Showing posts with label Photography. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Photography. Show all posts

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Reviewing Hawks in my Backyard

Young Cooper's Hawk
I have always enjoyed watching the birds at the feeders in our backyard and have been told to watch out for Hawks because they can kill the birds.  Because of this, I had never really studied much about Hawks and just considered them a bird to avoid.  Recently I have photographed some Hawks in and around our backyard and now I have a new appreciation for the fascinating creatures that they are.  Up in the air they always looked menacing, but when seen up close in a photograph I realized what beautiful details they have.  In this post I will share with you some information on two of the Hawks I have photographed in our yard.  The first is the Cooper's Hawk and the second is the Red-Shouldered Hawk. 

Cooper's Hawk

I have seen Cooper's Hawks or at least what I think are Cooper's Hawks fairly often in our area.  The photo above was taken on our back fence.  It was identified by several people on bird sites online as a young Cooper's Hawk, so I feel fairly confident with that identification.  Sometimes I find hawks colorings are so similar, especially with the differences in adults and juveniles that I am not sure of my identification.  I wrote a review on one of my favorite bird books several months back.  It is the book I used to find the information on the Cooper's Hawk.  Here is a link to that review. What it's Like to be a Bird
Here is what it has to say about the bird.
  • It is a medium-sized hawk at about 16 inches long.
  • They often keep watch at feeders and then swoop in low hoping to surprise the flock.
  • They target mid-sized birds that are slower flyers such as doves and starlings.  These birds are easier for them to grab with their talons.
  • The juveniles have vertical brown streaks on their chests with brown back while the adults will have tight horizontal reddish barring on their chests with gray crowns and backs.  Both have barred tails that are rounded at the tips.
Here are a couple photos that I think fit these descriptions.



 Red-Shouldered Hawk


The photo above is a Red-Shouldered Hawk.  I captured it sitting on the satellite dish on the roof of the house behind ours.  I zoomed in and quickly took this shot before he flies away and then I carefully check my camera settings and tried to wait for him to turn his head, so I get him looking my way.  Before I could get another shot, he took off and I was able to capture him in flight.  I am particularly proud of this shot. It was the first time I had seen one of these hawks.

I looked him up in my guide to backyard birds and found the following information.

  • It is a fairly common, medium to large hawk.
  • The adult has reddish colored upperwing coverts and also densely barred reddish underparts. The wings and tail are dramatically barred in black and white.
  • The juvenile has brown-streaked underparts and a dark tail with many pale bands.
  • They make a loud screaming sound that sounds like (KEE-ahh) which is given in a series.
  • They are widespread and found in well-watered woodlands and suburban areas with nearby wood lots. 
  • They are a perch hunter and feed on frogs, snakes, lizards and small mammals.
  • Their nests are located high in trees and are made of bulky sticks.

Here is a link to the book where I got my information.




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Thursday, September 8, 2022

Review of Sculptures in OFallon MO

Tumbleweed by Alison Oullette-Kirby

I live in O'Fallon Missouri, which is located about 45 minutes west of St. Louis.  I am fortunate to live in a town that provides some wonderful cultural events and displays for all to see.   We have community theatre, musical concerts, displays by various artists and so much more.  One cultural event that was started in 2020 is a rotating sculpture series.  This series runs for 18 months and then the sculptures are replaced with another rotating set of art.   I wrote about the first group of sculptures in my review called A Review of 2020 Fall Favorites.  In this review I will be looking at some of the sculptures that are in the 2022/2023 rotation.  Over the past few weeks, I have taken my camera along to photograph the sculptures.  Some of the photos lend very well to black and white photography and others I prefer in color.

I think it is best to let the artists describe their own works, so I am adding quotes from the O'Fallon website The Shape of Community.  All of the photographs are mine. 

2022/2023 Sculptures


The sculpture at the top of this post is called Tumbleweed and is located in front of the O'Fallon city hall.  Here is what the artist Alison Oullette-Kirby has to say about her art.

