Karma's When I Feel Like It Blog

January 19, 2013

A New Toy

Thanks to a couple of B&H Photo gift certificates I’d received as Christmas gifts, I recently purchased a new lens for my Rebel. It is a Sigma 70-300mm zoom with a macro switch. It is heavier than I am used to using – my longest lens up til now was my 55-250mm – and there is no image stabilization, so it will take a little getting used to, but so far I’m pleased.

I stood in the sunshine coming through the sliding glass door to my deck this afternoon and waited in the warmth for birds attracted to the suet cake I hung on one of my planter hooks for the winter. These shots were taken from about 15 feet away with my new lens (SOOC, no cropping or editing):
chickadee and cardinal

male cardinal

approach to suet
I was quite surprised to find this shot of the little downy woodpecker approaching the suet feeder; I hadn’t realized I was shooting at that time.

downy woodpecker 1

downy woodpecker 2

I’ll be looking forward to spending some more time getting to know my new lens!

December 31, 2012

My Favorite Photos of 2012

Since I started blogging in 2010, I’ve done a wrap-up of my favorite photos of the year.  They aren’t always my more “technically” good photos, but photos I’ve come to enjoy for one reason or another.  I believe these photos have all appeared on the blog already this year, but that is because I am always anxious to share my favorites with you!  The photos that follow are in chronological order approximately one for each month of the year, but in one case I didn’t find anything I liked all that much in a month (February) and for April and July I couldn’t make up my mind between two shots, so you get them both for a baker’s dozen total.

In January, I was finally able to get a close-up shot of a Mr. Cardinal that made me happy:
mrcardinal3

In March, I felt lucky to grab this shot of a soaring hawk, with feathers strongly defined:
hawk1

In April, I went on and on about one of my favorite vacations of all time, the cruise we took. Meghan and Sarah, first day on the ship and taken with my Blackberry, remains a favorite:
IMG-20120416-00079
There were so many beautiful sights from the cruise, but I wanted to share a shot that I love for its simplicity:
IMG_7695
The warm, turquoise Carribbean water brings me back to those precious days when there was little to worry about and happy memories were being made.

May brought me a picture of one of my favorite types of flowers, a bearded iris, that I was very pleased with how it came out. It was the header picture here on the blog until very recently:
IMG_8033

Ah, June! The end of the school year, the start of my favorite season. Yummy raspberries are a nice representation of the many good parts of summer.
fresh raspberries

July is the month when my butterfly bushes start going wild and bring many winged visitors. This monarch was one of my best butterfly shots this year:
King of butterflies

I just love this photo of Sarah from her birthday party. Her braces had been removed and her smile was big and genuine:
Sarah1

As part of a photo hunt that everyone really seemed to enjoy, the “Ends of the Earth”, I took this photo in August from our little mountain here in town:
mountain2

In September, my summer dreams faded away with the weather. This dahlia reminds me of the warmth of the afternoons that I continued to enjoy as long as I could:
Dahlias #2

October brought a blog-along walk over at Robin’s Life in the Bogs. I found myself doing some quiet contemplation while watching birds appear before my lens. I loved this sweet little chickadee:
chickadee

I was happily surprised to have the opportunity to photograph an eastern bluebird for the first time in November. It isn’t a wonderful photo, but I was thrilled with the chance to get this picture:
Eastern bluebird

How ironic that I spent December wishing for a gentle blanket of snow to take pretty pictures in and then ended up sharing this adventure with you just yesterday! (If you haven’t read it yet, go ahead, have a peek!) I still really like this picture of my new snowman ornaments, even if I could now do without the sentiment:
"Let it Snow" 2

Happy New Year everyone. I hope that 2013 brings you good health, and paraphrasing the words of a fellow blogger, enough of what you need most.

October 20, 2012

Accidental Birding

Don’t you love it when you end up with some photos you weren’t expecting to take that you really like?  That happened recently for me and I was able to add some new shots to my bird collection.

