Visioning

photography and digital scrapbooking


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Autumn Winged Things

Changes are in the air and the winged things are even more delightful to watch. Hummingbirds are frantically active; chattering and fighting over the feeders we provide for them. They are molting at this time of year. We sometimes see tiny feathers fall as they hover near the feeders. I found one and saved it.

Carpenter bees are desperate to find the last grains of pollen. They especially like the sedum and basil flowers. This female worker was aware of my presence and constantly adjusted her position to face me and stay a comfortable distance. Persistence on my part paid off when she let down her guard for a moment.

Yellow leaves have already begun floating into the yard. We will have a lot to rake or blow into piles and bag. But I don’t mind. I like the exercise and being outside in the cool autumn air.

Numerous butterflies were a constant and welcome sight this summer. They are still visiting the butterfly bush from early morning until almost dark.

Summer went by quickly. But autumn is my favorite season, so I am welcoming it and getting ready to make some changes myself. Enjoy your week and remember to peek at the little winged things if you have them nearby!


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Photographing a Male Ruby-throated Hummingbird: A Simple Strategy

Our feisty Ruby-throated hummingbirds arrived a little late this year. We put the feeders out in April and faithfully filled and cleaned them all summer. Finally in July, three birds decided to claim our yard as their territory. We love watching them fatten up for their long migration next month!

Today the cloudy sky created good light, so I set up my tripod, attached the remote shutter release, and carefully considered my camera settings. Determined to photograph the male hummingbird, I felt it would be easy since he was feeding and zipping around the yard all morning. I soon realized he was chasing other birds more than eating, so I needed a strategy. I decided to place all the feeders on the porch except the one in front of my camera. Then I added a misting spray of water from the garden hose to make the remaining feeder more interesting. The strategy worked and the male finally posed in all his orangey-red-throated glory!

Click photos to view in higher resolution.

All photos: Canon 60D, aperture priority, RAW format, AI Servo AF, continuous high speed, partial metering, ISO 2000, 200mm, f/11, 1/250 for the perched photos and 1/400 and 1/500 for the flying photos. Exposure compensation: -1 to help produce a proper exposure of the lighter hummingbird on the darker green background. I set the focal point on the right flower port. When the hummingbird came into that plane of focus, the f/11 aperture allowed his eyes and most of his body to remain in focus. In post processing, I was able to retain most of the light feather texture, even after increasing the exposure by about 1 stop. I experimented with reducing noise in Nik Define 2.0, but ultimately decided to accept the noise generated from ISO 2000.


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Holmes County: Old Farm Buildings Part 1

My recent trip to Ohio included visiting back roads in Holmes County. The textures of rust and faded paint were everywhere at the abandoned or nearly abandoned farms I discovered. I especially enjoyed photographing the windows and doors of old houses. I always wonder if the original residents had a happy life there so many years ago.

The turkey vulture photo was a bit disappointing. The location is a wide valley that was formerly a wetland. Turkey vultures perched all over the driftwood, but we startled them when we traveled the unpaved road and all but two flew away.

I will post Part 2 photos from Holmes County soon!


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Eastern Box Turtle and Baby Birds

Thanks to my neighbor, Yvette, I was able to photograph an eastern box turtle today! She found him on her patio and gave him water while she waited for me to arrive. Our guess is that he was searching for water. Rainfall has been scarce this spring and judging from the turtle’s eager approach to the water, he was thirsty.

I placed the turtle on a large rock and shot the photos from various angles. I used a macro lens and handheld the camera. After the photo shoot, we returned him to the shade and his much-needed water.

Our baby cardinals are five days old. They will be ready to fly in six or seven days! They briefly woke when I gently moved the branches back and snapped two photos with my compact camera. Amazing how wild babies are so aware of their surroundings and how quickly they grow! I hope to take at least one more photo before they leave the nest.


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Watching Winter Birds

The window feeder is getting a lot of traffic these days. At various times of the day I check out the activity and photograph the birds as the light changes. The House Finches are fun to watch. The female sometimes feeds the male. I included three photos showing him waiting, leaning forward for seed, then seed hulls around his beak. I was shooting high-speed continuous, but missed the exact moment she gave him the seed!

When I saw the black areas around the American Goldfinch’s head, beak and eyes, I thought he might have Avian Pox, a common disease of finches and other feeder birds. But after doing more research and comparing photos, I think those areas are due to molting which happens in late winter and again in late summer.

A Carolina Wren visits, but she is so fast I miss her every time. Cardinals are checking out the feeder, but are reluctant to land. Maybe they will get braver over time. A Cooper’s Hawk sat on our fence last week and ate his catch. I was not able to get a photo, but enjoyed watching him through the binoculars.

Have you seen interesting activity at your feeders this winter?