Through the objects I make I endeavor to build allied relationships between a viewer and myself. Most often, I build work that either creates or stands as an expression of uncertainty, instability, discomfort, and awkwardness. These are states of being I believe are shared points of mutually understood, if not uncomfortable contemplation. The forms I make are familiar, specific, and recognizable; yet the circumstance in which they are presented can be uncomfortable though highly crafted. In a way, the objects become surrogates for my state of being, and a mechanism for me to engender analogous relationships with others.

Infinite Green


Infinite Green by Leticia Bajuyo

The above sculpture is one that I believe needs to be photographed in full color.  It is made from repurposed artificial grass and a push-mower salvaged from a neighbor's trash on trash day.  It is seen here in front of the Ozzie Smith Sports Complex.  Here is a quote from the website.

 INFINITE GREEN stirs the questions: What is ultimately sacrificed in an endless quest for the perfect lawn, the perfect home, the perfect life, the perfect version of the American Dream? To what end do our natural resources withstand overuse, and what price will we pay for their exploitation?

With Solid Sound and Stable Stance 



The photograph at the left is residing in front of the local ballpark.  It is entitled With Solid Sound and Stable Stance and is by artist Noah Kirby.  Here is what Noah has to say about his art.

Through my artwork I am exploring my place in our collective world; how to relate where I’m from with where I’m at. I endeavor to define my role as a contributor in a larger context, frequently taking a critical view of social, political and cultural issues that alienate how a singular individual relates in our collective culture. Often referencing my working class roots in labor and construction, I explore ideas of authority by juxtaposing my familiarity with trade oriented materials and processes with abstract forms and structures. My works are often partitions that create a separation or demarcate a boundary. I see them as moments of contingent space where the viewer is faced with the circumstance of their own authority. In asserting my place in the world in this manner I can express my class identity and connect with those that would value the constructed world as a meaningful place of our own collective creation.

Spike 


Spike by Vincent Houston

The sculpture above is found at our Civic Park.  I like the way the black and white photograph brings out the details of the sculpture.


Longshot

The photo to the right is one found at Fort Zumwalt  Park.  It is titled Longshot and is by Nathan Pierce.  Here is a quote from the website.

Nathan's large public sculptures reflect not only his personal interest in architectural forms, but also a belief that communication plays a fundamental role in our perceptions of the world we live in. His work has always dealt with the conflicts of confinement and freedom and exploring catalyst between the two: building or destroying communication. “The material I use and the process of my work is directly influenced by experience. Inspired by his many years in the construction business, the idea to create sculpture from those same materials seemed natural and permanent. The decision to utilize the benefits of structural steel in my work also comes from being inspired by the fabrication process. “I enjoy the dedication and commitment that is required with this material, it helps build character."


Per Aspera

Per Aspera by Melanie Reichert



I enjoyed photographing this one at our Renaud Center.   It was a bit challenging to photograph with cars and buildings all around and I wanted to have the sculpture stand out.  I like this one in color against the green bushes.  Here is a quote from the artist.

This is my first large scale sculpture. Steel is a very industrialized material and it’s important to me for my work to be very natural and earthy-- these materials are derived and purified from the Earth and I want to make an homage to the roots of where it has come from. This also ties into a theme of opposites that I portray in my work through the process of surface altercation.

Ambient Current


Ambient Current by Kurt Breshears

Here are the artists thoughts on his sculpture.

The concept behind this work is a philosophical and mathematical examination of patterns. In the written work The Critique of Judgement by philosopher Immanuel Kant, he discusses the way in which we use the concept of the universals of taste when judging the aesthetics of objects and their beauty. An example of this notion of universal ideas is that of mathematics. Employing the idea of mathematics in the work gives the work a sense of unity using math to achieve patterns. Based purely on numbers and patterns, M.C. Escher has been for me a lifelong influence. Being mindful of Kant’s ideas and Escher’s use of arithmetic, I believe that Ambient Current brings some semblance to visually pleasing and appealing art. It is the hope that the use of a heavy materials will convey the sense of how heavily weighted it is in our nature to judge things for beauty.



