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: This Too Shall Pass

wx. remains of the cotton stems add a little perspective to what is a pretty bleak scene in one of the fields here.  In all we got just over 8 inches of sleet and snow which then froze solid as a rock.  It was more than enough to paralyze the region.  Of course the schools closed up for the entire week.  To be expected in an area where they close the schools when the temperature dips into the 20’s.  The Postal Service shut down mail delivery out here for the duration, never mind all those commercials hammering away about the mail always getting through regardless of the weather.   I called the post office.  A guy said they were going to attempt it. It finally showed three days after the storm.   The local newspaper was delivered!  Every day throughout the storm.   It’s the pretty days when it doesn’t show.   We cheered when a snow plow rumbled down the highway two days in but the best news was the power stayed on.   I was so sure it was gonna fail I dusted off my kerosene heater and filled it up with liquid Gold  ( near 4 bucks a gallon) ….using my new plastic 2 and a half gallon kerosene container which set me back 20 bucks at the enterprising local hardware store…….supply and demand don’t you know.  I won’t forget!  But .. The juice stayed on.

So now the big melt.  Our unofficial low here on the farm was 7 degrees just before daybreak a few days ago.  Would you believe the high today is expected to top 60!  Everything is now in transition to slush,   soon to be mud thanks to the four days of rain which is forecast.  I figure it’ll be July before things dry out enough to mow down those cotton stems in the field.  Hope you are dry and toasty where you are.  Thanks for the visit and have a swell weekend.