Thursday, June 18, 2009

Nature At Her Best

Last week, Frank, Benny and I spent a few days up at his family cottage. The weather was decent. There wasn't a whole lot of sunshine, but neither was there too much rain.

I had two cameras in tow. Frank gave me a lovely Canon DSLR - (EOS 50D) recently (thank you, Frank!) and I'm trying to get the hang of it. I'm having minor success.

The low point of the holiday was when I realized that I had forgotten its battery charger at home. Luckily we were able to find a replacement at a camera shop along the way, before leaving city life fully behind.
The high point was getting a good look (several, in fact) of a most majestic bird. Unfortunately it was from a fair distance, with poor lighting, so photos didn't turn out as clearly as I would have liked but I suspect we'll have further occasions to see and photograph this beauty.

We fished, explored, took in the sights, relaxed and of course, took photos. Some of those (from both cameras) are below. Please remember to click to enlarge.

Early one morning, Benny waited patiently for Frank to set up his fishing gear so that he could bark at each cast, and then pace in anticipation of what might come back out of the water at the end of the line. (please click to enlarge)

You might think that lures were designed to attract fish but Benny never took his eyes off of the end of that rod. (please click to enlarge)

Unless he was biting his own reflection in the water. (please click to enlarge)

Nothing to get all that excited about unless you're a JRT, a fish or Frank. (please click to enlarge)

Dull, overcast days made trying to capture a hummingbird's image quite difficult. I settled for its silhouette. (please click to enlarge)

On day two we awoke to a thick fog which blanketed the lake. I took this photo from the deck. The hummingbird took me by surprise, showing up in the viewfinder just as I clicked. (please click to enlarge)

Eventually, we had a semi-sunny day. I looked up at some point to see this distinctive halo surrounding the sun. A bit of Google research tells me that it's called a 22º Halo and it's formed by the refraction of sunlight through ice crystals. (please click to enlarge)

I decided to play with it. A lone dragonfly wandered through just in time to become part of the picture. There's one in the previous image as well. (please click to enlarge)

This was one of the best treats. Its nest was visible after a three minute boat ride along the shore, and we ventured out at least three times to catch a glimpse of parents and/or young. That large blob below and to its right is the nest. We couldn't get in too close, and since the sky was mostly overcast, it was impossible for me to get a sharp image. (please click to enlarge)

But I managed a fairly decent shot of the Bald Eagle (sharpened up some in Photoshop), and hopefully we'll have more opportunities during the summer to try again. (please click to enlarge)

The sun came out a couple of evenings just in time for a lovely sunset. So ended another perfect day. (please click to enlarge)

More photos in the next post.


Lowell said...

I don't know where to start...I like each of these photos very much. Nice camera!

You've done some outstanding creative work here.

It's a beautiful place, too.

And sometimes, foggy, cloudy days provide special photo opportunities...

Very nice!

Leah J. Utas said...

Magnificent. I am especially fond of the hummingbird in the fog.
Oh, and the run with the halo. Beautiful. I am so looking forward to more.

Anonymous said...

Oh how exciting to see a Bald Eagle, you did pretty good on such notice capturing him! I like the first photo too of your dog and husband's legs, the light is gorgeous:)

Travis Erwin said...

Great shots as always. But no shots of y'alls catch. Guess only me and Frank care about that.

Frank Baron said...

Travis, unfortunately, the fishing was quite poor. It was kind of Hilary not to mention that herself. ;)

Hil, wonderfully fortuitous of that hummingbird to show up in that shot! I also like the one of you squishing the sun.

Hopefully we'll get a couple more chances at eagle shots (and the fishing will be better). :)

scarlethue said...

Beautiful shots! I especially love the color of the sunset.

Learning a new camera can be so hard when you're used to a different one. I got a new camera this spring, and while it's not as complicated as a DSLR as it's one step down from that, I'm still learning it.

Daryl said...

OOH I am having camera/lens envy .. I looked at that Canon, not in person but online, and now I am wanting to try it out ... all the photos have a sharper resolution to them .. LOVE the shot of Benny leaning over the pier

Just Louise said...

Ah, I've missed these pics of Benny. This is D at my new digs at

Hugs - D

Redbush said...

Love the shot of Benny seemingly looking at his own reflection, or perhaps a fish under the wharf! The bald eagle looks so majestic in his own way, as he is, and your sunset picture is spectacular! Fantastic photos once again!

CrazyCris said...

I started with a few laughs at how cute Benny is, then stopped in awe of those birds, particularly that bald eagle, WOW!

