We took a quick, last minute trip to Southern California to visit our son’s family before Thanksgiving. We spent a couple days at Newport Beach, spending time each day at the beach and meeting up with the family for the evening. It was so relaxing to be back at one of our favorite spots! The weather was great, the beach not crowded, and we saw lots of beach birds. What was surprising to us as infrequent visitors was that the pelicans were on the beach, not just flying low over the water as we usually see them. We were closer to them than we ever can remember. One of the days we drove up to Huntington Beach, and as we walked on the pier, this fellow landed on the rooftop above us. Soon another joined him, and we had a great time pelican watching. I took so many photos that I not only had to change batteries, but ran out of room on my SD card!
Most of my Alaska photography time last month was spent photographing the loons that swam peacefully around the lake. Often they would dive beneath the water for food and then surface with a spray of bubbly lake water. They were usually in pairs and would call to each other when they were separated, flapping their wings when the other was spotted. There was a pair with babies which I never saw, unfortunately. Next year…
It was my lucky day! First of all, I was trying out my new macro lens- a gift from my good friend, Carol of infocusdaily.com , who is changing out her traditional Nikon lenses for lenses made specifically for her Nikon mirrorless system. I brought a chair out to the front flower bed so I could sit by the lavender and try out the lens. My intention was to to capture some of the buzzing bees, but as I sat down and raised my camera, I was “buzzed” by this little hummer (likely a black-chinned hummingbird). It was not intimidated by my camera, but was letting me know I was in its territory. It continued sipping nectar out of the blossoms as I snapped these photos- and I was very impressed by how well my Nikon with the new macro lens was able to capture the details on this little bird, who was probably 6-10 feet away. It was all over within five minutes, but I felt very lucky indeed to have this wonderful new lens and to have its first subject be this sweet hummingbird! Thank you, Carol!
It’s this winter’s first (and last?) real snow day here in Prescott, and I’m enjoying creating portraits of our backyard birds. Notice how floofed up this little sparrow is as he sits on a branch waiting his turn at the feeder! I jazzed up this image a bit with textures, just because I can! I am a veteran of two cataract surgeries, both taking place in the last 3 weeks, and am getting to the point where I can actually see- with the help of reading glasses. The white balance of my vision is cooler now- an unexpected effect. With new eyes and the possibility of Covid numbers going down. I may be getting out soon to do more photography!
My Christmas pelican is still at Watson Lake. Last week, I received a certificate from the Idaho Department of Fish and Game thanking me for reporting his tag and giving me some information about him/her (they don’t know the gender). Basically, they informed me that the pelican was too young to fly when banded in 2020 near Minidoka, Idaho. I’ve always seen pelicans in groups, but this one seems to be alone; I’m hoping friends fly in soon!
It is Fall now, but on a summer’s day a few weeks ago. we stood and watched the cormorants as they basked in the sunshine.
Cormorants at Watson Lake
I just finished reading the deep, dark, soulful Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy for our book group. There is beautiful, evocative writing, an intriguing plot, some romance and tragedy- all within the framework of the last migration of arctic terns in a time when climate change has wreaked havoc on the animal kingdom. I didn’t set out to create this image in response to what I read, but the subconscious is an amazing thing. And I highly recommend the book!
This was taken during our stay at Between Beaches on the MacDonald Spit on Kachemak Bay in Alaska. We had beaches in front of and behind our cabin- Kachemak Bay in front, Kasitsna Bay behind. Watching the gulls fly low over the dark waters of Kasitsna Bay in the mornings and evenings gave me a perfect opportunity to practice intentional camera movement techniques to create impressionistic images.
I was happy to hear at my camera club’s online meeting last night that this image won second place in this month’s Open Subject competition. It’s always nice to hear when other people like your art.
After the rains, Watson Lake looked like it might have before the dawn of man- except it’s a man-made lake (and that’s a cormorant, not a pteradactyl. . . )!
Spending time photographing gulls swooping over the dark waters of Kasitsna Bay was one of the great pleasures of my Alaska trip.
Vacation photos from Alaska aren’t complete without an eagle photo! They were everywhere- especially where we stayed on a beach on Kachemak Bay. This photo was taken on one of our excursions to Gull Island.
The morning fog was just beginning to give way to a bit of sunlight as I took this photo of a gull flying overhead at Newport Beach. I love the quiet of mornings at the beach!
While everyone around us was watching the hummingbirds at the feeders, I happened to turn around and spot this little guy on the pole behind the group. He looked at me, I looked at him. He was very cute! My bird app tells me he was a white-breasted nuthatch.
It’s just a gull- not an unusual sight at the beach (understatement!)- but it was so nice to be able to take a picture of one. So here he is!