people do this and wanted to see if I could)

More Cedar Waxwings

I was lucky to see the group of Cedar Waxwings again recently. I am thinking that they won’t be around here much longer, but we’ll have to see. I was glad to get some decent photos of them this time, and hope that I see them again before they head north.

Here are a few pictures I got of them:

Two Cedar Waxwings in a tree

Two Cedar Waxwings in a tree

 A couple Cedar Waxwings in a tree

A couple Cedar Waxwings in a tree

A group of Cedar Waxwings perched in a tree.

A group of Cedar Waxwings perched in a tree.

A group of Cedar Waxwings perched in a tree.

A group of Cedar Waxwings perched in a tree.

A group of Cedar Waxwings perched in a tree.

A group of Cedar Waxwings perched in a tree.

I’m not sure what I said… but they refused to look at me for these last couple pictures.

A group of Cedar Waxwings perched in a tree.

A group of Cedar Waxwings perched in a tree.

A group of Cedar Waxwings perched in a tree.

A group of Cedar Waxwings perched in a tree.

To see my first post about Cedar Waxwings click here.

Bald Eagle

These are a few photos I got of a Bald Eagle when I was out at Hillsdale  Lake recently. I wasn’t real pleased with them, but they are the only pictures I have of a Bald Eagle. Hope you enjoy!

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

Red-Tailed Hawk

I got a chance to go to take a trip a local lake and do some birding recently. I was hoping to see some birds of prey (Bald Eagle, Red Tailed Hawk, etc…) and so when I saw a Red-Tail Hawk flying around, I was really eager to get some pictures. I have never photographed birds of prey, but I wanted to try anyways, and what better way to learn than doing!

Here are some pictures I took of the Hawk in flight:

A Red-Tailed Hawk in flight

A Red-Tailed Hawk in flight

A Red-Tailed Hawk in flight

A Red-Tailed Hawk in flight

A Red-Tailed Hawk in flight

A Red-Tailed Hawk in flight

A Red-Tailed Hawk in flight

A Red-Tailed Hawk in flight

A Red-Tailed Hawk in flight

A Red-Tailed Hawk in flight

I also wanted to get some pictures of this guy on the ground, so after he landed I went into stealth mode. I had trouble at first. I thought I was being real sneaky, and was creeping up on him, crawling around a hill, thinking he couldn’t see me. Well, the next thing I know, he decides that he HAS seen me, and he has seen quite enough of me, so packs his bags and flies about 50 yards away. This continued for a while… I would get close, he would take off… I would get closer, he would take off again. This charade was kept up until It was time for us to get going and head home.

Here are a few pictures I got during the chase:

A Red-Tailed Hawk, resting on a post.

A Red-Tailed Hawk, resting on a post.

A Red-Tailed Hawk in flight

A Red-Tailed Hawk in flight

A Red-Tailed Hawk in flight

A Red-Tailed Hawk in flight

On the drive home I kept seeing more hawks! I I don’t know how many we saw, but its a short 20 minute drive, so it seemed like a lot. We were almost home when we saw another Red-Tailed sitting about 20 feet away from the road, on what we thought was a rabbit. I had my dad pull in a driveway a little ways down, and tried to get some pictures.

Here are a few pics of this Red-Tail:

A Red-Tailed Hawk sitting with his meal

A Red-Tailed Hawk sitting with his meal

A Red-Tailed Hawk sitting with his meal

A Red-Tailed Hawk sitting with his meal

A Red-Tailed Hawk sitting with his meal

A Red-Tailed Hawk sitting with his meal

A Red-Tailed Hawk sitting with his meal

A Red-Tailed Hawk sitting with his meal

So as I was sitting there in the car, and lo and behold, another Red-Tail flies up and lands on a telephone post next to us (I was thinking ‘I need to wake up! this is such a crazy dream!’).

Here is a picture of  that Red-Tail:

A Red-Tail Hawk taking flight from his perch up on a telephone pole.

