Thursday, September 30, 2010

Lonely trees

Lonely trees are photographed often enough to border on being cliche.  But I just can't stop myself, I snap away at them almost every time I see one. 

What amazes me about them is when they're green and healthy, and not burnt by lightning.

Taken near Maple Lake, August 7, 2005

Monday, September 27, 2010


Sometimes (ok, ok, most of the time) the birds I want to photograph are too far away.  I have no money for super expensive equipment, and no desire to tramp through delicate habitat to get closer.  I console myself on these occasions either by watching the birds through the binoculars (where they are clear, if not close up) or take pictures anyway, and call them birdscapes. 

This picture was taken alongside of a country road.  Not a real marsh, not protected or managed, just a flooded field.  These transient mini-wetlands provide much-needed stopover sites for hungry and tired migrant birds. 

Near Hartney, Manitoba, Jul 28, 2007

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Rippled water and an indigo sky

In photography, they often talk about the rule of thirds.  Actually, they talk about it with art as well.  This photo doesn't fulfill this guideline.  I like it anyways, but I've always been contrary like that. 

Taken July 27, 2005 at Oak Hammock Marsh.

Friday, September 24, 2010


I read a LOT of comics.  Have always enjoyed them.  Comic books, manga, comic strips, webcomics... 

Here's a few that I've seen, about artists!



This is Cul de Sac by Richard Thompson. 


ok, not about artists, but I'm afraid that I'm all three characters in that one!!

This is W. T. Duck by Aaron Johnson.


Wish I knew how he heard this conversation!!  My poor man has to deal with so much!

Another W.T. Duck


Reminds me of some of those motivational blogs...  "You can achieve anything!  Just buy my ebook!"

Another one...

Touche, indeed!

Ok, another one...

Love, love, love this one!!!

Seriously, what's life without funnies??

Contrasting viewpoints

I've only been to Rat River PWMA once.  We didn't see much there, but it was a great drive!  We got there in the middle of the day, which could account for our meagre sightings!

I don't recall for sure, but I think this photo was taken from a short bridge leading into the marsh area.  I like how neat and tidy and symmetrical the shores look.  How carefully squared off they are!

I think this is the view on the other side of the bridge.  What a difference!  Downright chaotic! 

Of course, I like it just as much.  OK, maybe even more. 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Bug vortex

There are some neat videos circulating of birds flying in tight formation, forming little "bird tornadoes".  Very cool stuff. 

I have no such things, but I did get an ok picture of a bug vortex we saw once, on the way to Whitewater Lake.  Taken May of 2007, a dry year!

I hope you can see the vortex, it's straight ahead.  Try clicking for the BIG photo!

I don't know what the little bug (gers) are, sorry!

Books are a thing of the past!

No, they're not.  They're really not.

Bloggers and writers all over have jumped all over the article about how Amazon sells more ebooks than hardbacks, making loud proclamations that the change is coming.

Maybe it is.  But maybe it isn't.

Nearly all of the opinion pieces I've seen on the matter take the same tack.  Physical books are going away!

Ummm...  First off, read the statistic again.  More ebooks than HARDbacks.  I buy very few hardcover books.  Hardcover books do not typically constitute the majority of books in a bookstore.  This is a selective statistic, designed to get attention and promotes knee jerk reaction.

Worked quite a tick, dontcha think?

If you're interested, try reading the whole article.

I don't know what the future of books is.  This article describes the present.  Extrapolations are completely subjective, and are indicative more of the writer's mentality than they are of the state of things to come.

I don't have an e-reader.  Yet.  Am on the fence about it, truth be told.  But then, I'm also cheap.  And I can see advantages to a wide scale digitization of reading material.  My point isn't actually about books.  When somebody tells you about an article, read it yourself.  Don't let somebody else give you your opinion.

Artifacts and errors

Sometimes the sun doesn't cooperate.  The light doesn't stay where it should.  It sticks out, shining onto the horizon.  Stubborn, stubborn light. 

When that happens while I'm picture-taking, I groan, and keep trying for a photograph without these unsightly details. 

But sometimes it works.

I love the way the light is shooting upwards into these clouds. 

Taken at Oak Hammock Marsh, October 17, 2005

I had to think a long time about whether to crop out that stop sign!  But I like it, it's leaning into the light.

Taken at Oak Hammock Marsh, September 19, 2007.  The following photo was taken the same day, on the same stretch of road. 

May your mistakes guide and illuminate you.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Hairy Woodpeckers

I always get a little kick out of bird names that bring up odd imagery.  I wonder what a non-birder expects to see when you offer them a view of a Hairy Woodpecker?  I wonder if the real thing disappoints. 

Hairy Woodpeckers aren't quite as confiding as Downy Woodpeckers, and (at least in our urban yard) not as common. 

They make a fair bit more noise than the Downies however.  This male was drumming on this piece of equipment (not sure what it is, part of our power/phone lines).  Photographed November of 2006.

Another male, this one at our suet feeder, April of 2007.

Seems funny that my better pictures of Hairies are male, and my better pictures of Downies are female!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Downy Woodpeckers

These cute li'l woodpeckers are resident (don't migrate) in most of North America.  They aren't picky about urban environments, either!  We have them year round, in our little city yard. 

