Photography

Back Yard Photographer – Butterflies and Warmer Weather

Weather can be quite the funny thing. Last week we had negative temperatures and this week most days are near 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius). Warmer weather gets me thinking about Spring, flowers and butterflies. Basically – I want some time outside, enjoying the weather and taking photos. 🙂 There is still plenty of snow on the ground, so flowers and butterflies are still a few months away. So flower and butterfly photography will have to wait a bit yet. So I went through some past butterfly photos and picked a few of my favorites. (Is it bad to have favorites of your own photos?)

These pictures have been taken over the past three years, so they are varying degrees in quality. I still like them as there are some fun memories in these photos for me. In the beginning, I was excited to just capture the subject clearly enough to recognize it. Since then, the excitement isn’t just about the composition of the photo but also the quality and the steps taken to get those photos.

I hope these photos make you think about warmer weather and/or some happy memories.

Hope you enjoy the photos! Thank you for stopping by and checking out my blog!

All photos are originals by Kim Lawless.

Photography · Writing

Grateful and not Grumpy

Snow… after a several days of shoveling over and over again and/ or road conditions making it nearly impossible to go anywhere, it is difficult to find reasons to be grateful for it. However, snow does have a beauty to it that is hard to ignore. There is a sense of magic in the air when witnessing the falling snow – all those unique individual flakes are enchanting to watch. Then there is the landscape after the snow stops – the beauty and the serenity. What about all the opportunities to play – building snowmen, making snow angels and making ice cream out of the snow.? (Didn’t realize there was such a thing as ice cream snow. More proof you learn something new every day.)

Having gained a renewed an appreciation for the snow, I thought this would be a good day to stretch my photography skills and practice taking snow photos. I’ve been reading up on capturing snow in it’s most pristine condition. In the past, I have tried to take pictures of the freshly fallen snow, but have always ended up with very gray photos needing editing. Most of the time the editing really made the photos seem unrealistic. This, of course, was the result of the photo not being as good as it could have been and over doing it in the editing process.

After researching, it was time to go out and practice what I learned. Getting outside and trying some of the different techniques I had read about was exhilarating. Warm and layered clothing was needed for this quick excursion. It was cold outside. The destination was a short distance from my house, so I wasn’t worried about getting too cold. The snow had also stopped which meant less worry about my camera. Well, it was much colder than I had expected (hint – check the temperature before going out). The temperature was 7 degrees fahrenheit (-13.8 celsius). I had dressed for cold weather, but not this cold. This meant I didn’t get to try various techniques for snow photography. However, the ones I was able to do resulted in better photos with snow than I have taken in the past.

Not much editing was needed for the below photos – just a little cropping and some contrast adjustments. They are a little unclear in some spots as I didn’t have my tri-pod with me. This would have helped since I was shooting in aperture mode. Sometimes there is only so much that can be done. The weather around here is going to continue to be cold and snowy, so there will be more opportunities to try out different techniques in the coming days.

A couple of the photos are more gray than what I would like, but that means there are some adjustments that should have been done when I took the photo. Now I know what to try next time.

Admittedly, the snow has been getting to me and I have been a bit grumpy about it. There really isn’t anything I can do about it – so why waste time and energy on something I can’t change? Instead, I am choosing to be grateful for the beauty and the opportunities the snow has provided. 🙂

What do you think about the snow? Do you have a favorite activity to do in the snow? Does it make you grateful or grumpy?

Thank you for checking out this post !

All photos are originals by Kim Lawless.

Photography · Writing

Gratitude – Thankful to Experience All Four Seasons

When looking outside and seeing all the snow and knowing the temperature is not above freezing, it is a bit difficult to be thankful for Winter, however it is a season with a purpose. Some days I just need to be reminded of that. 🙂 I am grateful for Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn. All four seasons have their own special beauty and a unique reminder of the beauty that is truly within nature.

SPRING – trees and flowers begin to bud and bloom. A time of rejuvenation.

SUMMER – Various shades of green and a beautiful warming sun. A time to enjoy all that life has to offer.

AUTUMN – Natures colors at their best! Cooling temperatures and thoughts s’mores. 🙂

WINTER – Colder temperatures, warm sweaters. Knowing the gift of each day, even if the stormy cold doesn’t always feel like a gift. 🙂

Gratitude – being thankful and showing appreciation…

Thank you for stopping and taking a look! I hope your day finds you happy and feeling blessed.

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