Photography · Writing

Back Yard Photographer – Stormy Day

Snow covered

A winter storm came through our area leaving a foot of snow. Traveling was not recommended during this time, so I stayed home from work and took some pictures of the birds in the back yard. I had filled the bird feeders before the storm hit, so the birds would have plenty of food to get through the bad weather. Even on such a snowy, windy day, the feeders were busy. A few pictures from this day:

Snow Covered Fruit
A bit windy
Holding on Tight

The day after the storm the birds and the squirrels were busy getting through the snow to get to the bird seed that had been spilled the day before because of the wind. The birds stayed on top of the snow but would venture into the paths the squirrels created so they could get to the bird seed. I took a few pictures of the critters the day after the snow storm.

Looking for bird seed
Taking turns at the bird feeder
Not a fake back drop, just a snow covered field.

According to some, this was the most snow we have had in one day since a major snow storm in 1975. And there are other similarities – it took a couple of days to get the streets passable again and the children have had some great snow days to go sledding, build snow forts and snow men. 🙂

Do you have any snow day memories?

Thank you for stopping by – hope you liked the critter pictures. 🙂

All photos are originals by Kim Lawless

Writing

Back Yard Photographer – No Color Today

The other day it was cold and rainy outside so I decided it would be a good day to adjust some of my colored pictures to black and white. There was some additional editing that needed to be done in addition to removing the color. This was so the depth and clarity of the photo remained. If there is a break in the weather in the next few days, I might just get to take some pictures in black and white instead of having to manipulate them. 🙂

Here’s some of the photos with a variety of subjects just see to how they would turn out. Let me know what you think. Do you photograph in black and white or do you edit photos for the effect? Just curious about everyone’s opinions.

Male Elk getting a drink
Butterfly
Iris
Bison
Bird Watching
Wild Turkey
Grandson

For the most part, I think these turned out ok. However, some of these have quite a bit of noise in the photo. I wonder if this has to do with editing from a colored picture to black and white. What do you think?

Thank you for stopping by!

All photos are originals by Kim Lawless

Photography · Writing

Back Yard Photographer – This has a story?

Robin’s bath time

Every picture has a story and every story has a picture. Yes, this is true. Even the photos that didn’t turn out as planned can have a beautiful story.

I grew up when we used film in our cameras. After using all the pictures on the roll of film, we would take our photos to a Fotomat to have the film developed. In about a week or so we would go back and pick up our printed photos. My family always made a big deal of this. We would plan to go out for supper after we picked up the photos, then we would look at the photos while we waited for our meal at the restaurant. There were the photos that would make us say things like, “I remember that! It was fun!”, the photos that made us ooh and ahh at how pretty the photo was and we had the photos that would make us laugh- sometimes to the point of tears running down our cheeks because nothing in the photo turned out like we thought it would. Yes, waiting a week to see the photos does seem like a long time now, but there was nothing quite like the anticipation of picking up that envelope of photos.

For the most part, my mom was the photographer of the family. She captured all the holidays, vacations and family events. Part of the fun of getting the photos was seeing who would be missing from the photo or who would be missing a head. Mom didn’t always get the picture exact, but that didn’t matter as there was always laughter and always a story. I remember Mom looking at the photos and commenting, “Well, that isn’t how I thought it would turn out” or “He look! I got Uncle ___’s chin in this picture!!” Yes, we joked with her about her photography skills and we would laugh at the photos and sometimes, unfortunately, we probably were a little too mean with our words. However, Mom took the comments in stride and kept on taking pictures. Thank goodness she did – we have many great family memories and many wonderful stories.

I try not to post, what would be considered, less than perfect photos, but sometimes that is just what I do to tell the story. Bird photos can be a bit tricky. For me, it takes several attempts before I get a photo the way I want it. This makes for a lot of photos to go through and decide which ones really aren’t worth keeping. This is surprisingly hard – even with the bad photos. Sometimes the fun of the photo is what could have been – trust me, I have lots of those! Even when the photo isn’t perfect, there can be a perfectly beautiful or humorous story.

The escape

The blue jay in this photo had spent quite a bit of time on the fence post looking around and squawking. I had been taking pictures of some of the other birds and then decided to take a photo of the blue jay. He must have known something was up when I turned the camera towards him because he took off.

The food tastes better here.

