Quiet Afternoon Walk

The sun finally broke through the clouds for the first time in days, and I decided I needed to get out of the house for some fresh air. Walking a different route from the last time I was out, I headed to the schoolyard to find some inspiration.

Common Reed

In a marshy area at the bottom of the hill, there is a tall group of reeds. In the summer months, red-winged blackbirds love this area. They are a great subject to photograph when the sky is nicely lit like it was this afternoon.

Fern Leaf

Just up by the hill, I found a fuzzy green fern with some ice and water droplets on it. I focused on only one of the leaves so that the droplets were nice and sharp. When I was processing the photo I wanted to take out the colour so that focus remained only on that one leaf.

Male Cardinal

When I crossed over the road and onto my usual path by the creek, I spotted a pair of cardinals. They were playing hide and seek in the trees so getting a clear shot was tough. This is the best I could get before they flew away. Maybe next time they won’t be as shy.

Welcome to 2021!

It’s officially 2021! I’m sure we are all glad to put 2020 behind us. I’ve started my first day of 2021 doing – you guessed it – a neighbourhood walk. Things aren’t going to change that quickly. lol

Rosehip Star

I’ve been noticing that although it’s the season of brown (the snow has melted away since Christmas), there is a little bit of red thrown in as well. The last of the rosehips are still hanging around, waiting to be eaten by a passing bird or some other little creature. This particular one grabbed my attention because of its star shape.

Sumac

There is also an abundance of red sumac flowers. They are slowly turning to brown, but until then the majority are still red.

Cooper’s Hawk

I’ve decided that I must take a longer lens with me next time. I have spotted this Cooper’s hawk at least 4 times this past year. I first saw him under a tree, and I stopped and got a quick shot, but when I tried to get a little closer, he flew to the other side of the creek. Luckily, that was where I was heading next. I startled him when found him on the other side, and he flew to this tree. I was able to get a clear shot, but I had to crop this photo so you could see him. You might not be able to see it, but in his right claw, he has his lunch with him.

It was a great way to start the new year. And it goes to show you that even though you’ve been to a place many times, you can still find something new to photograph.

Wishing you all the best for 2021! Stay safe and be happy.

Unique Views

I can’t believe that since mid-March I’ve been expanding my macro photography skills by just shooting around my neighbourhood. Am I starting to get bored with just shooting macro all the time? Absolutely not because there are always unique views to find.

Unique views - Burdock

Burdock

Every time I head out I expect to see the same things, but there always seems to be something new to photograph, even if it’s from a different angle or even a different stage of something’s growth.

Flower

Flower

Of course, not everything I shoot with my macro lens is something up close or small. Sometimes I try to sneak up on a bird that’s balanced on a skinny branch.

Bird Silhouette

Bird Silhouette

Who then promptly flies away. Still it makes for an interesting image, don’t you think?

I Heard a Knocking

More and more trees are blooming and the creek paths are filled with flowers has spring continues along towards summer.

Creek Path

Down the creek path I happened across these purple catkins hanging off random branches. They seem to have blown off another tree to land all over the ground and some have gotten caught up on some branches. As I look around me I don’t see any tree that might have these catkins attached to it. I know I’ve seen catkins like this before but unfortunately I didn’t really pay attention to the tree it belonged to and so a mystery is born and may not be solved until next year. Unless by chance you know what tree?

Purple Catkin

Purple Catkin

As I walked along the path on the other side of the street towards the schoolyard I heard a knocking. It sounded like a woodpecker was nearby but I couldn’t see where it was. It didn’t take long to locate the noisy little bird. The Downey Woodpecker was on an old stump way up at the top so of course, my macro lens wasn’t going to cut it. I took the photo anyway.

Woodpecker

Woodpecker

This photo was cropped way in so you could see him. It was a great end to my walk today but I did wish I had brought a long lens to capture this fun moment. Maybe I’ll see him again and who knows, I might have the right lens with me to capture him way up in the trees.

Snowless February

Today I, with my friend Nigel, head out to Humber Bay park in search of…you guessed it…ducks. Beause what else are you going to find in the middle of February when there is no snow?

Mallard

Mallard

Going later in the day (which isn’t thalate this time of year) gave us this beautiful golden light that reflected off our subjects. There were lots of mallards, but then again, when aren’t there lots of mallards? As we explored the park we came across something unusual none of the mallard groups – a white mallard. 

White Duck

White Duck

It’s not an albino. Its eyes, beak and feet are the same as the other mallards. Plus those other mallards seemed to have no issue with this weirdly coloured duck in their midst. So what’s up with its white feathers? Is it a spirit mallard, like the spirit bears from BC? I’m so curious to find out more.

I found out that it isn’t that uncommon for a mallard to be white due to Leucism. Leucism is the partial loss of pigmentation that can result in white, patchy or pale pigments. We see this in nature more than we realize – a white tiger, a white snake and, of course, the well known spirit bears from the west coast. 

So, essentially our white duck is a mallard in all respects except its white colouring. 

Swan

Swan

There was one other common bird hanging around – the swan. You have to watch out for swans. They can be one mean bird if they don’t like you and yet there they are paddling away, looking all graceful and stuff. I see you swan, being all handsome and unassuming, trying to pretend you’re not coming up with some evil plan to take over the world. lol 

As always it was a great evening out exploring the park and getting some unexpected photos and some fun close-ups.