Archive Page 2

Fridays are Golden


140425_022_n1_p_e_1It has been a long week.  After work I moved some flower pots around the backyard and enjoyed seeing what prairie plants are popping up in my backyard.  Then for a little relaxation in the big chair in the living room.  Two episodes of Duck Dynasty to set the mood for the rest of the evening.  Grabbing camera I headed for Spitler Woods State Park.  The woodland flowers are coming up all over.  Bluebells, trout lily, dutchmans breeches, and red trillium are what you can see.

Not long before the sun set, I was looking for something that had the glow of the setting sun on it.  Most of the forest floor was in the shade.  Gold, I see.  Great light on the flower and background.  Getting the legs spread out to get my tripod on the ground, I lay down on the ground.  Then the unthinkable.  Coming down the trail are a mother and young son.  I just took all the effort to get down here and they show up.  I gave in and moved some and they gave in and walked around me.  I am grateful for that.

Back to the flower, getting out a reflector to add more light and time to capture light.  That is what photography is all about.  Capturing light.

Heading home, I put the canopy over the swing in the backyard.  I took it down for the winter.  Then I sat in the swing for an hour listening to all the sounds and spending some time reading a book on my phone.

The end of the week was great.  I found the pot of gold in several ways.  I hope you enjoy the one part I can share and I hope it brightens your day.

Short Time at Spitler Woods State Park

I took a short jaunt at Spitler Woods tonight.  The flowers are really popping out of the ground now.


I am not sure what the above plant is, but they were all over.  Soon, I will probably know when they start blooming.  As of now the only thing blooming is the Dutchman’s Breeches.  There are not many, and the cold had an effect on them, but they has started Spring at the park.


The weekend looks to be nice.  I am hoping to spend more time outside.  Going to spend time with family celebrating Christ this Easter.  I hope everyone’s weekend is full of Christ’s Blessings, family and friends along with some time to relax.

Great Concert Last Sunday

Sunday night was an evening of Music.  Three Christian Bands performed in Clinton, Illinois at the First Christian Church.    The concert was coordinated by “Fan the Flame Christian Concerts”.   Fan The Flame Christian Concerts is a husband and wife team that is bringing Christian Bands to central Illinois.  They are creating a ministry via the events, by contributing all monies from ticket sales to benefit charities.  This is a great thing they are doing, I pray much success for them.

J. J. Heller at First Christian Church in Clinton, IL.

J. J. Heller at First Christian Church in Clinton, IL.

J. J. Heller was the first band to come out on stage.    They are a husband and wife team.  She is a song writer and has some children books to her credit.  The music is easy-going, and seems to fit in with their “coffee shop” venues in the past.  They met while playing coffee shops while in college.  They projected some pictures from a book she has written during the concert to add to the show.

The Band Selah

The Band Selah

Selah is a band formed by three members, two of which have lived in Africa.      They shared songs and testimony of struggles in their lives and showed that many in the audience have shared in the same struggles.  Amy has a powerful voice which combined with the other two great musicians has brought their songs to be number one on the charts and allowed them to win many Dove Awards.

Mark Schultz Getting Everyone Ready for the Finally of the Concert

Mark Schultz Getting Everyone Ready for the Finally of the Concert

Mark Schultz played a couple of times during the concert by himself and also joined the other bands.     His message was powerful and he shared a video to about veterans and asked all U.S. Veterans to stand to be recognized.  He shared songs of praise to our God and also shared some pictures of  his family.  Someday his son will appreciate his father showing those pictures with the world.  Hopefully he won’t be too embarrassed.  It is just one of those things that proud parents do with their children.

First Christian Church did a great job hosting the event.  Fan the Flame Christian Concerts did a great job in bringing in top artists.  The artists were fantastic in bringing words and song to praise God and encourage those attending.

It was a very enjoyable night.



Great Photography and Backyard Habitat Workshop Today

Red Wing Blackbird

Red Wing Blackbird Along Roadside

Today was a fun day.  Some friends, Richard and Susan Day of “Daybreak Imagery”   were in town today giving a presentation.  The Decatur Camera Club and Macon County Conservation District organized the workshop.  Richard started off talking about taking pictures of birds in your backyard.  He shard some of the equipment, blinds and patience it takes to get the photographs.  He shared some tips such as backgrounds, placement of seeds, use of water and many other things.

