Saturday, January 31, 2015

Hats off to ya........

Following the theme of everyday views of everyday life.  I look funny in ball caps but the others are good for me.  The red parka is my wife's hat, sort of, I know it is a stretch.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Room with a View......

I didn't say it was a good view. I am being a little sarcastic with this one as my view is almost eliminated.  The new shed, the camper and truck seem to block the view to the horizon.  The camper and truck are gone usually in the summer. We are really having very colorful reddish sunrises and sunsets for this time of the year.  No snow on the ground but it is really cold now.  The flags flying show the day when we had strong winds for the south.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Winter View with No Snow.........

I don't take down the dried flowers in the fall for this very reason.  I like the looks of the spent blooms and stems.  It really doesn't look like a phlox plant but I am pretty certain that it is.  It really does look like a spent weed but I wouldn't have let that be there. I suppose I could go back into the archives and find it in its green form.  Windy day today with bits of snow coming down.  We are suppose to warm up so the ice crystals should be gone soon.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Wednesday's View of Red........

I had the day off yesterday and took some photos but they are still on the camera.  I also had a very mild form of the flu where I could not be warm enough no matter how hard I tried.  It is gone today but the pictures are still on the camera and I am school.  The cardinals were at the feeder on Sunday and here you can see this guy cracking his seed on the table rather than flying off to a tree.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Pottery Still LIfe........

A drastic change from seeing birds on my Photo a Day to now viewing clay pots.  I made my first piece of pottery when I was in college in 1970. That was the first time I had worked with clay making things by hand0-building and throwing clay pots on the wheel.  It was a treadle wheel and you had to stand and kick at the device that powered the wheel.  It was very unnatural to stand and kick sidewise while trying to center clay on the wheel. College clay of course was the best and the firing of you pottery was at a very high heat.  The tall cylinder is one of the first ones that I made. The clay was filled with grog, shattered fine pieces of fired clay to make the clay have a texture when it was fired.  Using the wheel with it also sanded down the skin on you hands.  One can still buy clay like that today.

The two other pots were made probably 25 years later while I was teaching school.  The multicolored one is made from red and white clay mixed together and fired with clear glaze to reveal the colors of clay.

A hand-built pot made during a college class in the later years was done the same way with red and white clay mixed together.  It was suppose to be a hand-built pot to be a replica of native American pottery of this country. It was carved with the point of a nail and burnished with the back of a spoon.

While experimenting with my camera I decided to use the macro for the shots to get detail views of the pottery and to get clearly focused shots.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Monday's Choice...........

I have the urge to crop off just a little more of the photo but I am going to leave it.  The photo reminds me of some paintings that are done from the past where the people in the photo are captured in a very informal composition.  They do look like they are studying the selection of seed and one sparrow is going to take off.  I will get out today after work and capture some new photos with a totally different theme.  I had a lazy weekend and didn't take anything new.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

All Aglow..........

The sun was low in the sky and it really made a colorful reflection off of the feathers of this female cardinal. The reflection on the redder feathers is something I have not seen before this photo. You can see the kind of feathers on the cardinal are different than the sparrow behind it.  The reflective color characteristic in the male cardinal is also there on the female.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Never Perfect.....The Shot.

Real life brings us overlapping shapes in most of our views in life and in this photo it is the same.  I posted this because I thought I had a perfect specimen photo of the nuthatch.  I rarely can take their photo as the dart around like they are on high energy drinks.  So when I now post it I see I still have the suet cage overlapping on the beak of the bird.  The junco sitting next to it does help make it a better photo. The feeder is an old broken down one that I have had for years but with it sitting on the table it makes a good place for birds to land and pick out the seeds that they like.

Friday, January 23, 2015

The Fight.........The Winner.

Two starlings were on each of the suet cakes digging away to find seed.  Along comes the red-bellied woodpecker who is bigger them by just a little.  He was very aggressive and took out the one on the right.  Now he is giving the evil eye to the one on the left.

After the above glare the second one was driven off to the trees.  Instead of going to eat you can see what the woodpecker is doing.  He just kept glaring up at them in the tree as if  he was ready for another round of confrontation.  Eventually the red-bellied did eat from the suet cakes.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A Guest Photographer......

While at work on Monday, my wife snapped a couple of shots of a bird we have not seen all winter. Because of the topnotch I knew it was a titmouse bird. I think that I have only seen them in books and magazine articles.  Some bird books say they can be in our area but others say it usually stays in southern Iowa.  I am glad my wife caught the glimpse and grabbed the camera.  It was fun to go onto the net and have the bird site share the sounds of the titmouse.  I found that they are cousins to the chickadee and some of there sounds are the same or similar.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Two Photos A Day........

It was unusual that I could get sky shots in the middle of town.  The weather had been a little rainy and it was clearing with the northwest winds blowing the clouds away from the area.  Unfortunately I was not able to catch the very red sky that followed as it could be seen on the west edge of town probably an hour later.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Leaning Back on Monday........

