I Got Within 10 Feet From…

This beautiful downy woodpecker this morning as it ate from the suet feeder.











“Downy” let me inch closer and closer as I tried to steady the telephoto lens.  I ended up getting about 10 feet away for these pictures before it got spooked by a blue jay.  Here’s my favorite:

What do you think?  I’m interested in hearing which one you like and why.  Please post a comment and what you like most about nature and wildlife pictures.  This will help me become a better photographer.  Thanks so much; more to come.  🙂

Cooper’s Hawk

I really enjoy Saturday and Sunday mornings when the birds are fluttering back and forth between the back row of trees and bushes and our bird feeders.  There have been days — not recently, though — when I’ve sat in a chair pulled close to the sliding glass door in our sunroom and watched the birds for hours.  I love the spontaneity and the surprise involved in watching and photographing wildlife like this unexpected guest:

It swooped in “from nowhere,” chased a few small birds into the green evergreen trees, banged around in the heavy brush causing the branches to sway as if a squirrel was jumping from branch to branch, and flew out empty-handed to rest on the tree branch as pictured above.  After some quick research in a birding guide that I received for Christmas, I learned that this beautiful and very pesky bird is called a Cooper’s Hawk.

Cooper’s Hawks prey on small backyard birds, especially in yards like ours that feature natural feeding sources, a.k.a., bird feeders.  Fortunately for the birds, the Cooper’s Hawk was unsuccessful on its FIRST try.

Patiently, it observed and watched with its radar-like eyes for about 3 minutes or so.  I kept clicking away portrait (vertical) and landscape (horizontal) shots with my camera when something told me, “Get ready, it’s gonna burst into action!”  Just then, it sling-shot off the small branch and took flight toward another dense shrub on the side of our house.

By the time I unlocked the sliding glass door and ran to the right side of the house, the hawk was nowhere to be seen.  I’m not sure how if its SECOND attempt was more productive than its first or if the small birds escaped its pursuit and won out once again.

Nature and wildlife photography is thrilling, adventurous, and so rewarding!

Why I Chose This Sunset For My Blog Background

Back in the first week of October 2011, my wife and I went on an awesome vacation in which we experience all 4 seasons in just a week’s time.  In Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, heavy snow, ice and unseasonably cold temperatures challenged us as we tent camped in Waynesboro, VA.  Brrrr!!!  Then, the weather warmed slowly as we drove south along the 450+ mile long, 45 mph maximum speed Blue Ridge Parkway to the Great Smokies in Tennessee.  One of the highlights of the trip — besides getting a photo opportunity of an Elk at about 30 feet away — was Read the rest of this entry »


I thought it would be important to provide a disclaimer for my personal webblog so that anyone exposed to my reflections, thoughts, ideas and even conclusions knows the following: Read the rest of this entry »