I was treated to my first butterfly of the season on Saturday. I was taking photos of my neighbor's Apricot tree again and this Question Mark Butterfly came and posed for me for a few minutes. It was lovely to see and I was happy to capture it in such a picturesque setting as the Apricot blossoms were making.
Tuesday, March 31, 2015
Monday, March 30, 2015
These birds, Cedar Waxwings, rarely visit my yard. I usually see them once or twice in the winter and it is because they are getting a drink from the pond. On Saturday I looked out the window and saw one sitting in the Walnut tree. It stayed long enough for me to change to a zoom lens and then get off several images and was joined by another as well and that you can see in the photo. I love their masked looking faces. I have heard they can be bullies like Blue jays but I have not experienced this. They like to eat berries from different trees which is why I probably don't see them much, I don't have any food they like, just water.
Sunday, March 29, 2015
Time for a steam train image again! I found this in the archives when I was looking for something else last week. On our first trip to the Cumbres & Toltec Railroad we were chasing the train on the day after we rode. We were treated to a double header as well which means they were using 2 locomotives to pull the train. The trip up to Windy Point out of Chama, New Mexico is basically all uphill and on some pretty steep grades at times. As you can see here the locomotives were working pretty hard at this point not far out of Chama. Most of this falls to the ground and on the train as soot so not as much pollution as it might look.
Saturday, March 28, 2015
I took this image last Saturday at the Geary County Historical Society which has a Magnolia Tree on the grounds of the Starkey House. These trees are also known as Tulip Trees and have beautiful blooms and a lovely smell. I should plant one in my own yard. :-)
Friday, March 27, 2015
I created this image for a B&W project I am doing on Google + that had for this week's theme "Umbrella". This was my interpretation of it. I think it stands for the way that the rain seems to go all around us except for a couple small showers, it's as though the area has an umbrella over it. I liked how some of the Daffodils seemed to be peeking out from under at the sun while some were being shy in the back.
Thursday, March 26, 2015
Continuing on with my Spring celebration, this is an image I shot last Sunday at my neighbor's house. She has an Apricot tree and it was blooming beautifully and the Honey Bees were loving it. I caught one as it moved to a different blossom. I hope the freeze we got last night did not hurt it. I'd like to be able to enjoy some apricots this year as she lets me pick some if there's enough.
Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Well, we are getting a little bit of rain at the moment, isn't that nice and surprising. Won't be enough I am sure but it's something. In continuation of my Spring celebration, I photographed this Daffodil on Saturday. These flowers are usually the second type to bloom in my yard. This one seemed to be peeking out and asking "Is It Safe" which is what I titled this image. We are possibly supposed to have a winter mix tomorrow so it may not be but it's too late now.
Tuesday, March 24, 2015
Continuing on with my Spring celebration with a bit of cheer for a very dull day where we are missing getting rain once again. I saw that due to the very warm weather before I left on my trip that the Crocus were starting to bloom. I thought I would miss seeing all of them by the time I got back, however this group and a few others were blooming. They looked to me to be very much enjoying the warmth of the sun that day and I titled this image Crocus Party.
Monday, March 23, 2015
I decided to do a tribute to spring because I am so glad it is finally here, sort of. At least the flowers and bee think so. When I was out in Pennsylvania, when I arrived there were still piles of snow on the ground. By Thursday it was gone except for small bits in shady spots. These flowers were blooming in someone's yard all over. I took this image of some that were close to the sidewalk. I looked them up when I got back and they are called Winter Aconite and are typically the first flowers of spring along with Crocus. Even the bees were happy to see them and I captured this one busily working around them.
Sunday, March 22, 2015
Another image of one of my favorite things to photograph, a steam train. Flowers are only predominate because there are more opportunities for photos of them. :-) This image is from back when I was in West Virginia riding the Cass Mountain & Scenic Railway. True to it's name we were stopped for a short while at a scenic overlook partway up the mountain. This is the point where I took my mountain view photo of WV with the hawk in the sky. This image is of our locomotive that at this point was pushing us up the mountain. I thought it showed off it's unique drive gear rather well. I decided to process this image in B&W for a more unique look.
