Friday, February 25, 2011


The instructor of the photography class said that just because you have a good camera, it doesn't necessarily mean you'll take better pictures, just like having a nice pen won't make you a good writer. While I understand what he was driving at, there are just some things I can do with this camera that I could never do before, no matter how much I wanted to!

After missing some pictures I really wanted to get, I remembered to "stick with what I know" for the important shots. Experiment when it doesn't really matter. Just like using a new grooming product for the very first time at a dog show. You only let that go wrong once!

And so I was rewarded:

What a gorgeous bird! A Rough-legged Hawk, I had never seen one before. I could never get this type of shot in the past, and the good news is, I know I can get even better ones with practice. Birds of prey are challenging to get as they are very wary.

These guys have feathers on their legs right down to their toes, hence their name. Since they breed in the Arctic they need the extra covering. I love the Indian blanket-type pattern underneath.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Ignorance Was Bliss

The first course on the camera was fine, filled up my head, but it all made sense. I was at the same place as everyone else in the class and looking forward to trying things out. I didn't get a chance to play with the camera at all and the second course was upon me. Too soon. This time I was more than a little lost, and it seems everyone else had had their cameras quite a bit longer than I had. I should have waited.

I came home and took lots of pictures - dogs, birds, landscapes, people - trying out what I thought I might have understood about settings - and didn't like a lot of them. I have to try and figure out where I went wrong, because in most cases I don't know. I liked my ignorant pictures better!

I did get some pictures I quite liked though, so not a total loss. Good thing for digital, I know I wouldn't have the patience to try and figure this out with film. Even with the disappointments, it's still a thrill to be clicking through pictures and hit on one that you instantly love what you see.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

A Little Bird

It's been a while since I've been in the mood to open up my blog. The grieving process being what it is, I find I have to go with how I feel and this time that meant just doing the things I had to do. So my camera and my blog have been pretty idle. But, starting to feel better now and so thankful for all the support given to me, especially by all the staff at my vet clinic and my sister and of course Terry, who had his own grieving to do. The remaining dogs have benefited, as I always find I want to spend even more time with them at times like this. I feel a need to keep them as close as I can.

Anyway, the best place to jump back in is where I left off. These three pictures of a Red-breasted Nuthatch were taken with the new camera, while testing it out and before taking the courses. I was really pleased how they turned out.

Looking at it blown up (click on photo) it looks like the bird has a bluish eye. Seems it has a grey-blue eye rim? Pretty.

They are the same size as Black-capped Chickadees. I'm thinking those little etchings on the branch are bird-nail scratches.

These three pictures are all of the same bird, a female. In the male the cap (line above the white stripe above the eye) is black instead of grey like this one. I'm still seeing a blue-grey eye rim on this bird. I'm thinking the males might have black eye rims, I'll have to check the next time I get up close and personal.

Monday, February 7, 2011

It's Something We All Know

...that life is anything but fair.

Max (and a piece of my heart) - October 8, 2003 - February 7, 2011

Max - May 2010

Baby Max - 4.5 months

Max - July 2009

Sunday, February 6, 2011


of a red rodent. This winter, all we have are the red squirrels, I think they outwitted,outplayed and outlasted the grey and black ones. Little, feisty and persistent, they are a challenge sometimes to have around, but beautiful none-the-less. Their brilliant orange red colour is so attractive.

I went to the first of two courses on the new camera. I can say I'm glad I jumped in and did this fooling around with it before attending the class. It was a bit intimidating to find out how little I really know and how much there is to learn. Oh well, I'm happy so far with my pictures and it's all about the journey!

One more small set to post from my sunny day test with the new camera. Sadly, no sunny days since then. I want to try photos of the dogs next. Getting itchy to get out with it again!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Winter Wings

Finally the sun came out so I could get myself outside and try out the big lens. We all know what it means when the sun shines in January - it's absolutely freezing out. I went out three times, fooling around with different shots, settings, etc. while quickly freezing. Lots to figure out still, haven't done the courses yet either.

These are some of the shots I got, with more to come.

My little favourite.

Downy Woodpecker male. I thought the above two shots quite sharp and showing more feather detail than I've been able to get.

The White-breasted Nuthatch I've been trying to get a picture of forever. This one isn't bad, love the way it shows the feather colouration, will keep trying for a good shot in a more natural setting. This one is a male, on the females the dark colour on the head to the shoulders is more gray.

The American Goldfinches do stick around in the winter, but I don't see very many of them like I do when the weather is nicer. It seems odd to see them in the snow.

Dark-eyed Junco female. The males are a darker shade of charcoal.

My little friend again, bracing against the wind.

A male of the species, often referred to as "good husband" - can be considered rare. Female often found watching him through the window. She can be heard later singing his praises for blasting out two paths across the front lawn for ease of access to bird feeders and picture taking in winter.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Testing, Testing, 1-2-3

Got the new camera and lenses out of the boxes, set it up, and figuring it out. Reading the manual and taking pictures of stuff on the walls, etc. to test it out. Brighter indoor pictures than the old camera.

My sister came over with her Sheltie, Colby, who is the only dog in his household. Colby and our visitor Amy - who is fine with our dogs but doesn't play with them at all, only with her "sister", just fell in love with him - and vice versa. It was funny to watch. They played outside non-stop for over an hour. She is 8.5 and he is almost 10, but they were like puppies, it was cute. Showing my sister my new camera, I took pictures of these two playing through the living room window and not in great light, just for fun. I was pretty happy how they turned out, considering! These are the first pictures of "something" - not just pointing and shooting at anything to figure it out, that I've taken with my new camera. These were just with the small lens.

A girl who loves him - how great is that! This camera captures action (faster shutter) SO much better than my other one.

Amy the bi-black is a Netta daughter and Colby the sable is a Wild Card son - half brother to Mason.

They kept this up for so long, both of them were exhausted. When they came in the house, Amy snuggled in her bed in the kitchen. When Colby went up to her in her bed, she almost took his head off. You could tell he was totally perplexed - what's up with her?? He kept trying but she showed him every single one of her teeth, all at once.

My sister told him - "It's okay Colby - that's why they call them bitches". Too true!

Out today in the freezing cold (but sunny) with the big lens, will post the results soon.

I think I'm going to like this camera.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Happy 12th Birthday Mason!

A new month, another senior birthday!

Hard to believe that Mason is 12 years old already. Seems like yesterday that I brought him home for a temporary visit - and here he is firmly one of the pack and turning 12.

His birthday concludes our rash of senior birthdays within one month, Holly turning 13 January 2, Tiffany turning 12 January 4 and now Mason's turn on February 1st. We now have 4 dogs that are 12 years old and older. Except for Netta, all of them would have no trouble passing for younger than their age. Mason could easily pass for about 8 years old. No grey at all on this very black boy.

I will continue to mark the birthdays of our dogs at 10 years old and over, as they are important milestones. Shelties can live to very old ages, as I've posted here in the past, more so than many other breeds. However, when people ask me how long do Shelties live, I always say that anything over 10 years old is a gift, although 13-14 years old is not uncommon. 15 and 16 are doable and happen often enough, but are more rare and I would consider that a very old age. Anything over that is really very notable and not very common, but does happen.

Poeple often comment on "all the oldies" here - yes, I am aware of the heartache down the road for us. I know. But, I love old dogs, mine and anyone else's. So I don't look ahead, I do like they do, take each day as it comes.

Happy 12th, Macey!

I've written quite a lot about Mason and his kids in the past. If you want to read more about him, under Post Index in the sidebar click on his name to bring up all the posts related to him.