Thursday, July 31, 2014

Uncommon Beauty in a Common Bird

So many places and wildlife faces to see.  Traveling to a new destination where  exploration is all that is on the agenda energizes the soul and creative spirit.

However, we can have the eyes of a tourist or explorer in our own backyards and surrounding locations without even trying too hard.  All it takes is a willing spirit and a personal commitment to get-up-and-go to a local place.  It may be a park, trail, area of town that you don't visit often, if at all.  Or, it may be a place you've thought about but the drive is a bit of a hassle.

Whether you're a photographer or have an interest in a hobby or activity, taking on a local adventure that falls in to your domain of interest may be the ticket to turning a routine Saturday into a real 'weekend' of fun.

Bye, Bye Blackbird - Sheen's Nature Photography
Using the red-winged blackbird as an example, they are quite common.  They arrive in the spring, mate, have babies and fly south again after the family has fledged.  It would be easy to discount a bird that 'I see all the time, just about all my life'.

A recent hike revealed a vocal male, singing in the bright sunshine along the reeds.  He stood in the same place for at least 30 seconds.

The inky black feathers accessorized with fire-engine red wing patches, his fashion statement makes a fashionista green with envy.  And his song, as shrill and bright as it is, is much preferable to any tune on the radio.

Have a great week and it's time to start planning your 'weekend'.

Happy Shooting!

Friday, July 25, 2014

It's a Beautiful Day....

Mornings, for most of us start with a cup of coffee.  For some, the alarm clock or smartphone receives a snooze button tap a few times.   It's that reflective time when yesterday's concerns may not seem quite as bad.  The morning quickly enfolds into our work tasks and personal plans for the day.

For photographers with a sunrise photography plan, it starts with an early alarm along with grabbing a cup of joe and camera gear.

Why do we rush out the door?  To experience the best part of the day!  The silence. The solitude. The think time. And, the simple beauty of watching an every-changing sky draped in painterly hues.

"Morning In Blue" by ©Sheen's Nature Photography

The Morning in Blue image was captured using long exposure (125 sec)  just before sunrise using Nikon 600 using an 85mm 1.8 lens and a B+W neutral density filter.

Let peace, a warm breeze and gentle waters stir the soul.

Happy Shooting!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Sandhill Surprise....A Walk in the Woods

Weekend walks in the woods bring wonderful sights and surprises.  Whether it's birds, wildlife, flowers, insects or foliage, some of my best grounding moments have been on hikes carrying my camera.

This particular day in July was no exception.  At a Detroit area metropolitan park, Kensington Metropark near Milford, Michigan, nature lovers, cycling and running enthusiasts have options to choose from.  An eight mile running and cycling trail circles Lake Kensington while other off-road  mountain cycling trails touch Island Lake.  

Woodland Walk - ©Sheen's Nature Photography
A nature center along with nature trails also meander through woods, marshy areas and an open lake.  Birds, deer and other wildlife can be seen while strolling through trails and sometimes, if lucky, even in the parking lot early in the morning.

This particular Saturday, Sandhill Cranes were actively feeding and visible on the shaded woodland trail.  Another pair casually grazed on the grounds not to far away from the parking lot.  
"Please Take My Picture" - ©Sheen's Nature Photography
As the parking lot "Hollywood Posing Pair" was used to people, they were not camera shy.  In fact one followed me around for several minutes,  gracing me with a close-up of the vibrant, bright orange eye.

A good morning indeed!

Happy Shooting!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Date Night....Friday Evening with a 'Walk-Around" Lens

What we do early Friday evening after work many times sets the stage for the rest of the weekend.     

Sunset Stroll by ©Sheen's Nature Photography
My photography passion centers on birds, flowers and nature.  Typically, my gear includes two cameras, a long lens, macro lens and tripod.  

Not really conducive for a relaxing neighborhood stroll.

Recently, I added a Nikon 50mm 1.8 lens to my arsenal for my Nikon 600 (full frame).   Along with the lens was an internal commitment to be intentional about walking around to find different inspiration.  

Early Friday evenings are now date night walks with my camera and walk-around lens (husband included!). 

The outcome, while still in nature, has been new perspectives.  These came from using a 50mm eye versus my telephoto or macro mindset.

Take a stroll, enjoy the sites along the journey.  And, if a creative moment emerges, snap away!

Happy Shooting!


Monday, July 14, 2014

Proper Preening....Sandhill Crane

Sandhill Crane Preens by Sheen's Nature Photography
The sights of summer are in full glory. Flowers are in bloom, the heat has finally arrived for a few days here in Michigan.  Trail hikes occur almost every weekend.

A highlight of this state is our Sandhill Cranes. Flocks of thousands congregate in open fields and
marshy woodland areas.

While photographing a Sandhill, a heavy beating noise whooshed in from behind.  The pounding sounded like deer running through the forest.  It was the wingbeats of another Sandhill as he flew in to greet the two walking on the trail.

This past Saturday a preening Sandhill enjoyed the early morning sunshine.   He (or she) will be heading south for the winter in late fall.

Until then, another a forty five minute drive for a hike in the woods to see this huge, majestic bird again is on the horizon.

Happy Shooting!


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Woodland Flowers: A Portrait

Woodland flowers.  The sounds of walking in the woods, branches creaking as the warm breeze creates gentle movement.  Sunbeams cast gentle shadows and backlights for flowers and foliage.

A Spring Portrait, by Sheen's Nature Photography
The white wonders gently glowed as the sun cast a soft bokeh to compliment bright white petals.  

This image was captured using a Nikon 85mm Prime lens.  My first instinct was to use my macro.  For fun, I thought I would try creating a portrait of a living, woodland bouquet instead with a portrait lens.  

My 85mm prime is becoming a fast favorite lens for nature photography.  

Happy Shooting!


Thursday, July 3, 2014

Mother Nature's Toasting Glass

One of the best things about being an outdoor nature photographer is that it's easy to stop and smell the roses.  Or in this case, stop and observe the details that wouldn't normally be seen when strolling through a garden taking in the sights.

The late afternoon light created a silver aura that reminded me of a lightly frosted champagne glass.

A Toast to Mother Nature - ©Sheen's Nature Photography
Nikon 600, 105mm 
A beautiful day and evening awaits.....

Happy Toasting & Happy Shooting!