Saturday, March 21, 2015
Well, it's finally here! The first day of Spring! Yay! Now if we could only get some rain that would be great. To welcome the first full day I am sharing this image I took of a Tulip I bought during the winter to brighten the house. I processed it with a high key effect and call it Tulip Dream.
Friday, March 20, 2015
If all goes right with this post, it should publish itself while I am driving home from visiting family. I scheduled it and it's an experiment so we all shall see together if it works. To welcome Spring in which starts at 5:45pm CST, here is a macro of a Geranium I took awhile back.
Thursday, March 19, 2015
So I am in Pennsylvania at the moment and spring is supposed to start but what are they calling for, snow! UGH. I wanted something to warm me up today so this is an image from a warm autumn evening out on Konza Prairie. I took this image of a Common Variegated Fritillary on a Yarrow.
Wednesday, March 18, 2015
When I travel to Minnesota for steam fun it is also a great place to observe wildlife. With all the ponds and lakes there are a lot of opportunities to observe waterbirds especially. I got to see this fun sight of a, in comparison, tiny Red Wing Blackbird give chase to a Heron that was bothering it's area of the pond. Who would have thought a big bird would care about such a little one.
Tuesday, March 17, 2015
Happy St. Patrick's Day! Spring is only days away now. This is a flower that would be seen in summer though. This is called Butterfly Weed which is a variation of Milkweed. I have this orange variety in my garden but there are also a more muted orange and then a redish variety. Butterflies like this plant. It's supposedly very resistant to anything eating it but something ate mine almost to the ground this past year. It flowers a long time if not eaten. This particular flower was photographed out on Konza Prairie.
Monday, March 16, 2015
This is an image that I was able to capture in February of a Bald Eagle out at Milford Lake. It was perched in a tree fairly close to the road and I was able to shoot this from the car. I wish I had had my new zoom lens at the time but I still think this one turned out pretty well.
Sunday, March 15, 2015
Time for a steam train image. This is from my favorite steam railroad, the Cumbres & Toltec. This is the train heading out from Antonito, Colorado. At this point it is heading out of the scrub plain and into the foothills on the way to Chama, New Mexico.
Saturday, March 14, 2015
Friday, March 13, 2015
Happy Friday the 13th! Hopefully it isn't as bad as the reputation it has received. Today's image is from this past summer and is an example of what would be termed as creamy bokeh. This is desirable a lot of the time when you want a bland background to really show off your subject. This is a Great Spangled Fritillary Butterfly that was on the Butterfly/Buddleja Bush in the yard.
Thursday, March 12, 2015
Still almost summery out there again. Today's image is leaves from a vine that I caught with the sun shining through. It made the leaves appear to glow I thought. This image also had quite festive bokeh with the light and colors from the various leaves from other plants and trees in the background. Not sure what this vine is but it can have quite the thorns on it.
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Wow, it's warm again, 75ºF. It's nice but not good I don't think for this early. Today's image has what I call sparkly bokeh. It is caused by lots of water drops behind the subject with the sun shining on them. They take on the shape they do because of the aperture blades of the lens, how they happen to close down. Some are circular, some have this type of shape, hexagonal. The plant is considered a weed but I like it. It's called Henbit and the flowers remind me of orchid type. I took this on a very dewy morning and you can see some of the water drops in the foreground of the image.
Tuesday, March 10, 2015
Wow, we either have winter or summer, no in between it seems. Today is mid 70s. I'm not totally complaining but I know it won't stay this warm and flowers are starting to come up and I don't want them to get damaged. Anyway, on the the photo for today. I started another challenge today on Google + this time it's a Bokeh one. Bokeh is the aesthetic quality of the blur produced in the out-of-focus parts of an image produced by a lens. Bokeh has been defined as "the way the lens renders out-of-focus points of light". This image is of a 12 Spot Dragonfly clinging to one of the plants in my pond with some circular bokeh behind it caused by reflections off moisture of some type most likely.
