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Monthly Archives: May 2011

Stickin’ with the critter photography today¬†(as they do so crack me up!) ūüôā¬†

A start of a good day involves¬†sunshine and any amount of¬†time spent outside interacting with the local wildlife. Some of the morning chores include dumping and filling birdbaths, setting out corn and filling the feeders. The¬†best time for me¬†(and the part I look the most forward to)¬†is¬†feeding¬†the chipmunks and squirrels their favorite treat (peanuts in the shell). All the resident furries literally come a-runnin’ when they see me walk across the lawn with the ‘peanut’ cup and take a seat on the large rock at the edge of the pool deck.¬†

And so the frenzy begins…¬†

“Hi there, King!” (as in ‘King of the Hill’ since that is where this ‘munk’s home is) and “Good Morning, Chippy!” (s/he lives under our grey shed). “Nice to see you, Squishy!” (lives near the rock¬†waterfall), and so on. Not all of them have names, but we do the best we can and have come to learn how¬†to identify each and every one.¬†Here is a very¬†familiar sight:

“Chipmunk Cheeks” (Eastern Chipmunk) Nikon D300, 200mm, F/5.6, 1/400s, -0.3EV, ISO 640

And if I am not quite quick enough in my peanut tossing, many will come right up to my feet or even, jump up next to me on the rock. I never tire of it.

“Sign? What Sign?” (Eastern Chipmunk in Birdhouse) Nikon D300, 200mm, F/5, 1/200s, +0.3EV, ISO 400

During the chaos last Thursday morning I was very surprised to see a couple of young chipmunks crawling all over our enormous condo-style birdhouse. From what I could deduce, the little ones were emerging from the nest to now be on their own.

The ‘alpha’ baby left pretty quickly (before I could even get the camera in place) but the second baby was much more cautious. S/he didn’t quite seem to¬†know what to make of me or the camera, but quickly realized I meant no harm. (Surely, Momma must have told the wee thing to keep an eye out for the very¬†‘nice humans’, dontchathink?) ūüėČ

I watched him/her for quite

“Home is Where you Make it” (Eastern Chipmunk in Birdhouse) Nikon D300, 200mm, F/5.6, 1/200s, ISO 640, Built-in Front Curtain i-TTL Fill Flash, -1.0 EV

some time as s/he went between episodes of thoroughly checking out the strange new world around him/her and then retreating back to the safety of one of the compartments. 

Of course,¬†I have no idea if the little beast is male or female.¬†The only name I could come up with is ‘Birdie’.¬†It just seems to fit.

Check out that dark spot on the left chest…¬†it will certainly help us to identify¬†Birdie if/when s/he¬†joins in the morning¬† feeding ritual (fingers crossed!)¬†When s/he left¬† for the last time, I wished the little one well and walked back to the house.¬†¬†

Afterall, I was already off to a great day. ūüôā

“Hole New World” (Eastern Chipmunk in Birdhouse) Nikon D300, 200mm, F/5.6, 1/200s, ISO 640

"Little Joe" (Eastern Grey Squirrel, Juvenile Male) Nikon D300, 600mm, F/6.7, 1/160s, ISO 640

Looks like I have a few¬†entrants to consider for the next issue of ‘Critter Beefcake’¬†magazine! ūüôā
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

This time, the boys decided to show us their softer, gentler sides.

"Leisure Larry" (Eastern Grey Squirrel,Male) Nikon D300, 650mm (200-400mm w/1.7x teleconverter), F/6.7, 1/100s, ISO 640

"Mighty Max" (Eastern Grey Squirrel, Male) Nikon D300, 330mm, F/5, ISO 400

Now ladies… how could I resist? ūüôā

“Jump Start” (Johnny Jump-Up, Viola cornuta) Nikon D300, VR 105mm F/2.8G, 105mm, F/4.5, 1/60s, ISO 640, built-in iTTL Front-Curtain Flash

This past weekend my niece, Lindsay, came to visit! She is just finishing up her sophomore year at UNE in Biddeford, Maine and needed a little R&R before completing her final exams and starting her summer-long research project.

Starting next week, Lindsay will be studying nesting female Bobolinks (a medium-sized songbird) in the hayfields of Vermont. She is so very excited!

I happened to ask her if she will be photographing the birds and she casually replied,‘Yeah, but all I have is my small digital camera.’

Hmmmm, really? Well, that simply will not do!

So, I dug¬†through our box of ‘extra’ camera equipment and¬†found an older Nikon body,¬†an 18-135 telephoto lens and¬†promptly began¬†her crash course in¬†using a DSLR. (Here is where my experience in teaching at the community center seriously paid off).

Starting off with the basics (camera parts, attaching/removing the lens, proper handholding and camera controls) then moving on to more advanced topics (light, focus area, composition, white balance, shutter speed, aperture, ISO, etc.), she absorbed the concepts as fast as I could explain them. (I wish all my students were as quick a study!)

For me, it was amazing to have¬†this opportunity to pass¬†something I am so passionate about¬†onto the next generation as well as inspiring to witness her take it on with such eagerness. Delightfully,¬†she shares my love of critters and all things nature and we spent hours in the landscape¬†photographing anything and everything that caught our eyes.¬†¬†That girl is one smart cookie and obviously takes after¬†her favorite aunt! ūüėČ

I’m very proud¬†of you, Linds, and¬†love you very, very¬†much! ūüôā

We’ve been having some spectacular spring weather and the birds have been all a-flutter!

Monday was the first day in a very long time I felt inspired to haul out my 600mm lens (the ‘big gun’) equipped with my 1.7x teleconverter.¬†Earlier on in the day I had spotted an Oriole high up in the tree-tops with the hopes of scoring a photo. No such luck on the Oriole but, I did manage to catch a few shots of the elusive male Northern Cardinal, despite¬†his best attempts to¬†thwart my efforts!

Here they are¬†for your enjoyment. ūüôā

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