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Posts Tagged ‘Alex’

This majestic osprey (Pandion haliaetus) was keeping a close watch on a fellow photographer and me as we pointed our long lenses in its direction as it perched high in a tree early one morning this weekend at Huntley Meadows Park.

osprey

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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Best wishes for a blessed and happy Easter to all who are celebrating this day. Earlier this morning I went to an outdoor sunrise service at my church at 6:30 a.m. and I am not getting ready for our normal morning service in a couple of hours. Easter is a bit later this year than in some years in the past and it was already light and pleasantly warm when we began our service—in past years we were often bundled up and needed flashlights to read the programs.

I chose two images to celebrate Easter. The first is a macro shot of a flower from a recent trip to Green Spring Gardens and it speaks to me of the growth and renewal of this season. The second is a shot of my PR (Prime Rib), my very own Easter bunny, who greets me each morning.

Happy Easter to all of you.

Easter

Prime Rib

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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Out of the corner of my eye I caught sight of some moment in the cattails. At first I thought it was a Downy Woodpecker, which I have sometimes observed pecking on the cattails in search of insects, but I quickly saw that this was a smaller bird. When it finally climbed higher on a cattail stalk, it became clear that it was a Carolina Chickadee (Poecile carolinensis).

Initially I had trouble finding this tiny bird in my viewfinder with the zoom fully extended, but eventually I was successful. I am really happy with the effect that I managed to achieve, with the darker-colored bird really standing out from the lighter-colored backdrop of the cattails. Normally I like to crop to focus attention on the subject, but in this case I like the images better with a considerable amount of open space around the chickadee.

I couldn’t decide which of these two image I liked more, so decided to include both of them. Sometimes I like the horizontal pose of the first shot, but at other times the open bill in the second shot draws me in.

It’s always fun to try to get shots of owls and eagles and hawks, but my moments with this little chickadee reminded me that the little birds have their own special kind of beauty.

Carolina ChickadeeCarolina Chickadee

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Angry bird? I don’t know for sure if this American Robin (Turdus migratorius) was angry, but it sure did not look happy when I started walking toward it on the boardwalk this morning at Huntley Meadows Park.

American Robin

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Have you ever tried to photograph a living subject—or even worse, a pair of them—perched on one of your knees? Depth of field is a huge challenge and even trying to frame the subject is complicated, especially when you have a 180mm macro lens on your camera.

Autumn Meadowhawks (Sympetrum vicinum) are the most friendly dragonflies I have ever encountered. I don’t know what attracts them—perhaps it’s curiosity—but I found out last year that they are prone to perch on me.

Surprisingly, they will even perch as a pair when they are still in tandem, the position that this species uses when the female is ovipositing, i.e. placing her eggs in the water after mating. The male hangs on to the female by the head, presumably to keep other males from interfering with the process.

In my initial attempt to get a shot of the couple, I focused on the male, and the female is completely out of focus.  For the second attempt, I tried to twist myself around to photograph them from the side and almost fell over in the process. The female is more in focus, but the male is now slightly out of focus.

As the season progresses, I’ll see if I can find some even more cooperative Autumn Meadowhawks and try to get a shot of one perched on one of my fingertips, as I did last year.

Autumn Meadowhawk

Autumn Meadowhawk

Later in the day, a male Autumn Meadowhawk landed on my leg and I had much better success in getting some clear shots. I used a similar approach, taking the first shot from above and the second one from the side. My pants are a solid tan color and it is interesting to see how it almost looks like I was wearing a seersucker suit.

Autumn Meadowhawk

Autumn Meadowhawk

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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