Warning; this post has photos but also talks about photography stuff. If you just like the photos, just ignore the words.

As I mentioned in the first post (HERE), this year the hummers were late in coming to our yard. Since then, we’ve had a bit of a puzzler . . . we had a few rushes where the feeders were going empty fast enough that I added more feeders (up to 11 now), and then we had lulls where I had to throw away old sugar water and replace it with fresh because they weren’t drinking it fast enough.

That cycle has repeated through most of June. It could be because they are nesting and raising broods, but I don’t recall previous years being like this.

So, this post has photos from a gloomy and dark day . . . perfect opportunity for me to play with the latest version of Lightroom’s masking feature. For them not familiar with the parlance, masking refers to selectively working on specific portions of a photo. Using masking, you could brighten (dodging) one area of a photo while darkening (burning) a different area of the same photo.

I seldom engage in dodging and burning. I usually do global adjustments to bring out details from underexposed and overexposed areas, and to balance tones and colors. However, having been reminded real photographers (Ansel Adams, oneowner) make extensive use of masking, dodging, and burning, I decided to play with these photos as a way to learn the new tools.

Here’s what the original of the above photo looks like (Shutter speed 1/2000 at f/9.0, and ISO 1100 with a zoom of 300mm or 450mm equivalent).

As mentioned in Part 1, I’ve been taking a lot of photos of birds.

The 100% Crop series is just at it sounds. Each photo shows a bird cropped from a larger photo. Most of the crops will be 100%, but not all.

I was going to include this in the previous post but decided it merited its own post. What is a Mississippi Kite, you ask?

As shot, at 300mm zoom (450mm eqv.)

For photos at 100% crop (the above photo isn’t), if your browser window is set to full screen, and if your screen is large enough, when you click on the photo, it will fill the screen. If your cursor shows as a circle with a ‘plus’ sign, it means your screen resolution is smaller than the photo, in which case, you can click on the photo to further zoom in to 100% resolution.

Again, you won’t see the above at 100% size unless you go to SmugMug and zoom in.

Anyway, I was sitting watching birds when I noticed a speck in the sky. Normally, I can tell what it is by the way it flies (various birds) or soars (raptors or vultures). This one looked odd.

Of course, in SmugMug, you can view the first photo at full resolution and you can see the bird a tad larger . . .

roughly a 100% crop of the above

. . . . I wasn’t happy with either the processing or size of the 100% crop, so I ran the photo through Topaz GigaPixel and doubled the resolution . . .

As mentioned in Part 1, I’ve been taking a lot of photos of birds.

The 100% Crop series is just at it sounds. Each photo shows a bird cropped from a larger photo. Most of the crops will be 100%, but not all.

Regardless, the photos will be fairly large close-ups of the birds. And, what better way to begin than with a Bald Eagle?

For photos at 100% crop (the above photo isn’t), if your browser window is set to full screen, and if your screen is large enough, when you click on the photo, it will fill the screen. If your cursor shows as a circle with a ‘plus’ sign, it means your screen resolution is smaller than the photo, in which case, you can click on the photo to further zoom in to 100% resolution.

The above shot was taken from the car. Even at 300mm zoom (450 effective), the bird is fairly small. I can crop the image and it’s still small.

Of course, in SmugMug, you can view the first photo at full resolution and it’ll be a tad larger . . . but, I also ran the photo through Topaz GigaPixel and doubled the resolution . . .

This year, they were late. Rather, I didn’t see any at my feeders until late May, and didn’t photograph any until June 1st, well after the Migration Map showed them all the way into Canada. These next two photos are the first of the season.

The photos aren’t great, but they’re shared on the strength of them being the first two photos of the 2022 season. Don’t worry, I have better photos . . . but the ones below are just mediocre.

I should have filmed it, but the photos offer a different perspective . . . the movement of the water and water drops as the bird bathes.

OK, OK . . . see, Catbirds have a habit of getting on the birdbath, drinking a few sips, and leaving.

I figured this was going to be another one of those times . . . even when he jumped in, I thought nothing of it because they do occasionally jump in, and then jump out and leave.

Even when he started messing with the water, I still thought it was going to be a few seconds and no more . . .

I previously mentioned I’ve been snapping a lot of photos . . . so I have an excuse for not working on the story that’s due in a few weeks as I instead work on this post. This is a short post because I have other stuff to do (stuff that’s also not writing the story).

