Friday, April 26, 2013

Alvin and Friends

I'm probably dating myself to bring up Alvin and the Chipmunks, but it was one of those shows that you just never forgot - or the silly songs.  I loved it all!

I have nicknamed my friendliest chipmunk Alvin, although I think it's really a girl.  It's usually busy gathering nesting materials and dashing off to the nearby brush, while the others are stuffing their cheeks with sunflower seeds in the bird feeding area.

There's never a dull moment on the decks as an occasional pitter-patter of little scampering feet runs under your deck chair.  I'm not sure if they know I'm there or just don't care.  Sometimes if I move suddenly they'll leap into the air and run the other way.

Fortunately this year there are no stray cats hanging around!  Knock on wood, as it is usually the case that about the time the wildlife area gets stocked, something bigger on the food chain will come along.  One year it was a young black bear, last year a coyote and a cat.  So we'll see how long I get to enjoy all of them.

I couldn't help but catch this chipmunk in action yesterday as it nibbled on some apple peels I threw out after using the apple-peeler-corer, making for one long string of peel, pretty cute.


Saturday, April 13, 2013

Refresher Course

I love learning new things!  I also love returning to refresh my mind and skills at things I haven't done in a while.  
Recently I took an online course in Nature Photography.  I know, you wonder why someone with a college degree and years of experience in photography even needs to do this.  Well, it's fun, for one thing.  I love the classroom environment - in this case the virtual classroom.  The students are always interesting and eager to learn, curious and open minded.

The course was challenging and I learned new skills with my digital camera.  I admit, there are just some things about digital photography that have eluded me until now.  When I was in school it was all film!
So this was great fun and a great step to better understanding.

One of the things I most loved about my early photography education was the challenge of light and time.  With a little time exposure and the right aperture, you could make water look like this.  That was one of our assignments in this class.  I have to say that I haven't really experimented that much with my manual settings on this camera, but with a tripod and using the timer it worked out!

We were also asked to find something abstract in nature.  It's not as easy as you'd think!  I am attracted to abstract patterns everywhere, but they are usually buildings, rocks, and fabrics, to name a few.  So for this assignment I chose this log.  I was surprised by the perfection of circles here and how it blended so easily with the cross lines from the saw.

This one I used in my previous post.  We were supposed to go out and find something in nature to use the macro lens on.  Another of my favorite pastimes here at my place that borders on the forest.
These tiny mushrooms were growing all over a stump.  The sun was just coming up over the hill and this angle allowed me to get the light to almost illuminate them.  These little guys were only about one to two inches tall.

So if you ever get to thinking you're getting too old to learn new things, think again, go out and do something you've already done!
Have you done anything like this recently?  I'd love to hear from you in the comments.

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