I told the story of these Pussy Willows in yesterday’s Day Poem. I was riding my eBike on a long photoprowl around the loop past the beaches when I came to a pussy willow tree bowed down by recent heavy snows to almost touch the pavement and had to ride around the branches. It only registered what they were when I was past and I had to circle back to photograph them. I remembered them from my Great-grandmother’s dinning room table, where they appeared every spring as the centerpiece, but I have not seen them often since. Blast from the past. And a wonderful find. I spent a few enjoyable circling around the branches, attempting to find attractive backgrounds without being run over by the passing traffic. Sony RX10iv at 600mm. Program mode. -.3EV. 1/1000th @ f5 @ ISO100. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
I have seen several pics of Purple Finches over the past few days, posted on Facebook from around the country. They must be moving through on their way north. This one appeared yesterday on our back deck under the bird feeders in the fresh falling snow, so I scattered some seed. I had to shoot through two layers of thermal glass in the sliding door. If I even got close enough to the glass to cast a shadow, the birds (this finch and a bunch of Dark-eyed Juncos) were off and away. Sony RX10iv at 600mm. Program mode. -.3EV 1/500th @ f4 @ ISO 400. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
More ice structures on willow wands above the Mousam River at Roger’s Pond Park in Kennebunk Maine. Not exactly ice bells, but I am always fascinated by the shapes ice gets into when the conditions are right…and the willow wands are at their brightest right now. I also like what the sun is doing in the tannin rich water. Sony RX10iv at 600mm. In-camera HDR. Processed in Polarr and TouchRetouch (to remove an out of focus wand on the right).
We had a few days of weather with mornings in the single digits and teens this week…cold enough to form ice bells on the willow wands along the Mousam River here in Kennebunk. I am hoping that these are the last ice bells this winter 🙂 The water levels were such that the bells grew big flaring bottoms, very ornate. And of course, with the longer days and the higher sun, the willow wands are bright red. All in all, an impressive sight. Sony RX10iv at 600mm. In-camera HDR. Processed in Polarr.
We have had 3 nor-easters in Maine in March, and we still have over a foot of snow on the ground. It is, however, March, and the sun is high and, even though the days have not been warm, the snow is melting fast. Or rather it is disappearing fast. Mostly it is evaporating, passing directly from solid to gas. The process produces some amazing snow sculpture on the macro scale. I had some fun with snow and telephoto macros, while ostensibly hunting for ice bells yesterday while the temperatures were still hovering in the teens at Roger’s Pond Park along the Mousam River in Kennebunk. Sony RX10iv at 600mm. Program mode. 1/1000th @ f8 @ ISO 100. Processed in Polarr.
Just another Chickadee shot. This one strikes me spontaneously elegant, like a back view of someone in formal wear. I love the way the wings fold. Sony RX10iv at 600mm. Program mode. +.3EV. 1/500th @ f4 @ ISO 200. Processed in Polarr.
The female Eastern Bluebird is not as vivid as the male. The rust on the breast is not so deep, and the blue on the back is not so brilliant. I am not saying that is fair, or fitting, or should in any way be related to our own sexual dimorphism…just that seems to work for Bluebirds. This lovey lady bluebird was out gathering meal worms from my feeders as the nor-easter wore down one day last week. If yesterday’s pose was curiosity, this one is maybe expectation? Sony RX10iv at 600mm. Program mode. 1/500th @ f4 @ ISO 200. Processed in Polarr and just a touch of the light tool in Apple Photos.
This is another shot from my little sit-out on the deck during the last of the snowstorm on Wednesday. I do not know exactly why Eastern Bluebirds are so apt to strike poses that are so expressive of human emotions, but they are. There are lots of posters and mugs with bluebird images to attest. This shot could easily be titled “Curiosity” and would make a great poster, plate, or mug…don’t you think? And I am not all that certain that the bird was not, in fact, curious. It was certainly looking at me, on my camp stool in the snow, and was probably wondering what I was doing there, or at least wondering if I was a threat. Or not, as the case may be. I actually have no idea what it was thinking or if it was, strictly speaking, thinking at all. Maybe it is just the way a bluebird’s face is shaped…the position of the eyes, the brow-line of feathers, the white wash on the chin? Whatever. Still, “Curiosity!” Sony RX10iv at 600mm. Program mode. 1/500th @ ISO 200 @ f4. -.3EV. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos (I really like the intelligent (AI) light tool in Apple Photos on the iPad.) Again, view this as large as you can for the feather detail.
There are five different basic color variations, or groups, and likely more than that number of subspecies of Dark-eyed Junco in North America. The five basic groups were once considered separate species, but they all interbreed in areas where their ranges overlap. The Slate-colored here is probably the most wide-spread. Three subtle color variations are included under Slate-colored. It is the Junco you are most likely to see in Maine. Juncos started coming back to our feeders about a month ago, and are not too happy with the three feet of snow we have gotten since. They are ground foragers and love leaf litter under trees and the edges of lawns and fields. In the snow, they will come up on the deck if I scatter seed…and we have at least one who has learned to navigate the suet cage to get inside at the suet. I would count that as unusual behavior. This one landed a few feet from me while I was sitting on a camp stool on the deck about 12 feet from our feeders, hoping for shots just like this one. It sat still just long enough for a single burst. Sony RX10iv at 600mm. Program mode. +.3EV. 1/500th @ ISO 320 @ f4. Processed in Polarr.
When I sat on the deck yesterday in the snow for some feeder pics, of course it was the Chickadees who decided I was no threat and came in first. I could have stood right next to the feeders and they still would have come. I have them on the sunflower feeder while I was still filling it. I appreciate the Chickadees. The other birds watch, and once the Chickadees are at the feeders, even with me right there, they will come in too. And what’s not to love about Chickadees themselves. They have such a perky personality (birdality?). Bold and cheerful at all times. And they are quite attractive in their black and white and grey with the wash of muted pink. I think. Sony RX10iv at 600mm. Program mode. -.3EV. 1/500th @ ISO 160 @ f4. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.