Swan,gray skies and will Spring ever get here?

As some of you know, Molly and I had our 27th wedding anniversary on March 20th…..the first day of Spring. We usually head to Gaston’s Resort for our annivesary. We look forward to relax and photograph bluebirds, tree swallows and all the critters along the White River.

I say usually because we had to cancel our visit. The Missouri/Arkansas line got hit with about 5+ inches of snow and ice with a promise of more to come. The narrow roads do not make travel feasible in those conditions. So…..no bluebirds but you photograph what you can when you can.

We spent a nasty( per Molly),cold,cloudy and windy  Friday afternoon at Columbia Bottoms hoping to get images of harriers or pintails or mallards. We got Northern Shovelers. 🙂 Gray skies mean bland white backgrounds for flight shots but also mean soft light and saturated colors  for water level shots.

Before going home, we decided to scout Riverlands in case we wanted to go there on Saturday. A surprise was finding a swan still in the channel east of the Heron Pond. Really late in the year for swans. We hope the bird isn’t injured but it would be a treat to be able to photograph a swan at close range when the Heron Pond is open to foot traffic in a couple of weeks.

According to the weatherman, we are looking at 4+ inches at our house by dark on Sunday. The bright spot? By the time I retire  Friday, March 29, it is supposed to be in the 50’s….I must be doing something good karma wise…….. Spring…..ya got to love it.


Saturday March 16 2013

Saturday was forecast to be partly sunny and then cloud up in the afternoon.The Channel 4 weather app said that Alton was 54 degrees and Clear at first light when we started loading the truck with tripods and the clutter photographers tend to carry with them. As I put food out for the backyard birds, the sun looked like it would break out within the hour. As we got closer to Alton, the sky became more and more overcast. The thermometer in the truck said 40 degrees.

By the time we got to the peregrine site, it was obvious the weather app was wrong.*DUH!!*

White skies made for challenging photography and the brisk NW wind coming off the Mississippi River made staying warm even more challenging. Molly toughed it out for about an hour getting the peregrine shot above but finally had to retreat to the truck. She elected to shoot off the Apex bean bag to get the pelican captures in the slideshow. The flock of pelicans in the slide show were at the mouth of Brickhouse Slough which was waaaaayyyyyy across the river from the peregrines and demonstrates using a 500 as a ‘wide angle’ LOL.

The ever cheerful Carolyn Schlueter rolled up around 9:30 and we all had a pleasant chat while trying to stay warm and do a little photography.

The images in the slide show only needed a little sharpening and cropping…once again Molly nailed them.

Rainy days and Mondays……….

Are days to work on old images. These are from 2009. The owl is from Wings of Spring and the egret is from the old days. Playing with Nik’s software for the conversion to black and white. The egret is a straight up image taken at first light which really made the water blue.

All images taken with the Canon MKIIN and the 100-400

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CONGRATULATIONS and a rainy morning backyard bird photo shoot

Congratulations to our good friend Carloyn Schlueter for winning the People’s Choice in the Leaving No Trace exhibition sponsored by Framations Custom Framing and Art Gallery. You can see Carolyn’s image and the other winners here http://www.framations.com/leave-no-trace.html

Molly and I are staying close to home today because of some urgent  family business. That means continuing to photograph backyard birds so we can stay by the phone. The weather folks said we might get a few sprinkles this morning and we have had nearly a steady rain most of the morning. While I get impatient wanting Spring to get here and all the photography opportunities it will bring, shooting our feeder birds allows us to develop the skills we will need when we go out and photo the “wild” birds.

3 at random shots from our rainy morning feeder birds- click for larger image and remember to use your back button to return to this page.

Just a quick post

As the date approaches where I put the Saint Louis County Assessor’s Office in my rear view mirror,my time to get out and photograph has been limited to shooting backyard birds. The thing that makes getting some of the photos is the platform feeder I made years ago with the perch set up and the fine folks at El Mel having reasonable prices on black oil sunflower, safflower seeds and unshelled peanuts.

If you have never been to the north county El Mel, you are in for a treat. They have feeders near their parking lot ( I keep telling Molly she should go photograph there after she gets off work). Every time I go in, it reminds me of the old general and feed stores you used to find in every small town.Bird food,gardening tools,seeds for the garden and all the things you would need to show off your green thumb are all there. Add the  friendly people who work there and you have a place I can recommend to any of my friends with no hesitation.

In case you are wondering….no, we don’t get a discount 🙂

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Well….it is official

Turned in the paperwork to retire from St Louis County. Twenty six years ago..today (March 2), I went to work there. March 29 will be my last day and I am looking forward to being able to photograph, fish and hunt more than working a 40 hour job allows.

Haven’t had a lot of time to photograph with the weather but was able to get out this am. I had originally thought about going to Columbia Bottoms and seeing if I could find snow geese and ducks. We had a surprise birthday party to go to  for Sue D, so I went to Riverlands. Riverlands was ok but I just didn’t feel like photographing the swans, specklebellys ( white fronted geese) and assorted dabbler ducks since the wind was not good for flight shots.

George G and Jeff K sent me peregrine falcon images and since it was just down the road… off I went. I could not find them at first scan but they started to cry and flew. Here are 3 images that I liked from the session.

Call it Ready,Set,Go

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