Photography · Poetry

Back Yard Photographer – American Robin

A Robin’s Song

A song is heard in the distance, beautiful and pure.

A song of love, beauty and cheer.

A song to hear at the start of the day.

A song of promise and happiness as we go on our way.

A song in the evening as the day fades.

A song encapsulating how the day played.

Poem by Kim Lawless

Thank you for stopping by and checking our my blog! Hope you have been having a wonderful day!

All photos are originals by Kim Lawless


Back Yard Photographer – Signs of Spring

American Robin

According to the calendar, Spring arrived a few weeks ago. I prefer Nature’s signs of Spring. They are much more fun to photograph. 🙂

Temperatures are trending warmer and the days are longer. More opportunities to capture photos of the birds and such in the back yard. Below are photos taken over the past few days. These birds have been in the yard earlier, but this was the first chance I had to capture their photos. Their colors are also much brighter as they are wanting a mate.

Hope you are getting to enjoy nice weather and some time outside!

Here’s a few photos:

Daffodils – the first flowers to bloom in my flower garden
Male Northern Cardinal showing off his colors and songs for his future mate.
Grackle – a bit of a pest, but some interesting colors
Male House Finch showing off his changing red colors
American Robin looking at the sun rise

Thank you for stopping by and checking out my blog! Hope you enjoyed the signs of Spring! 🙂

All photos are originals by Kim Lawless

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

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 – Trying out a new lens

Frank trying to be sneaky

So excited!! I recently got a new lens and I was able to give it a try. I now don’t have to be extremely close to the wildlife to get decent pictures or I don’t have to crop too much of the picture to get the exact image I was trying to get. Some cropping and editing are still required, but not to the extent that the picture is distorted. This lens should also help me capture the bald eagle photos I want. 🙂

This lens is heavier, so I need to practice stabilizing the camera when I am out and about taking photos. I do have a tri-pod that I will be working with more, but a tri-pod might not always be practical. I was joking around with friends and family that I will need to lift weights to build enough muscle to hold the lens. And in a year’s time I will have the best abs around as my core muscles will be developed to also help stabilize the lens and camera. 🙂 These comments are mostly exaggerations, of course, but handling the weight difference will take some practice. I am looking forward to the practice and the challenge!

The easiest way for me to practice is to go into my back yard and try to get some photos of the birds and Frank (the friendly squirrel). For these shots, I tried various ways to stabilize the camera: pure strength (required multiple shots and hope that at least one was good), sitting in a chair and using my knee as a brace for my elbow to minimize shaking and also, the deck railing to lean against and rest my elbow while holding the camera. I was surprised at how easy it seemed to be to just use my strength and get some decent shots. I didn’t have to take nearly as many photos as I thought I would need with this approach, however, it would reduce how much time I could spend shooting while on a walk or just at a particular subject. Using my knee while sitting in a chair worked, but it was awkward and had questionable results. Leaning/bracing using the deck rail, seemed to provide the best option for taking the photos, proving that I will need to use a tri-pod more and a little weight training won’t hurt. 🙂

All in all, I was happy with the overall results. I was able to get clearer pictures of the cardinals and other birds, since I didn’t spook them by getting too close. Here are the results (some cropping was still required):

Thank you for stopping by – hope you enjoyed the pictures and just a bit of a story. 🙂

All photos are originals by Kim Lawless