Adventures: Pewits Nest

In an effort to be more adventurous and practice my skillz of photography, we’ve been making an effort to get out into nature a bit more. The most difficult part of this for me is the mosquitos. I hate them, they love me. Nevertheless we took some time yesterday to visit a couple of places near Devil’s Lake State Park: Pewits Nest and Parfrey’s Glen.

Pewits Nest:

I like collecting things, but space can be an issue (example: I want all the huechera for my garden, or antique cameras, or bottles etc.). I can collect pictures of things, though. It’s started with birds, and as of yesterday, mushrooms.

Tasty?!

‘Shrooms of Pewits Nest – Comment if you can identify these for me!

These were all pretty tiny mushrooms, except for the one in the top right. I’d say it was about 3-4 inches in height.

I expected this to be a short excursion, and while I think the landscape would be prettier in the fall, winter, or spring before leaves are on the trees, it did not disappoint. We had to work around people, which is fine (and expected!), but I think I may have missed out on some nice shots because people were in the way.

Once we found THE perfect spot to view the little waterfalls, my day was made.

Pewits Nest Waterfalls

Pewits Nest Waterfalls

Pewits Nest Waterfall

Pewits Nest Waterfall

Here are a few other photos from this location:

Dragonfly.

Dragonfly.

Pewits Nest Stream

Pewits Nest Stream

A log!

A log!

Another shot of the stream

Another shot of the stream

Get outta my way!

This is the shot…the one where I would have like to have been able to spend more time taking pictures. There were people in the water and they didn’t show any signs of moving. You might not know they are there, but you can see the reflection in the water. I’m so crafty!

Advertisements

American White Pelicans

A few years ago, I first noticed these large white birds on a little “lake” outside of Sun Prairie. I was surpised to find out they were pelicans. They seem like a tropical, exotic bird to me. Maybe I don’t get out much.

This spring, I waited and watched to see if they would come back. I had about given up hope, thinking they usually arrived sometime in May. On Monday, I was thrilled to notice they were back. Now, I just had to remember my camera.

Birdses!

Pelicans on Brazee Lake, Sun Prairie, WI

On Wednesday, the 3rd, I remembered my camera and stopped on my way home from work. This was the first time I had been to this lake and marsh. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to get close enough to get good pictures of the birds since they were on the opposite end of the lake, but thankfully, there is a little path to walk that led me close enough to get some pretty decent pictures.

One thing I noticed right away were these lumps on the beak of the birds. Apparently, they get these when they are in the breeding season, and they are called horns (according to Wikipedia). [insert horny joke here]

Not in front of me!

See the “horns?”

There was a couple of little groups that kept circling above the water.Fly little birdie!It was a beautiful afternoon, and I was thrilled to get these pictures. Scott and I went back today, the 5th, and it looks like they are continuing on their journey north. There were considerably less birds there today than earlier in the week.

The journey continues.

Today – Their journey continues.

This is probably a known fact, but I love birds! You will likely see more birds here soon. As for these guys, I’ll keep watch for them again next spring!

UPDATE 6/10/2015: They are still here! They must have been visiting elsewhere or a new batch has arrived.

February 1st River Photos

Considering February 1st was 12 days ago, I thought I had better get the pictures posted that I took that day! It was a little warmer than January 1st, I think it was about 12 degrees when I took the photos, and sunny. Sun and snow make for very bright pictures.

IMG_1191

You can see that my little friends are still here! They’re happy, just hanging out in the snow like it’s no big deal.

IMG_1192 IMG_1206

Jan Feb River BW1

River Photos Revisited

I made a recent post about taking pictures of the river near my house once a month for the rest of the year to track the changes through out the seasons. Before I posted the pictures, I had to do some editing because the originals turned out very blue.

I go through an internal struggle with editing photos because I want them to be great photos straight out of the camera. As you can see in the pictures below, that was not the case, and editing was necessary. After I made the initial post, I was still not happy with the coloring. I was also a bit frustrated because I didn’t have a program to open raw files.

I started experimenting with a free trial of some photo editing software and was very pleased with the results. Below are side by side comparisons of the original jpeg, the edited jpeg, and the edited raw file. My favorite is the last picture of the ducks. You can really see the true color of the mallards. They are one of my favorite things about living here.

River EditsDuck Edits 1Duck Edits 2

The biggerized* versions of the final edits: IMG_0685IMG_0690IMG_0693*Google says “biggerized” is not a word, but I’ve been using it for years.

Glass Bottles

I don’t remember exactly when I wanted to start collecting glass bottles. I think it started when my husband and I went on a historical tour walk. There were drinks being sold in these lovely deep blue bottles. My husband got the drink, and I got the bottle. It was a win for both of us. Then, last Christmas, we gave my father-in-law different beers from World Market. I picked the bottles out because of the labels. After Christmas, we asked for the bottles back when he was finished with them (if he didn’t want them, of course!). This summer, when they were doing some cleaning, my in-laws came across this collection of bottles and asked if I was interested. I, of course, was. I love the different shades of these bottles, the different textures, and how they look from different angles. Bottle Collage

You can see the full size versions of these photos here.

These are the bottles that we gave to my father-in-law for Christmas, that he so kindly gave back once they were empty! Christmas Beer Bottle Collage

Staying Warm

A few nights ago, I was playing with lighting and taking some still-life photos. I was doing this on the floor, and I had stepped away to look at the photos, leaving the lights on. It couldn’t have been more than two seconds later when the cat, Elsie, decided it was a nice place to warm herself. I took the opportunity to take some pictures of her, and was surprisingly pleased with how they turned out.

Elsie Lighting Collage 1

Since I really liked how these photos turned out, I did it again! This time, I set up her little homemade bed in front of a light, I turned it on, and Elsie came to warm herself. I think the first picture below looks like she should be telling ghost stories.

Elsie Lighting Collage 2

The 1st of the Month

For Christmas, I received a new camera. It is my first digital SLR camera. It is much more technical than any point and shoot I’ve owned, but the picture quality is so much better. Still, I have a lot to learn about the camera and photography.

To see how or if my skills develop over the next year, I decided that I want to take a picture of the same thing once a month. We live on a river, so I decided to use a bridge along the river as my focal spot. I got nervous about taking these pictures in manual mode, so I did them in “P” mode. After looking at the pictures once I was home, I wished I had spent the time adjusting the setting in manual mode. The pictures turned out very blue, so I did some adjusting to “warm” them up a bit.

On January 1, 2014, it was 7 degrees, overcast with flurries, and it was around 4:00 in the afternoon.

IMG_0685 2

It’s pretty bland right now, but I think it will get more exciting as the season’s change.

I had to show some of the local residents of the river. While they are still here, at least. 

IMG_0690 3IMG_0693 1