I hope you have enjoyed this small pictorial tour of the O'Fallon sculpture series.  There are several more sculptures in the parks along with some permanent sculptures.  I invite you to check them out at the website listed above or if you are in the area stop by and see for yourself.





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Thursday, June 23, 2022

Visit Missouri-Broemmelsiek Park

 

Betty's Lake at Sunset
St. Charles County Missouri has many wonderful parks to explore.  In this post I will review Broemmelsiek Park.  This park has a delightful history and is a great place for a photographer to explore. On this page I will tell you a bit of the history and the features of the park.  I will also share photographs that I took at the park on a recent trip with my photography club.

A Bit of History

The land for Broemmelsiek park was acquired by the St. Charles County Parks and Recreation department in 2002. The original land acquisition included a partial donation by the Broemmelsiek family whose desire was to save their precious land from subdivision development and preserve the natural beauty of St. Charles County.  The park was then named for Jack and Betty Broemmelsiek who lived on the property for more than 30 years and were committed to promoting conservation activities.  The home where they lived on the farm has been converted into the visitor center.  The lake below the visitor center is called Betty's lake in honor of Betty Broemmelsiek.  



Park Features

This 494-acre park located at 1795 Hwy DD in Defiance Missouri has many wonderful features for the nature lover.
  • Several large lakes for fishing.
  • 9 miles of multi-use trails for hiking, biking and equestrian use.
  • A 4.7 off-leash dog park that has been voted "Best Dog Park" in the region.  It features a large pond for the dogs to swim.
  • An astronomy viewing area that is the first of its kind in the area.  Weather permitting it features Friday night public stargazing events.
  • A 4-acre Historic Educational Agriculture area that features crops that are grown in the area.
  • A visitor center that has a meeting room, outdoor patio and deck that are available to rent for meetings or special events.

Photography at the Park

Below are several photos I took has I walked around Betty's Lake.










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Thursday, June 9, 2022

Nature Photography Day


 
June 15th is Nature Photography Day.  This holiday was first started in 2006 in North America but has since spread to people throughout the world.  It is a day to study, reflect, enjoy and photograph nature.

While reading about Nature Photography Day online, I discovered numerous suggestions on how to celebrate the day.  Here are a few that sounded interesting.
  • Grab your camera and go for a walk in your neighborhood.  Experience all the beauty in nature that you can observe every day.
  • Share your photos with families and friends and spread the word that it is Nature Photography Day.
  •  Enjoy a local park or a nearby creek or river.  Photograph the beauty of nature.
  • Participate in efforts to preserve nature.
  • Start a photo competition of nature photograph.
  • While you are doing any of the above take the time to breath in all the peace and serenity that nature provides.

Favorite Flowers from my Nature Photography Files




I love to photograph roses.  There is something quite striking about a single rose bud.  In the photo above I tried to isolate the rose bud by using a 6.3 aperture and focusing on the rose bud so that the background becomes a bit blurry.  It is important to keep the background simple so that the focus is on the flower.  The photo was taken in the early evening when the light was soft.  Early morning or evening are great times to take floral photos.  Cloudy days also enhance the colors in the flowers, so they are a good time to photograph.



Here is another photo taken in the early evening and with an aperture that gives the blurry background that enhances the flowers.



Another good technique for photographing flowers is to find an interesting background to set off the blossom.  In this photo I found some purple irises in front of a brick wall.  I kept my aperture so that the background would be a bit blurry, and I zoomed in on the flower.  I love the effect of the bright purple against the brick.


Another time I love to photograph flowers is right after it rains.  It seems to really bring out the colors and the raindrops look refreshing.  The above photo is of a fuscia plant hanging on our deck.