You can tell the difference a DSLR makes, enjoy it!

Tabor said...

Wonderful, wonderful job on the photos and with a new camera! I have had mine for several years and still don't know how to use it most effectively. I really like the hues of the dock and dog photos all blue and brown.

SandyCarlson said...

I love what you are accomplishing with your new camera. Today, I am inside (out of the heavy rains) and reading the manual to mine. Over and over. So much to learn. You do great stuff.

Maggie May said...

Amazing photos from the cute Benny to the tiniest hummingbird and a great bald eagle!
Brilliant shots!

Andrea said...

Whatever camera you are using, the pictures are beautiful. The blue of the water is unbelievable! Thanks for sharing.

imbeingheldhostage said...

Oh wow! You really got some great shots! That second of Benny is priceless :-)

Pat - Arkansas said...

Nature may have been at her best, but Hilary was not far behind! Lovely post!

NJ said...

WOW! Your pictures are fantastic! We used to rent a cottage up in Bancroft in the summer. And we really enjoyed watching the hummingbirds. It sure looks like you're having a great time. Hope the bugs aren't too bad!

Kat said...

Wow. This could be up north at my inlaw's cabin. It looks so similar. Just gorgeous! That sunset shot is beautiful!!

blunoz said...

Beautiful lake and great photos. That's really cool you got to see a bald eagle, too.

photowannabe said...

Ah Hilary, I feel like I have been on vacation just looking at the beautiful pictures. I think you are mastering the camera quite well. The eagle is breathtaking. I can imagine how thrilled you were to see it and the nest too. Hope there will be some eaglettes to capture in your lens too.
Thanks for your lovely comments on my blog too.

Shammickite said...

Well, you must have had at least 5 minutes of sunshine as that picture of Benny shows a shadow! But here, in my back yard, it was dull, cool and rainy!
I don't think I've ever seen a bald eagle, that's a great shot you took. And I'm hoping for picture of the little ones in the nest. When's the next cottage weekend?

Bogey said...

Probably two of the hardest birds to photograph and you managed to get both. I love cottage country, especially in the fall. Less people and a lot more colourful. Benny is a cutie. Great images. It sounds like you had a relaxing time.

Nicole said...

what a beautiful spot :) Your pictures are very nice. i am glad you found a replacement for your battery charger :)

Nancy said...

I cannot believe what beautiful photos you took! And a BALD EAGLE??? Beautiful. Benny just makes me laugh. What fun he must be. I have always wanted a Jack Russell.

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

That first image of Benny is so crisp I expected to hear him bark!
The hummingbird in silhouette is beautiful, as is your picture of the bald eagle... and OH! that last one has the most incredible colors! I love how you captured the rope swing out over the water.

Reb said...

Those are all such amazing shots Hilary. I must confess to a bit of camera envy, but, I have not even mastered the one I have yet, so will let it pass. Love the Bald Eagle shot and the sunset with the swing.

Swetha said...

wow!!.. you have taking gr8 pictures! the sun is so clear .. and i loved all the birds.. !! you have done a gr8 job with your new camera!

Michele said...

Such beautiful images... I wish to visit your area one day.

Anonymous said...

Hilary your photos are so wonderful! I especially love the hummingbird silhouette! Benny is so cute!

Hilary said...

I should mention that not all of the photos were taken with the new camera. I keep both in tow now. My old one is still better for zooming in from a distance (12X zoom) and for macro shots. It also has the video capabilities which the new one does not. The new one should be giving me crisper shots, better vistas and portraits (once I get the hang of it) and wider angles.

* Jacob, Thanks very much for the kind words. I'm glad you enjoyed my photos from one of my favourite places. Thanks for stopping by. :)

* Thanks very much, Leah. I'm thrilled that you like these shots, and I do have more coming up in a few days. :)

* Thanks very kindly, Bookbabie. I confess that it wasn't short notice on the Bald Eagle. We knew they were nesting there and did several deliberate boating drive-byes to see them. But yes, it was very exciting. They're quite rare in Southern Ontario. Thanks for the kind words. :)

* Thanks, Travis. I DO care about the fish shots.. when there are fish shots to show. It was a very slow fishing week. Much better for catching feathered than finned friends. Luckily, Frank's blog has some pics of his semi-recent catches. Thanks for stopping by. :)

* Thanks, Frank. And I hope so too. And I wasn't squishing the sun.. I was caressing it! ;)

