Photography

New Joy Quote in the Shop

joy quote

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Last year I took a photography class at the Botanic Gardens (read about it here). Since meeting photographer Cedric Pollet at that class, I now look at bark in a different way. On a hike this summer, I photographed this tree with a bark heart near Mt. Evans, Colorado.

Do What Brings You Joy.

Add a little inspiration to your home decor. >>> This beautiful Joy print is available in the shop for as low as $6.60 and $2.40 for greeting cards.

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Colorado Gold

aspens

Colorado Gold

This weekend: Guanella Pass for aspen spotting. It’s a fall must-do if you live in Colorado (in my humble opinion).

aspens

Aspen Forest

Pure Joy: Walking through this aspen forest I made a wrong step and twisted my ankle. Don’t worry because I made a quick recovery with a Jason Bourne-style shoulder roll to the ground. It wasn’t graceful but at least I saved myself a trip to the ER with a broken ankle.

Guanell Pass aspens

Aspens at Guanella Pass

clear lake

Clear Lake

Throwing rocks in Clear Lake.

Mountain Flowers

Yellow Mountain Flower

Mountain Flowers: A little mountain flower.

guanella pass

At Clear Lake

aspens

Watch your step! Trust me.

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7 Tips for Photographing Urban Wildlife

tips for photographing wildlife

For everyone with a camera.

Whether you live in the city, or the suburbs, wildlife is plentiful—and you don’t have to look further than your own backyard to find it. Your backyard is the perfect setting to hone your wildlife photography skills.

Think big, and small, when photographing urban wildlife. Birds, squirrels, humming birds, butterflies, bugs and bees are all excellent subjects.

Here are my 7 tips for photographing urban wildlife in your own backyard:

photographing wildlife

Give them what they want.
{Sony a290 DSLR, 110mm, f/4.5, ISO 100, 1/200 sec)

  1. BAIT AND HOOK. Create an inviting environment in your backyard to attract critters you want to photograph. Stock bird feeders with seeds to attract common birds in your region. Create a hummingbird garden by planting fragrant flowers and hang a nectar feeder to lure these colorful birds. By doing this, you get a two-for-one advantage. Butterflies are also attracted to fragrant and colorful flowers, as well as rotted fruit. Water is essential to all animals—consider installing a bird bath in your garden. Don’t be afraid to get close to bees collecting pollen from flowers. (I have never been stung by a bee that I was photographing…I may have just cursed myself!) And, to attract squirrels, lots of seeds, peanuts, and dried corn on the cobs are excellent “bait”.

    squirrels

    Patience, patience, patience.
    {Sony a290 DSLR, 200mm, f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/320 sec}

  2. PATIENCE GRASSHOPPER. Sometimes you get lucky. You have your camera in your hand and the opportunity to shoot a bird or other critter strikes. Ah, perfection. But, most times, patience and persistence is what wins the game. Set up an opportunity to shoot urban wildlife, and wait for the subject to come to you.

    spider

    Stay still and quiet.
    {Taken with Canon Power Shot a570 point-and-shoot camera}

  3. LAY LOW. Wildlife, especially birds, can be skittish around humans, so hiding out of sight, or just sitting still and quiet is essential. Camouflage couldn’t hurt. I purposely hung my bird feeder off the back patio within sight vantages of two windows in my house. I can easily shoot from the windows with minimal interference of the birds and squirrels.

    bee

    {Taken with Canon Power Shot a570 point-and-shoot camera}

  4. ROCK YOUR CAMERA. Don’t think you need expensive and fancy camera equipment to shoot amazing photos. Whether you have a point-and-shoot camera or a DSLR it is essential that you know how to use your camera. I have shot many critters with my point-and-shoot camera and the photos have turned out spectacular. That’s because I have learned the capabilities of that camera and know how to use them to my advantage. (The bee on the flower above was shot with a point-and-shoot, and I was really close to that bee!) Now, if you have a DSLR camera, a wise investment is a telephoto lens. This will allow you to keep your distance from your subject, isolate your subject through framing, and still achieve sharp focus.

    photographing wildlife in your backyard

    Look ’em in the eye.
    {Song a290 DSLR, 200mm, f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/320 sec)

  5. FOCAL POINT. Focus on the eyes of your subject—always. This is a golden rule, not just when photographing animals but humans as well.

    praying mantis

    Praying Mantis on side of house.