The downy is a lot like the nuthatch and chickadee when it comes to not finding a normal level on this earth.  They can be seen hanging upside down, some walking down the bark of a tree or sometimes at a diagonal. I don't really understand this pose but it is sitting on the ledge and resting.  I suppose it could have a seed that it is trying to get opened. 

 A second shot to share of a male downy clinging to the bottom of the wire cage that holds the cake of suet.  They remind me of a parrot or cockatiel as the slip slid around in all directions. By the way this bird is leaning in toward the feeder it is changing the camera perspective, it makes him looks shorter than he really is.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Sunday Show........

A red spot in the typical winter landscape shines out.  They really do brighten an area and they look like they are glowing.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Overcast Saturday..........

There is new growth on the ends of those birch branches.  I didn't take the photo of that because I really didn't notice it until I started editing the photo.  We have less snow as we have been above freezing for a couple of days.  The sun shining over the house gives me a light and dark side of the tree.

Friday, January 16, 2015

And Then There Were Four.............

I couldn't get a shot of four at one time.  I did get these two on the patio chairs.  I don't understand why they were flying around in a flock. They flew quickly in a rush, squawked a lot, and then just flew out in a bigger hurry.  

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Old Things.....

As I dug through things in the toy cabinet I pulled out these four items.  The value of them is minimal to zero but they all have a history.  The bowling pin of a child's set that came from an attic of a farmhouse.  The globe bank also came from there.  It is amazing how the maps on the bank are there for show and their accuracy is poor.  I tried to find Europe on the globe and finally I found it. Everything was all a blur, one condensed sets of countries among other blurred countries surrounding the area.

The sphere and tin egg came for an old farm sale.  I bought a filthy cardboard box for a quarter, It was a box full of everything including trash and dirt. There were some were good things. Somewhere in the house I have a glass powder box, base and lid.  The lid has a deer on it for the lid handle.  The man's  sale  in which I was attending was of a brother of the Iva and John connection to our family.  He was John's brother. So I got antiques from the brother Horton.  The tin egg is historical but worthless because of the decoration being all worn from the surface. The sphere could be a billiard ball, a white cue ball.  I think it is actually made from ivory as it has vein like lines on it. It is heavy and I really don't know if it is the right size or larger than a cue ball.   As you can see, this is one of those photos where I didn't clear the area. You are getting a very informal shot today with random stuff still on the table surrounding the group ready to be put away in the future. 

I did look up the billiard ball and it was common for them to be made from ivory tusks.  I see that if one can prove they are antiques that they can be sold over the net.  They are of course banned now in these days and I am glad.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Watching and Waiting..........

It is an early morning sun that shines on the feeder.  It isn't the best for taking photos when the birds are on the middle and bottom trays.  There isn't enough light to get a good photo.  I so rarely see the female cardinal that I hurried and shot this photo. I did get this one shot.  She was on the good side of the feeder and turned just as I shot. I took others but she was in shadow most of the time. I did have a house finch out there and maybe I will have a photo to share of that one on another day.

The sparrows have helped to clear a lot of the seed from the feeder.  The starlings are really hungry for the suet cakes but they also like the cat food that we keep on our side porch.  They are making a mess over there but we don't want to stop putting out food for the feral cats.  Sometimes the cat is so hungry that it clears out the entire bowl.  There are three of them that frequent the food even in the coldest of evening.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Winter Woes......

My shadow box on the fence contains two ceramic houses.  It looks more wintery in the box than it is here but it is just as cold.  We are to warm up today from the negative temps up to 16 degrees  F.  Our snow is less now but I think it just settled down rather than leave. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Missing Decoration..........Tree.

Removing a Christmas tree from an area does change the mood of the room.  I looked up and there now sets a simple lamp.  We usually have some things sitting under the lamp but not yet.  Those who haven't followed me for very long are wondering what is the deal with a cupboard with three holes in it. There are three others on the opposite side. It is an old Sears and Roebuck oat sprouter. 

I use it to store old toys and it fits in that area of our living room best.  As a sprouting cupboard, the warmth and moisture created inside the bottom of it had to be vented out of the cupboard. That explains the holes. The oats that became green spouts were fed to chickens in the winter time.  I probably destroyed its value as an antique but I put the sponge painted finish on it many years ago. The finish was a utilitarian dark brown stain on a common wood.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

A Hard Day for Birds.........

The birds are really needing it to warm up a bit as they scramble to get food. I know the sparrow likes to fly in flocks but it them makes it harder for them to get food. One little guy sits on my weather rock and watches as they take turns popping their heads into the feeder.  My new camera is a great carry around camera but I can't find a setting that lets me shoot through glass.  Our Cannon will let me take photos through double glass and then the contrast can be changed to eliminate problems and bring back clarity.  My new camera is not going to work for the spontaneous shot ourt the kitchen window. I will have to adjust and do the switch back and forth with cameras.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Waiting and Watching for Seed........