* Thank you, Scarlet Hue. I'm actually still learning my older camera in many ways too, so I know what you mean. Thanks for the visit. :)

* Thanks, Daryl. It's going to be a steep learning curve for me but a fun one. I hope you get your new baby soon. And you have no idea how tempting it was to just give Benny a little nudge rather than snap the photo. ;)

* D! I'm glad you're all set up in your new digs. Thanks for stopping by and letting me know. :)

* Thanks very kindly, Redbush. Benny spent a LOT of time looking at that JRT in the water, and trying to bite its face. Benny also spent a LOT of time peeing. Thanks for the kind words. :)

* Thanks, Cris. I was quite in awe of the eagle myself. That shot was taken with my older non-SLR camera though. It allows me a closer zoom.. for now anyway.

* Thanks, Tabor. I liked the colours in those shots too. Those were definitely the SLR, though not all of the others were. Maybe I should indicate next time. Thanks for the kind words. :)

* Thanks kindly, Sandy. I find the best way for me to begin learning is to check the manual for the basics, then go hands-on for the next frustrating while. Then back to the manual to see what I did wrong and how to amend it. ;) Thanks always for stopping by. :)

* Thanks very kindly, Maggie. I'm glad you enjoyed them. :)

* Thanks very much for the kind words, Andrea. Very much appreciated. :)

Hilary said...

* Thanks kindly, IBHH. I'm glad you like them. Thanks for the visit. :)

* Thanks so much, Pat. That was a very sweet thing to say. Much appreciated. :)

* Thanks very much, NJ. We had a great time and the bugs weren't too awful. There were those pesky mosquitoes, mostly but the beautiful dragonflies helped with that. Black flies were pretty much done. Thanks for stopping by. :)

* Kat, I've noticed the similarities when you've posted photos before. It's a classic North American cottage setting. Thanks for the kind words. :)

* Thanks, Blunoz. It was a great thrill indeed. Hopefully, we'll see more of them as the summer progresses. Thanks for stopping by. :)

* Thanks very kindly, Sue. We did in fact catch a glimpse of the eaglet peering over the top of the nest, but it was such a smudgy blur that it wasn't worth posting. As the summer progresses, I hope to see more of them. This is the second or third year they're nesting there. Thanks always for your kind words. :)

* Thanks, Shammie. We did have a semi-sunny day toward the end of our week (we were there Sunday through Friday) hence the shadows and halos. Like I said in the above paragraph, we did catch site of the wee one, and hopefully our next visit (not sure when that will be) will provide us with more photo opportunities. Thanks always for stopping by. :)

* Thanks very kindly, Bogey. I love it up there in every season - though I've never seen it in winter. Being a summer person, that's my best time, but the autumn sure brings its own flavour to the countryside. Thanks very much for your kind words and for visiting. :)

* Thanks very much, Nikina. I'm really glad too. It would have been quite disappointing not to be able to use the new camera on that visit. Thanks for stopping by. :)

* Thanks, L of L. We knew the Bald Eagle was up there - they'd nested there before. But we were thrilled to see it almost every time we puttered by. Occasionally we saw one of them (mother or father) in flight, but I was not quick enough with either camera to capture that. And yup, Benny is quite the character, and he keeps us laughing much of the time. Thanks for stopping by. :)

* Thanks so much for your always-kind words, KC. I'm glad you liked the photos. And you would indeed have heard Benny bark if you were there. He often tried to "talk" or stare us into coming down to the dock to fish, or throw things in the water for him to fetch. Thanks always for stopping by. :)

* Thanks very much, Reb. No need to be envious... yet. ;) At least wait until I figure this thing out better. Thanks for your kind words. :)

* Thanks very kindly Pranksy. Much appreciated. :)

* Thanks, Michele. You live in one of the most beautiful spots in the country and I think about how much I'd love to see the Rockies whenever I'm looking at your fine photos. I hope you do find your way east one day.. and that I find my way west. If you ever do travel this way, I sure hope we'll hook up. :)

* Thanks very kindly, Rain. I'm glad you enjoyed the photos. Benny is too. ;) Thanks for stopping by. :)

the Bag Lady said...

I can't imagine Benny being very patient!
And hummingbirds have a tendency to do that - show up when you least expect them!
Great photos, Hilary - loved the eagle!!

lime said...

benny is such a character. i love the shots of him so expectantly waiting for fish. the shot of the bald eagle is darned impressive!

Tink said...

I love all the colors of the water you captured: blue, silver, pink/purple. They're all so lovely! I need to travel somewhere with that kind of view. :)

Thumbelina said...