Monday, March 9, 2015
I got a new Zoom lens and went out to Milford Lake to see if I could get some Bald Eagle shots with it. Most of them were quite a ways away across one of the inlets so even with a zoom were pretty small in the image. These 2 juvenile Bald Eagles were flying around with each other and came closer to be so I was able to get off a few images of them. I thought the lens and I captured them pretty well. :-)
Sunday, March 8, 2015
I hope that those of you in the US remembered to change your clocks, you don't want to be late for work tomorrow. :-) Normally on Sunday I would share a train related image for Steamy Sunday over on Google + but since I am doing a Nature Challenge I decided to share this image of a Blue Jay at a steaming bird bath that I got back in December. I had shared one back them which was further away but this was a close up that I liked that was a good image right out of the camera with no editing. I liked that it seemed to be looking at me as it drank. It may have been, I was behind a glass door as I took this shot.
Saturday, March 7, 2015
I shot this image last night just after the sun had dipped below the horizon. It was still illuminating these geese enough that I was able to capture them clearly but in silhouette. I liked that I could see details in their wing tips even in silhouette. You will most likely have to click on the image and view larger to see. :-)
Friday, March 6, 2015
I shared this image today for my nature challenge. I caught this Clear Wing Hummingbird Moth feeding on the Buddleja or Butterfly Bush this summer. It was busy feeding on the plant and not paying much attention to me so I was able to get off a few up close images of it that showed it and the flower boom it was feeding from rather well.
Thursday, March 5, 2015
I started a Nature Challenge over on Google +. I love shooting nature so it isn't too much of an actual "challenge" for me. My first image for today was a Yellow Jacket Wasp that I photographed on one of my Sunflowers this past summer. I find it odd and a bit annoying that I can get volunteer Sunflowers that grow just fine out of the birdseed that falls on the ground but Sunflowers that I plant from seed packets have trouble or get eaten by something. One year some insect was eating through the stems about half way up the plant. Very frustrating. Not sure if I want to try them again this year.
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
This is another view of the Lower Falls of the Yellowstone in Yellowstone National Park. This view was taken on Uncle Tom's Trail. It is about a 500 feet decent into the Canyon of the Yellowstone on about 300 steps. Going down wasn't too bad but going back up was rather strenuous. I took this image on one of my rest stops back up the stairs. It's a bit of a long exposure as well to get the look of the water as it is.
Tuesday, March 3, 2015
I recently read an article about photographing birds and that you could use your car as a blind because birds seem less skittish if you are in your car. I have had a few experiences like that and this image came from one of them. I shot this image of a Red Wing Blackbird on this stump at the edge of one of the many ponds in Minnesota. It was posing very nicely and I was able to get off several shots of it. My best Bald Eagle images that I shared recently were shot from the car as well. I guess the article was correct. :-)
Monday, March 2, 2015
Well, I felt like looking at mountains today. This is an image of the mountains of West Virginia that I was able to get while riding the Cass Mountain and Scenic Railway. With this view it was easy to see how it got it's name as the view was quite nice. I was pleased that I was able to get a bird in the image and didn't notice till I looked at it on my computer.
Sunday, March 1, 2015
Well, we made it to March and we are not supposed to have any more snow today. So is it coming in like a lamb or lion? I am hoping it goes out like a lamb but I guess we shall see. :-) Today's image goes back to Minnesota and warmer days. This is locomotive 353 on the shift before mine pulling it's train up the beginning of the steepest grade on the railway at the Steam Thresher's reunion in Rollag, Minnesota. The smoke is black at this time due to the particles from the coal that would have just been thrown on so the train can make it up the hill with no more firing. If you open the door to put more coal in while it's working hard you can cause the water tubes to warp because of the cold air coming in. Therefore before we start up this hill we try to make sure it has a good bed of coals and then hope we have done a good job and end up with good pressure still at the top.