The juncos were helping the goldfinches pick seed from the web sock.  The junco doesn't have the right kind of claws on its feet to hang from the bag but they can get on a branch and lean over to pull seed through the holes.  There are only three branches close enough for them to land on to reach from so the bush is full of birds waiting their turns to feed. I wonder if the nyjer thistle seed is swallowed whole or if they are breaking away a coating.

A second photo helps to tell the story as the goldfinch is on the sack and quickly pulling seed from between the webbing.  Extra seed falls through and the juncos and sparrows are on the ground below getting much needed food.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Snowcapped Coneflowers..........

I like to not clear all of the dead plants from the garden for this very reason.  It is an interesting shot. As you can see if it snows long and hard enough that it will stick to the caps of these coneflowers. The sunflower stems are not impressive but maybe they will be easier to remove in the spring after they go through the winter.

We had -6 degrees F.  this morning when we got our day started.  It is up to +9 F.  already and will head to the 20's by four o'clock this afternoon.  The south wind coming from Missouri is blowing over that warm state and will help us out a little.  The strong winds in early morning meant a rough windchill.  It is winter in Iowa and it is really normal for this time of the year.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Looking Out......

The seven inches of snow and the cold turned us into a frozen winter wonderland. The most we can do is to stay inside and stay warm.  All schools are shut down today in the state as the negative temperatures and the windchill makes it difficult to transport kids to school. 

I did venture out on Tuesday and shoveled some walks and took out the garbage.  You can see the snow depth  by seeing how much snow is piled on the arms of the bench. Definitely I will be staying in all day today.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Waiting Their Turns...or Hidden in Plain View.......

Snow storms causes traffic back up at the feeder too. Seven inches of snow is on the ground.  I took this shot as a fluke thinking it wasn't going be anything to post.  Once I edited it I really still hadn't noticed all of the things going on in the photo.  A flock of sparrows were waiting their turn and the cardinal didn't mind waiting with them.  The sparrows are blending into the background so at first I didn't see them in the photo. Can you find the 6 sparrows in the photo? There could have been more before I cropped the photo.

    -9.5 degrees F.  at 9:30 in the morning

Monday, January 5, 2015

Awaiting the Storm........

The birds seem to hit the feeder early before a storm hits.  I guess they can feel it in their bones or feathers.  The lone cardinal is disappointed with what he is finding. Earlier the feeder was covered with sparrows and two woodpeckers. When the cardinal left I took out a couple of cups of black sunflower seeds.  I bet I will see him again soon.   As you can see we have a measurable amount of snow on the ground but sounds like we will be having more.  It is arriving just like a UPS package as we are told it will be here at 2:00.  I will be watching the time. 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

A Photographic Study........with Shine.

Yes, I was running low on Christmas decorations.  I am sarcastic most of the time but for a dollar I have to buy some more. I do get a lot of joy from these small glass blown ornaments from China.

The actual size of the ornaments  are about one and a half inches in height.  I will put them on one of my smaller trees.

I decided to just show all of my shots of these new items.  It shows how I shoot many photos and most times just share one or two of them. These are all taken with my new camera, using the newly discovered macro setting.

One cannot take a photo of anything reflective and shiny without getting yourself with the camera into the picture.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Old Stuff.........

I am the new temporary storage lot in our town.  Things that I am keeping for my brother in law are in a pile next to my garden shed. He has a full garage and a small lot in the city.  My double lot seems to be filling up though as things are placed in temporary spots in the yard. There is a lot of history behind these wheels and milk can.  The larger wheels belong to a push cart use to transport things on the farm. We had one on my home farm and four milk cans with milk in them could be place on the platform and pushed easily to another part of the farm.  The little hub is actually from a wagon when without the tire.  I imagine the wagon was low to the ground with that small rim size. It probably was a hay wagon.  It isn't a great photo as I didn't get it edited to be cropped to a good balance. I keep missing things like that these days.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Learning and discovering.........

I have had the new camera since Christmas morning and I just now have figured out all the settings.  I couldn't find the macro setting. I have found it now. Anyone following me knows that I am a macro maniac.  I found that setting and a few more that will be fun to try.  I did not have the camera on an automatic setting the past few days so one could see I was taking some bad pictures.  My blurry  eyes keep me guessing a lot of the time but when I wasn't getting a good focus for the snap I had a losing battle.

The non macro also works really well when I get it set on automatic.  A new camera, different company, better camera than the pocket one that I had before means learning and finding the right settings to get the job done. Learning, discovering and learning some more is what it is all about for now.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

January 1, 2015

Somewhere in England, a new blogger friend has a red geranium blooming out in his back yard.  I have to bring them in to keep them alive.  I need to remove the spent blooms but that will happen usually after I take the photo.  We have a sunny day and it will warm up to 32 degrees F.  I do doubt that we thaw out but in the big cities it will be warmer than this. Some of the piles of old snow in the parking lots will shrink just a little.