Artful Post-processing

I took a couple of pictures recently that I thought were boring.  I was about to throw them into the recycle bin when I realized that I could use Picasa to add some fun.  Here’s what I came up with.  Tell me what you think!

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As you can see, I specialize in both flora and fauna. 🙂  Turning the highlights and shadows up a lot is mainly what caused the wacky colors, but also just fun textures of fur and petals.  I think I  have become an artist!  (More on that to come… Eventually)

Squid

Circles in the Bokeh

This morning my dad and I went on his dock and looked for any signs of life, which turned out to be only a solitary Cardinal and a floating beetle.

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Then he let me experiment with his 500mm lens, which because it can only be used while on Manual focus mode, was really fun.  (and difficult)

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Squid

Ducks!

Alright, here is a post that is long overdue, dealing mainly in part  with Black-Bellied Whistling Ducks!  Yay! 

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I know this is not a duck, but I took it that day, so here ya go.

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Alright, you got me, this is not a duck either, its a Northern Parula!  I’d never seen one before so I was super excited. 

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Our first sign of shore birds… Tracks!

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I know, still not ducks.  Got you excited, huh?  Well, be patient, young grasshopper, because they’re coming soon.  For now though, these are a pair of Black-Necked Stilts. 

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Ducks!  Woohoo!  They were behind some brush and trees, but occasionally the sun would poke through and highlight one of them.  It was a cool effect. 

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Preening, preening, preening in the promises of God my Savior,
Preening, preening, preening in the promises of God! 

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I love that top shot!  I saw him “stand” up, clicked the shutter, and then checked my photos, and was so pleased!  Then when he finished “standing?” He was super fluffy. 🙂

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This is how far away from those ducks I was.  (The rest are hiding behind that palm tree in the top left corner)  Throughout the following shots I am making my way down the bank as far as I can without sinking in the mud.  My Converse took a beating, but it was so worth it!

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He looks so peaceful…

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They really liked posing for me.

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Love the foot!

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If the guy in the back turned around slightly, this would resemble quite closely how most music bands pose for album covers, right?

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They started parading right in front of me, so I got one big lineup and several portraits. 

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The grasses were pretty in the fading light.

So that was my day… A few weeks ago!  Hope you liked these extremely cute ducks!

Squid

Babcock

A of couple weeks ago I went to a wildlife preserve with some friends of mine, and among other things, we saw 2 species of birds that I had never seen before!  The endangered Red-Cockaded Woodpecker and at least 4 Eastern Meadowlarks!  It was so cool! 

When we first arrived we saw mainly a couple of these Red-Winged Blackbirds.

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Black-Eyed Susans?

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These next three are of the Red-Cockaded Woodpecker!!!  Try to find her… Good luck.  The ironic absence of red on her led Gabriel and I to conclude she was a female, and in one of his pictures he noticed that she was banded, yellow on one leg and silver on the other.  Cool, right? (Unfortunately you won’t see that from my pictures.)

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These 2 pics were a bit boring when I took them, so I used Picasa and had a little fun. 🙂

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I took a picture of Gabriel taking a picture of an alligator…

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Alright, its time for See if You Can Spot What I Was Trying to Take a Picture Of!  Yay!  I can see it, can you?  I think I had to go Manual Focus because my camera didn’t know what to focus on.  😛  Gabriel was joking that, “for birders, we spend a lot of time taking pictures of flowers, spiders, toads, and grasshoppers/crickets.” (I gave you a hint!)

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Here are some of the other flora and fauna mentioned.

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This spider was super hard to focus on, even in Manual Focus.

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My camera didn’t like this guy at all.  But I finally focused on it!  Hooray!

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We also saw what looked to be boar tracks?  Can anybody confirm this hypothesis, or is it something else?

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Then we saw Sandhill Cranes!

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Gabriel let the way while we hiked through the brush, some kept walking through spiderwebs.  Also he was the tallest, which didn’t help him.  As we were driving to the next spot, he noticed that he had a little spider on his hat brim.  It eventually made its way up to his sunglasses and tried to climb them, but due to its size, it was unable to.  Gabriel then set it free. 

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Then we scared some Bobwhites and tried to follow them, but in the process found at least 3-4 Eastern Meadowlarks!!!  Picasa is useful for turning otherwise unsatisfactory photos into silhouettes. 

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So that was my adventure.  I told you I wasn’t boring!  🙂

Squid

Hiking Haikus!

Yesterday I decided that I was going to try something a little different in this post.  Instead of flat out telling you what I did yesterday in normal narrative with added pictures, I’m going to write haikus about the day, and add pictures.  Unfortunately not every haiku will have a picture, but some will have 2 or 3, so don’t worry.  If you are completely confused, you can leave a comment (or two) and I’ll get back to you.  A little background though, we went to a State Park with our homeschool group.  🙂

Birdcall in distance
Neither can recognize it.
Sadly keep walking

Climbing tall tower
Ladies first, as usual
Only slightly sway

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Leaning over rail
Pileated Woodpecker
A great bird to see.      (my sister Carrie helped with that one)

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(sorry about the blurry picture, but I’m just glad I saw it!)

Flycatcher on wire
Cameras trying to focus
Perfectly posing

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(It was a Great-Crested Flycatcher by the way, but I couldn’t fit that into the haiku)

Following friend’s car
Stop suddenly.  Point at deer
Cameras; silent, quiet

Large alligator
Silently stalking
“Humans must have food.”

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Two black vulture friends
White legs stepping daintily
Waddle to the bank

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Godwits on the shore
Sifting for their sustenance
Long straight beaks and legs

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Climbing tall oak trees
Racing to the very top
Jump down to dismount

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Gabriel, Sydney,
Zoe, Zach, and Rhyan
Even a twig ant.

Sitting on the ground
Five friends talking in the shade
Wait for moms talking

Flat tire on highway
Spare tire under our seats
Soon we’re on our way.

Squid