Sunday, May 2, 2010

Spring Miscellany

Following are a few photos taken over the last couple of weeks around my place and Frank's

I can't begin to count how many times I've seen a bird perched upon a branch or other interesting surface which begged to be photographed for one reason or another. Usually it's the bird's own beauty that draws me in. Sometimes it's the setting. Occasionally the background. More often than not though, I'll raise my camera, focus on the creature and snap the shot just as the bird has taken off in flight, leaving me with an attractive branch and background but no bird. This robin was kind enough to stay put for one photo.

And when it did take off, it was even more thoughtful to do so at the exact same time that I pressed the shutter and not the usual split-second before. Thanks, robin!

The remaining trunk from a tree which was cut down last year. I expect more interesting growth of moss and fungus around its rings each year.

One of the tulips blooming in my front yard.

Now that the warm weather is here, Benny loves to fetch a stick which we toss out into the creek for him. It allows him to practice his swimming skills which are quite good.

One afternoon, we had finished tossing sticks for Benny and decided to sit at a bench and take in the sights for a few minutes. A woman was walking along the path, approaching us from the left. As she passed by in front of us, we both distinctly heard what we thought was her stomach growling. It was only when she had continued past us that we realized what had really growled...

This wee beast.. all safe and sound hiding behind his person.

This damaged tree provides a perfect shelf to place a peanut for a lucky squirrel. It's a bit of a crude offering - only because of the graffiti to the bottom right of the peanut.

Late at night, along the path, the park lights create interesting shadows of the new growth.

There must have been some sort of promotion going on a the car dealership across the street, beyond the hill. Those spotlights were criss-crossing in the night sky and I decided to get a picture of them. I tried some with and without the flash and I played around with the ISO. It was only when I uploaded this one, that I noticed that the tree supports were angled pretty much the same way the lights are behind them. A lucky mistake.


Unknown said...

okay, seriously,
these are phenomenal.
what lens?

and I am in love with Benny

and birds,

and your posts.

Andrey Dorokhov said...

Great! Love that collection! The bird is phenomenal !

Tom said...

Gorgeous pictures, Hilary, especially the one of the robin flying off. I bet you could enter that in a competition somewhere and stand a good chance of winning!

The look of concentration in Benny's eyes is also a winner!


Sueann said...

Fabulous pictures!!! Benny's photo wins hands down! He is darling! Love the tulip pic...well darn..,I just love them all!

Brian Miller said...

brilliant pics hilary...the bird almost in flight makes me think of soliders jumping out of planes for some reason...and the dog swimming...too cool.

Bonnie Zieman, M.Ed. said...

Great shots Hilary. My favourite is of Benny with his little nose just above water and his big alert eyes. The bird's feet while 'taking off' are great too.
Thank you for sharing these.

LadyFi said...

What glorious shots! Love the robin ones - the fuzzy brick wall behind matches its colours. And swimming - how lovely for Benny!

messymimi said...

Even as they die, trees are beautiful, and homes for new life.

All beautiful, thank you.

Phyllis E said...

Funny, we were just watching a robin, beak trailing dried grass, perched on the post of our deck rail and looking for all the world as though it had forgotten where it had decided to build its nest. I commented that it was exactly the sort of thing that would send you diving for your camera.

I think you should have saved the tree trunk for one of your Mystery Posts. It was just ambiguous enough to be a challenge.

Hugs from Cuzzies MP&Q

Joanne said...

I like the symmetry of the tree supports and spotlights, almost as though it was all part of one display. Isn't it funny how the lens sometimes captures what the eye alone misses?

Tabor said...

Another series of stunning photos. What great robin shots. Perfect clarity!

Pauline said...

that bird is not in mid-flight - it's in mid-hop! what an amazing shot!

abb said...

Very thoughtful robin! And who would write that on a tree???? Lovely photos!

CiCi said...

The robin perched long enough and you got a wonderful shot. The flower looks wax, so shiny, beautiful. The dog in the backpack reminds me of the doggie backpack I had with my little dog, took her everywhere with me.

Zuzana said...

Beautiful photography and sentiments that again pay attention to details. And that which is not easily seen.
I love that as I do it myself as well. But with a great exception; I can never adequately capture the beauty of fleeting moments, at least not the way you can.
The doggy in the backpack mistaken for an unsettled stomach made me laugh.

ellen abbott said...

You are so amazing! Your images are always so beautiful. that shot of the robin is so crisp.