Then Susan took over and talked about planting for wildlife.  She talked about the flowers, plants, trees and shrubs needed to attract birds, butterflies and hummingbirds.  She is an expert in the field and has written books and many articles on the subjects.

Richard ended the program talking about photographing butterflies, dragonflies and humming birds.  He talked about the equipment needed from the most basic to the elaborate to accomplish the task.

Richard and Susan have been published by National Geographic, Audubon, and many other magazines.  Their photography and writings have been used in many calendars, cards and articles.  They give presentations throughout Illinois and surrounding area on their crafts.

Thanks for  a great day, and the encouragement you always give after seeing your presentations.  I went out afterwards and took a few minutes along a roadside to photograph the Red Wing Blackbird above.  Some of the tips they shared helped in capturing the image.  I imagine everyone attending walked away with some new knowledge in attracting and photographing wildlife.  Thanks again…

Cool but Sunny, and Time for the Birds

Today, it was a little cooler than a few days ago, but the sun was shinning.  I have had my photo blind up all winter, but have not been able to use it.  Today, I spent some time in it, so I will have been able to use it at least once before taking it down in the next few weeks.  A swing goes in the same spot for the summer.


There was not much variety today for the birds.  We ran out of seed, so it was just what ever came in to pick up leftovers.  The cardinals stopped by for brief visit, but not where I could get a camera on them.  Dark-eyed Juncos were everywhere.  They are such a soft colored bird.  Not a lot of excitement, but still one I enjoy seeing.

New Year for Heron Rookery

Heron Rookery View

Heron Rookery View

Every Spring I look forward to getting out to see nature coming to life.  There are several Heron Rookeries that I visit.  This rookery is a large on with over 160 nests.  It has maintained a constant size for the last few years.  Even though the rookery is a beautiful site, imagine the mess that over 300 birds can make.  Imagine when the chicks come along.  I am looking forward to the noise the chicks make when they are active.  Visit this page at “All about Birds”   and listen to the sound clip called “Begging Young at Nest”.  Now imagine over 300 of them squawking at the same time.  It is a sound you never forget.

Great Blue Herons Pairing Up at Nests

Great Blue Herons Pairing Up at Nests

Here is closer view of the herons at the nests.  They are paring up and soon will start mating.

Getting out there now allows the nests to be counted, as the leaves make it impossible to view all the nests.  Soon leaves will fill in the holes you see and only a few nests will be visible to the eyes.  The young will be born, and the parents will have their “Beaks” full taking care of the little ones.

Great Blue Heron Sitting in Tree

Great Blue Heron Sitting in Tree

For now it is the adults that I share in my blog.  Soon I will return, and a new generation will reveal itself.  I hope you come back to see more of my adventures with camera.

Change of Plans


Last week a friend and  I took a day to go to Wolf Creek on Lake Shelbyville to photograph some deer.  After driving around and talking with some DNR people, we decided to change plans.  DNR said that the deer counts were really down.  Blue Tongue Disease has been getting to the deer the last two years.  So we decided to do a little GEO Caching.  We found one in the park by going online.  We loaded the info into the GPS and off we trekked.  It took us to a cemetery in the park.  After about 10 minutes we found the cache.  It was originally placed in a 35mm film canister.  After reading through some posts, we found it had been changed to a mint can.  To make things worse, there were leaves all over the place covering and filling all the hiding spots.  But we had success.

Then it was back on the road.  Driving around Shelby County we saw an eagle’s nest I found last year.  It is deep on someones property so there was no access to photograph.  The nest still looked to be in good shape.


So, we looked for old barns.  The sun was right and the golden light was upon us.  So the change of plans was good.  We found a Geo-cache, and eagles nest, and some old barns.  It was a good way to get out, relax and explore.

Ordinary Can Be Beautiful


The other day, I took some time to look for some deer trails at Rock Springs that were located close to a parking lot.  Deer frequent the area, and I was looking for a well used trail that would have great evening light.  The place I was investigating, may have good light a little later in the year.  The sun would have to come through some trees at an earlier time of day to also be the right angle for great lighting.  I hope to return soon and get some great images.

After scouting the area, I sat on a bench and watch the wetlands.  There was not much activity, but it was nice to get outside.  I had my camera, but had not really taken any pictures as of yet.

Suddenly, the light was starting to glow, and normal everyday grasses became interesting.  The grasses had the golden light of the last part of the day and the side lighting was giving them color, texture and depth.

