Monday, April 23, 2007

Unexpected Visitors!

For those of you who have been along since I started this little bit of literary bumbling you may remember the second post I did about the Demise of the Hen Harrier. Long story short: beautiful raptor found dead in yard. So imagine my joy at sighting not one but TWO raptors as I brought the kids home from the bus stop! If my handy-dandy Peterson Field Guide is correct then this must be a pair of kestrels (Falco tinnunculus). Kestrels are small falcons and these two were gliding and swooping over the hedgerows from field to field, one stopping just long enough for me to grab this image from the van (because no one EVER goes anywhere without a 300mm lense, right).

With any luck they'll hang around and settle into our little corner of paradise so I can write about them a little more and perhaps take a better portrait next time.



The Kids are Gone!

No, not MY kids. The kids in the nest. You know, the thrush chicks that hatched just before we left on holiday. THOSE kids. They're gone. Outta' here. Flown the coop, so to say.

I will say that they were in real need of a bigger place. Three of the four eggs hatched and they were jammed into the nest rather snugly. No, it was worse. It looked like a soup bowl with three feathery gaping squawking beaks in it. I was happy to see the mum in a wanut tree in the front yard this morning, singing her heart out. So, I'll assume the kids are fine and growing fast since I didn't discover any of them with the lawn mower. Egads, that would have been horrible.

It was a short stay but it was great seeing what I almost pulled out of the double-blossom cherry tree go from mess to nest to home. Fly fast, fly free (but stop in for family photos if you please)!!



Thursday, April 19, 2007

A Little Good Press

Publicity. Anyone who has ever had anything to do with sales of any kind knows that if people don't know about your product, sales are tough to come by. Luckily for me I have the gift of gab and can talk to almost anyone about anything and oddly enough, my occupation happens to be included in "anything"!

Through some great networking over at the Online Visual Artists forum the subject of press releases came up. I developed one and sent it to the local papers here in Norfolk county. As an afterthought I also sent it to the local branch of Stars and Stripes newspaper. A week or so later I was interviewed and just before we left for holiday in Garmish-Partenkirchen in Germany they called asking for more images.

The result was a very nice full-page, full-color spread in the UK Weekly section of the paper which also includes posting the article online. For those of you wishing to read it simply click here.
Be thankful that only the print version includes a photo of yours truely.



Wednesday, April 18, 2007

My Kind of Camera Store

Having been gone on holiday this past week I'm always poking my head into camera stores around the world. While in Innsbruck, Austria I finally found one that takes photography as seriously as me!

But seriously, holiday was great. We were back in the mountains and of all the topography we've experienced over the years these are our favorites. We saw some incredible sights, met some great people and might have even gotten a decent photo or two. Most importantly I'm fully recharged and back at work full-steam. More from our trip to come in the weeks ahead.



Friday, April 06, 2007

A Face Only a Mother Could...

Oh come on now, she HAS to love her little ones, right? But really, not exactly the face one would put on the desk at work.

I was quite excited a few weeks ago to discover the beginnings of a bird nest in the cherry tree of the front yard. Initially a collection of birch twigs and straw, I wasn't sure it would even hold water much less a wiggling young one. But as the weeks progressed I was amazed at how it began to take form and as of 2 weeks ago the inside was a perfect bowl shape, lined with soft grass and moss. Amazing. Not long after, 4 blue speckled eggs appeared. I was going to have quadruplets (surrogate, that is)!

Yesterday while mowing the monster (a.k.a. the yard) I took a quick peek in and saw one chick out and a second struggling to get the shell off of his head. A quick snap and I've left them alone to get a bit of nourishment from mum. Hopefully I've correctly identified the egs as belonging to the Mistle thrush (Turdus viscivorus) with the help of our farmer friend, Graham. Close cousin to the common blackbird (Turdus merula) I'll keep observing from a distance to get a definative ID as I've yet to get a good look at mum on the nest.



Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The Sound of Silence

2,200 years ago the emperor who unified the warrior-states of China died. Buried along with him were more than 6,000 life-sized warriors, archers, horses and chariots painted in full-color and made of terra cotta. Found in 1975 by a group of farmers digging a well, the terra cotta warriors of Xi'An in Shaanxi province, China are a UNESCO World Heritage site and truely a sight to behold.

So what does this have to do with a blog about an American photographer living in Norfolk county, England? It just so happens that I have a close connection with that area. My oldest daughter, who we adopted from China in 2001, is from Xi'An and during our trip there I picked up a small set of miniature terra cotta warriors. Since then they're moved from Ohio to Alaska to the Azores and are now sitting in my office here in Necton.

As part of my collection fo projects for Alamy I have gotten much of my collection of Chinese trinkets and photographed them against a high-key background for their potential use in reference books, travel guides or websites.
Funny how the things you pick up along the way not only bring back vivid memories but also make themselves useful in way you would never have imagined.

This is likely the last post before our outing to Germany for Spring Break. Chances are I might find something to photograph along the way... well, maybe.