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Hilary: Neat Robin photos, it looks like a bird inside the dead tree.

SandyCarlson said...

That's one spoiled puppy dog in that backpack! I love the shot of the intrepid Bennie. He is my hero.

The robin shots are amazing. Your photos make him very grand!

Kat said...

The petals on the tulip look like silk. Just gorgeous!

Hilary said...

love the pic of Benny with the stick in his mouth....but the robin flying away is superb, too.
You always take lovely pictures.

Anonymous said...

The first picture is 3-for-3: wonderful textured wood, bird in place, and a great background! But I like the bird in beginning flight even better. And of course BENNY!! Gosh he's cute.

Karen said...

The bird with background and flight, look like photos from National Geographic! You are so talented!

Mage said...

Never do I have a digital lens that's fast enough. G now has an old Canon that's faster than mine, but it's a heavy SLR. I don't miss the expense of film....or the mess and smells of the darkroom, but I do miss the speed of my Pentax cameras.

Lovely, thank you. Where did you get your training. You have a well honed eye for just the right shape and moment. :)

Paul C said...

Wonderful how you pick up the shadows in dim night light.

Grayquill said...

Interesting how the robin taking flight still has his/her wings tucked close to his/her body. Nice shots!

Linda said...

Hilary, love the pictures. That robin flying away is perfect. Like another commenter said, you should enter that in a photo contest.

It's a shame someone had to write that on the tree.

And as always, Benny is precious.

Leah J. Utas said...

I love your pics and I have to say that robin in takeoff was a phenomenal capture.

Rosaria Williams said...

I'm in awe. Beautiful, each and every one.

Hilary said...

• Thank you, Deb. I use two different lenses. My Canon is 17 to 85 mm and the Sigma is 70 to 300 mm. The bird and Benny shots were the latter. Thanks so much for such kind words. :)

• Andrey, thank you very kindly. :)

• Tom, thanks very much for such supportive comments. They're very much appreciated. :)

• SueAnn, thank you so kindly. I'm glad you enjoyed the pics. :)

• Brian, thank you. The plane-jumping came to my mind too when I saw it. It must be in its stance. Thanks so much for stopping by. :)

• Bonnie, thanks. We had fun tossing sticks in the creek for him to get. He never tires of it before we do. I'm glad you liked it. :)

• LadyFi, thank so much. It's nice to hear such kind words. :)

• Messymimi, you're so right about trees. Thank you. :)

• Thanks, Cuzzie Phyl. Thanks for thinking about me. I think it's cool that you had that camera moment yourself. It should have sent YOU diving for your camera. I almost always have mine on me. ;) You're right.. that might have made a good mystery post. Hugs right back at you. :)

• Joanne, you're right. I never know what I'm going to see for the first time when uploading photos. I'd like to be able to say that I captured that on purpose, but it just isn't so. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Tabor, thank you. Very much appreciated. :)

• Pauline, you're probably right.. but he was hopping off of a tall stump. ;) Thanks very much. :)

• TSannie, there's graffiti everywhere if you look closely enough. I do hate to see it on trees, though. Thanks for your kind words. :)

• TechnoBabe, thank you. That dog was hilarious.. all brave and growly while hiding behind its mother and then all quiet and skulky when he saw us. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Thanks so much for your always warm and encouraging words, Zuzana. They mean so much to me, my friend. :)

• Thanks kindly, Ellen. It pleases me that you think so. :)

• Fishing Guy, thanks so much. I'm trying hard to see the bird inside of the dead tree but just don't seem to catch it. Thanks very much for stopping by. :)

• Sandy, thank you so very kindly your supportive words. Benny is my hero too.. when he keeps away from my garden and Venetian blinds. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Thanks kindly, Kat. :)

• Hilary, thank you so much. I'm glad you enjoyed them. :)

• KC, thank you kindly. I'm happy that you came by to see them. Much appreciated. :)

• Karen, thank you so much. That made my day. :)

• Maggie, you can be sure that I wouldn't be enjoying this hobby if I had to pay for film and developing. I love my DSLR despite the weight of it, which is considerably heavier than any digital camera these days. I appreciate your kind words but any "training" I've had is just getting out there and snapping until something looks good. ;)

• Thank you, Paul. :)

• Grayquill, yes. I noticed that too. Now I'm wondering if Pauline (upstream) was right in suggesting that he hopped off rather than flew off. Thank you for stopping by. :)

• Linda, thank you. Your kind words are very much appreciated. It is a shame about the tree, but I suspect that ink will work itself out after a few seasonal storms. :)

• Leah, thank you so much. I'm glad you think so. :)

• Thanks so kindly, Lakeviewer. :)

järnebrand said...

