Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Visit to the Howell Nature Center

Wild Wonders Wildlife Park
The Howell Conference & Nature Center's Wildlife Rehabilitation program is dedicated to helping injured and orphaned creatures. Several habitat structures have been constructed on the grounds to promote a safe environment. They are simulated to provide a little natural habitat comfort for these permanently injured residential critters. Admission is free, but donations are always welcome. They also have a wish list: that includes but is not limited to items like unscented bleach and wild bird seed. Many programs are offered to promote environmental education here. It is a beautiful place so bring a camera when you come. We took a lovely stroll through the Wild Wonders trail today and enjoyed every second.

A Broad-winged and Rough-legged Hawk.

A little Black-capped Chickadee beauty along the path.

A Red-shouldered Hawk enjoying the sunshine.

Just A Note Card #018
Features a little hawk and Kestrel beauty from today's walk.
A new addition to my Nature-ally Beautiful Card line.

This little chickadee found a little snack.

Right in front of the office near the parking lot was this beautiful tree. When we first pulled up the tree was loaded with Cedar Waxed Wings. It was breathtaking! The very definition of morning beauty! So as I say this, I hang my head. I chose to walk into the office first and missed the opportunity to photograph them. I don't know why I thought they would just hang around and wait for me to be ready for them. However, I pick my head back up as I say this: Many other beautiful birds including these House Sparrows filled the branches looking for a little treat throughout the day ... I of course took the time to photographed their beauty in these branches.

This is my favorite shot of one of the House Sparrows today.

The Snowy Owl was a striking sight. Looks so inquisitive.

We had a few sightings of the Snowy Owls here in DeKalb Illinois last winter. I even had one fly right across the windshield of my car while searching the snowy cornfields here. Another missed shot! It was so close .... then miles away in the field, camouflaged by snow. I did get a few photographs of him, but nothing I am proud of. It's presence stirred excitement into our birding community last winter. I am hoping for a return visit/stay this winter. We chatted for a little while with the Snowy Owl here at the Howell Nature Center. It seemed very interested in the stories we shared.

More owls, a hawk and some squirrels.

These branches were a magnet to the birds during our visit. Here we watch a Tufted Titmouse bring seed from a nearby feeder into this beautiful tree to snack on.

Inspirational Note Card #048
Featuring my favorite shot of the adorable Tufted Titmouse from today's walk.
A new addition in my Inspirational category.

More beautiful tree shots, this time ... Blue jays.

Now look closely at at this Blue jay. It appears to have two eyes in this profile.

Another adorable titmouse along the path.

You are now leaving Wild Wonders

The location of the Howell Nature is Triangle Lake Road in Howell Michigan.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Friends of a Feather ...

... Take Pictures together.
It was a most enjoyable day with our new friend.
Twitter, Facebook & Flickr Friends
@HooootOwl that's me, @JKissnHug Janet in the middle,
and @LV2Shutterbug my sister Mary Jo
share our love of nature and photography
Stony Creek Metropark
4300 Main Park Road, Shelby Township, Michigan

We started our photo walk with Janet announcing "I have a lens baby and macro lens if anyone wants to try them." It only took me about three, maybe four seconds to respond. "Sure I'll try."
She pulled out her lens baby ...

After she explained how to use it, I gave it a try. The idea behind a lens baby is to find a focus point then tilt the rim of the lens. The effect you get is a graduated distorted blur that surrounds your subject. It depends on how much you tilt the lens. Janet has the composer lens baby. I found that I am definitely perceptually challenged. In this shot I thought I had a focus on the tree in the center there, but clearly my focus locked on the patch of trees behind it. I still like it.

This was a spur of the moment shot, movement and a lens baby ... hmm need more practice.
But again, I still like it. Janet posted a photo of me that she took with her lens baby. It shows just how it is supposed to look when you use the lens. She handed me her camera when she was using the lens baby and I snapped a shot of her.

Janet stood next to me for this shot explaining how to get my desired effect. Her guidance helped. My best one of the day with the lens baby. My focal point was the log. Can you tell?

This shot was taken with both the lens baby and the macro lens and is the only one that turned out for me using both lenses together. In case you can't tell, it is moss on a log. Again I like it.

Now a few shots with Janet's macro lens, another fun toy.

Leaf and moss on a log.

November leaves ... brown is my favorite color.

Ash and Oak leaves

Leaves and moss in a log.

More magnificent moss to macro.

This is my favorite macro moss shot of the day..

Fungi and macro lens fun

Macro lens and Fungi fun

I really like the macro lens. Look at that fungi ... it is beautiful!

Kind of looks like a chip with a little guacamole on it to me.

A beautiful reflective shot. This place is breathtaking.

Our beautiful friend Janet @JkissnHug check out her photography on flickr.
Her sandhill cranes are beautiful!

I just love Oak trees and leaves. This one caught my attention in the water.

Another gorgeous scene to soak in. I love the birch in the background bending over and gently kissing the creek. A fallen trunk arches across the creek revealing what looks like the eye of a needle. The thread? Us. Our photographs .. how each of our eyes saw and captured this beauty within feet of each other.

This is my favorite view that I captured of this scene.

Another view...

and another.

Oh yes, the bugs. There were hundreds of these ... flying ants? My sister said, "See ya!" Janet and I stopped for a few shots before moving on. No macro here .. tried to get close . Blurry , but still captured them. Imagine how cool this shot could have been with the macro lens! Or with practice the lens baby!

Another view of the bugs. I backed off a little and got a better shot.

This Oak tree has been here for quite a while. Slowly, slowly decomposing. It caught my eye. I think Oak trees have so much character, even in this stage. Beautiful.

A closer view of the cavity and a November Oak leaf.

I wonder if an owl used this cavity years ago to nest in.

Beautiful bark .. magnificent moss and an awesome Oak leaf.

My sister brought these nature lovers to my attention. I snapped a quick shot. She has a great eye for photography. Check out her gallery here. I especially love her landscapes and sunsets.

I wanted to capture the reflection of the pine tree in this shot. I also like the curve at the edge of the creek.

I love this bridge scene very much. The views here are stunning. Even better in person!

Look: I see a neck rub from her honey and a Nature-ally Beautiful view on a warm and sunny November afternoon. Does it get any better than that.
Friendship Note Card #022

You can peruse my entire line of Nature-ally Beautiful friendship note cards
or my Nature-ally Beautiful photo gallery here.

My handsome husband and a nice November view. He is my golden friend.

A November nest. Empty for months and still intact as nature fills it with fallen berries and leaves. Janet shared a few photography tips helping me achieve these lovely shots.

I walked right past this beauty. Mary Jo guided our eye toward it's uniqueness.

Just a few more shots before we leave.

To Friendship!

Friendship Note Card #23
A new creation to celebrate new friendships
Featuring a beautiful reflective shot from our Stony Creek visit.