Bluebird’s breakfast

I guess I didn’t give this guy enough warning of portrait time.  He still has remnants of breakfast on his beak.  It was obvious that the bluebirds were hungry and very anxious to get at suet and birdseed.  I frequently had 3-4 hanging off the suet feeder at the same time with others waiting their turn or fighting for a chance to get in.

I’m certainly happy to feed them and watch their antics.  It’s a great way to spend time over the holiday season!

Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2
600mm @ f/11 – 1/10 sec – ISO 320

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Winter’s brightest colors

If there is a classic winter bird shot, it’s definitely a cardinal in the snow.  We don’t get the opportunity for this combination all that often in the deep south but this weekend was a special occasion.   The birds were happy to have our feeders stocked with the sudden turn to winter weather and I was very happy to watch them.  Love the contrast of brilliant red on pure white!

Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2
600mm @ f/14 – 1/100 sec – ISO 800

Seems like a long time ago

Last weekend, this is what my backyard looked like.  A dusting of snow and ice covering most of the plants.  This morning at 9:30, it is over 50° already and likely to get up near 70° before the day is over.  Typical winter/spring (not sure what season it is) in Atlanta.

In any case, I thought this was a neat view of the Nandina plant covered with ice showing both the leaves and the berries.

Nikon D7100
Sirui P-204S Monopod
Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G
35mm @ f/7.1 –  1/250 sec – ISO 200

Santa Claus is coming…

I have been fun using the family Christmas decorations to make images to post in the North Georgia Photography Club Christmas Challenge.  Today’s theme is Santa so, I put together this scene of Santa and one of his reindeer set in snow-covered mountains.

Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Nikon 105mm f/2.8 AF Micro-Nikkor
105mm @ f/22 –  3 sec – ISO 400

What season is this?

Apparently the definition of season is a very relative thing.  Now, I have a very strict idea of what the seasons are supposed to be as follows:

  • WINTER – December, January, February
  • SPRING – March, April, May
  • SUMMER – June, July, August and
  • FALL – September, October, November

This image was made at Rocky Mountain National park in May.  It sure looks like winter to me.  I’m sure this is very ordinary weather in this part of the country in May but it was a bit of a shock to me.  Why is it that we are so surprised when all our rules are turned upside down when we go to a new place?

The reality is that each place has its own seasons.  When I look back on the places that I have lived, the seasons were certainly not the same.  In New Orleans, I always told people there were only 3 seasons: Hot, Wet and Hurricane.  In Milwaukee, they had four seasons but winter was half the year and spring and fall lasted about a week each.

I guess I need to get out more so I am not so stuck in one way of thinking.

What do you think?

Parking area to Bear Lake
Rocky Mountain National Park
Colorado, USA

Nikon D7000
Nikkor 18-105 lens
18mm  f/22  1/6 sec  ISO 100

Trail Ridge Road – a must see!

RMNP_May 10 2016_0449-001
Our traveling gnome doesn’t mind the weather

So, we’re in Rocky Mountain National Park in May.  In Atlanta, we are long past the days of choking yellow pine pollen that highlight our Spring weather and are well on our way to Summer.  But in Colorado, it’s a different story!

 

Trail Ridge Road is a high mountain pass that runs 48 miles through Rocky Mountain National Park from its East side across to the West.  An amazing Highway to the Sky, the brochures tout this as the most scenic road there is.

Of course, that is when it is open…

RMNP_May 10 2016_0441
Traffic on the Trail Ridge Road

I knew that the road was closed due to snow but, we wanted to at least see part of it so my wife Joyce, and I drove up to Rainbow Curve which was as far as the road had been cleared.  I assume that this spot is named for what must be amazing vistas that can be seen here.  Apparently, no one told Mother Nature that it is supposed to be Spring and we drove through what looked like a blizzard as we made our way up the road.  Undoubtedly, things would clear up and we would see those great sights when we got to Rainbow Curve, right?

RMNP_May 10 2016_0454
View from Rainbow Curve (No, I didn’t Photoshop this!)

At the point where the road was closed, we found heavy winds with stinging snow and sleet blowing in our faces and near white-out conditions.  You could see well enough but, except for a few fleeting moments when the sun peeked through, there was no sign of that fabulous view of the Rocky Mountains.  I would have to wait till later in the day and at much lower elevation (Rainbow Curve is 10,829 feet) to see Horseshoe Park, where we shot the night sky later on.

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We got a lot of variety in weather on this trip.  In Rocky Mountain National Park there is always considerable variation when you go into the higher elevations but the “spring” weather here has surprising contrasts.  Don’t laugh but, I thought about renting snowshoes at a couple of points.  It is actually a nice time to be in the park since traffic is light but you need to be ready for the weather.  Think about bringing sunglasses and shorts but also protection from rain, snow and cold.  Yeah, just pack everything.

Where does Santa Claus go to relax?

Alberta Falls
Rocky Mountain National Park

I am not an experienced hiker but it seemed like 0.6 miles was not at all unreasonable to go have a look at Alberta Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park.  Then again, things change when your path is covered with snow!

Everything looked dry and clear when we parked the car and started down the trail but as we proceeded upward, it became obvious that Spring was only partially in effect here.

RMNP_May 11 2016_0314Aspens and pines in the snow

The way was challenging since everything was on a slope and the snow was often slippery since others had hiked the same trail and the sun was out and warming things up.

When we finally got to the top, there was this older, white-haired gentleman sitting on a rock – contemplating the beauty of the falls.  He told me that this was his therapy to come out to places like this and soak in the peace and beauty of nature.  I asked if I could take his picture and he said to be sure to tell everyone that we saw Santa in the Rockies.

As we looked around, other hikers began to appear and I noticed that the quiet remained even when more people arrived.  Seems the majesty of this place awed everyone.

RMNP_May 11 2016_0325-001Awed by nature’s beauty