So birds pose for you, huh? And Benny, aw, he's just so cute, playing fetch like that... :) And that a little bad language on a tree made the picture even more interesting, isn't that strange? I must say I love your lucky mistake where the angle of the tree supports match the angle of the lights...
Great post. Always such an inspiration getting to see your pics. Hugs/ Jo.

Dianne said...

Benny!! I always feel so happy the moment I see him

I love the shot of the bird taking off, that's incredible

Anonymous said...

All of your shots are fabulous but I especially love the second one :)

Mental P Mama said...

Love that robin action shot! Love them all, actually;)

Land of shimp said...

Please let me borrow a cup of warm weather, Hilary! We continue to have the chilliest Spring in my memory here, in Colorado. I shivered on behalf of Benny before realizing that perhaps he wasn't living on the frozen frelling Tundra as I am ;-)

And that is officially enough whining, whinging and complaining from yours truly.

What I like about the Robin in flight picture is that he appears to be free-falling. Doesn't he look as if he's just cast his lot to fate, and taken the leap of faith? He could be a little bird statue, photograph captured in midair :-)

I also like that for a moment with the tree trunk, I couldn't help but think of aerial views from the space program. Oh to three inches tall and always in awe of the world. Perspective makes such a big difference.

Sorry I continue to be MIA...I'm working on separation training with my dog. To sum up, she's foursquare against it.

Maggie May said...

Those photos are an inspiration but....... Benny wins every time. How can anyone resist that dog?
Maggie X

Nuts in May

Daryl said...

Fabulous shots ... I am especially in love with the robin's take off .. amazing catch ...

Frank Baron said...

Interesting collection this time around, Hil. I love the robin-vacating shot. As it and your last shot prove, it's best to be good AND lucky. :)

Merisi said...

That Robin sure did a great job capturing you at just the right moment! ;-)

Your Benny is so adorable, what a sweetie!

I had to smile when I saw the night images. Who but you would even care to try to take a picture at night? (Well, you know, I see a kindred soul.) *smile*

Pearl said...

I do love how you look at things.

And the robin taking flight? Frame-able.


ethelmaepotter! said...

Consistently perfect photos; great texture in so many of these!

That little dog in the backpack looks like my granddog, Maggie.

And the last picture - the first thing I thought of was the original War of the Worlds movie - the night scene where the townsfolk are waiting and watching the alien creatures come over the hill!

the Bag Lady said...

How many worms did you have to bribe that robin with?
Great photos, Hilary.
I love the Benny picture, of course, but the dog in the backpack is pretty darned cute, too.

christopher said...

Tremendous shots...the clarity is beyond high definition.

I especially love the robin on take-off.

Shrinky said...

Some fabulous photography here, Hilary. The robin in flight is amazing, but my favourite one has to be of Benny, swimming to retrieve his stick - absolutely adorable!

Anonymous said...

Looks as though Benny and you are up to it again: catching nature at its best! Thanks for sharing! I love your pictures, Hilary. You should work for a nature's magazine
:) The Bach

Indrani said...

Great timing, That comes with practice. :)

Cricket said...

Hi hilary - I can't believe how many posts I've missed these last two weeks. Ugh. Hopefully I can get back to normal visiting, reading &c. Pesky ol' life keeps dragging me away from my computer.

Rockin' Robin might be a bit obvious, but still...

My brain is still a bit fried. Having trouble coming up with a unifying theme. As I tell my children, your Daddy used to be a bright guy...

Unknown said...

What a beautiful rendition of your Spring : )

Benny is the cutest thing. Oh my.

Suldog said...

Great shot of the robin in flight. Also, one has to wonder about the graffiti. Why pick that particular bit of tree to scrawl upon? The mysteries of life...

Unseen Rajasthan said...

Fantastic,beautiful and lovely shots !!Great post !!

Clowncar said...

like many others already said, thst robin in mid-flight is magical.

though I also enjoyed the juxtaposition of the beautifully gnarled tree with the crude graffiti. had to look to find it!

Anita said...

As I looked at each shot, I thought of how great an invention the camera is! To be able to capture the beauty of nature and to share it with others is a wondrous gift.

photowannabe said...