  6. SHOOT FAST AND OFTEN. Wildlife moves fast, so should you. What I mean by that is you should shoot fast and often, but avoid sudden movement as not to scare your subject. Don’t be afraid to take the shot because you may think it is not be “good enough”. If your camera has a continuous shooting mode, use it. You never know what shot will become your prize winner!
    focal point before

    Original Shot.

    cropped photo

    Cropped version of above photo in post production.

  7. COMPOSITION. Remember to apply the composition rules, such as rules of thirds. Great composition is what takes a photo from an average snapshot to a visual statement. Pay attention to the background. Try to avoid distracting backgrounds that will take away from your subject. Although, sometimes the background can’t be helped…it is what it is. Take the shot anyway. Don’t discount cropping in post production. The top original photo applies the rules of thirds and is good composition wise; but the bottom cropped photo is more interesting and detailed. This can transform a good photo to one that will impress your friends and make you look like a photographic genius. It will be our little secret.

    cicada

    Have fun and be curious. Cicada found in backyard.

BONUS #8 FINAL TIP: Look, you can Google this subject and get more than 7 million results. I gave you my seven tips above, but there really is one more thing you should always do…HAVE FUN! Because if you’re not having fun behind your camera then why do it?

Got some amazing urban wildlife shots? I’d love to see them. Leave me a link in the comment section and I’ll stop by your blog. Happy Shooting.

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Please remember: Unless otherwise noted, all photos and designs are created by me. Pin it if you like it, but please do not copy it. All rights reserved. Photos ©Jeri Stunkard.

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Joy | Bird Watching

SONY DSC

bird watching

bird watching

bird watching

bird watching

What is joy?

It is a bird
That we all want to catch
It is the same bird
That we all love to see flying

– Sri Chinmoy

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Check back on June 5 for7 Tips for Photographing Urban Wildlife

Linked up on: homework

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Now this is what I call a snow storm!

Finally…a real snow storm. My unofficial snow measuring system of a rusty tape measure on the backyard patio table shows 13″. And, no school closures. What?

If you remember last week the schools closed before snow started to fly, we ended up with 6.5″…and school was closed. What gives JeffCo? I had 2 very disappointed kids (and mommy) this morning!

robin

Robin in snow.

My neighbor has this flowering crabapple tree. The Robins were having so much fun all day picking up the crabapple buds. Hopefully the tree will still bloom this spring after the snow melts. Maybe they were playing in the snow a little too.

robin in snow

Robin in the snow II.

I had to grab my telephoto lens and umbrella to get a few shots. This Robin had no problem letting me get close to take these pictures.

robins

Follow the leader.

I was simultaneously balancing a pink umbrella on my head so my camera didn’t get wet, kneeling with my knee in a snowy puddle, and trying to hold the camera steady, when I hear a “slosh-slosh-slosh” sound coming up behind me. It was my 6-year-old, Parker, sloshing through the snow…scaring away the Robins.

robin

Robin picking up flower buds.

black lab

Thor loves snow days!

Prints, greeting cards, and postcards are available in My Redbubble Shop, including the Robins above.

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james scrivner

James Scrivner

My grandpa passed away in Missouri on Saturday. Strangely, this reminds me of certain things in life I don’t pay attention too.

  1. How much gas cost in Colorado. I need gas, so it doesn’t matter to me how much it cost.
  2. How many miles to a gallon my car gets traveling from Colorado to Missouri. I got there in one piece, that is all that matters to me.

But, those are the two questions Grandpa always asked me when I was in Missouri for a visit. And, you know, I always made sure I had the answer for him, because I knew he would ask. Rest in peace, Grandpa.

Oh, yeah, unleaded gas is $3.47 a gallon and I get 23 mpg in my mini van…

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I {heart} snow days?

project life freebies

It was a snow day yesterday. The first snow day of the school year. I was all excited until 10 a.m. when the fighting started. Fighting. Over. Markers. {sigh.}

And, the forecast had everyone scared we were going to get 14″ of snow that the school districts cancelled school before even one snowflake hit the ground. Um, yeah, we got about 6.5″. That is a waste of a good snow day.

snow day

P working on her math timed sheet…with her new favorite hat.

snow day

Alexandra working on her new Frank Lloyd Wright inspired house on SketchUp.

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The base for the “Hello Winter” Project Life Freebie (above) can be found on Leslie Miller’s blog.

Did you see Scary Mommy on the Today Show this morning? I’ve been reading her blog for a few years. She is hilarious!

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