Loved that last one and the eagle - well done but the sun halo.... wow! I saw the dragon fly in the first one and thought I'd have to tell you about it! lol I love how he is flitting about while you play.

I'm jealous of your camera. :)

Crabby McSlacker said...

Glorious. I wanna go there with you guys too! I won't take up too much space and I'll bring wine and cupcakes, I promise!

Such lovely photos.

Mimi Lenox said...

The pictures are loading slowly for me but I'll be back to take a gander...ha!

Valerie said...

Hi, popped on in time to see your pictures. Loved the one of the bald eagle. Such magnificent creatures.

steviewren said...

I love the water in the first 3 pictures. It almost has a painterly effect. Really amazing. Your picture of the bald eagle is wonderful as well. I've never seen one in the wild. Your trip sounds wonderfully relaxing.

Snowbrush said...

Wow, I especially enjoyed the sun photos.

Beth Kephart said...

I love these photos and am glad to have stumbled upon them. I have yearned to photograph a hummingbird. I've not ever had the privilege.

Owen said...

Wish you the best of luck learning the new camera, there is hope, it's not as hard as it looks !

Your photo of the "No One Cares About Your Blog" t-shirt is priceless. Fortunate she was a good sport about letting you do the picture...

Oh my, how do you find the time to respond to so many comments ?!? You must be a very fast typist ! Or maybe don't need much sleep ?

Kappa no He said...

Oh, Benny, waves and lures. What a hoot!

The bald eagle shot is breathtaking


Hilary said...

* Thanks, Baggie. You're right about Benny. He's not patient IN the moment, but he can be very patient FOR the moment.. as long as there isn't anything else distracting him. :)

* Thank you, Lime. There's always a few laughs in store when Ben is focused on a task. Thanks for the kind words. I was really pleased to see that bird. :)

* Thanks, Tink. I'm quite certain you have pretty fine views in your neck of the woods.. just different. Thanks for the kind words. :)

* Thanks, Thumbelina. The sun shots were actually taken with my older camera.. the one I know how to use. ;) I truly hadn't seen the dragonfly in the photo until I uploaded them. There were just so many of them about, that it was almost impossible for one not to show up in the shot. Thanks so much for your always-kind words. :)

* Crabby. I'm sure you'd be welcome anytime. Especially with cupcakes and wine. ;) Thanks kindly for your always-encouraging comments. :)

* Ha, Mimi. I'm sure you're referring to a couple of posts back, but your pun was not lost on me. Thanks for dropping by and I hope you will be back. :)

* Welcome, Valerie and thanks for your kind words. The eagle surely is an incredible bird. We felt so honoured to get a good look at it, and hope to see more as the summer progresses. Thanks for the visit. :)

* Thanks, Steviewren. It was indeed relaxing and wonderful. I had never seen an eagle before this one either so it was a huge thrill for me. Thanks for your kind words about those water photos. I quite like how they turned out too, and I'm glad you agree. :)

* Thanks kindly, Snowbrush. I'm glad you liked them. Welcome to my blog. :)

* Welcome, Beth and thanks for the kind words. I'm glad you stumbled on my blog too. I'm still hopeful that I'll be able to capture a photo of a hummingbird in brighter daylight so that its colours will show up. I'll keep working at it on future visits to the cottage. I hope you'll come back again soon. :)

* Welcome, Owen and thanks very much for your kind comments. Thanks for the encouraging words about mastering this camera and I'm glad you enjoyed the t-shirt post. I've always made a point of responding to every comment I get. I don't type especially fast.. nor do I get as much sleep as I'd like. But I do reply to everyone's kind comments. Thanks for stopping by and leaving one of your own. :)

* Thanks very much, Terrie. I'm glad you got a kick out of Benny. We sure did. :)

Dave King said...

Fascinating blog. Superb photographs.

Dianne said...

I love Benny with his little butt up in the air ;)

wonderful photos as always

that last shot has the most incredible colors

JC said...

Great pics as always. Sounds like a perfect get-a-way. I'm catching up on blog reading. I love the tee shirt pic. How funny.

Merisi said...

Oh, what a treat this blog is (not that the previous ones were any less so!!!)! The hummingbird silhouette is outstanding, as is the one with the Bald Eagle!

Merisi said...

Just to make sure that you understand that I liked each and every image, from the first wonderful shot of the dog and your husbands legs and the blue blue water on to the last one! :-)

david mcmahon said...