Totally delightful Hilary. You see such wonderful art in the everyday-ness of life. Beautiful tulip and the closeup of Benny is fabulous.

Friko said...

These are wonderful pictures.
I enjoyed going on this trip with you. The black robin is fascinating, ours are what is known as lbj, or little brown jobs, except for their redbreasts. But they do sing beautifully and they'll almost sit on your spade when you are gardening.

I have a black labrador called Benno who simply adores fetching sticks from quite big rivers. He is a large dog and a very powerful swimmer.

I have visited before (coming over via Bonnie) but with all these comments you get I didn't think you'd notice another one.

Greetings from the Shropshire Hills.

Unspoken said...

I LOVE that second shot! Very cool catch, Hilary.

Thank you for the ever sweet comments you have left me.

Hilary said...

• Jo, thank you kindly. I'd like to think that birds pose for me but mostly they just mess with me. Luck lurks around unexpected corners though. Thanks so much for the visit. :)

• Thank you, Dianne. Everyone feels that way when they see Benny.. except for squirrels.. and my cats. ;)

• ED, thank you. I got so lucky with that one. :)

• MPM, thank you very much. :)

• Shimp, we're supposed to have a bit of a cool down after tomorrow so I sure hope our departing warmth heads your way. That creek water was cold but the air wasn't bad and Benny runs around like a madman after he's been in the water. You're right about the robin - it does look like he's free falling. As always your observations are amusing and unique. I hope it won't be too long before Puddles starts to settle down and get comfy with your leaving her on occasion. We miss you in the blog world. Thanks for the visit, my friend. :)

• Thank you, Maggie. You hit the nail on the head... nobody resists him. ;)

• Thanks, Daryl. Luck was on my side that day. :)

• Thanks, Frank. That last shot was pure luck as was the robin. The "good" part comes from listening to good advice.. most of which has come from you. :)

• Merisi, you're right. That was a clever little bird. ;) I love night photography. It's rarely as clear (because of high ISO) and of course not always colourful (unless it's a city scene) but it's always interesting and moody. Thanks so much for visit and kind words. :)

• Pearl, thank you so much. :)

• EthelMae, you have such an interesting way of looking at scenes. That's quite the imaginative view of my spotlight shot. Thanks so much for your always kind words. :)

• Baggie, I'm not allowed to bribe robins with worms.. they're all in reserve for fishing. ;) Thanks so much for the visit and kind comment. :)

• Christopher, thanks very much for your kind words. Very much appreciated. :)

• Shrinky, thanks so much. Benny LOVES that particular activity and was happy to have the weather and creek warm up enough to resume it for the next few months. Thank for stopping by. :)

• Bach, Benny always enjoys himself.. no matter the activity. And thank you so much for the kind words. :)

• Indrani, nice to see you. Thanks very much but truly, it was luck. :)

• Cricket, I know how quickly posts can collect after just a couple of days away from the computer. There's no catching up after two weeks!I hope that whatever is keeping you busy is bringing good things your way. Rockin' Robin works for me.. nothing wrong with obvious, occasionally. Thanks for the visit. :)

• LWK, thank you. It's good to see you visit. :)

• Suldog, thank you. I couldn't begin to try and understand the wherefores and whys of graffiti but I do like what it added to the shot for some odd reason. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thank you, UR. :)

• Clowncar, thank you kindly. I thought the graffiti was glaring and obvious.. funny how it didn't stand out to you. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Anita, you're so right. Isn't it an incredible invention? As is the computer.. without which, we wouldn't be able to share the images and our thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and sharing yours. :)

• Sue, thank you kindly. Your warm words always mean a lot to me. :)

• Welcome, Friko and thank you for your kind words. Robins, no matter the colours are wonderful birds. And their song truly is beautiful. I can't say that I've ever encountered one as friendly as yours though. Labs sure do love swimming.. they're practically made for the water, aren't they? I'm glad you decided to stop by and leave a comment. I always notice, read, love, appreciate and reply to every message on my photography posts. I'm glad that yours is now among them. :)

• Thank you so much, Amy. I'm glad you liked it. :)

lime said...

that shot of the robin taking off is both amusing in the timing of capturing it and humorous in the position the bird is in. it looks a little like there must have been a giant foot off screen giving him a shove. hehehehe

Hilary said...

Lime, only you could see that giant foot. You cracked me up with that mental image. Thank you for that. :)