Thursday, August 30, 2012

Squirrels in the Present

The idea is that there is a kind of memory in nature. Each kind of thing has a collective memory. So, take a squirrel living in New York now. That squirrel is being influenced by all past squirrels.
Rupert Sheldrake.

Since I am a fan of Rupert Sheldrake, I decided to use the squirrel quotation notwithstanding the fact that the squirrels here are Tennessee River squirrels.  Presumably the morphogenetic field of Tennessee River squirrels is pretty similar to Central Park squirrels. 

Take the squirrel I observed recently at the Tennessee River.  If you had a big bushy tail would you hang by your back feet, completely upside down, and nibble on berries?  I didn't think so. Well, our human morphogenetic field is different from that of squirrels, so I am sure that explains it! I was reduced to observing squirrels at the Tennessee River one morning when the birds seemed to disappear.  Well, the squirrels chased at least some of them away!  As it turned out, I was glad, because this produced one of my favorite photos of the year.  I also learned a couple of things........

For instance, squirrels sit on vines so that they can use the front paws to eat.  I didn't know it at the time, because I was snapping photos from so far away with my new very zoomed camera that I couldn't really see the stuff I was snapping.  What a revelation it is to look at the photos later.

What I love about nature photography is that it is unpredictable.  Luck, persistence, patience all play a role.  I had to snap whatever the animal decides to do.  Even if you get a squirrel hanging by its toes eating berries, any two shots come out differently.  I have an obvious favorite between the following shots.  See if you agree with me. 

Now, the next ones.  Note that I am not the director, merely the observor.  Which is your favorite hanging squirrel photo, and why?


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Catching the Light on Bluebird Lane

Who else here lives on a street named Bluebird Lane?  For years I paid no attention to the name of our street on the Tennessee River.  After all, we don't get any mail there.  I soon found out that it lives up to its name, thanks to a few bluebird boxes the owners of the marina scattered around.

Now, this is not a particularly good time a year to take songbird photos.  They aren't very active, like in the spring, for one thing.  Mainly, though, they are hard to see when leaves are out.  Even when you can see them, it is hard to get a clear view through a camera lens, because even with a big zoom, getting a photo of birds is like threading a needle through the leaves.  The exception of course is if you have a bird feeder, but I don't take advantage of that.  After all, then getting photos of birds would be no challenge.

Another issue is even if a bird lands in a tree, and you can get a clear view of it through a camera lens, often the shade is too dense to get a good photo.  All I can say is, sans a bird feeder, a photographer has to be extremely lucky and persistent to get really good photos of birds this time of year.  

I found a favorite place on a branch not too far from our front porch. Still, I had to use the full zoom of my new camera. Now this is a pretty decent photo of a bird grooming herself. And she sure needed grooming.

While the first photo was completely shady, there were hints of some filtered sun coming through the leaves.  Rare!  Lucky!  Here is mom with a juvenile member of the bluebird family.  The juvenile bluebird does not yet have the red breast, but is still spotted. Mom continued having a bad feather day.

 And for perfect bluebird natural lighting, it came later when the two birds were having a heated conversation.  The light is filtered, shining on the birds, but not much in the background, and the background is green leaves!  Notice the difference the light makes from the first photo.

Later I got a photo of a bluebird that illustrate the principles of both "backlit" (photographer facing the light source), and negative space!  I didn't purposely look for such a shot, but this was pretty natural with the Tennessee River in the background. 

Bluebird Lane is no misnomer!