I mentioned in my  last post that I actually took two walks for Robin’s blog-along walk, but that I wasn’t overly happy with my photos from the first walk.  Near the end of that walk, I stopped and paused on a little bridge over a creek.

IMG_8977

I tried to just relax and take in the quiet sounds around me: the burbling of the brook, rustling of leaves in the wind, and bird song.  While I leaned on the fence of the bridge, something changed.  My eyes suddenly were able to see birds flitting everywhere right in front of me.  I’m not sure if they appeared there after I stilled my body or if the stilling of my body is what allowed me to see what was already there.

catbird and robin

Catbird and Robin.  (Too bad it wasn’t a “batbird”, huh? 😉  )  These two are birds that I see in my backyard constantly, but I liked having the two of them together in one shot.  The pink leaves and red berries made a nice backdrop too.

Gentle shaking of nearby pine branches caught the corner of my eye.  I refocused my eyes to try to find the cause of the motion and saw one of my favorite little birds, our Massachusetts state bird, the chickadee.
chickadee

Just beyond the chickadee, rustling the dry leaves, no doubt searching for tasty insects, I saw a bird that I’ve seen plenty of times, but of which I’d never managed a photo, a northern flicker.

northern flicker

Later that week while I was lazily staring into my backyard, I spotted a little bird that I couldn’t identify.  It wasn’t an overly distinctive bird, but I thought it was rather sweet looking.

phoebe1

My photos of it aren’t spectacular, as I quickly ran to grab the camera before it flitted away, but I believe this is an Eastern Phoebe, a small species of flycatcher.  That seemed to be about right as I watched it perch in various places around my yard and then suddenly dart into flight – I’m guessing to snag a fly out of the air.  These next two photos are very blurry, but I thought they were still kind of neat.

phoebe2
I see you tasty fly!”

phoebe3
“Coming to get ya!”

I don’t think I’ve ever taken a picture of a bird in flight with its wings closed before.  It struck me kind of funny, like someone had picked the bird up and tossed it into the air.

Nice what you can find sometimes when you aren’t really looking!

February 5, 2011

Bird Feeder Antics and Excellent Treats

First thing I saw when I wandered down the hall this morning were some acrobatics being performed on the bird seed bell:
gray squirrel antics 4

He reaches up for more seed:
gray squirrel antics 2

And then hangs upside down to eat them!

gray squirrel antics 3

I had many of the birds I’ve already shown you pictures of this week, as well as a couple of new comers, also crowding the feeders this morning.

I think this is a white-breasted nuthatch:

Nuthatch

The chickadees returned too.  In this photo, there is a black-capped chickadee on the left, but I’m not sure about the bird on the right.  It looks like a chickadee, but I’m not sure what type.  I’d love it if you might be able to let me know in the comments:
Chickadees

Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal did make a brief appearance this morning as well, but I was either too quick or too slow to get a picture, depending on how you look at it.  I saw Mrs. Cardinal out of the corner of my eye, and quickly grabbed my camera figuring Mr. was probably close by as well.  However, I think my quick movement in the window spooked them and they took off before I could get the picture.

The squirrels and birds were not the only ones to have excellent treats (to steal a term from Gerry Sell over on Torch Lake) this morning.  I recently discovered Dunkin Donuts has new chocolate lovers’ donuts for February.  These required investigation:

New DD donuts for February

(Sorry I didn’t think to take the picture before I had a bite!)

Top left: Reverse Boston Creme – white frosted chocolate donut with chocolate creme

Top right: Cocoa puff – sugar dusted chocolate donut with chocolate creme

Bottom right: Cocoa confetti (without the confetti) – chocolate donut glazed, normally with sprinkles.  Different from usual very heavy chocolate cake donut; it was light and fluffy, as were the other two new chocolate ones.

Bottom left: Cupid’s Choice – heart-shaped, filled with vanilla creme and decorated with pink icing and Valentine sprinkles.  My Sarah is not a big chocolate donut fan, so I thought she would prefer those.

Quite delicious!  I think my waistline would prefer I stay out of Dunkin Donuts this month.  My mouth disagrees.