Snowflakes And Feathers

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little bird shivers
crystal falls on beak and down
feathers fluff to warm
surrounded by frosty white
weathering strong winter's storm

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I took the photo above from my kitchen window on one of the few days that we had snow this year. So far it’s been a disappointing winter for scenic snowfall. What little we’ve had here in Orange County, New York has not lasted for more than a few days.

Last year was another story. We had several really gorgeous snows. There was one day in particular when the activity at my bird feeders was absolutely spectacular. Throughout the day, a variety of eight or nine different types of birds swooped around the feeders. They were joined by squirrels, chickens, and even dear, all snacking on sunflower seeds in the falling snow.

I took the photo below on that day. Visit my post,  A Day Of Memorable Moments to see the rest of the lively, colorful, flurry of activity by clicking here. Seeing those photos and remembering that delightful day still makes me smile! 🙂

Black capped chickadee.
Black capped chickadee. March 2015.

This post is my response to Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Things That Are Cold.

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Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Close-up

I’m including three entries to Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week. The theme is Close-up.

Snuggle puppy.Snuggle Puppy.

Chicken sporting red.The most vibrant red is found on chickens!

Orange butterfly.I’m looking forward to seeing one of these soon!

If you would like to see a few more close-ups of my dog, Sophie, and read my poem ‘Treasured’ click here.

To see more of my neighbor’s colorful designer chickens and read my poem ‘Chicken Incredulous’ click here.

And to find out more about Cee’s Fun Foto Challenges click here. Thank you Cee for the challenge!

A Day Of Memorable Moments

This post is in response to the Photography 101 prompt “moment.” I had intended to post it Friday and include only this first photo, which I took a few days ago, of a fun moment of motion captured in my backyard. I sat down at the computer, edited the photo a bit and uploaded it.

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That’s as far as I got before I became distracted with the activity outside my kitchen door.

My neighbor’s chickens wandered over to peck under the bird feeders. Then a squirrel joined the party and began going through his gymnastic maneuvers to steal lunch from the feeder.

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Neither of these things is an unusual sight in my backyard. What made it unusual was that even though it was the first day of spring, there was a steady picturesque snow falling.

How many more opportunities this year would I have to look out my door and see this scene highlighted by large fluffy flakes drifting down? Probably none, so of course I grabbed my camera.

I took some photos, did some work, and then began to process a few of the photos, but new and beautiful moments kept presenting themselves in my peripheral vision.

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Time after time I found myself wandering to the door to take pictures. Throughout the afternoon I was constantly distracted by the activity outside. It just kept getting better.

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When the deer wandered up to the feeder I was ecstatic. This is something I only get to see every now and then since they usually raid the feeder in the dark of night.

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The  falling snow made it all the better.

I quickly corralled the dogs in the other room so they wouldn’t scare the deer by jumping at the glass door, and gave my son, who was about to walk outside, strict orders to stay put until I was done capturing the visitors with my camera. I was extremely pleased to get a few nice shots before an unknown something caused the pair to bolt.

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Not long after, the red winged blackbirds showed up along with the grackles.

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Grackles are scary, wary birds.

Now you see them…

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…now you almost don’t! It’s amazing how the sparrow and cardinal are completely unperturbed by the sudden explosion of grackle wings that turned those three birds into vague black blurs.

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Varieties of birds sighted throughout the day included the cardinal, purple finch, goldfinch, downy woodpecker, blue jay, chickadee, sparrow, tufted titmouse, grackle, red winged black bird, morning dove, junco, cow bird, starling, and of course, chicken! Missing was the nuthatch, red bellied woodpecker and northern flicker which I sometimes see.

I’m very fortunate to have this show of splendor outside my kitchen door, and for that, I’m most grateful!

Click an image below to start a slide show of all the photos I’ve included from that snowy first day of spring.

 

Pop Of Color?

