Pat Hatch's PhotoJournal

A Few Shots from This Weekend

Chloe had a horse show on Saturday.  She had quite a breakthrough:  Won two first place ribbons and had the high score for the show.  Thanks to her new instructor, Jeffrey, she broke through a stubborn plateau of her learning curve that had been really frustrating her.  She has really taken her canter to a new level--huge improvement!  I'm sure she's on cloud nine at the moment.  Here are a couple of moments from the day:

Chloe and Shela in the canter.

First Place (Twice)

Went to check on the owls today and found two of the babies had ventured well away from their nest. Here is Sleepy peeking around a tree branch at me.

Sleepy venturing out of the nest!

Mama keeping a wary eye on her babies.

Mom was nearby watching over the two that had ventured away from the nest (middle photo).

Grumpy was way up there (bottom). Only mama was higher up. This appears to be part of the fledging process. First they venture out of the nest. This requires that they flap their wings to keep their balance and to help them jump to higher branches. Next they will start flapping their wings while firmly gripping a branch. All preparatory to first flight.

Grumpy is definitely on the fast track to first flight!

Happy, meanwhile, was keeping warm in the nest, not venturing out yet, apparently.

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Checking Into the Owls

Just a couple of shots taken with my friend Frank yesterday.  Thanks to Frank for pointing me to the Better Beamer flash extender, which I used for the first time today.  Results were outstanding for my first try!  The Better Beamer is one of those photographic tools that you only find out about by hanging around with pros like Frank.  I am using a new Nikon SB-600 flash, and in a situation like shooting these owls, the flash and extender are only used for fill-flash.  The problem is caused by shooting into a bright sky, like you do when shooting birds from below, so you need a little flash to fill in the shadows caused by the high-contrast lighting.  I was really pleased with the results today, and I'm still tweaking the settings for the flash & extender combination.

These pictures are dedicated to my little niece, Seren!  Love you, honey!

Sleepy and Grumpy

Yes, all three are still in the nest!

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Happy Valentines Day

I shot this today and it seemed like an appropriate Valentine's day photo.  I was shooting with my buddy, Frank, and the light kind of went sour on us for the owls, so this was the best of the not-so-good.

Female Red-Bellied Woodpecker

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Family Portrait Day

Happy & Grumpy

Sleepy gives us a look at her incomplete right wing below. Not quite airworthy yet. Missing a few control surfaces.

Sleepy Stretching Her Wings - Look Ma!

Hold Still. Smile. Gotcha!

Sleepy just couldn't hold it any longer and had to take a potty break. At least they appear to be housebroken!

Potty Break!

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Female by Her Nest – Red-Bellied Woodpecker

These were taken in the same oak tree that the owls are in. There appear to be two species nesting in this oak tree, the Pileated and the Red-Bellied seen here. Right after I took the photo above, this female popped right into her hole (nest) and disappeared.

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