John Muir, an American naturalist, once said "I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.” Over the last few days I spent some time in the field simply enjoying nature. I didn't have an agenda or anyplace I needed to be. My only goal was to enjoy what Mother Nature was going to give me.
Late spring, summer, and early fall are great times to enjoy songbirds. They are only here for what seems like a very short time so you need to enjoy them as much as you can. The Gray Catbird is a bird the Chippewa Indians named "Bird That Cries With Grief" because of its sounds of warbles, squeaks, and a catlike meow. The Gray Catbird is a member of the Mockingbird family and mimics the sounds of other birds. This is one bird that if its nest is high-jacked by the Cowbird, it will quickly break the egg and eject it from the next.
Gray Catbird (Canon EOS 7D, Canon 300mm 2.8L, 1.4X EF Extender III, f/4 @ 420mm, 1/400, ISO 200)
Cedar Waxwing pairs perform an interesting courtship dance. The male will land next to the female and hop towards her offering her a berry. She accepts the berry and hops away from the male, stops, and hops back offering him the berry. One of the nesting materials this late nester uses to line their nest is fine grass. Below is a Cedar Waxwing collecting nesting material.
Cedar Waxwing (Canon EOS 7D, Canon 300mm 2.8L, 1.4X EF Extender III, f/4 @ 420mm, 1/2000, ISO 200)
One of the last birds to arrive in spring and the first to leave in fall is the Baltimore Oriole. With its beautiful, bright orange plumage it can be difficult to find as it is found primarily high in the treetops. Returning to the same spot year after year, the female builds a sock-like nest on the outer edge of branches high in the treetops.
Baltimore Oriole (Canon EOS 7D, Canon 300mm 2.8L, 1.4X EF Extender III, f/4 @ 420mm, 1/500, ISO 200)
Most of the Mallard photos I have are either in-flight or in the water. I liked the opportunity this male Mallard gave me as it stood proudly on a log protruding from the shallow water.
Mallard Duck (Canon EOS 7D, Canon 300mm 2.8L, 1.4X EF Extender III, f/5.6 @ 420mm, 1/500, ISO 200)
The White-tailed Deer is such a beautiful creature that I cannot help but grab my camera every time I see one. Combine the animal with a backdrop of springtime woodlands in bloom and you create a feeling of the moment that will last a long time.
White-tailed Deer on Alert (Canon EOS 7D, Canon 300mm 2.8L, f/2.8 @ 420mm, 1/500, ISO 200)
There are a lot of animals in Pennsylvania that I can only dream of photographing as most of my opportunities are luck or happen with very little planning. Understanding an animal's habitat and habits and honing your photography skills help to make you luckier in the field. The likelihood of photographing a Porcupine in my area is slim. There just aren't that many living in my area of Western PA. A littler further north is a different story though. I was lucky the other day when I happened upon this small Porcupine wandering around. Contrary to popular belief, the Porcupine cannot shoot its quills. They are very loose and when they become lodged in the flesh of a predator, the heat make the quills swell making them harder to remove.
Porcupine (Canon EOS 7D, Canon 300mm 2.8L, f/2.8 @ 300mm, 1/250, ISO 400)
A Walk With Nature (Canon EOS 5D Mark III, Canon 70-200mm 2.8L, f/8 @ 53mm, 1/125, ISO 100)
Until next time,