I have started carrying the camera with me as I do some of the routine outdoor chores; one never knows when a desert “Photo Op” might present itself. I had just finished taking a birdseed block and bell up to the feeders this afternoon, when two roadrunners, a male and a female (mates, I presume) showed up at the base of the poles where the feeders hang.
I was near the back door of the screened-in patio and had my telephoto lens on the camera at the ready. I snapped several shots of the birds as they lurked around the feeders waiting for an opportunity to snatch a goldfinch or other small bird as it might come to feed. Click on either bird to enlarge the image.
We saw these birds earlier in the day when the dogs alerted us to their presence. We saw them again as we were taking the dogs for a walk after breakfast. I got the shots above an hour or so after the last morning sighting.
This afternoon, I noticed a bright sun dog visible through the window in the living room. I grabbed my camera and took this photo of the sky with one of the front patio posts between the camera and the glare of the sun.
The original photo has been post-processed to achieve the effects of a slower film speed and shorter exposure time. It has further been processed to bring out the colors with a greater saturation setting. Click on the image to enlarge.
Last week, I bought a potted tulip plant at the garden concession in the supermarket. This week, the tulips are out and theyâ€™re a beautiful orange color. They are nearly the same color as my orange amaryllis flowers that opened last week. Click on the image to enlarge.
I read selected parts of “Canon EOS Rebel SL1/100D for Dummies” after I receiving my new SLR camera. Having converted from the ‘point and shoot’ mindset, I now try and compose my photos using book-recommended photographer techniques and camera settings, if possible.
I took this sunset shot after carefully composing the scene from our front courtyard as the colors of the sunset and sky combined into a rainbow of reds through purples. I used the foreground mesquite tree to partially mask some of the “ugly” infrastructure (power poles, etc.) such that the photo was all about colors and composition without distracting artifacts.
This view is looking west south west from just outside our front door. Camera settings: F4.0, ISO 125, Focal Length 75mm and exposure time 1/125 sec. Click on the image to enlarge.
I bought my Christmas Amaryllis bulbs about three weeks too late, but, now in the second week of the new year, they are coming out bright and beautiful. This is the first stalk out of three that will produce these beautiful orange flowers. We have never seen flowers this shade of orange, but they are very nice. Click on the image to enlarge.
As we gain more experience and proficiency in using the new camera, there is the urge to try something different, even if it involves adding a gadget or two (or more). The new camera is equipped with an IR detector which is used in conjunction with a remote control to release the shutter. This is good for a couple of things: (1) taking a group photo in which the photographer wishes to be in the photo and (2) shutter release for long exposures on a tripod without the shake associated with pressing the button on the camera. We acquired the IR gadget last week and it’s in the camera bag now.
Image: NEEWER EZa Digital Timer Remote
The latest gadget, depicted to the right, is an aftermarket electronic programmable remote shutter release that uses the camera’s external shutter release input port. In addition to just being able to release the shutter manually, it contains the electronics to allow programmable hands free operations.
The device has three timers. The first timer can be programmed to set the time to count down a predetermined delay before operations commence. The second timer sets how long the shutter is to remain open and the third timer sets the interval between multiple exposures, the number of which is also programmable.
I can see how this device can be used for astrophotography and for applications where digital noise can be removed using appropriate software. I’m going to read up on applications for this technology and hope that some of them might be of use here and on our travels.
Click on the image above to enlarge.
On Friday, I managed to photograph Venus and Mercury, our two sunward neighboring planets, which were only about 0.7° apart in the western sky just after sunset. It’s a good thing that I got this photo then, because the rainclouds rolled in the next morning and have been with us since, at least in the evening hours. The two planets continued their close proximity for a couple of days, but now are rapidly separating. Click on the image to enlarge.
I’m still messing with the new camera to continue exploring its various features. I needed to set the autofocus to a single, rather than multiple, focus points for use with the telephoto lens.
While I was out in the courtyard experimenting with the new setting, I saw a curve billed thrasher on the cholla in front of the house. Upon closer inspection through the viewfinder, I noticed that it held a twig in its beak. After I took this photo, the bird went deeper into the cactus where it and its mate are apparently building a nest. Click on the image to enlarge.
Exactly a week ago, the ground was covered with snow. Much of it, especially on the north side of hills, stayed for several days.
Today, however, is like spring again. There is no snow in sight. I broke out in a sweat in a T shirt hiking up on the hill behind the house. Although we don’t think winter is over by far, Damsel and I will take this nice weather for now.
The clock on the patio is reporting for mid afternoon, the time and date, phase of the moon (full) and a tropical 71.3 degrees in the shade. The phenomenon we are observing here is called weather.
It is not climate disruption, not global warming, not CO2 greenhouse effect and not urban heat island(1). It’s just weather, the same thing every year with the occasional anomaly. We’re good with that, so stop whining about what it ain’t.
(1) Urban Heat Island (UHI) is real enough, but not here in semi-rural Wickenburg.
I have been enjoying using the new camera a lot. The camera, as ordered, came bundled with a Canon 75-300mm EF telephoto lens. I’m still reading the aftermarket how-to book on the camera and accessories, but have had pretty good luck photographing some of the critters in our back yard.
I went out into the unimproved part of our lot and laid in waiting for some of the desert birds to come around to gather the goodies that Damsel and I put out to attract them. It was just a few minutes after I hung out the seed bell and block that a house finch (upper left) showed up to partake. There was also a cardinal (lower right) in the mesquite tree next to the feeders waiting for his opportunity. Earlier in the day when I took out the finch feeders, a little Antelope Ground Squirrel (lower left) showed up for a handout. As a bonus, a hummingbird (upper right) perched in the mesquite tree as I was headed back into the patio.
All of these (and more not shown) were taken in our back yard. Click on each individual panel above to see the full-sized photo.