Sunday, April 10, 2011

Virginia Blue Bells

Waiting for spring, yet another cloudy dreary weekend.  We took a nature hike over to Bull Run Park to see if the Virginia Blue Bells were in bloom.  Typically these are early spring flowers that mass in large groups near to the banks of a stream or river.  They enjoy moist conditions and find the damp leafy areas to be a favorite habitat.

Aside from the overcast skies we proceeded on our hike down to the stream area.  I was very glad I had brought my Singh-Ray Gold and Blue polarizer as this filter is quickly becoming my favorite for landscape use.  It turns the bland and dreary into something magical.  A quick twist of the ring gives me just enough gold or blue or somewhere in between to really pickup the colors of the delicate flowers without looking artificial.

Virginia Blue Bells
It was interesting trying to shoot these little beauties as they hang down from their stalks.  Trying to get underneath a low to the ground flower made for some back ache inducing contortions.  I am told that when in full bloom (hopefully in a few weeks) that the ground looks like a blue haze across the landscape.

Field of Virginia Blue Bells
I tried to create that effect here although you can see that there are not enough blooms out yet. All in all a nice morning hike, although a bit more strenuous than I had thought it would be.  I was pleased that my new Think Tank Slingomatic 10 was more than up to the task, taking several lenses and filters while remaining on my shoulder very comfortably.  I am glad I now have a smaller bag for short hikes such as this.

The D700 continues to make me very happy and the Nikkor 24-70 is quickly becoming my workhorse lens.  Add my Nikon GP1 for GPS coordinates and the Singh-Ray Gold and Blue and I feel I can shoot just about anything.  Very happy with this combo, I hope to give a better workout soon.

Until next weekend, keep shooting!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Going to the Birds

Although I enjoy bird watching, I find that trying to take their picture is often an exercise in frustration.  Trying to keep my distance while still staying in range of my Nikkor 70-300 is sometimes tough since these little birds are very wary.  I managed to capture a few Downy Woodpeckers as they tried to get to the suet feeder.

Downy Woodpeckers

This pair spent a lot of time working their way up and down on the trees next to the feeders and then they would move to the food before flying off again.  Below is the female on the suet feeder.

Downy woodpecker on feeder
Here is the male (below) as close as I can get without scaring him away.  Hopefully I can improve my stealth skills before the weather improves.  Almost a 100% crop from my D700 and the image still holds together very well.

Male Downy Woodpecker

Perhaps spring is getting close, I am sure looking forward to giving my new D700 more of a workout soon.  Until next time, keep shooting. button Promote Your Blog Follow on Buzz Blog ping service Dreamhost Promotional Codes

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