Blog: Words and images

Wren watching


Many birds fit into a broad “difficult to photograph” category.

Then there are wrens, a bird that ranks well beyond difficult and the subject of my photo of the week.

Wrens are small — about five inches in length from the tip of their long, curved bill to the tip of their tail — and in constant motion, two factors that make a wren photograph more luck than skill, at least for me.

There are only two bird species that are more difficult for me to photograph: Brown Creepers, a wren-sized bird that constantly spirals up tree trunks; and Ruby-crowned Kinglets, a four-inch long bird that moves constantly through foliage, seldom providing a clear view for photographers.

Towering structure

I don’t impress easily when it comes to travel sites or sights. After all, I’ve travelled a lot for both business and personal reasons and I’ve seen a lot of things.

I admit some locations are fun to visit. For instance, the first time I saw Big Ben my reaction was “this is really cool.” Same with the Eiffel Tower, Grand Central Station, Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, the Astrodome and a few other locations. These are mostly locations I’d seen on TV or in photographs all my life so I knew what to expect. …

Waxwing and branches


Cedar Waxwings are one of my favorite birds to photograph, but I don’t have all that many photos of Waxwings in my collection. Even though Waxwings are somewhat common in this area, I don’t see them that often when I’m out with my camera. And when I do see one, the active nature of Waxwings makes them a bit difficult to photograph. They don’t perch in one spot for very long.

Waxwings, the subject of my photo of the week, are definitely distinctive birds, with their shiny, silky feathers of brown, gray, yellow and black, topped off by a black mask that makes the birds look like they are dressed for a formal costume ball. …

Flowers and capitol

Every time I walk the grounds of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., I seem to find something I’ve never noticed before.

The Capitol grounds create an almost 60-acre park setting around the Capitol building (the subject of my photo of the week), providing a relaxing and picturesque counterpoint to the often stressful, sometimes controversial and frequently divisive activities that take place inside the building.

The grounds are home to thousands of flowers in seasonal displays, providing an ever-changing color scheme to the Capitol panorama. …

Kingbird on post

When you do wildlife photography like I do you become accustomed to rejection. Whenever you point the camera at a subject that subject often leaves immediately.

It’s a survival mechanism for wildlife, but it makes wildlife photography very challenging.

But this Eastern Kingbird, the subject of my photo of the week, wasn’t interested in leaving.

I saw it perched on a broken sign post as I approached a walkway above the wetlands in Slate Run Metro Park south of Columbus, Ohio. The bird would call, then stop to listen before calling again.



I don’t like snakes.

There. I’ve said it.

I don’t necessarily have a fear of snakes (snakes are among the reptile photos in my featured gallery for September). Let’s just say I have a healthy respect for a snake’s personal space and would prefer that snakes maintain a similar respect for my space. It’s not necessarily a phobia (I’m not an ophidiophobe). I’m OK if I know I’m going to see a snake, like at a zoo or if someone shows me one in the grass or water. I enjoy watching those. But when I discover a snake under my foot when I’m mid stride or I find one in a bush or high grass when I’m doing something else it gives me the willies.