Tag Archive: TIps


I’m Back

Hello everyone!

It’s been a while, but with the semester finally over, I now have plenty of time to keep my blog updated. I’ll admit my pictures won’t be as good (I really need a new camera) but I will try to post them when I can!

That being said, let’s talk about something more interesting than poor excuses for not updating

Spring is really and truly finally here. It just happens to be a month late. Instead of April showers we are getting May showers, but that shouldn’t really affect the budding springtime plants. Many of the birds are back, filling my backyard with song. It’s really quite pretty.

So how can you get birds into your backyard? Well, one fairly easy method you can do would be to buy a bird feeder. If you have a specific type of bird you want to attract you have to have the right kind of feed. Humming birds for instance like to eat nectar, so regular bird seed won’t do for them. Also, if you decide to get a bird feeder, you have to make sure you keep it full. Some birds may come to rely on your ‘free food’ and if your feeder is empty the birds could suffer.

Other additions you can add to your backyard are birdbaths and birdhouses. Again, birds can be picky about their homes so if you have a specific bird in mind you should do a little research on the types of places they like to live. Birdbaths don’t have to be anything fancy either. They are pretty much just pools of water for the birds to drink and bathe in. Theoretically rain water will keep the bath full for you, but it doesn’t hurt to check and put some water in it now and again. Also, if it starts to look gross you should go ahead and change it.

Happy bird watching!

West Virginia really is a unique place to live. It’s elevation and geographical location allows it to be the home for many different plants and animals. Birding in particular is a lot of in West Virginia. Getting up in the early morning, feeling that fresh mountain air on your face and listening to the birds sing is a really great way to start any day. If you are going to go birding in West Virginia, there are some birds that you definitely must see. After doing a little birding myself, these are my five favorite birds in West Virginia.

5. Great Blue Heron:

This bird is really pretty cool looking. It can have a wingspan of up to seven feet, which makes this a really big bird. Seeing something so big fly is really amazing to see, and so I’ve ranked the Great Blue Heron at number five. (Image by Gentry George, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

4. Indigo Bunting:

This bird is really very pretty. In summer, finding an Indigo Bunting in West Virginia is very easy to do. (Image by Barnes Dr Thomas G, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service).

3. Belted Kingfisher:

These birds can easily be seen and heard anywhere near a river or stream. These birds can be good indicators of how healthy a stream is because they feed on mostly small fish and other aquatic creatures. (Image by C. Schlawe, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

2. Scarlet Tanager:

This is a bird that can’t be missed. It’s very distinctive crimson color is easily seen when it flies. (Image From Steve Maslowski, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service).

1. Red-Tailed Hawk:

The red-tailed hawk is a really cool bird to see. It is an amazing predator and its call has been used in many movies. Often times this bird’s call (or its cousin’s call, the call of the red-shouldered hawk) is used instead of a bald eagle’s call, since the bald eagle’s call doesn’t sound very good. (Image from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service).

All images came from public-domain-image.com or Wikipedia.com and were found in the public domain.

So much for a snow storm

Unfortunately, the snow didn’t last. Deep down, I want around 6 ft of snow. I got a pretty nice shot of the snow coming down, and with it, my hopes were soaring. I tried to catch the flakes in motion, and I had some difficulty. For one thing, getting good lighting along with a shutter speed quick enough to catch the snowflakes in motion wasn’t quite possible for me. With the shutter speed moving at a such a quick pace, the camera wasn’t picking up enough light to create an image.

The cool thing about a shutter speed that doesn’t quite move fast is it can create an image that seems to stretch. This can be especially seen with lights, and I’ve seen some pretty cool photos of cars moving on a road with prolonged exposure. The longer exposure made the snowflakes in my photo look like sheets, and I kind of like the way it turned out.

My backyard when it's snowing.

Sadly, this is my backyard the morning after it snowed. The cold snow was no match for the warm sun and grass that desperately wanted to survive.

My backyard the morning after it snowed.

Influences

With blogging, and with life in general, we can use all the help we can get. I posted some links in my blogroll but I want to post them here with an explanation for why I chose these links. Feel free to check these out or if you think any other sites/blogs will be useful leave them in the comments.

Cool Green Science: This blog is all about promoting nature conservancy. One great way to share and appreciate nature is conserve it and I plan on using this blog to help further conserve nature in my area.

Digital Photography Tips: I plan on using a digital camera for my class and I’m always looking for tips. I’ll use this site to find ways to improve my skills with as well as post any good tips I come across.

Drawing/Sketching: One fun thing to try when on a hike is to sketch things you see while you’re outside. This site has plenty of sketching tips for amateur sketch artists (like myself) as well as tips for the more experienced artist.

National Geographic Photo of the Day: Since I want to photograph nature, I thought National Geographic would be good to look to for examples of style.

Nature Images from Photobucket: Similar to the photo of the day, I think these photographs will give me ideas for the style of pictures to take.

Nature Podcast: This podcast mostly talks about the science of nature. While enjoying nature from a surface level is a start, knowing a little bit about the science of nature can deepen your appreciation.

Outdoor Photographer: This site goes very in depth with outdoor photography from locations to technique. As an amateur photographer I’m also looking for ways to improve my photos.

PBS Nature: PBS, like national geographic,has a lot of experience in capturing nature on film. Looking at their examples can help me get the correct angles for when I take my pictures.

Sketching in Nature: Sketching animals can be pretty tough since you don’t always have very long to look at them (like with birds for example). With the help of someone that sketches nature I can learn what to look for and the best way to sketch the things I see.

The Luminous Landscape: This site is really neat when it comes to documenting nature. They have a ton of useful tips for photographers in their forums section. I find many of the photos on this site inspiring and may model a picture or two after one I see here.