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.

The background for these posts can be found in THIS post.

In brief, these posts serve to introduce new readers — and reintroduce regular readers — to photos from the early days of this blog and, occasionally, to photos from days before this blog came into existence. And, like today, relatively recent photos.

Today, I offer a gallery with 252 photos originally shared in a series of posts (HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE to list a few), but if you want a good introduction to the subject, look in THIS post. Sorry, I should mention I’m talking about my Nikon D7500.

This gallery is where I often throw random photos not specifically associated with a particular post. Meaning that I might use a photo in an opinion piece, a post about an event, or an update about something, and dump it in this gallery as opposed to creating a gallery with only one or two photos.

Anyway, I’m late with this. I was going to make a joke about rising late, but instead, I’ll say Happy Easter to them who might celebrate it.

To say that I like the D7500 is . . . well, accurate. It plays well with the lenses I have, has a decent number of the features I like, and gives me little to no trouble when called into service.

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 . . .

This is a continuation of yesterday’s post, namely, the monochrome versions of those shots. Typically, I would lump those photos together — color and monochrome — in one post, plus add a bunch more semi-related photos.

Unfortunately, all that takes time to compose and read, as can be experienced by reading THIS post.

Anyway, let me recreate the previous post in monochrome, starting with . . .

I vacillate between thinking chromatic is the better choice and monochromatic as the way to go. Of course, it depends on the subject, one’s preference, the skill of the photographer in processing each version, the preference of the reader (typically fickle and affected by their mood), and, obviously, the current moon phase.

The Face of Happiness

I previously shared photos from the minor ice storm we experienced in late February (HERE). Those photos were taken with the D100 and D200 . . . and today I want to quickly share the photos I snapped with the D7500.

I say quickly because I’m tired and don’t want to spend a whole lot of time and effort, but want to share the photos that have been languishing in my computer for a while.

I know the title says macro, but the first few photos are not macros . . . sorry, but we’ll get to the macros quickly enough.