The 7 Day Black & White Challenge-Day 3

Marilyn at Serendipity is participating in the 7 Day Black & White Challenge and invited anyone who wants to participate to do so. I figured I’d give it a try.

The rules are: Seven days. Seven black and white photos of your life. No people. No explanation. 

Thursday’s Special: Focus

The theme of this week’s Thursday Special challenge is FOCUS. Paula says: We all want our images to be tack sharp and in focus, but there are situations when we prefer to have some parts of the image in blur i.e. out of focus to better isolate the subject we want to focus on (pun intended).  This technique is called selective focus.

I ventured out today to take advantage of very springlike weather for the month of February. This little Chickadee was busy cracking open a nut. My focus was on his intent, not the branches of the tree.


The same with this Titmouse- focus on the seed and feeder and him, not the bushes behind him.dscn9727

A Nuthatch focused on enjoying the sun like me.dscn9730This Sparrow was who I was focused on, not the squirrel on the branch behind him.dscn9732


The Weekly Smile

The weather yesterday was unseasonably warm- close to 70 in February when it should really be in the 40’s! I took advantage of this welcome occurrence by heading out for a walk. I passed a couple on the trail walking in the opposite direction, laden down with binoculars and cameras, and we said a friendly hello. Half way around I met them again and they asked if I had seen the Eagle flying around overhead, which I had. We then stopped and chatted about our mutual love for bird watching, sharing some of the local places we went to and the different species we had encountered. We laughed at how nice it was to share our information and not get a roll of the eyes or a comment like “they’re just birds!” What a pleasure to meet someone who also gets excited at spotting a never seen before bird. As we parted I continued to smile inside and out, at the warmth the sun brought to the day, at connecting with someone over a shared passion, at how being in nature blocks out all else that is on my mind. My weekly smile. What made you smile this week?dscn9585



Giving Thanks

I walked for two hours Thanksgiving morning, leaving just after the sun rose. It was cloudy and the forecast called for rain later in the day so I wanted to head out early. I visited my favorite local trails and took in the beauty around me, thinking of the friends no longer on this Earth who are unable to do so. Thinking of their families without them today. I almost welcomed the cold as it hit my face, thankful to feel it, thankful my legs could carry me for two hours of walking, thankful my eyes could see the birds and the last of the leaves changing color. Thanksgiving means something different to all of us- for some it is sitting down to a meal with family, eating traditional fare. Today I thought back to those traditional Thanksgivings of my childhood, lost to the passage of time and family moving away or becoming estranged. I am thankful for the good in my life, the good people and friends in my life, and all that comes with that. Not just on the last Thursday of November, but everyday. That’s what Thanksgiving means to me.tree





Feathers on Friday: Eastern Phoebe

1One of the most familiar eastern flycatchers, the Eastern Phoebe’s raspy “phoebe” call is a frequent sound around yards and farms in spring and summer. These brown-and-white songbirds sit upright and wag their tails from prominent, low perches. They typically place their mud-and-grass nests in protected nooks on bridges, barns, and houses, which adds to the species’ familiarity to humans. Hardy birds, Eastern Phoebes winter farther north than most other flycatchers and are one of the earliest returning migrants in spring. The Eastern Phoebe generally perches low in trees or on fence lines, as did the one I saw below.004

dscn7522Phoebes are very active, making short flights to capture insects and very often returning to the same perch. They make sharp “peep” calls in addition to their familiar “phoebe” vocalizations. When perched, Eastern Phoebes wag their tails down and up frequently. They are small birds, only about 6 inches long. 2

Feathers on Friday