Combining Birds and Plants in Photos



I particularly enjoy capturing flowers and a bird in the same photograph.  In this photo I saw a Cardinal sitting on our fence and the lilacs were just starting to bud out in the foreground.  I focused on the Cardinal, so you will note that the lilacs are slightly out of focus.

Photographing Backyard Birds


One of my favorite pastimes is photographing the birds in our backyard.  Here is a Hawk that was sitting high up in the tree at the edge of our property.  He sat still for a long time, and I was able to capture several shots.  I zoomed in for the long shot and was quite pleased with the result.  I was able to get him framed in the surrounding branches.





A great way to enhance your skills in nature photography is to first study the works of other photographers and then practice, practice, practice.

Happy Nature Photography Day on
June 15th!  Grab your camera and get out and enjoy nature.




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Thursday, April 28, 2022

Review of Spring Flower Photography

 

There is nothing like the beautiful colors of spring flowers to get me past the dull days of winter.  The brilliant yellow of the daffodil photograph above is a case in point.  I took it while on an excursion to the Missouri Extension Center.  On this page I will share with you the photographs I have taken this spring.

Flowers in my Neighborhood

I try to take a daily walk and as winter turns to spring, I look forward to seeing the new flowers poking out of the ground. This year I have a new dog that walks with me so rather than trying to take my camera, most of the photos I take on my walks are taken with my iPhone. I live in Missouri, and we usually see the first signs of spring in late February or early March.  The first flowers in my neighborhood are the crocus.  One house up the street from mine has a flower bed in the front yard that is full of all different shades of purple crocus.  I love seeing the green peaking up out of the soil and I always anticipate these lovely flowers.  With these tiny flowers I like to get in real close when I take the photos and take them from different angles.  Here are three of my favorites.










The next flowers to bloom in my neighborhood are the daffodils.  I have a few of these in my own yard and I enjoy looking at the bright yellow blossoms as I look out my window.

The last of the spring flowers that I photographed during my spring walks were the tulips.  I love these colorful flowers and find them in a whole rainbow of colors in the various neighbors' yards.  

As you will see in the photos below, I like to take the flowers in various ways.
  • Up very close
  • From above
  • From the side
  • Just a section of the petals







Springtime Flowers at Missouri Extension Center

One beautiful spring Sunday, my neighbor and I drove to the Missouri Extension Center gardens.  Here master gardeners learn their skills and hone them with other gardeners.  The grounds are open for anyone to come and visit.  We had the place to ourselves for most of our visit and were able to take our time and photograph lots of spring flowers.  I particularly liked the daffodils.  They were so many more varieties than I realized even existed.  Here is a collage photo I put together of the daffodils.  I used the Print panel in Lightroom to put together the collage.

Flowering Trees and Bushes

Springtime also brings beautiful flowering trees and bushes.  Here are a few I photographed on my neighborhood walks.
Redbud Tree and Forsythia Bush

Lilac Branch after the Rain

My Neighbors Beautiful Pink Tree

Capturing Bird by Flowering Bush

I particularly like it when I am able to photograph a bird by a flowering bush.  Here is a photo I took Easter Sunday of a Cardinal by my Lilac bush.

Zazzle Cards from my Photos

I love turning my photos into cards.  Here are a couple cards with spring flowers.




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Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Photography Reviewed on Review This Reviews!

Treasures from the Archives of Review This Reviews! 


Every writer, blogger, publisher, or editor knows how important images are in an article or book.  People love to see what they are reading about, especially in a review.

All of the contributors on Review This Reviews feature photos in their articles.  Many of us take our own pictures, and on occasion we even explain how we edited the image.  Or, we might offer the image printed on an item like a coffee mug, greeting card, t-shirt, etc. on Zazzle or Amazon.

