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Ongoing projects

Posts from the ‘nature’ category

Birds of Prey…..part 2

This is Xena, a Eurasian Eagle-Owl. 

These owls are wide spread in Europe and Asia and are categorized as ‘least concern’ in terms of conservation. These are really big owls, weighing as much as 10 lbs with wing spans up to 6 feet. Like hawks the female is the larger of the sexes. This particular owl was raised to be a wildlife educator/ambassador.

This photo lets you see how big she is. In case you’re wondering I haven’t made any adjustments to her eye color. The bright orange is a characteristic of the species.

In my second attempt at photographing birds on display I was trying to get something a little more interesting than ‘oh cool look it’s an owl’. I wanted to try and show a bit of the handler/owl interaction. I would have really liked to get some spectator reaction, interaction as well, but that didn’t happen. I was very pleased with the two shots above.

This is one of those almost, but not quite shots. The idea is good, shopping with your owl, do they sell mice as well as pork? But the composition just didn’t quite come together, but it’s an amusing moment and the Karl family sell outstanding meat.
I took these at the Rosendale Farmers Market in Rosendale, New York. Which is a lovely little market, that meets behind the movie theater, on Sundays in the summer.

Birds of Prey….part 1

This is my first attempt at photographing owls and hawks. The set up was a little awkward, bright sun, a canopy, and a fixed point of view. The effort was further complicated by the fact that I turn into a total fan girl when I get that close to birds of prey…..ah well. 

Barred Owl, it’s blind in one eye and is now used for educational outreach. 

Eastern Screech-Owls. They are variable in color and quite small, only 6 oz. it took me an absurd amount of time to realize only one of these were fake.

A Red Tail Hawk with a wing injury. It’s hoped that it will heal enough to fly and possibly be released.

I think this is a Sharp-shinned Hawk, but it might be a Broad-winged Hawk. They are both much smaller than I realized and there was too much lag time between the event and downloading the images….ah well. This image illustrates the lighting problems I had. The birds were kept in the shade due to the heat, but lack of space forced the handlers into the sun, creating a huge range of lighting conditions. Digital photography makes it much easier to correct a bad exposure, but it’s very easy to over adjust making the pictures oddly unbalanced.

Wildlife rehabilitators amaze me. The amount of time and work they invest in helping these animals is truly staggering……

Mandatory Fall Foliage 

A selection of my annual effort at capturing the Autumn spectacle….

Poison ivy and Virginia creeper always provide a good show.
Black Walnuts don’t get much color, but they back light quite nicely. I have a love hate relationship with my Black Walnuts, they drop their leaves early, leaf out late, and there are very few things that grow well near them. But they are stately trees with fabulous gothic shapes and they feed and shelter lots of wildlife.

Red Maple (Acer rubrum) this a commercially available variety, planted near a parking area, it gets great color every year. I wish I knew its name…..

Beech, Maple and Tulip trees with a it of grape vine. Beech trees turn yellow then pale brown becoming more translucent as the winter goes on. Some Beech trees keep their leaves well into winter, by the time they fall they look like rice paper.


Another version of the red maple above, it has a remarkable range of reds. 
These were all taken in Rosendale, NY in October. We are having a very good year for fall foliage. The only drawback is that the leaf peepers make driving on the weekends a bit more challenging than strictly necessary. But tourists are large part of our economy around here, so I will try to keep my whining to a minimum.


Mid summer landscapes, now that it’s fall…..

In past summers this field was cut for hay before it bloomed.


The allee beside the field.

You can just barely see the Gunks behind the trees.

The birds and the insects made good use of this field. Makes you wish we mowed less. All the short green grass looks good, but it doesn’t do much for the ecosystem.

Garden Critters

I didn’t have as many frogs this summer, but I still had an amusing assortment of critters in the garden.

One of my few frogs.

The ever present gold fish.

The caterpillar of a Black Swallowtail Butterfly, they are fond of Queens Anne’s Lace, Carrots and Parsley. It’s worth planting extra to help keep them feed.

Spiderwebs are very tricky to photograph.

There was a flock of sparrows that showed up at more or less the same time every day.

The Green Season

We are well into the green season here in the New York. It’s not as spectacular as Southeast Asia’s green season when the rice gets going, but it’s mine and I like it.

My favorite allee on route 32.

Last year I obsessed about the flowering trees, but the bloom time was so compressed this year (due to our crazy weather) that it blew right past me. So instead I focused on the ocean of ferns that erupt down the road.




I’m sure there are more fern photos in my future…..hope everyone else’s spring is as lush as mine.

Snow scapes….. and Trouble

Finally had a bit of sun the other day, so I had another go at snow photography. My previous attempt on an overcast day was disappointing at best.



This is snow on an overcast day, flat, drab, bland, decidedly not blue, which is the way I prefer my snow. It’s a good thing I was more interested in Trouble than the snow.

If it snows much more this winter I will have to figure out a way to photograph snow on a cloudy.


This trope has been done to death, but……





I blame it all on end of the year editing/review. It does help to remind me that it will eventually be warm and green again.


I haven’t posted in a while the weather and my stomach have been against me. But here’s a small offering of landscapes taken during a post snow temperature rise, roughly 30 degrees (Fahrenheit) over 12 hours, ugh. It does however cause awesome fog to go with the mud and the traumatic drop back down to below freezing.

My favorite allee on route 32 in Rosendale.

The hay field beside the allee.

South of New Paltz, near the Phillies Bridge road.

Just a little down the road.

Hope to return to some regularity in posting despite the cold. Wish me luck.

Last Look at Autumn…..part two

The first picture on the previous post was taken on October 18, easily three weeks after the trees had started changing. I really should keep track, even if only to satisfy my own curiosity. The photo below was taken on the 29 when the Maples finally really started to change.

This one was taken on November 2 different tree, different parking lot, but I’m fairly certain they are the same variety.

And yet another red tree in yet another parking lot. I think this may be the tree of choice for parking lots, though ‘October Glory’ gets a lot of use as well.

Having never mastered the traditional foliage shot, I lack both the patience and the proper equipment, I think I might instead document parking lot trees…….

My best guess is that these trees are ‘Autumn Blaze’ an absurdly popular landscaping Maple. What’s a little creepy is they are probably propagated by stem cuttings, which means they are clones, which means that it’s the same tree watching over us in all those parking lots …..a deciduous NSA ( I’ve been listening to too much public radio, I really hope it stops snowing soon).