The oriole had been enjoying the hummingbird food from one of the other flowers, which was making for a nice picture. Happily, I started taking pictures of him. That is the exact moment he decided to reach for the other flower. He’s balancing with his wing, so there is a blur on his wing. I didn’t know orioles would drink the hummingbird nector.

High wire act

On the day that this picture was taken, there had been several northern cardinals visiting this bird feeder. They would perch next to the tree for a bit and then hop to the feeder. They stand on the tiny branch, instead of the perch on the feeder, to get to the food. I liked the red of the cardinal against the gray/ brown of the tree, so I tried to get a picture of the cardinal perching. Instead, I captured him in mid hop.

We would like some privacy!

While walking on a beach, I noticed this beautiful damselfly. I was a bit of a distance away when I took this photo. It wasn’t until I got home and looked at the pictures, did I see what I had actually captured. There were two damselflies, shall we say, enjoying their time together. It wasn’t until I zoomed the photo to see how I wanted to edit the photo, did I see the true subject. I never did crop this photo.

These photos aren’t as classic as my mom’s family photos, but I smile when I see them. I hope you get a smile out of these too. 🙂

Thank you for stopping by!

Photos are originals by Kim Lawless

Photography · Writing

Back Yard Photographer – Cuteness Overload!

Nom, Nom, Nom… love those seeds!!

During the dark days of winter or just when ever some happy thoughts are needed, it seems to help to look at pictures of little critters enjoying their day – at least it helps me! 🙂

Ground squirrels are just too darn cute – that is until the destructive side starts to reveal itself. But then, those eyes!! I just can’t stay mad at them too long. I spend quite a bit replanting flowers in my garden every year, but… those eyes! I’m preparing (emotionally) for these little guys to be back in the Spring. At least when the are back, it is warm enough to spend some time outside. 🙂

Since these guys spend so much time in my yard (maybe I shouldn’t feed them?), thought I should learn more about them. The ground squirrels in my yard are referred to as 13 stripe ground squirrel. Here’s some fun little facts about this particular ground squirrel:

  • Dig burrows of 15 to 20 feet long with more than one entrance.
  • Litters are usually 7- 10
  • Usually solitary, may congregate in groups of 10 in a prime habitat.
  • The are climbers, but prefer the ground (I saw one climb a tree in my yard so he could get to the bird food.)
  • They eat freshly planted seeds and/or immature plants

There are some benefits to having ground squirrels around:

  • feed on weeds, weed seeds and insects that can cause damage to crops -this may not be a true statement for my yard… 🙂
  • Their digging might actually improve the soil. (I should have the healthies flower garden around!)
  • They are cute and fun to watch!

Not convinced yet that these little guys are cute? Here’s a few more pictures that might just convince you! 🙂

I can see better now
Strawberries!
I see yummies!!
Shhhh… I’m hiding
Brave hunter has found seeds

The ground squirrels and I had lots of fun last Summer, so I have far more pictures than I realized!! Hope you liked these few I picked out. Some days it is fun to just smile about silly things.

Thank you for stopping by my blog!

All photos are originals by Kim Lawless

Photography · Writing

Back Yard Photographer – Sunflowers, Sunshine and Warmth

A Kiss of Sunlight

We’ve been having some snowy cold days here in the middle of the U.S. So many days in a row now that a hint of the sun peeking through the clouds brings about a feeling of warmth. Remembering the days when my daughter and I would go for a drive and find a place where we hadn’t been before so I could take some pictures. Some of those days were more hot than warm, but always a good time. Also thinking about the days when I would walk around the lake, with my camera in hand, enjoying the gentle breeze as I took pictures of the landscape or butterflies or different birds. Ahhh… those nice warm days.

Needing some reminders of the warmer days, I went through my photos from last year of flowers and flowering weeds. These were some nice memories of warmer (and sometimes much hotter) days. If you are having day after day of cold and clouds, maybe these flowers will make your days a feel a bit warmer too.

First Buds of Spring
Pretty in Pink
Standing tall
Hundreds of wishes to blow in the wind
Uniquely One
Reflections

Until I can get back outdoors to take more photos, I am content to spend my evenings on the couch, with a blanket on as I write or edit photos or read but mostly, spending time on social media or watching some TV (British comedies are a favorite to watch) or playing solitaire on my laptop, each of these with my cat cuddled up next to me. Not really a bad way to spend time on a cold night. 🙂

However you are spending your time, I hope you have enjoyed looking at these photos.

Thank you for stopping by!

All photos are originals by Kim Lawless