While we all dabble in photography to some degree, none of us are more experienced than our own contributor, Mary Beth.  We are truly honored to have her as a member of our contributing team.  In fact, she is one of the founding members.  Mary Beth has been sharing her photos, photo tips, and photography expertise with us since day 1 of Review This Reviews!  We have all read excellent advice, tucked away her tips for our own use, and have learned valuable lessons from Mary Beth's photography pages.

Not only are there tips for taking better pictures on Review This Reviews, but there are recommendations for photography equipment, accessories, and editing an image. 

Some of the most popular articles on Review This Reviews can be found on our travel reviews where several contributors share their personal photos from fabulous destinations.  Our gardening reviews would not be complete without the lovely photos featured in them, while our recipe review photos will make you want to run to the kitchen and start cooking.

Photos also take centerstage in our Craft & DIY tutorials, as well as our Pet Product reviewsDiana Wenzel (Renaissance Woman) has a unique talent for combining those two categories with her wonderful DIY pet beds & bird feeders.  I might also mention here that Diana is an extraordinarily talented photographer.

Sometimes it is just fun to flip though the articles on Review This Reviews just to look at the pictures. 
 

We invite you to explore our world of photography!

The board below features 30 of our most recent reviews.







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Thursday, February 24, 2022

Reviewing a Veterans Museum

 

Scenes from Front of Museum

 
In early February of 2022, I had the privilege of visiting the St. Charles County Veterans Museum with a group of people from the Willows Way photography club where I am a photography mentor.  This museum is just over two years old and I had never visited before. I was in for a wonderful surprise.  The museum was a delight with lots of memorabilia and stories of veterans from World War I through the present day.  

The volunteers who worked at the museum were wonderful and really made our whole experience very inspirational.  They gave us time to explore on our own, but were always available to answer questions and tell the stories of the veterans that were featured at the museum.

On this post I will share with you some of the photos I took in the museum and also give your more information about the museum which I gathered from their website St. Charles County Veterans Museum

World War I Era Uniforms



After you enter the museum the first display you see is from World War I.  Here are some of the uniforms from the display.

Mission of the Museum

Plans for a museum that honored all of the veterans from the area was a dream of Ralph Barrale (1924-2018) a veteran of World War II.  He was able to get the location secured and the dream was becoming a reality when he passed on in 2018.  Unfortunately he was unable to see the actual opening in 2019.

Here is the stated mission of the museum. 
" Inspiring, informing and engaging the residents
of St. Charles County to honor the memories of County Veterans who served the United State of America with patriotic valor."

Korean War


There was a section of memorabila from the Korean War and several stories of county residents who had served there.  One of this heroes was a volunteer on the day that we visited and was very knowledgable about that era.

Telling the Veterans Stories

The museum is in the process of developing a program where high school students interview veterans to find out their stories.  The program is called "Interview our Heroes- Our Military Veterans."  The goal of the program is to unite generations and tell the stories of veterans.  The interviews will be on video and will be put on the museum's website along with being sent to the Library of Congress in Washington D. C..  This sounds like a wonderful program and I am looking forward to seeing these interviews on the website and on future visits to the museum.

Vietnam Era Memorabilia

Several stories have been collected  from Vietnam veterans.  Here is some of the memorabilia that is in the museum from that era.

World War II

There is an entire room devoted to the World War II veterans.  It includes uniforms, models, and a tent from the era.  Here are some of the photos I took in that room.







Paintings

There were some beautifully done paintings hanging in the museum.  This one was done by a local artist and depicts women in the military.

Wall Honoring Residents who Gave the Ultimate Sacrifice


In closing I would like to encourage you to visit a Veterans Museum.  It is a very moving experience.  If you are in the St. Louis/St. Charles area or traveling through please stop at the St. Charles County Veterans Museum.  It is located at 410 E Elm St in O'Fallon, Mo.

If this location does not work for you, I encourage you to look for a veterans museum near you to visit.






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