All photos Canon 60D.


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Tufted Titmouse and Carolina Chickadee

Little birds are visiting our window feeder this winter. Peanuts and a few dried cranberries added to the seed mix have kept them active, especially mornings. The cloudy, rainy weather has been a photography frustration since attaching the feeder. But I was able to take a few photos and plan to try again when different birds visit and the light is better. A male cardinal flew in for a closer look, but has not actually fed from the feeder, as far as I know.

I learned from researching these birds that the Tufted Titmouse nests in tree holes and stores seed and nuts in winter. They shell sunflower seeds before hiding them. Normally found in the eastern half of the United States, Tufted Titmouse pairs remain in their territory through the winter.

Carolina Chickadees live in the southeastern United States. Pairs bond in small flocks and defend their territories against other flocks throughout the year. These tiny birds excavate a tree hole, or choose a cavity for nesting. They normally choose seeds and nuts from a feeder and carry it to a branch to eat. Tufted Titmice associate with the Carolina Chickadees, but are dominate over them.

Photos: Canon 60D, tripod mounted.


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Doing What I Love

It all started with a magazine. I had recently discovered scrapbooking and adored creating layouts of all types with paper and adhesive. I was eagerly reading everything I could find on the subject and happened to spot information about digital scrapbooking. The layouts amazed me. The embellishments looked dimensional and I saw photo techniques I never imagined. I barely knew how to use my old computer, but wanted to do what was necessary to take my creativity in this direction. Working in Photoshop, I taught myself the skills I needed. Almost six years later, I am still learning new techniques and have upgraded my computer, camera, and Photoshop. Over the years, I created hundreds of layouts and have been fortunate to have some accepted for print and online publication.

Recently my life has happily changed due to a new venture in digital scrapbook product design. I have been warmly welcomed as part of the talented design team at Happy to Create. Working intently over the past six weeks, I now have five new products offered in the Happy To Create store.

My blog, Visioning, will be as important to me as ever. My work is essentially about photos, so I will continue my photo shoots and post here, as always. Blogging has allowed me to become online friends with many kind, talented people. I greatly appreciate those of you who view my photos and comment. And I love reading your stories and seeing your wonderful photos.

On this Thanksgiving weekend, I’m feeling thankful for friends near and far and for my new opportunity to do what I love! I hope you are also doing what you love and will share some of the ways you have found happiness through work and hobbies.

My new layouts and products shown below. Happy To Create products used for my layouts listed under the gallery.

“Delicious Autumn” digital scrapbooking layout uses: Eclectic Autumn Maxi Kit; Chalk Talk Font

“Autumn Exercise” digital scrapbooking layout uses: Eclectic Autumn Maxi Kit; ScrapHappy Brushes Maxi: Paint Mess

“Young Visitor” digital scrapbooking layout uses: ScrapHappy Paper Templates: Grunge Patterns; Eclectic Autumn Maxi Kit; ScrapHappy Shapes: Centers MA01; ScrapHappy Shapes: Flowers MA02; SH_Shapes: Flowers MA03

“Meeting Mallory” digital scrapbooking layout uses: Maxi Embellishments Botanicals Autumn1; Maxi Embellishments Botanicals Autumn3; Maxi Embellishments: BotanicalsAutumn2; American Quilt Maxi Kit; Eclectic Autumn Maxi Kit; ScrapHappy Paper Templates: Woven Textures; Font Quirky

“Colorful Autumn” digital scrapbooking layout uses: Maxi Embellishments: Botanicals Autumn 2; Eclectic Autumn Maxi Kit;  Maxi Embellishments: BotanicalsAutumn1; Maxi Embellishments: Botanicals Autumn 3; ScrapHappy Dynamic Brushes Midi: Leaves VR01; ScrapHappy Brushes Mini: Bees; ScrapHappy Brushes Maxi: Colors Of Fall 2; Font Friendly

“Mr & Mrs” digital scrapbooking layout uses: Maxi Embellishments: Botanicals Autumn 3; Maxi Embellishments: Botanicals Autumn1; Maxi Embellishments: Botanicals Autumn 2; ScrapHappy Paper Templates: Grunge Patterns; EclecticAutumn Maxi Kit; Midi Embellishments: Just Frames


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Feathered Friends

Many birds visited today. They know a storm is coming! I saw a bird that I have never seen at our feeders. He was about the size of a sparrow, but greenish-yellow (not like the true yellow of a Goldfinch). I was not able to photograph him, so I’m hoping he will come back tomorrow! Update: The bird I saw was a Goldfinch. Their winter feathers are darker and less colorful.

All photos shot in Program mode, focal length 270mm, RAW format. Developed in Lightroom and Photoshop. Actions by Pioneer Woman.