We begin with a series of flying photos . . . er . . . photos of flying things. Specifically, a Great Blue Heron.

I’ve been taking a lot of photos of birds. A lot. Many more than I can possibly post unless I dedicate most of my time to posting bird photos (not a bad thing, that, but it would be at the expense of other stuff).

On the other hand, as each day goes by, I fall behind and the inventory gets larger. And so, I decided to do occasional posts sampling the photos in my collection.

The 100% Crop series is just at it sounds. Each photo shows a bird at full resolution (100% crop). For example, here’s a Gray Catbird. Also, it will typically fill the frame with little of the surroundings shown other than what’s in the background.

If your browser window is set to full screen, and if your screen is large enough, when you click on the photo, it will fill the screen. If your cursor shows as a circle with a ‘plus’ sign, it means your screen resolution is smaller than the photo, in which case, you can click on the photo to further zoom in to 100% resolution.

Try it; I’ll wait before adding the rest of the photos.

Let’s begin with THIS<<link notice from the Illinois DNR. Basically, it’s a warning about the EA H5N1 strain of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) currently impacting some wild and domestic bird species. As a result, they recommend stopping the use of bird feeders and birdbaths until the end of May. I’ll have additional important information at the end of the post. (See what I did there? I used the ole “Details at 11:00” ruse to maybe have a few additional readers stick around until the end.)

I like birds, so on April 22nd I pulled all my feeders and emptied my birdbaths. But, not before I sat outside for a few hours photographing birds from my covered patio. This then is a post harkening back to the posts of yore, when I used to publish long posts with lots of photos. Posts that few people read, and even fewer readers stuck with it to the end.

If I use all the photos I post-processed, I’ll end up with 104 photos in this post (I had nearly 300 photos), but because some photos are similar to each other, I’ll probably have a tad fewer than that . . . but still more than what current readers might be used to.

Right! Let’s begin with a White-throated Sparrow . . .

Occasionally, this past Winter, I spied a Robin-sized bird with striking plumage. I snapped a few photos of it, but few were any good. The bird is the Brown Thrasher, and I live right at the edge of its year-round range.

Before I proceed, a quick reminder about the two polls currently open. One is for the Random Title Challenge Round 2 Submissions (HERE), and the other is to pick a title for Round 3 (HERE). If you’ve not done so — and if you feel so inclined — we’d appreciate your votes. Thanks.

And now, on with the bird stuff.

That’s my neighbor’s junky landscaping. It’s a tad unsightly but I don’t mind because many birds forage there. They come for the seeds of various weeds, the bugs, and for material for their nests.

Just a quick post because I’m supposed to be writing. I decided to write this because I saw something I’d not read about before. Of course, once I searched for it, I confirmed I wasn’t the first human to observe this behavior . . . drat!

But first, a brief introduction. Click in the name to learn about the Carolina Chickadee, and here’s a specimen at one of my feeders.

They are cute birds, forever looking busy, and here’s their typical behavior . . .

I’ve been snapping a fair — maybe even more than fair — number of photos of the birds visiting my backyard feeders. I put up the feeder in early December and I now have quite the number of mediocre photos, along with a few decent photos, and a few I quite like.

Of course, I’m way behind in documenting them, and I doubt I’ll ever catch up, but, what I can do — and will do in this post — is share a few photos of birds all doing the same thing . . . looking at me.

All of these photos are taken from inside the house through double-pane glass. There’s a preferred window I use because it’s fixed (meaning, it doesn’t open) and hence has no screen interfering with photographing the birds. All I have to do is remove about seven slats from the blinds and I have a nice unobstructed view of the patio and feeders. For the record, all the previously shared feeder photos are shot through that window.

All of the birds’ names are linked to a description page. Click on the name and the webpage will open in a new tab or window. Click on the photo, and the photo will open in a new window or tab.

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.

Blue Jays (LINK) are not prone to hang around, especially not when they see a camera. However, if you throw some peanuts on the floor, they linger just long enough to get a few photos.

BUT . . . before I regale you with birds, let me show you a gallery of a birdbath in the rain . . .

The SDS “Sloth” 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 Slot
h and see the results of the vote, THIS POST <<link is what you want to visit.