Saturday, August 13, 2011

Blue Jay

Despite the fact that the Blue Jays are the biggest birds that come to my feeders, they are almost the most shy. They must have better eyesight than some of the smaller birds because they seem to see me through the window right away and fly off quick. Still, I'm able to get a few shots of them off here and there, and yesterday I got this shot. Such pretty blue feathers. I actually sortof assumed that I had just one blue jay at the feeders; they all look alike to me, but yesterday in a matter of seconds, I saw two out there, so I suspect I have a pair. Where are the babies?!? Bring them to the feeder please!

I read up on Blue Jays for a bit this AM, and their range is year round in most of the US east of the Rockies. Males and females look alike, and their feathers don't change during the seasons.

I also thought this shot looked neat as a black and white.

This cardinal fledgling was looking quite spunky.

And, this male cardinal fledgling almost has all his adult feathers now.

 We're off to the Museum of Life and Science today for Engineer's Day.

Friday, August 12, 2011

School Picture Day

Yesterday was school picture day for the kids. I tried to leave 5 minutes early for school so I'd have time to snap a few quick shots of my own. Joey was in a mood, but Madi and Johnny came through for me with those winning smiles I love. This shot is a few frames after, "Madi, give Johnny a tickle on his tummy." I tried to mess up this shot about every way that I could from the fence line above Madi's head being at the wrong height to not using the flash and getting some grain, but hopefully the clean-up work I did including using the Perfect Portrait 3 action (PSE7) from The Coffee Shop Blog helped. The framing is from OnOne's PhotoFrame. Besides border frames, there are a few layouts too.

Looking for inspiration for dinner tonight?

That's the start of chicken cacciatore substituting yellow squash for eggplant. I eventually added diced tomatoes, white wine, and some tricolor rotini. Yum!

After dinner, I took a short walk with the kids.  Hey, when it's not 100+ it's actually nice to take a stroll:-)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Barn in the Setting Sun

A barn not too far from the kid's Wednesday night soccer location in Clayton. I was first drawn to the barn a few weeks ago when I noticed the trumpet vine/orange flowers on the front. Either I was running too late or it was cloudy or the sun was too far down for a picture. Thankfully last night on the way home I had enough sunlight and time to stop. Lots of poison ivy in the grasses right in front of the barn, so I was limited in where I could stand. Had the displeasure of a driver coming by and flooring his super loud muffler right near me on purpose. Why do folks do that?!?

HDR, power line and shadow removed, Orton applied at 50%, Vignette applied at 15%.

Spotted a female Summer Tanager in the yard yesterday too.  This shot was taken out my large back deck door window.  Remember, I posted a red male a few weeks ago.  Christine says she's seen fledglings in her yard.  Neat!

Mr. Blue Jay is very hard to catch.  Unfortunately I got window glare on this shot.  The left side of the shot is dark because I'm peeking around the side of the window frame.

Joey gave me a hard time at soccer last night, but he's looking pretty cute here:-)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

After the Coffee's Made

On my way into the office yesterday, I stopped at my favorite coffee spot in Cary,  Coffee and Crepes. I get a white chocolate raspberry frappe:-) I am always fascinated by the bottles of Torani syrup and the espresso machine, so while the girls made my drink, I took a few pics.

I used 3 bracketed shots here to do an HDR in PhotoMatix. Then, I applied a sumi-e filter. I liked how the colors in the reflection on the metal popped, but it was a bit too golden so I desaturated the yellow in the shot.

I also learned that these tiny pitchers are called bell-shaped creamers:-)

The title reminded me of this Stevie Nicks song...

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


This is a piece of cut glass that belong to my grandmother. I did HDR and then an inversion. I was in a cooler mood today;-)

There are a few more pics of this glass piece here (although none of the whole thing...oops):



The ridged bottom was as interesting as the fruity-shaped top.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Setting Sun

I'm not thrilled with this shot, but I wanted to post something today, so here it is. A larger area shot of the sunflower field I was at on Saturday. As you can see, most of the sunflowers are finished. It was around 5PM and the sun was setting for both the flowers and the day it seemed. I did HDR this and then added a partial Orton and a vignette trying to make it the best it could be.

Had this hawk visit my yard yesterday but only got off one shot through a blind and a screen before he flew:-(

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Golden Beauty

I spotted this sunflower field the last time I went to my dad's house and was hoping on this trip to have a few minutes to stop and that there would still be some sunflowers blooming. I was in luck on both. Although I only had about 10 minutes to take shots and would have enjoyed an hour, I came away with this one that I thought you might enjoy.

A very happy 50th birthday to Danny! Great bar-b-que hamburgers and hot dogs with all the fixings, a delightful coconut cake made by his mom, Margaret, and a really pretty and a delicious Edible Arrangement from Madi and Teen.   Lots of volleyball action in the pool with the new net.  And, he'll be going to town on some hedges and grasses this fall too!