They eat sunflower seeds, peanuts and suet. 

You can tell them from their larger cousins, the Hairy Woodpeckers, in a few ways.  If you get a good view, the Hairy has a proportionately larger bill.  If they come to the food you've put out, you can use the feeder as a point of reference.  I have a peanut feeder that the Hairies must curl their tails up to use. 

If you hear them, Downies go "peek!  peek!" and Hairies go "pick!  pick!".  It seems to my untrained ear that the Hairies have a slightly deeper voice.  Maybe.

Snapped this cutie at the Ft. Whyte Center, November of 2005.

They don't often come to the baths, so I was pretty happy to get these pictures of this little girl!  She splashed around for a couple of minutes, then retreated to preen.  None of my pictures of her preening are any good though (of course)!  From May, 2009

I got a kick out of this one, you don't often get to see woodpeckers from this angle!  Is it just me, or does she look a little cross-eyed?

We don't get a lot of good light in the backyard during the winter.  So getting this photo (February of 2010) was a treat, also!

Seems odd that my best photos of Downies are of females.  We do get the males here too, really!  Guess I'll chalk it up to uncooperation on their part!

Flip Flop!

Changed my mind again, gave in and imported the posts from my other blogs.  We'll see how that goes!

I have a lot of different interests, and often struggle with how that defines me. 

I don't know if it's better to keep my interests seperate, or lump them together.  I flip flop on this one a LOT!  But I started this blog because I wanted to be more honest.  And to be honest, I have a LOT of different interests!  They are all a part of me, for good or bad. 

I suppose that I try and control this wandering, that I scold myself for not having the proper "focus".  So we'll try this combined blog thing, in an attempt to silence that particular critic!

I also have a horse blog.  But I think that one can stand on its own. 

Here's to (hopefully!) more frequent postings!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Thrush Thrush Thrush (and no Thrush)

Our little city yard is surrounded by Virginia Creeper.  Lots of the neighbors have it, too!  So we get lots of Thrushes in the fall.  They come in the spring, too, but don't stay long.  I figure they only stop by to make sure the creeper is still there!!

Thrushes are often very cooperative, actually sitting still long enough for (gasp!) photos to be taken!

We've gotten Hermit Thrushes, Swainson Thrushes, and Grey-Cheeked Thrushes.  But never a Veery.  As far as I can tell, there should be Veeries in the area, but I've never even seen one.  Maybe this fall!

Swainsons Thrushes have buffy cheeks.

Gray-Cheeked Thrushes have (wait for it) grey cheeks.


Friday, September 17, 2010

Concert! Against Me!

Actually, our second time seeing this band.  First time was at the MTS Center, big big big venue.  This one was at a much smaller one. 

First band was called The Young Livers.  Not bad at all. 

Second was a group called The Flatliners.  Didn't get any good pictures of them, sorry!

Then was Against Me!  Great, great, great show!!!  Played for about an hour and ten minutes.  Definitely more fun than the show at the MTS Center! 

Concert info:  The Young Livers, The Flatliners, Against Me!
September 16, 2010, Garrick Center, Winnipeg

Set List (Against Me!):  I Was A Teenage Anarchist, Pints of Guinness Make You Strong, Cliche Guevera, White Crosses, Don't Lose Touch, Borne On The FM Waves of the Heart, Up The Cuts, White People For Peace, New Wave, I Still Love You Julie, Suffocation, This Shit Rules, Rapid Decompression, Stop, Thrash Unreal, Sink Florida Sink, Joy, All Or Nothing (?), Baby I'm An Anarchist, and a couple of others that I forgot about.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Drawing - Gray Catbird


Gray Catbird - Graphite on Paper
Copyright 2010, Nicole MacPherson

The first and only Catbird I've seen was in my yard.  I love it when a life bird is also a yard bird! 

He (?) actually hung around for three days last May, and was most impressed by the oranges we had put out for the orioles.  Sad to say, this year was catbird-less.  Actually, it was also oriole-less.  We had a very early, very warm spring, so maybe they had plenty of natural food and didn't need to lower themselves to handout from needy humans!

Only two weeks since the last drawing!  Wonder how many more I need before I can call it bein' on a roll!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

This is cool, check it out!

I always enjoy looking at the work of other artists.  Sometimes it gives me ideas, and sometimes it's just awe inspiring.  I'm attracted to a lot of different types of art, even though the art I do has a much narrower focus. 

Elza Kolesnikova is a watercolor artist, painting landscapes on glass. They're quite beautifully done!

Drawing - American Avocet


American Avocet - Graphite on Paper
Copyright 2010, Nicole MacPherson
Well, it's sure been a long time coming!

He looks a bit fuzzy-edged, truth be told, he's been sitting on my desk for some six weeks, begging and pleading to be finished!  Not entirely sure if it's a he.  American Avocet males have straighter bills than females, but it's not always easy to judge on a single bird!

Avocets are so beautiful, and often fairly confiding - they seem to have a much smaller zone of comfort.  This, combined with their larger size, makes them fun to photograph!  I love Avocets.  Ed calls 'em Flamingos. 

Next step?  Learn to draw water!