Photo Of The Week: The Cardinal In The Wetlands

Blogged 1/23/16

Blogged 1/23/16

I could almost sense the thought balloon hanging over his head. “What on earth are you doing down here in this miserable weather?”   It was pretty nasty. We’d had a good smothering of freezing rain and sleet Friday and a ton of rain overnight. Saturday brought high winds (45-50 mph gusts here on the farm) and a pretty good dusting of snow showers. The flakes were still stirring when I trudged down to my make-shift bird blind near the wetlands here with camera and a sack of sunflower seeds in tow. The bird blind is nothing to write home about. A jury rigged shack really, pieced together with old tobacco sticks, burlap and wire ties. It serves to keep me behind the curtain so to speak. My thought was the leaden sky and the random snow showers would be conducive to some bird shots. No sooner had I spread a handful or two of sunflower seeds around the river birch than Mr. Cardinal showed up and gave me that look before flapping off, no doubt spreading the word that some lunatic was giving away sunflower seeds on the edge of the swamp. .

I was using the Nikon D7100 camera with a 300mm lens, which on the small sensor D7100, lengthens its reach to 450mm, more than enough to crank in the birds which take their sunflower seed up into the River Birch to crack open.  I used the usual settings save for one change. With the high wind, and the nervous nature of the birds, I switched from Aperture priority to Shutter Priority, setting my shutter speed to 320 and the lowest ISO I could get away with. I have but two gripes with the D7100. One is the small buffer. The other, and the one that really bugs me, is the location of the quality button. I am forever hitting it by mistake during shooting unknowingly changing the quality from RAW to one of the JPEG configurations which I am loathe to use.  My other cameras have the Quality button tucked away in a less precarious spot. It’s one reason why I’m giving the just announced Nikon D500 a close look. There’s much to like, including the location of the quality button, and speed. The D500 is rated at 10 frames per second. It’s also pricey at two grand. The XQD memory card it uses is also pricey: a 32gig will set you back more than a hundred. As I said, I’m thinking about it, just as Nikon wants me too. Stay warm everybody. See you next time. Jh

Photo Of The Day: Iced!


We always get ice!  Seldom any snow.  Just ice!  The freezing rain started just after dark last evening.  By this morning, an estimated 1/4 to 1/2 inch of ice covered everything including, of course, the power lines.  How we escaped a power outage is beyond me.  There’s so much ice on the lines, you’d think the electricity would just freeze up.  Big ole Lob lolly Pine trees buckled.  Two just gave up and toppled over.  Huge limbs littered the driveway into the farm like some tornado had ripped through.  The Beach Road looks like the Polar Expressway.  Our Camellia Beds had the look of frozen spinach.  That’s a photograph of it above.  When I got up this morning,  I rolled out the portable generator and chanced a two mile drive to a gas station to pick up 5 gallons. It was slow going, never going over 20 miles an hour. Yes, I have four wheel drive.    I never ever think to lay in gas the night before.  Why is that?   I haven’t had to use it.  So far so good.  Tonight, no precipitation but the deep freeze has an encore.    Maybe some snow tomorrow the weather gurus say.   I’ve always had a suspicion the weather people are in cahoots with the grocery stores to share in the bread and milk bounty when the nasty stuff closes in.  I whine.  Thank you Lord for not making us Boston. Stay warm……and safe.

Red Sky Warning



SRed Dawn Rising

Dawn in the field in late January and yes we did have nasty weather that evening in the form of freezing rain.  It was the first taste of real winter that we have had here in years and it did not last long.  By the next afternoon, the temperature was back in the 50s.  Thanks for the look and have a great evening.


An American Goldfinch In his New Winter Suite

Blogged Feb. 3rd, 2013

We don’t see Goldfinches here much during the course of the year but in the winter months, they seem to be everywhere.   I snared this one down near the Wetlands here on the farm the morning after a pretty wicked ice storm.  (Click on the Photograph for a larger look)  It was not the best day to hole up in a makeshift, unheated Bird Blind but one does what one must do.  There must have been 20 of them all nestled in a leafless River Birch Tree.  They seemed to be trying to decide if the freezing rain had indeed stopped before resuming their never ending search for food.  In other words, they were still which made getting a good sharp shot far easier.     I’ve had pretty good luck with bird shots over the past year using a Nikon D7000 with a 300mm lens.  The D7000 of course has a smaller sensor than the big Nikon Full Frame Cameras I use most of the time which gives it a much better reach.  Because of the crop factor on the D7K,  that  300mm lens becomes a 400mm.     It really is the perfect camera for wildlife.  Have a great evening and thanks for the visit.

First Taste of Winter


A Male Northern Cardinal copes with with the first taste of winter in Eastern North Carolina.   A fast moving blast of arctic air armed with snow, sleet and freezing rain  dipped into southeastern NC Friday and Saturday night.   We were hoping for snow.  It’s not as hard on plants but alas, we got a big dose of freezing rain which coated everything with a thick coating of ice.  Fortunately the power stayed on and there was little damage to our shrubs and plants.  The ice was gone by Saturday afternoon and we’re looking for a nice warmup next week.  Proof again that if you don’t like the weather down here, just hang on for a day.   Thanks for the visit and have a great evening.