The color of this bird is so vivid, it almost hurts your eyes. This Scarlet Tanager was perched in the middle of our apple tree when I took this photo. A spot where a lot of birds would blend in and not be noticed. This guy was an obvious stand out.
This is the first Scarlet Tanager we’ve seen at our home in rural Kewaunee County, Wisconsin. It seems he was just stopping for a snack on his way to wherever he’ll spend his summer. He spent the afternoon alternating between the apple tree and the platform feeder where he ate on the oranges we have out for orioles and house finches.
According to Wikipedia – – The Scarlet Tanager (Piranga olivacea) is a medium-sized American songbird. Formerly placed in the tanager family (Thraupidae), it and other members of its genus are now classified in the cardinal family (Cardinalidae).The species’s plumage and vocalizations are similar to other members of the cardinal family. Adults have pale stout smooth bills.
Adult males are bright red with black wings and tail; females are yellowish on the underparts and olive on top, with olive-brown wings and tail. The adult male’s winter plumage is similar to the female’s, but the wings and tail remain darker.Scarlet Tanagers are often out of sight, foraging high in trees, sometimes flying out to catch insects in flight. They eat mainly insects and fruit.
There are times when I look out the window of our rural home and think, “What a circus!” Birds are flying in every direction to take advantage of a free meal from one of our many feeders.
Of all the birds we see, the American Goldfinches are among the most active and consistent performers at our house. It can be quite entertaining to watch them zipping in and out; hither and yon.
When frozen by the camera, the Goldfinch’s quick, bouncy style of flight seems unnatural and awkward.
All of the birds in this photo are American Goldfinches – except the one Chipping Sparrow whose tail can bee seen as he perches on the back side of the feeder.
(Click the image for a larger version.)
This image was taken on a drab and drizzly day, so you’ll notice his feathers appear a bit damp.
There is no shortage of Goldfinches at our house – year round. (Might have something to do with the food we put out.) It’s nice to see them back in their bright yellow and black plumage for the spring and summer.
(Click on the main image for a larger view.)
The best part of waking up… The sky provided a blend of beautiful colors, layered from the red of the sun on the horizon to the blue, high in the early morning sky.
I made my way to the shore of Lake Michigan – to the Kewaunee, WI beach – to catch a 5:40 am sunrise on the morning of Saturday, April 30, 2011.
It’s interesting to see the different transformations that the sky goes through in the course of a half hour sunrise. For a different look of the same sunrise, see my previous post “Morning Beam.”
(Click the photo for a slightly larger view.)
I got up early last Saturday to take sunrise photos of the Kewaunee, WI lighthouse. This is a photo from the end of the shoot. The sun was up enough that it was out of the frame but you can’t miss it’s power by the prominent beam of light.
More from this shoot will be posted in the next few days. Keep checking back or simply subscribe to the RSS feed.
(Click on the image for a larger view.)
After an unseasonably cold spring, we were finally blessed with a sunny afternoon – it was Easter Sunday. We were ready to get outside and took a long walk through a wooded area.
Along the way we stumbled upon a few fresh flowers. These are the very first blooms of the season.
Just a few days ago, the area where we found these spring beauties was under a blanket of snow (nine inches) from a late winter storm.
(Click on either photo for a larger view.)
I’ve been working to get a good shot of the moon. My previous attempts have been OK, but not as sharp as I thought they should be. (See That’s Amore!) I figured out the problem and am fairly pleased with this one.
First I mount my Sony SLT-A55 on a tripod. To get a closer view I use a 300mm zoom lens. Even with the lens magnification, it requires quite a bit of cropping to enlarge the image. I switch the camera to manual focus. My camera also has a setting that allows me to enlarge the image in the viewfinder or LCD screen to really hone in on the focus. I also use the 2-second timer on the camera so that I’m not shaking the camera by pressing the shutter button.
I thought the problem was the inexpensive tripod I was using – that it wasn’t stable enough. I also thought it could be a limitation with the lens, since the one I own would fall under the “budget” category. One other possibility was the UV filter – a clear filter used mainly to protect the lens.
It turned out to be the UV filter. I took a couple of shots with a new, solid tripod and things looked the same as with the flimsy tripod. Then I removed the UV filter and saw an immediate difference. The photo above is the result. Looks like I’ll have to invest a little more in a better UV filter.
The smaller image gives you a perspective of the size of the moon in the actual image the camera captures. Then I enlarge the view by cropping it to fill more of the frame.
(Click on either photo to see a larger version.)