Blog: Words and images

Squirrel up close

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I never know what kind of birds I might see and photograph — if any — when I head out on one of my photo hikes. Some days I get lucky and there are an abundance of birds. Other days there’s little to photograph.

But there is one constant: Regardless of the season or the weather conditions, I always see squirrels — the subject of my photo of the week. These forest rodents are plentiful in any area with trees. They are constantly climbing, chasing, digging and eating. And I’ll stop to get a photo when I find one in a nice setting.

Blacksmith at work

Sometimes the brain works in strange ways.

A couple of years ago, when my wife and I were touring Mount Vernon, George Washington’s estate in Virginia, we came across this blacksmith (the subject of my photo of the week) hammering hot iron as part of his day’s work.

And in my head I heard: "Under a spreading chestnut tree the village smithy stands; the smith, a mighty man is he, with large and sinewy hands.” Those are the opening words from “The Village Blacksmith” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, a poem I had to memorize in elementary school.

Ibis looking back

If I made a list of the most common sights in Florida, an ibis — the subject of my photo of the week — would be somewhere near the top of the list. You see them every day.

They can be found in wetland areas, as expected, walking with their heads down looking for insects or crustaceans in muddy surfaces. That’s to be expected. Ibises are wetland birds, after all. Freshwater marshes, flooded pastures, swamps and mudflats are all likely feeding grounds.

But I’m not in marshes or mudflats every day.

NY reflection

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I'm a sucker for photographs with reflections. Some of my favorite shots have reflected elements - buildings or other structures reflected by glass or still water, sunrises or sunsets reflected by water or glass, ducks reflected in a frozen lake, etc. Reflections make interesting images.

I know when I see a photo where a reflection is the primary subject, like this shot of a reflection of buildings in New York City’s World Financial Center, it tends to cause me to stop and study it. Maybe it’s because the photo shows a common scene in a somewhat distorted, uncommon way. …

Colorful wings

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On most days when I head out with my camera I’m chasing photos of birds. Occasionally I come back with a photo of a butterfly, the subject of my featured gallery for July.

That’s not my goal, but it’s nice when it happens.

That’s the reason why nearly all of these butterfly photos were shot using my “bird set-up”:  the Canon EF 600mm f/4L telephoto lens I carry when I'm shooting wildlife. If I run across a butterfly in an interesting setting while I'm shooting wildlife I'll go ahead and get the shot.