Muddy,
     melting,
          dreary 
               wetness
punctuated
         by 
       a
           pecking,
                   poking       jab 
                                 of red.

copyright ©2015 Terry Boswell

(Click on an image to see it larger and start a slide show.)

This post is in response to the Photography 101 prompt “Pop of Color.”

Here in New York State’s Hudson Valley there’s not much color popping this time of year. Even the fire hydrant across the street from my home looks drab, so once again I’ve relied on my neighbor’s chickens to help me respond to a Photography 101 prompt!

Chicken Incredulous

My neighbor’s wandering chickens always provide opportunities for photographs and were the inspiration for my poem today.  🙂

Chicken Incredulous

One foot lifts to   h  o  v  e  r
then is placed methodically down,
followed by the   o  t  h  e  r
methodically placed,
head thrusting forward and
back,
like a slow piston,
in rhythm to her steps.

Her neck swivels
this way and that,
then abruptly her head pivots,
fixing my gaze.

Eye to red eye
with the visitor in my backyard,
accusingly she stares
and declares
me,
the intruder.

Copyright © 2015 Terry Boswell

This post is my response to the Photography 101 prompt, “Connect.” Perhaps I’ve taken liberties with the prompt; highlighting my close encounter connecting with a wide-eyed chicken a few days ago. 😉 … And yes, that’s snow and ice in the background. Spring has yet to connect with the state of New York!

It’s also my response to Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Farm Animals. Thank you Cee for the challenge!

… And… It’s my fifth and final post in the Five Days Challenge. I was invited by Amy, from Snapshots, Snippets And Scribbles to take part in the challenge, and for each of the five days I’m supposed to invite one person.

Because I didn’t invite anyone on day one, today I’m inviting two people; Meredith from PonderTheIrrelevant and Priscilla from scillagrace… If you would like to participate, post a photo every day for five days and write a story to go along with each photo. I’ve written a poem for today, but your stories can be fiction or non-fiction. They can be short paragraphs, multiple pages, or poems. Each day, please invite one person to carry on the challenge. The challenge is not mandatory and can be refused, but I hope you accept and have fun!

Photography 101: Synopsis

Photography 101 has come to a close. Perhaps I’ll revisit some of the themes, particularly the optional weekend themes I was unable to do during the event, but for now I’d like to simply post this gallery as a synopsis. All of the included photos were a direct response to the themes presented in Photography 101.

Thank you to everyone at WordPress and to all who participated with comments and likes. It was a great opportunity for growth and a very enjoyable four weeks!

Photography 101: Swarm

Milkweed silk and seed

I wasn’t sure what to do for day fourteen of Photography 101. The theme is Swarm.

“It’s a swarm! Show us something that overruns your scene, but observe and compose carefully before you click the shutter.

Swarm: to fly off together in a group, as bees; to move about in great numbers, as things or persons.”

It’s November and there’s not much swarming here in the north-east US. It’s too cold for bees or ants. The geese have gone. We were overrun by fallen leaves, but now those have been cleared from the yard. My husband used a leaf blower to gather them. That would have been a nice scene to photograph, a swarm of leaves in flight, but day fourteen’s theme had not yet been announced. The leaves are now in a pile. They’ve lost their individuality and sit wet and dank, more like a lump than a swarm.

I guess I could have headed for the train station, the commuter park and ride, or the highway to photograph swarms of people or cars, but I opted for the following instead.   Continue reading

Photography 101: Moment

The theme for day thirteen of Photography 101: Moment, was difficult for me.

“Capture a fleeting moment and experiment with blur and movement.”

I started out with my neighbor’s chickens and guinea hen, and then graduated to my dog.

For the first three photos I had the camera set on automatic. For the fourth photo I got brave and set it to manual. Manual yielded much better results.

# 1) Guinea hen on the run. Camera set on automatic.
Guinea Hen

# 2) Fancy chicken strutting and bobbing. Camera set on automatic.
Continue reading