Great way to sort out the mystery of a new camera. Love the halo shot and the hummingbird as well.

ds said...

I think you've got the hang of your new camera. These were, every one of them, gorgeous. But the halo and the hummingbird? Magnificent--the eagle, too.

Digital Flower Pictures said...

I remember when I switched to a DSLR. It was a bit of a learning curve and I almost gave up. Now it is my favorite camera. Lenses are a big deal almost more important than the camera body. Always try and get the best lenses you can afford.

Country Girl said...

OMG, Hilary. Deep sighing going on here while I gaze at your gorgeous photos. I was expecting . . . I don't even know what I was expecting when you said you saw something great but didn't get a good shot. Damn, girl! You are hellagood.

Sorry. I watched South Park the other night and some of that crap sticks.

Maggie May said...

wow. the shot of that bird is amazing!

Jo said...

Benny cracks me up. I would love to get a dog just like him for Phinnaeus and Marigold.

Once again ... gorgeous photographs!

Unknown said...

First of all.. I drooled when I read about your new camera..

I love the photos of Benny on the dock!

The bald eagle shot is fantastic.

Cedar said...

One of my favorite treats of summer your visit to the cottage pics.

Shrinky said...

You have captured some exquisite shots Hilary - what a perfect location to get away in, I am quite envious. It seems you have certainly managed to find your way around this new camera of yours, and have been putting it to a magnificent use! Most of all, it's your natural eye for a frame that gives your photography that extra special impact. You never disappoint.

Anonymous said...

Benny is a brilliant wire haired fox terrier or something similar. Wow. What a beautiful dog he is.

I like him better than that Bald Eagle.

Cheffie-Mom said...

Benny is precious!! I love his energy!! He reminds me of my daughter's dog, Blitzen (my grand-dog)!!

SandyCarlson said...

Thanks for stopping by!

Salute said...

So beautiful!

MadSnapper said...

I say your photos were a Major success. Especially the ones of Benny on the dock! Keep snapping!

Hilary said...

* Thanks very much for those kind words, Dave. Much appreciated. :)

* Thanks very much, Dianne. You have no idea how tempting it is to give that little butt a nudge sometimes. ;) Thanks always for your visits. :)

* Thanks kindly, JC. I'm glad you're enjoying the posts. I know what it's like to try to catch up. I'm constantly in that mode, myself. Thanks for stopping by. :)

* Thanks so much, Merisi. Your kind words are very much appreciated. They mean a lot to me coming from such an accomplished photographer as yourself. :)

* Thanks, David. Photography is a process, eh? ;) Thanks for your always-kind words. :)

• Thanks very much, DS. I'm trying. Most of the shots were taken with the older camera though. Thanks for the encouraging words. :)

* Thanks for the kind advice, DFP. Very much appreciated. I know the lenses are what make a huge difference. In time, I'm sure I'll acquire more. Thanks for stopping by. :)

* Thanks so much, Kate. I'm hellapleased with hellagood. I'm glad you liked the photos. :)

• Thanks, Maggie. Much appreciated. :)

* Thanks kindly, Jo. I'm sure P and M would get a kick out of a dog like Benny and vice versa. Thanks so much for your always-kind words. :)

* Welcome, Faye and thanks very much for your kind words. I'm glad you stopped by for a visit and I hope you'll return soon. :)

* Thanks kindly, Cedar. Stay tuned as there'll be more of those pretty soon. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Shrinky, thank you so much for your very kind words. They mean a great deal to me. Thanks always for stopping by and making my day. :)

• Thanks, Abe. I'm sure Benny would keep you well-entertained. He's a lot of fun. The breed is a wire coat Jack Russell Terrier. And he's quite the runt. Thanks for the visit. :)

* Thanks, Cheffie. He spends more energy in one day than I'll probably muster up in the rest of my life. Blitzen is a great name for a dog. Thanks for stopping by. :)

* And you too, Sandy. I like your new avatar photo. :)

• Thanks very kindly, Salute. Much appreciated. :)

* Welcome Sandra, and thanks very much for the encouraging words. Much appreciated. :)

Louise said...

The eagle is breathtaking, and as always, Benny is funny!

Hilary said...

Thanks very much, Louise. I'm glad you liked the pics. :)

Kerri Farley said...

Oh My goodness! That is a SUPER capture of the bald eagle! I have NEVER seen on in the wild! WOW!

Hilary said...

Thank you very much, Kerri. I hadn't seen one before that either. It was a real treat. :)