Elusive

Blue Jays are a strange breed.  They are so very common yet, I have been struggling to get a good shot of one.  You would think that a relatively large bird, that is usually pretty aggressive with other birds would be an easy subject but, not these guys.  They spook at the slightest breeze.  They are kind of bullies at some points but I have seen them get scared off by sparrows.

They also have a very wide variety of calls.  One of these seems to be an imitation of a hawk – maybe in hopes of scaring other birds away.  I can always tell when they are around but every time I go out to get a shot, they scatter.  While the other birds slowly return to the feeders, the Jays stay out at the edges of the yard.  They fly up to the top of the trees and if I move at all they fly off.  I got this one by setting up at a spot near the yard-favorite suet feeder and snapping a shot with my cable release.  (He flew off immediately at the sound of the shutter of course!)

As soon as I went inside, there were 3 Blue Jays lined up to get to the feeder.  They are really bid teases!

Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2
280mm @ f/11 – 1/60 sec – ISO 400

Flowers of all types

The butterfly is a flying flower, the flower a tethered butterfly.

                                                                 Ponce Denis Ecouchard Lebrun

Once again, nature shows me how beauty appears in so many shapes and forms.  The colors and details of the butterfly’s wings against the flower’s petals and color is amazing.  The delicate legs and antennae, the curl of the proboscis which allows this insect to draw nectar from the flowers, all part of a little creature that we see float past on lazy summer days.

Doesn’t it just make you want to sit and wonder over the miracle that is our home?

Butterfly Encounter
Chattahoochee Nature Center
Roswell, Georgia

Nikon D7100
Tamron SP 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC
250mm @ f/9 – 1/40 sec – ISO 100

The art of Nature

There is no end to the amazing beauty of nature.  Looking at landscapes or flowers or animals is a constant source of fascination for me.  It is incredible to think that all of this surrounds us every day and yet, we mostly ignore it.  Sometimes, you just have to stop and enjoy the simple joy that is available in appreciating how glorious our world is!

Photography is my excuse to pay more attention and find things that are beautiful and/or interesting to the eye.  I find that the more I try to do this, the easier it is to spot the things that make a good image.  It doesn’t mean that there is no work involved.  I still need to seek these things out.  I must go out earlier or later than I usually would, visit places I’ve never been or just take a closer look at what’s right in front of me.  This takes patience and practice but the rewards are great.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Butterfly Encounter
Chattahoochee Nature Center
Roswell, Georgia

Nikon D7100
Tamron SP 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC
270mm @ f/9 – 1/60 sec – ISO 100

Flowers and sunshine

One of the things I really like about the Chattahoochee Nature Center is the way they have landscaped.  There are many different flowering plants around the walkways all done in somewhat wild and natural plantings.  I know that lots of work and thought went into this but it gives you the impression that you are walking through a patch of wildflowers in the wilderness.

I didn’t see a marker to tell me what kind of flower this is.  It looks similar to a sunflower but was certainly much smaller than the kind that produce all those seeds that people eat.  It was just open there like a burst of sunshine but hanging it’s head down toward the ground.  I really liked the pink flowers behind it and the rather washed-out white background that the bright sun gave this scene.

Chattahoochee Nature Center
Roswell, Georgia

Nikon D7100
Tamron SP 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC
210mm @ f/10 – 1/125 sec – ISO 100

Camouflage

Nature has many forms of beauty and amazing patterns in so many different places.  This butterfly was a challenge for me to capture for a couple of reasons.  One of them was that its pale-green color was very close to the surrounding foliage.  It also didn’t move very much but tended to stay on a single leaf with wings folded so, it looked like a leaf rather than a butterfly.

I know this is all part of nature’s design to help these little creatures avoid being scooped up as food for other animals.  In a lot of ways, it also adds to the fun of nature photography by requiring me to hunt for a good opportunity and be patient.  I have to admit that patience is not my favorite thing.  I would much rather have what I want, RIGHT NOW!  But, there is only one thing that increases patience and that is PRACTICE.  Of course, if you don’t have much patience, that can be very frustrating.

Ah well, I guess if I had everything immediately and didn’t have to work for it, I wouldn’t appreciate it much.  When you think about it, taking time to slow down and appreciate the little things is what is really good about life.  So, I guess I will need to keep practicing…

Butterfly Encounter
Chattahoochee Nature Center
Roswell, Georgia

Nikon D7100
Tamron SP 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC
135mm @ f/11 – 1/80 sec – ISO 100

Oooh, Aaah!

It’s not fireworks but we got to see some breathtaking beauty in the Butterfly Encounter at the Chattahoochee Nature Center on July 4th.  The exhibit is an annual event where they set up an enclosure with flowers and lots of free-flying butterflies that you can walk through and see up-close.

Some of these amazing insects rarely stop moving, beating their wings constantly and rapidly moving from one flower to the next.  A few will stop and draw nectar from a flower for a long while and only move the wings on occasion before moving on.  We even had several that landed on our shoulders or heads and hitched a ride for a while.

It is great fun seeing this flying artwork and admiring the many shapes and colors that make each one unique.  From a photographic viewpoint, they are beautiful subjects but quite demanding. It’s not easy to find spots where they land which has good lighting, a favorable background and an angle where you can see the details all in the few seconds before they move somewhere else.

Butterfly Encounter
Chattahoochee Nature Center
Roswell, Georgia

Nikon D7100
Tamron SP 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC
135mm @ f/9 – 1/40 sec – ISO 100

Yes, I do like suet

It was not until recently that we started hanging suet feeders and keeping them stocked.  It has certainly gotten us a wide variety of birds that prefer this over the seed feeders.  The bluebird is one of our regular visitors that will take a variety of foods but definitely likes the suet.

Woodpeckers are definitely fans but we also see some of the larger birds like Blue Jays, Cardinals, and Brown Thrashers swinging from the suet cage and pulling chunks of that block out and enjoying it.  My only struggle with the suet is keeping the squirrels away.  They love it and will hang there all day trying to get the last morsel out.  The only thing that seems to keep them off is cayenne pepper.  We have been buying a variety of suet but the type with the pepper mixed in is the only one that the squirrels don’t wolf down.

Eastern Bluebird
(Sialia sialis)
Roswell, Georgia, USA

Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2
600mm @ f/6.3 – 1/80 sec – ISO 640