Author Archives: ScienceGirl
New Year’s Day 2018 dawned cold and foggy. My annual NYD walk at Nisqually Wildlife Refuge was quiet and mysterious in the fog. Not many birds were out; most of them were hunkered down like this Northern Saw-whet Owl. The Saw-whet Owl is tiny and hard to see among the conifer branches that it favors. This one appears to be hanging out near the visitor center entrance and I will try for a better image later in the week.
Occasionally there was a blast of sound as the Canadian and Cackling Geese took to the sky, wheeling overhead looking for better forage. After all, the grass is always greener somewhere. Mostly it was a morning for landscapes. I love the ghostly aspect that everything takes on in the fog. I took a fall image of the road to Lower Lewis River Falls and since then have found myself drawn to roads and their surroundings. This morning was perfect for getting the dike trail. I also tried a picnic table framed by trees.
This year my photo goals are to continue working on birds in flight, do at least two of the Olympia Camera Club’s Word of the Week per month and try to create at least one abstract photograph per quarter. What are your goals?
Wow! Summer is here and so I would like to reflect a bit on some of my spring adventures. Last spring I was house bound with a broken ankle, so this spring I made a commitment to myself to take pictures at least one day out of the weekend. I was pretty successful and took lots of walks at Nisqually Wildlife Refuge, the Hawks Prairie Reclamation Ponds and McLane Nature trail here in Olympia. I even managed some day and overnight trips to Degoede Bulb Farm, Rowena Crest, and Big Beef Creek.
I had the most fun finding willow thickets and waiting for warblers. This is my favorite warbler shot. This common yellowthroat warbler had a nest nearby and was going to and fro with a beak stuffed with goodies. This was taken at McLane Nature Trail.
I also started a love affair with dragon and damsel flies. There is a spot right at the beginning of the boardwalk at Nisqually that is consistently good for these critters. I am still working on my techniques and identification skills. I think it is a four-spot skimmer dragonfly.
You can see more in my Spring Walk Gallery at https://rosalindphilipsphotography.com/galleries/spring-adventures/
I was showing a photo of a hummingbird to a friend, when she said that she had learned an interesting bird fact the other day. Pacific Northwest Native People often refer to Swainson’s thrush as the Salmonberry bird because they appear around the time that salmonberries start to form. I agreed that it was interesting and started wondering about what names and/or symbolism hummingbirds have in different native cultures. My good friend Google informed me that some PNW Coastal People believe that hummingbirds bring good luck. Other Native People believe that hummingbirds signify peace, love and happiness. Often hummingbirds are depicted in pairs symbolizing loyalty and steadfastness. You can learn more about this at http://www.native-languages.org/legends-hummingbird.htm.
For me, the greatest hummingbird experience is when I find one at rest, as I did earlier this week at Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge. I was trying to locate a singing Swainson’s thrush when I noticed a female Rufous hummingbird sunning herself on a red alderberry branch. There is something about this bird sitting so still instead of its usual darting around that causes me to feel especially peaceful and appreciative of the world around me.
The trip with Jack Lien to the central California trip has yielded an over abundance of images; too many to choose from. As I peruse the images, I am struck with how often we were in the right spot with the right light. The image below of a Whimbrel at Morro Rock Beach State Park is an example of this.
I love to discuss my images with my photo buddy Mary Bowman. She looks at my bird images with a landscape photographer’s eye and often sees things in them that I don’t. She suggested converting several images to BW. I did and am very pleased that I followed through on her suggestions. The results are below.
One of the aspects of the Olympia Camera Club that I really enjoy is how club activities encourage us to go beyond our comfort zone. For example, the first word of the week for January was books. My challenge was to come up with a creative way to illustrate books.
For me, books represent the communication of ideas, so I started coming up with a list of ways in which communication has progressed over time. I ended up with image above. The howling wolf on the pillow, hard-bound books, paperback books and last but not least, the kindle.
Books are old friends, to be treasured, read over and over, and shared with human friends. In short, communication.
Originally published on 01/16/2016
For the past two weeks I have been experimenting with how to take pictures of water dropping into a bowl. It has been a humbling experience; it is a lot more difficult than it appears. I started using a turkey baster to produce my drops. It was too difficult to get the drops to fall evenly. So, I built an apparatus using a pump siphon and some old chemistry equipment I had hanging around the garage. Unfortunately, using that equipment has justified the collection of junk I maintain. 🙂 I channeled my chemistry/physics teacher inner self by keeping a lab book of my attempts.
Learning how to do new things is an excellent way to review and improve your photography skills. It is a reminder that we all had to start somewhere with lots of trials and tribulations. Even though this does not represent my best work, it does demonstrate the first steps in becoming proficient in a new photography technique. I will post more in the future on how the water drop adventure is progressing.
Here is one image that sort of worked. The water was coming out in a stream. That’s why there are so many bubbles. This was an excellent way to explore using my new camera with an extension tube. I think that I will buy a burette to make the drops drip better for my next round of experimentation.
Originally published on 01/04/2016
This is the year I became fascinated with frost. We started having frosts in late November; lots of clear, cold, and sunny days. Each day I’d admire the frost on the ornamental plants around the coffee Kiosk. And so of course I began driving with my camera and one lens to capture the frost.
Here are two images, one is the full image and the other is cropped from that image. I cropped it because people could not really see it on my phone. When I made it bigger, the majority exclaimed that I should repost it with just a small section so that the water drops (aka melted frost) were accentuated.
This next leaf image is another favorite of mine.
To see the entire frost album click here.