Laying on the ground I lowered my tripod and waited for a lull in the breeze.  Click, Click, and Click again, the shutter was tripped.  I tried different compositions, and lens effects, to produce an image I am pleased to share.

It was a good day.  I found some trails for the future, that I would like to work.  I found some time to relax in the fall sun, and listen to the sounds of nature.  And I was open to seeing a treasure in an ordinary place.

Sometimes ordinary can be so beautiful.

Flashing with Flower Photography

This weather is great.  It reminds me of Fall (my favorite time of year).  Friday, it drizzled and Saturday it was perfect weather, great temps.

I spent an hour at Rock Springs with a flash taking pictures of flowers.  As I said above, I was flashing with flower photography.  Why use flash you say?  It was less than an hour before sunset and I was either in the woods, or at a wildflower garden with the sun hidden behind trees.  My shutter speed was anywhere from 2-3 seconds.  With the slight breeze going, I should have packed up and headed home.  With ambient light all I could get was unpleasing pictures of flowers with lots of movement.


Instead I broke out the flash.  Setting the flash off camera and putting a diffuser in front of  it, the small flash became a big soft light.  That makes great lighting.  I also put a silver reflector into the combination.


Photography is all about light.  You need light to create a picture.  The quantity and quality of light determines the type of picture you create.  In this case, the low light created a blur that was not worth setting the camera up to record.  Adding and controlling the light, brought a pleasing picture that was fun to take.

Maybe next time, I will add some other light and create more contrast on the flower.  Experimentation is the fun of playing with the camera.  Flowers and flash – what do you think?  Does it work?…

Remote Airplane Show

Saturday I visited Horseshoe Lake near Collinsville, IL on my way home from a trip.  It has been a place that has produced some nice bird images in the past, so I thought I would take a look.  The area has a road to drive around the lake with a levy you can drive on that bisects the lake.  There were plenty of people with fishing poles sitting along the bank.  I saw a kid catch a small bass and run from dad to grandpa to show off his catch.

Driving farther around the lake the smell of BBQ filled the air.  Families and groups were filling the air with a smell that summer brings.  I was hungry before I drove into the park,and this was making me hungrier.

I was about ready to give up on photography, since no birds were in sight, when I happened upon a group of gentlemen who had their own bird taking flight.  No these weren’t pet birds, these were remote-controlled airplanes.

Remote Control Airplane at Horseshoe Lake

Remote Control Airplane at Horseshoe Lake


Sitting on the ground I spent an hour tracking the planes in flight with camera.  I had never watched remote planes before and this was fun.  These guys were doing all sorts of things with these planes.

When things slowed down I went over and talked with one of the men.   He had been flying planes for a while.

R.C.'s plane at Horseshoe Lake near Collinsville, IL

Plane at Horseshoe Lake near Collinsville, IL

He had some stories to tell.  He told of some of the planes he crashed while learning to control these birds.  He mentioned that one of the motors is sitting out there in the lake.  It was a nice motor, but not worth much now.  I mentioned that it was cool that he had a pilot in his plane.  Not all the planes had pilots.  He mentioned he thought about switching pilots.  He had a crash dummy he thought about putting in there.  I told him he probably would had a tough time getting the dummy in the cockpit if he saw the way he flew the plane.  He got a smile on his face and a few of the others around gave a little chuckle.

He then told me about another place that people were flying planes.  A mile or two up the road was a field that some club members were playing around.  I decided to give it a visit.

Pulling into the parking area, I saw this was an official club site.  I was entering the grounds of the “Midwest Air wing R/C Club”.  More planes and some of them bigger.

Remote Control Plane Landing on Grass Runway at "Midwest Air Wing R/C Club"

Remote Control Plane Landing on Grass Runway at “Midwest Air Wing R/C Club”

After taking pictures for a while, I struck up a conversation with one of the members.  He had been around the club for some time.  He talked about his being involved years ago, and also that he used to own a hobby store that sold remote controlled planes.  After closing the store he took a rest from the hobby.  A year ago he got back into flying planes again.

This Plane Spent More Time Upside Down...

This Plane Spent More Time Upside Down…

He mentioned that last year there was a plane on the field with a 24 foot wingspan.  He talked about the different sized motors in the planes.

These guys were good at flying these things.  One fellow kept his plane upside down much of the time, while another liked going into near stalls.

Everyone was having a good time including me.  It was fun to take some pictures and ask a lot of questions about a hobby that was new to me.

Maybe another trip will be in future plans for a different kind of bird photography.