Before/After: Great Horned Owl

It was Christmas Day. Suki and I stayed home because she picked up fleas somewhere, and I couldn’t chance giving them to R’s three dogs. We’d just returned from her afternoon walk when I heard an owl hooting.

It wasn’t the first time. I put Suki inside, fetched the camera, and tracked it down. I quickly narrowed the location: in the woods, nearby but not close.

Turns out it was farther away than I thought. I had to bludgeon my way through vines and palms and weeds and I don’t know what else to get to a place where there was enough clear space to shoot. I worried about snakes and poison ivy. Florida woods are nothing like those up north. There are things there that can kill you. I made a lot of noise for the snakes and hoped it didn’t scare off the owl.

And then I saw it! Perched on a branch.

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Brand New Year: 2020!

I hope 2020 is better than 2019. I’m talking politically and globally, as the world shifted toward fascism and climate change wreaked more havoc. I’d like to see improvement on those two fronts.

Personally, it was a pretty good year. There were ups and downs, like always, but overall, I made progress in several areas.

I moved, and I own, not rent. It’s not the greatest place, but it keeps me dry and warm. I took a lot of pictures. I bought two new lenses and learned to use them. I discovered new wildlife areas to explore. I met one neighbor who is a real sweetie and will be there if I need her. I met another who is a complete bitch. Then I met the one who trusted her god would save her from the hurricane; we don’t talk much. 😉

I dealt with roof rats and raccoons invading my space. The editing jobs are coming in regularly (unlike 2018, which sucked), and I’m writing again, albeit slowly and sporadically. Suki at 16 is still doing well, and I couldn’t be happier about that. She’s a part of my heart.

The local park at Istokpoga is one of my favorites. There are good walking trails and a nice mix of lake, pond, and marsh. I see a lot of different things there, but at this time of year, it’s mostly landscapes, as the bugs are hibernating (or elsewhere), and the birds are getting ready for spring.

That does not necessarily mean boring! A wild rabbit made an appearance.

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Last Post of the Year

I couldn’t really afford it, but I bought a new lens: Sony 70-350mm. When I add clear image zoom, it extends my reach even farther. I’ve been using it at every opportunity, as the bugs/insects have pretty much vanished due to cold nights. Macros will have to wait until they return.

I do have a few macros I haven’t posted yet, and they’ll show up in due time.

In the meantime, I’m enjoying landscapes and wildlife again. I’ve been shooting a lot in my home area. All the photos here were taken in Lake Placid.

We start with wood ducks. This is the first time I’ve seen them in Florida. Their coloring is striking and distinctive. Continue reading

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Sky Drama: Before/After

I’ve been playing with the new Luminar 4, which offers pain-free sky replacement. It works quite well, but it’s not perfect. What program is? It does save time, however. Masking is a pain in the butt, especially around trees, but L4 does an excellent job of laying in a new sky behind branches and leaves. Far better than how I used to do it in Photoshop using Blend If.

Here are some examples. I did nothing more than replace the sky. I didn’t fix minor problems; I wanted you to see how it works without additional tweaking. You open the photo, choose a sky (these are mine, not the ones that come with the program), and L4 drops it in. You can move the new sky up and down but not side to side.

Original first, followed by the one with the new sky. Continue reading

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Sunsets

Is there anything more awe-inspiring and beautiful than a sunset? Every photographer, without exception, takes pictures of them.

I’ve been practicing long exposures by taking photos of sunsets. I’ve gone as high as twenty seconds to smooth the water.

Today I’m showing you sunsets. 🙂

The first three were taken one evening. The clouds were so interesting, I couldn’t stop taking pics. The first one is a closeup of the marina. All the boats aren’t back yet, as the owners haven’t arrived from up north. 

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