|Junco in Winter near Rhododendron|
When I saw this Junco sitting on a branch in front of my Rhododendron it was like seeing a living Chinese pen and ink drawing. This color was photo taken late in the afternoon on a gray winter day. I snapped a couple of shots before the tiny bird flew off. It was sub zero out (Fahrenheit) so I think that's why he gave me a couple of extra seconds. (So much time!)
|Junco in Winter|
Thinking "Chinese pen and ink", I intentionally tried to frame the photo to look like an artwork. I cropped the photos to include lots of negative space. (Something I frequently don't remember to think about.) There is a term chiaroscuro that I think might also apply to the effect I was trying to get.
|Junco in Winter Artwork by Jeanne Selep|
Then I spent hours in photoshop creating the image above - where the background foliage is gray compared to the Junco. (I'm going to guess most people wouldn't have noticed the difference.) Note: It shouldn't take hours, if you know what your doing, but I was dodging individual pixels, it seems. In real life, the eye saw the bird very distinct from the background, but the camera metered and exposed the background and bird to even tones. The bird did not blend in with the background foliage like in the first un-altered photo.
|Yellow Throated Vireo or Pine Warbler?|
But back now to real birds. This Warbler or Yellow Throated Vireo above was taken at the bird bath before I had my camera on a tripod. The focus is sketchy, but I love the way the background is so unexpected for a natural bird subject (It's a mosaic bird bath base).
|Redbird at my birdbath|
These birds have red on them! One thing nice about the photos is that you can really study the birds to figure out what the bird is. When they are darting about, you can't figure out if the beak is small, long, etc. You can take your time with an identification book. I will leave it as an exercise for the reader... (professors some times say that) - have fun! Let me know what you find.
|Downy Woodpecker at feeder|
Above a Downy Woodpecker visits with some Warblers/Vireos. See the seed falling from the feeder? As the snow retreated about 20 pounds of birdseed appeared piled up under the feeders, and even the fat squirrels aren't interested in cleaning it up. Anyone else have this problem? I actually think that as the snow melts the birds go to newly uncovered food sources in areas where tons of birds haven't used the area above as a bathroom.
(Here's to posting without research!)
(Please let me know in the comments if you know unidentified birds or if I have misidentified any birds.)
|Bluebird Drinking #1|
I have a couple of leftover bluebird photos that I didn't use in my bluebird post (here) that I decided were too cute to pass up.
|Bluebird Drinking #2|
I'm super happy that my "bluebirds of happiness" post and my "winter garden post" both got lots of comments - each of them are over 50 comments and that is a new record for me! Thank you! I try to visit each site that comments.
|Junco in Winter Artwork by Jeanne Selep|
A fun gardening note for gardeners: Identifying birds isn't that hard with a good photo. But how many of you gardening types would ever identify the plant in the background as a rhododendron? It's part of a winter tale here in Wisconsin. I've always wanted a winter garden, the type you see in Washington DC and other warmer places, with green leaves - holly and ivy and more - frosted with snow. So when I was in Minnesota decades ago, I bought (4?) hollys and a 'hardy' rhododendron that I figured would survive and thrive in my zone 5(ish) area.
|Detailed Gardening Zone Map Poster|
The holly plants didn't make it (rabbits and more), but this rhododendron has survived and died (and reappeared) multiple times. Every winter the "green" leaves turn brownish and curl into (effectively) needles like on a pine tree.
|Junco in Winter|
Can you see the 7-8 (tiny) buds where the flowers will be in the photo above? They will bloom for less that a week, and then the plant will flail about awkwardly for the rest of the summer. I consider it my "Seussical" plant. Others have said to remove it, and it was once cut down as a weed, but I like my Seussical plant. My family insisted it never bloomed, (observant people they are) until I produced photos as proof of the plant's short and unimpressive blooming week(end). I have pursued a Winter Garden in my front yard you can see here with more success.
Click on the images to see them enlarged.
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|Mosaic Stepping Stone|
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I am linking up to these parties:
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Franca: Keep Calm and Carry On (Entry 18)