Friday, August 31, 2007

new Nikon

The Nikon P5100 is the new flagship camera in the COOLPIX range, offering 12.1 megapixels, 3.5x zoom (35-123mm) and the EXPEED digital image processor. It will be available next month. What makes this camera interesting is that the model it replaces, P5000, was reportedly very good for digiscoping.


How many frames per second do you need on your digital camera? 60 enough? Casio is working on just such a model.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge

While I was at Blue Cloud Abbey last week, there was one morning that looked promising. No fog -- sun shining -- so I took off for the Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge. The fog returned by the time I got to Millbank. The Refuge is just south of Ortonville and the fog lifted a little by the time I got there. Even without sun and blue skies, the 9+ auto loop through the refuge was entertaining as I hope you will gather from these photos.
I was greeted by this duck with an itch and a Belted Kingfisher who kept his suspicious eye on me.

Do you suppose this is why they call it Big Stone?
(more pictures to follow)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

don't bug me

Has anybody else tried the Don't Bug Me! patch? I'd be interested in your experience. Mine was mixed the several times I used it. The first time was an early morning at Springbrook Nature Center when it seemed quite effective; but then, how do you really judge? -- maybe there weren't that many bugs around. Several nights later, when I took one of my telescopes out to the driveway to look at Jupiter, I was nearly eaten alive -- patch or no patch.

Monday, August 27, 2007

lethargy, cats & photographers

Often I would rather vegetate in front of the TV -- yet I have this irresistible urge to take photos. How to understand this? Read John Mikes' analysis on his Weekend Shooter blog.

new Canons

Read about the new Canon 1Ds Mark III -- priced out of sight but with a full-frame 21.1 megapixel sensor shooting at 5 fps and 45 focusing points. More reasonably priced is the new Canon 40D with a 10.1 mg sensor and capable of 6.5 fps.

turtles at Blue Cloud Abbey

Saturday, August 25, 2007

more from Blue Cloud Abbey

a rare glimpse of the Blue Cloud Abbey bell tower through the fog

chilly & wet sparrow

chilly & wet warbler
(more to follow)

Friday, August 24, 2007

foggy days at Blue Cloud Abbey

Each day at Blue Cloud Abbey was enveloped in fog and drizzle this week. Of course, that didn't stop me from taking pictures. I discovered that fog made correct exposure difficult and the drizzle was a challenge to my cameras and lenses. Although my Canons (20D & XTi) do not have the water resistant feature of the much more expensive professional bodies, most of my lenses are of the L-series which are sealed to protect against moisture.

one of the several wild sunflower fields

pine needles busy trapping fog

Eastern Kingbird
if you look carefully, you may see the very light drizzle

Thursday, August 23, 2007

I'm back!

It's good to be home!
As much as I always enjoy my retreats at Blue Cloud Abbey, the return home to real life was welcome -- particularly when refreshed and strengthened by praying the Daily Office and fellowship with the monks.
My picture taking was another story. From Saturday through today we were blanketed by various degrees of fog which from time to time turned to drizzle. I only saw the sun was for a brief time yesterday morning. As I headed towards the Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge, even that brief ray of light disappeared and I was again enveloped by the ever-present gray and wet.
These two pictures will give you a little glimpse of what I kept seeing in the camera viewfinder.
But all was not lost -- I did have fun -- I did get some shots I liked.
More to follow as I progress with my editing.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Bob's Cabins

I returned yesterday afternoon from Bob's Cabins on the North Shore where every summer we spend a few days with the grandkids. What happens, however, is that I spend so much time with them that there is little opportunity for birding. I did get a number of gull pictures which I will post later. Today and tomorrow I have to catch up on some paying work before I head out to Blue Cloud Abbey early Saturday morning -- so future posts will have to wait until I come back a week from today.
I do anticipate taking a lot of bird pictures at the Abbey as well as at the Big Stone National Wildlife Refuge. This should be a good time to catch some early migrant shorebirds.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

highlight of the day at Sherburne NWR

As long as I had a little time left before taking off for the North Shore, I thought I would post these shots of a juvenile Bald Eagle taken near the end of Jim's & my excursion to Sherburne NWR last week.

bad hair day

Saturday, August 11, 2007

more from Sherburne NWR - II

Sandhill Crane

silhouette of a Double-crested Cormorant

The highlight of our day will have to wait until our next posting, which will be next week. We're going to the North Shore with the grandkids -- returning on Wednesday -- hopefully with a lot of good bird pictures. Check back the middle of next week.

Friday, August 10, 2007

more from Sherburne NWR

another Great Blue Heron looking for lunch

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge

This morning my friend, Jim, and I decided to visit the Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge. From the SherburneNWR web site you can download a map of the refuge. It's about 5 mi. west of Zimmerman and about 45 mi. north of the Twin Cities.
We spent most of our time on the 7+ mi. Wildlife Drive which is accessible by car.
As we arrived, we were greeted by this otter. He was a tough critter to shoot -- always diving and only occasionally sticking his head above water.

Great Blue Heron planning to do some fishing.

(more pictures to follow)

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Monday, August 6, 2007


Another reason to like Chickadees.
Click here.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

behind bars

American Goldfinch @ Springbrook - 7/30/07

Saturday, August 4, 2007

What's happening with the bunnies?

I first observed it at my daughter's house in the St. Anthony Park area of St. Paul -- a rabbit with a growth on top of and in the middle of its head. Last week I saw several others with growths of various sizes at Springbrook where this and the next two pictures were taken.
At my house, in Lexington, we have tons of rabbits, but they all appear healthy. Does anyone have any explanation of this growth phenomenon?

a bunny with a huge growth

a couple of healthy ones

Friday, August 3, 2007

Canon Pixma Pro9000

Maybe this should be your next color printer. Check out this comprehensive review.

more from Springbrook - 7/30/07

When going out into the field I try to travel light -- either the Canon 20D with the 400mm lens on a tripod w/1.4x & 2.0x teleconverters - or - the Canon XTi with the 300mm lens + the 1.4x teleconverter. If, instead of walking, I'll be doing more driving, the, of course, I will take both bodies and even add the 70-200mm lens. Springbrook is for walking - so last week I only had the 300mm lens with me. Of course, that is when I wish I had the longer lens, such as in this instance when I came across these two Green Herons on the opposite side of the pond. I did put the 1.4x on, but I sure wish I'd had the 400mm instead.
To try to solve this predicament I bought a medium-size backback that will hold the other body & both of the extra lenses, but little else. It's quite a bit of weight to carry, but at least I'll have the right lens with me.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Somebody stop me!

I can't quit taking pictures of ducklings!

lunch time

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Racoons at Springbrook - 7/30/07

This was the first time I had seen Racoons at Springbrook.