Just a quick post showing the results of a few minutes of playing around with Topaz Studio 2 and some plugins. In no particular order, I give you, Moon Artsified!

All of these were from one single image, and it’s me choosing some options and throwing some switches in Topaz Studio 2.

For them not interested in reading, you can see the photos in THIS<<link SmugMug Gallery.  

For a SmugMug slideshow, click HERE<<link. When you click the link, it will open in a new window, and you have two options:
1) Manually scroll through the photos by clicking the “<” and “>” symbols to the left or right of the photos.
2) There’s a PLAY/PAUSE button at the top-left of the screen with the transition set at about 5 seconds. Note: clicking the PLAY arrow will run a full-screen slideshow. You can then still use the”<” and “>” symbols to the left or right of the photos (this will pause the slideshow).

If you want the full experience, keep reading.

Welcome to the third bird feeders bird post. This post has photos (Nikon D7500) and videos (Nikon P900) from December 16, 2021. Also, videos from the 15th.

The 16th was another warmish — if wet — day, and I sat outside for a few hours watching the wildlife. I shot 99 photos, and I managed to pare them down to 64.

Because I’m still working out the whole embedding thing, these will be loaded as I usually do, which means I’ll have galleries to help readers speed through the photos as opposed to having readers wear out the scroll wheel of their mouse. I calculated that based on the amount of storage I have left, the actual number of photos I can upload might be as many as 4,500 (depending on the sizes). That’s more than I’d estimated before, so that’s nice.

I’m also breaking with tradition and not presenting the photos in the order they were shot.

Tufted Titmouse using my Nikon D7500

Much like the last post, this is not a super-great photo of a Tufted Titmouse. What can I say? Sometimes, my luck runs out and my lack of talent shines through, even if I’m using the Nikon D7500 with the excellent 70-200mm f/2.8 lens. I could blame the poor lighting and the rain, but it’s all on me. However, I got luckier after that . . .

The SDS “Pride” voting round has come to an end.

Here’s the updated logo . . .

If you want to know more about the SDS challenge, THIS Post <<link explains it.

If you want to read the Seven Deadly Sins stories submitted for the Sin of Pride and see the results of the vote, THIS POST <<link is what you want to visit.

This is a quick reminder that the voting for the SDS Challenge Pride Stories ends at Noon, January 6, 2022. We had a quick flurry of votes before it came to a screeching halt well short of our typical volume for this challenge . . . but, then, we still have seven days (six if you don’t count today) to pick up the slack.

If you are new to the SDS Challenge, a little background.

Three writers will each write one story a month, going down the list of deadly sins. The stories can be anywhere from 666 words to 6,666 words in length, although those numbers are not set in stone (and Perry has blown them out of the water and into orbit). If ambitious, the writers will provide accompanying graphics. These stories will not be anonymous because some writers may want to use the same characters for each story and write a series — or book — encompassing all seven sins. Finally, interpretation of the titular sin is up to the writer. Meaning, each ‘sin’ can take multiple forms.

Disclaimer: The writing challenge has no restrictions, and the stories will likely span a wide gamut of genres. Most of the stories fall in the PG-rating range, with a few perhaps pushing into the soft R-rating. Some readers might find a few of the stories disturbing because of the topics, language, and/or plot points, and if so, stop reading and move on.

If you want to read the Seven Deadly Sins submissions for the Sin of Pride, and then vote, your gateway is THIS POST <<link. There, you’ll find links to each of the three stories and a poll for you to vote after you finish them (if you be so moved).

For them not interested in reading, you can see the photos in THIS<<link SmugMug Gallery.  

For a SmugMug slideshow, click HERE<<link. When you click the link, it will open in a new window, and you have two options:
1) Manually scroll through the photos by clicking the “<” and “>” symbols to the left or right of the photos.
2) There’s a PLAY/PAUSE button at the top-left of the screen with the transition set at about 5 seconds. Note: clicking the PLAY arrow will run a full-screen slideshow. You can then still use the”<” and “>” symbols to the left or right of the photos (this will pause the slideshow).

If you want the full experience, keep reading.

Welcome to the second bird feeders bird post.

The weather having been unusually warm (we had a few days in the 70s and a number of days in the middle and upper 60s … in December) I have lots of photos to share . . . and if it’s anything like my cruise photos effort, I’ll probably finish sharing them sometime in late 2024.

Overall, I’ve been pleased with the bird attendance at the feeders, this being winter and all, and I look forward to more of a showing once Spring rolls around, which, at this rate, will probably be in the middle of January.

Sneak peek of a Tufted Titmouse using my Nikon P900

I’ll have more off those guys in future posts. They are cagey and seldom sit still long enough for a shot when at the feeders, hence why the P900’s long zoom came in handy for that opportunity.

I don’t remember if I mentioned it, but — weather permitting — I sit outside with a cup of coffee and the two cameras (Nikon P900 and Nikon D7500 with 70-200mm f/2.8 lens) for a few hours during the time the birds are most active. Even if there’s little avian activity, I still shoot photos of shrubs, rocks, leaves, etc.

Most of those photos get blown away (yes, I occasionally get rid of photos), but what I’m doing as I wait for birds, is trying different settings, learning what the cameras can and cannot do, and finding the best settings for the conditions.

American Robin photographed using my Nikon P900

And, what are the conditions?

Well, this set of photos are samples from two days — December 14 and 16 — and both days were overcast and featured an occasional raindrop or two (a few raindrops are visible on that photo, and you can see water drops on the bird’s tail).

In that particular photo, the bird was about twenty feet away. This next bird was about 160 feet away.

This is a quick reminder that the voting for the SDS Challenge Pride Stories is underway.

If you are new to the SDS Challenge, a little background.

Three writers will each write one story a month, going down the list of deadly sins. The stories can be anywhere from 666 words to 6,666 words in length, although those numbers are not set in stone (and Perry has blown them out of the water and into orbit). If ambitious, the writers will provide accompanying graphics. These stories will not be anonymous because some writers may want to use the same characters for each story and write a series — or book — encompassing all seven sins. Finally, interpretation of the titular sin is up to the writer. Meaning, each ‘sin’ can take multiple forms.

Disclaimer: The writing challenge has no restrictions, and the stories will likely span a wide gamut of genres. Most of the stories fall in the PG-rating range, with a few perhaps pushing into the soft R-rating. Some readers might find a few of the stories disturbing because of the topics, language, and/or plot points, and if so, stop reading and move on.

If you want to read the Seven Deadly Sins submissions for the Sin of Pride, and then vote, your gateway is THIS POST <<link. There, you’ll find links to each of the three stories and a poll for you to vote after you finish them (if you be so moved).

. . . zero birds in the hand is worth eight in the bush.

That’s right, mes chers lecteurs; there be eight identifiable birds in that bush. Meaning, you can definitively recognize them as birds (having recognizable bird characteristics).

Now, you have to be a bit careful because the milkweed seed pods, tend to have bird-like shapes depending on their orientation, but they don’t have legs, beaks, tails, or feather markings.