Tag Archive: birds


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I went back to Five Rivers again yesterday to take some more pictures.  Yeah, twice in three days.  What can i say?  I really like the place!  This time, I did the loop around the pond a few times, and I found a bunch of other trails that I didn’t see the other day.  I followed one and it brought me out near a small river (or brook) with lots of cool stuff to shoot.  At one point, I saw a small black animal swimming in the creek then up on the bank, then back in the creek and so on.  I couldn’t keep track of him after a while, so I didn’t get a shot.

What I did get shots of were a family of geese.  The mother and father had three little goslings that they kept a very close watch of.  A few times when I was shooting them, one of the parents ‘hissed’ at me.  I understand they are very protective of their young, but I wasn’t that close.  I had the 70-300mm lens, so I didn’t have to get too close.  But hey, I was on their turf, so I understand.

The babies were really cute, with their soft yellow and brown fur and tiny little beaks.  I wish I had been able to get a little closer so I could get really good shots of their fur.  It seemed really fine.  You can see how fine in some of the pics I took.  Let me know what you think of them.

I can’t wait to go back.  If you live in the area, you should definitely check it out.  See ya soon!

I went to a local nature conservatory today (Five Rivers) to check it out for a possible meeting spot for my photo group. The place was really nice and I am excited to set up the outing. I knew the weather was supposed to get crappy later in the afternoon, but I went anyway to use up whatever time I could before the rain got here. It was nice, but a pain in the ass, because the sun kept popping in an out and I had to keep changing settings. I didn’t get too many great shots because of it, but I will next time i go.

I kept getting text messages from the the Weather Channel telling me a Severe Thunderstorm watch and eventually a warning was in effect. A little bit later, I noticed the clouds were getting very dark off in the distance, so I started walking back towards the car. At one point, I felt a raindrop, so I got ready to put the camera back in my bag and then I saw it…

There was a bridge on the main road and on the other side of the bridge was a small lake with some incredibly gloomy clouds lingering over it. I quickly swapped the 70-300 for the 18-70 and started firing away. The wind started to pick up a little, so I headed for the car. As I was getting to the car, the wind gusts began. It was crazy. I was driving back out to the main roads and with the way the wind was blowing, I honestly expected to see a tornado forming.

There was debris all over the roads. Sticks, tree branches, even a tree across the road at one point. It was pretty wild, but I had the camera just in case anything crazy happened. Don’t know what i would have done had I seen a tornado, but I would like to hope I was at a safe distance to get some pictures of it. Call me crazy…

Anyway, I wanted some opinions. I greatly over processed the picture I mentioned above using Photoshop CS5’s Merge to HDR Pro and Topaz. I know they are a lot over done, but which one do you like best?

After the storm, the sun came out and it was calm and a little cooler.  I went out back to cook some burgers on the grill and the sun was setting with some amazing colors.  Between flips, I grabbed the camera and snapped off a few pictures of it.  Here’s what I saw…

It was a great day!  See ya soon!

A little humor

I have been sitting here for a while tonight trying to decide what I want to blog about and something funny happened.  I was going through my archives of photos and I found a few pictures I took of some ducks.  Normally, I wouldn’t think anything funny about them, but tonight, as I looked at them side by side, my twisted sense of humor took over.  You may or may not find this humorous, but I got a chuckle out of it.

On a side note, as I am writing this, all I can think about it Lynyrd Skynyrd’s song ‘That Smell’.  Now it’s stuck in my head!  Hope it’s stuck in yours too!  Do you have another funny scenario?  Share it with me!  See ya soon!

And by that time, I mean Spring time!  The sun is shining again and the trees are starting to sprout buds.  Rose and I rode the Harley down to her parents house in Rhinebeck for Easter dinner, and on the way down I saw a ton of brilliant yellow blooms.  There were also seedlings growing in her parent’s backyard.  The birds are chirping in the mornings and insects are starting to come back around.  Here is a dragonfly I found one Spring trying to blend in with a stick.

Spring coming around is a huge relief to me.  I am sure I have mentioned before that I go into a sort of (self-proclaimed) “photographic depression” after the leaves fall off the trees and Winter rolls around.  It’s not until those first blooms of Spring that I get the urge to shoot again.  Seeing those first flowers and buds just starts to inspire me.  Here’s a shot I took last year as the flowers were just starting to grow.

But, here’s the problem – now that the weather is getting better, I get torn on what I’d rather do, go riding or go shooting.  Tough decision to make for me.  Between Thursday and Sunday, I put about 150 miles a day on the bike.  It’s been five months, so it was way overdue.  Now, I am ready to do some shooting.  I want to gather locations in the area that I haven’t shot before.  I’ve done Washington Park and Tulip fest a million times.  Been to Plotter Kill falls and Ka’aterskill falls is a favorite of mine.

What I am looking for are places that I can take my photography group, The Capital Region Photography Meetup Group, and have interesting subjects for them to shoot.  I would love suggestions in the Albany, NY area.  I don’t mind traveling, but would like to keep it within an hour or so of Albany because members will need to travel and carpool.  I appreciate any suggestions you can give me.  Thanks in advance!

See ya soon…

Picture of the day 3-27

Yesterday was our 4th anniversary.  The past four years have had some ups and downs, but have, for the most part, been the most amazing four years of my life.  It’s not often that you meet someone who really gets you.  Someone who laughs at your corny jokes and likes a lot of the things you like, without just adapting to them.

Rose is that person.  She gets me.  She loves to encourage me and do things with me that she knows I love.  For that, I consider myself very lucky.  I could spend all day naming all of the things, but you would be bored and leave.  Let’s just say that she loves motorcycles and the Dukes of Hazzard.  Yeah, I am simple like that.

