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New Year, New Ducks

I’ve spent the last week sick with the flu, curled up on the couch under blankets when not sleeping for 12 hours straight a day. Finally today I felt well enough to go out for a longer walk, though still a bit fatigued. I’m glad I got to see the strangely glassy and still water of the king tide bay on the first day of the year. Numerous ducks are migrating through the area right now, and of course my old favorites the egrets are still out and about. It’s warm for January, and the rain has not yet come, but it is forecast to be headed our way soon.

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Ocean Birds

I went to Pacifica this morning for a walk and photos. The heat has been nuts the last few days and it was just too hot to be outside. It finally broke last night, but it’s still hazy out there. There’s something kind of beautiful about it, if apocalyptic in a way. I’ll have another post later or tomorrow for some of my other photos.

For now here are some birds. The pelicans were out in droves this morning. It was fun standing by the edge of the water trying to catch them in their antics.

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I Like Flowers

Walking around the park today, taking pictures of flowers with my new lens, I thought, “no matter what lens I use, I’m probably going to take pictures of flowers.”

I really like flowers. What’s not to like? They’re so colorful. They come in so many shapes. I love flowing, curved lines. I love bright colors. And they are so interesting to observe in various types of light. I like to photograph flowers and I like to draw and paint them.

So here are the spring roses in bloom, and one bird.

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Posing Egret & Flowers

This egret might be the same one I’ve photographed before. He likes to hang out on the shore of the pond where I can get pretty close to him.

Coy Egret

He seemed to be enjoying his modeling career today. First he puffed up his hair.

Egret Mohawk

Then he sang me a song.

Egret Singing

Then he did a funny dance!

Egret dancing

What a ham ­čÖé

I also saw a lovely peach iceplant flower.

Peach Ice Plant

And a sunbathing nasturtium blossom.

yellow nasturtium

I’m still in awe of my new 100 mm macro lens (which I used for all of these photos.) Really fun to play with the very shallow depth of field at f/2.8

spikey thingWhite flowers DOF

 

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Great Blue Heron

I was really excited that I got to get this close to a great blue heron and managed several pleasing photos. This bird was definitely like the holy grail of bird photography for me, I just love them. He was hanging out in a pond at the San Francisco Botanical Garden and seemed to be a lot less skittish than the ones I tend to see by the bay.

Heron

Look at him, he’s so cool!

Heron with back light

He was walking deliberately around the pond looking for a snack, but he may as well have been a model working his angles and showing himself off in different lights.

Heron light on face

I loved this moment when the light from the water reflected up onto his face.

Heron through grasses

Just when I thought I had gotten super lucky to get so close, I got even closer! Thanks for the time, heron. It was great. You’re a true beauty of a bird.

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Crystal Springs Reservoir

Sawyer Camp Trail, which runs along the reservoir is a popular multi-use paved recreational path. If I want to go here on a weekend, I make sure to get there as early as possible. Today I managed to park before 7 am, which is also ideal for photography of course.

Western Scrub Jay

Right away, I snapped a picture of a Western Scrub Jay, a bird I have wanted to photograph for years. When I first moved to the Bay Area, I was amazed at how bright the blue birds and jays are here. Blue birds in Pennsylvania were much more muted. These California birds are an almost unbelievably bright saturated shade of blue. They’re very active though, and hard to capture especially with a lot of people around making noise.

As usual, most of my favorite pictures from the day are of wildflowers. Here’s a selection of the flowers that were blooming today, at the end of February:

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Egret v. Seagull

Half the fun of photographing birds for me is getting to see their antics up close – through the zoom of my camera. This feisty egret was really not having any seagulls up in her business! I was quite entertained watching as she chased away gulls and caught some hilarious pictures. I love the moment she poofed herself up and the gull beat it out of there. I’ll let the pictures tell the story.

Egret HuntingEgret and SeagullSeagullIrritated EgretAw Hell No Egret

 

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Sunrise City

I realize that when I look around for things to photograph, I want to erase human-made structures and only see things that look like nature (even though, if we’re being honest, most of this “nature” is human-placed too.) Still, I’d rather look at flowers, trees, skies, and landscapes than anything else.

But this is not the reality of the Bay Area. Sure, we have some of the most fantastic nature around and it is accessible to visit. But we are also a place that is overrun with traffic and industry and business. In the future, I want to photograph some of these places where we spend so much time without thinking about the fact of their physical existence, like Facebook HQ, which is less than a mile away from me as I write this.

I digress. This morning, instead of looking away, I looked toward the buildings and high power lines. They are interesting too, and this is the reality of where I live.

Sunrise with High Power Lines

The poles that hold up the high power lines are geometrically visually pleasing. I enjoy the multitude of shapes and spaces they create when you look at them from various angles.

Sunrise with High Power Lines 2

In other news, there was a red wing blackbird singing its song high up on a pole, and I was impressed that the photo came out at all given the lighting conditions and the distance away. They have a sound that is quite easily recognizable. If you’d like to hear it, check the audio files on this site. As you can see, I caught him mid song.

Singing Redwing Blackbird