A Red-Tail Hawk taking flight from his perch up on a telephone pole. (I love this picture!!!)

I finally scared the both of them away, but got some nice pictures in the process:

A Red-Tailed Hawk taking flight

A Red-Tailed Hawk taking flight

A Red-Tailed Hawk taking flight

A Red-Tailed Hawk taking flight

The silhouette of a Red-Tailed Hawk.

The silhouette of a Red-Tailed Hawk.

All in all, It was a great day to go birding, and I am even more amazed at the magnificence and majesty of a Red-Tailed Hawk, then I was even this morning!

The 50th Post!!!

I have finally hit it! 50 Posts! It may not be much by most people’s standards, but a great stepping stone for me! I have had a hard time trying to keep posting on this blog, as I am really busy with school. But finally hitting my goal really excites me and keeps me motivated to keep devoting the time to blogging on this site.

So for my 50th post, I wanted to share a couple of the things I love.

1. Music

I am a pianist, and have taken piano lessons for 8 years. I absolutely LOVE the piano… it is, in my opinion, the best instrument. I have had a wonderful piano teacher, which has only helped my love for music grow more.

I am also a  HUGE fan of the Piano Guys. I love all of their music, although Titanium/Pavane and What Makes You Beautiful are some of my favorites. Here are the links, and go watch them if you haven’t seen them already… and even if you have, watch it again!

Titanium/Pavane – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fz4MzJTeL0c

What Makes You Beautiful – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VqTwnAuHws

2. Coffee

As you may have noticed in some of my previous comments or from my Gravatar profile… I LOVE COFFEE!!! Strong and Black, no cream or sugar! AAHHHH!

A rounded scoop of coffee grounds.

A rounded scoop of coffee grounds.

My Least favorite swallow of coffee is... the last one!

My Least favorite swallow of coffee is… the last one!

3. Board Games

I love almost all board games, but Settlers of Catan (Cities and Knights version is best) and Chess are right at the top. A friend introduced me to Settlers of Catan, and at that moment I was hooked. I have been an addict ever since.

Settlers of Catan with the Cities and Knights Extension

Settlers of Catan with the Cities and Knights Extension

My dad and I have a friendly rivalry when it comes to chess. We started playing a couple years ago, but now it seems to be a little more important to my dad. That is probably a result of my 48 – 6 run I had a little while back. But recently he has beaten me a couple times, so he is getting excited to play me again.

Chess

Chess

Chess

Chess

4. Football

I played football briefly while in junior high, but have always loved the sport. I am a HUGE Iowa Hawkeye fan, and although their past couple football seasons have stunk, really enjoy watching them. But my favorite football to watch has been this last fall, when my two little brothers played flag football. It was sooo cool to watch, because my little brothers were probably the best players on their respective teams (and I’m not just saying that ‘cuz I’m their big brother). The older of the two won the championship in his division, and the younger one’s team got 3rd.

My brother with a falling dive after a catch. (inches short of a touchdown!)

My brother with a falling dive after a catch. (inches short of a touchdown!)

My youngest brother with a touchdown run!

My youngest brother with a touchdown run!

5. Large and Odd Words

I love large vocabularies! For some reason, I have always enjoyed the use big and unique words. Here are some of my favorites:

– Sesquipedalian – The use of long words

– Spanghew – The act of violently throwing a frog in the air from the end of a stick

– Defenestration – The act of throwing something or usually someone out of a window

– Persnickety – to fuss about small details

– Smellfungus – An excessively fault finding person

– Floccinaucinihilipification – Estimation that something is valueless

– Pulveratricious – Covered with dust

– Tyrotoxism – To be poisoned by cheese

– Zarf – a holder of a handle-less coffee cup

– Lachanophobia – The fear of vegetables

I think that these are pretty awesome, and they are only a few of the ones I like. We have a 1934 Webster dictionary, and I make frequent uses of it. It is amazing what you can learn through reading new words.

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