She doesn’t ask for much, so when she does, I try my best to do it for her.  Every year for our anniversary and her birthday, she asks me to make her a duck.  Duck is her favorite meal, and I enjoy it as well, so why not.    Last night was one of those nights.

I got the duck in the oven and had some time to kill, so I did the usual, Twitter, Facebook, yada yada.  After about an hour, I went down and peeled the potatoes and cleaned and sliced the mushrooms.  I was hoping to time everything just right to be done at the right time.  I can cook, but usually I focus on one or two things and that’s it.  With this meal, I had to make mashed potatoes, gravy with mushrooms, the sauce for the duck  and make sure the duck didn’t overcook.  Oh boy!

So, I got the potatoes boiling and started sauteing the mushrooms.  We saute them with a little butter, some garlic powder and Beau monde seasoning.  They then go into the gravy for some extra flavor.  If you’ve never tried it, get going!  It is amazing.

Below is the recipe I use from the Food Network website for the sauce.  I do make some changes to it while I am preparing it.  Feel free to do it by the recipe or doctor it up like I do.  Instead of using cherries, I use cans of Plums from Price Chopper and omit the scallions.  A word of warning!!!  This recipe requires the you flambe the mixture.  Please be very careful!  Fire is cool and all, but not when you burn down the kitchen!  If you can do this properly and without incident, the sauce is well worth it!

For the Brandied Cherry Reduction:

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons minced shallots
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 3/4 cup brandied cherries, halved
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups rich duck or chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 tablespoon cold butter
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Set a 10-inch saute pan over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Once the oil is hot, about 30 seconds, add the shallots, garlic and cherries. Cook the shallots, garlic and cherries until the garlic is fragrant and the shallots begin to caramelize, about 1 minute. Deglaze the pan with the brandy and tilt the pan toward the flame to flambe. Cook until the fire goes out, about 1 minute. Add the vinegar to the pan and continue to cook until it is almost completely reduced, about 2 minutes. Add the stock and chopped rosemary. Bring the sauce to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for 15 minutes, or until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat, swirl the cold butter into the sauce and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Dinner was fantastic!  Everything came out just right and it tasted so good!  Especially the Plum sauce!  What a great night!

Happy anniversary, honey.  I love you.

-Me

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On more than a few occasions, I have mentioned Assateague in my blog.  I have also mentioned that I grew up close to the area and really miss it.  Last week, I got a chance to head to Virginia, and while I was there, I drove over to Assateague to shoot some of the wildlife.  What I saw there was pretty scary.  A winter storm had caused some serious damage to the beach and the wildlife refuge surrounding it.  Trees were down all over the place.  Sand was blown from the beach all the way out to the toll booths some half a mile or more away.

The beach was almost gone.  The roads that usually branch off to the parking area were roped off and giant dump trucks were working feverishly to replace the sand that had been blown or washed away from the beach.  I have never seen it this bad in all my years going there.  Even the day I was there it was very windy.

While I was there I took a few shots of the wildlife.  It is my favorite part of visiting Assateague.  The wild ponies are almost always around, and this time was no different.  There were quite a few out in the pasture.  There are also always some great birds there.  Herons, egrets, ducks, geese and many others.  It is a photographer’s dream.  Here are some shots that I got that day…

Wild ponies and some downed trees

Wild ponies and some downed trees

He took off just as I was trying to get the shot

He took off just as I was trying to get the shot

Soaring away

Soaring away

Hiding from me

Hiding from me

Where is your favorite place to visit?  One that stands out in your mind…

**Note – You can follow Assateague on Twitter @AssateagueNPS **

Tastes like chicken…

That’s one of my favorite sayings.  I say it about all kinds of food and beverages all the time, jokingly.  Now that I have your attention, I’d like to tell you about a visitor we had two winters ago.

Here’s the scene…There was a crazy mix of snow/sleet/freezing rain going on outside on this particular day.  The roads were slick, and I had no reason to go out, so I was just hanging out around the house watching it snow.  I am not a big fan of winter or snow, but I really love to watch the snow fall.  It’s very peaceful to me.  So, I wander around the house from window to window, looking out to see the snow or whatever may be falling, and debating whether or not I should go out and do something with the driveway, or let it finish and then deal with it.

So, this lap brings me to the kitchen window.  As I look out, it looks just like the other 400 times I have looked out.  Wait.  What the…?  What is that in the tree?  Well, it’s a Red-tailed Hawk, and he’s eating something while being pelted by sleet.  WOW!  I have never seen anything like this before.  So, I grab the camera and go out on the front porch, under the overhang, to take some pics.  I was looking through the zoom lens when I realized what he was eating.  It was another bird.  There were two legs, and only a little bird left.  I really had never seen anything like this before.  Cannibal, I thought.

So, I am watching, and he drops what he is eating.  I can’t see anymore.  The car is in the way.  I grabbed the tripod and put on my shoes.  I had to get better pictures.  Standing in the middle of the driveway, about 15 feet away from the hawk, I am ready for a dive if this guy gets mad and tries to attack me.  He never flinched.  Just kept on chewing on his dinner.  I went back in after a few minutes because the camera was getting soaked, and it’s my baby.  I couldn’t live without it.

Here are the pics I got that day.  Have you seen any hawks in the area?  I saw one today on my way to Delmar.  Share your experiences.

Tastes like chicken

Tastes like chicken

On the ground

On the ground

Looks like it's a little stringy

Looks like it's a little stringy