Blog: Words and images

Koala awake

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Whenever I see a koala in a zoo, it’s usually sleeping. I guess that’s to be expected. Koala’s sleep up to 20 hours a day, so seeing a sleeping koala is the most common way to see a koala.

But I got lucky during a visit to the Toledo Zoo.

The zoo’s koala was sleeping on a limb, using a tree trunk as a backrest and resting its paw on another trunk. As I shot a few photos, the koala opened its eyes while facing me. Then it closed its eyes again and resumed its nap.

But I had a photo of a somewhat alert koala.

Flycatcher on stem

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I have thousands of photographs of birds in my files. This photo of a Willow Flycatcher, my photo of the week, fits into a small subset of those photos — birds photographed against an uncluttered background.

I was hiking through Slate Run Metro Park south of Columbus, Ohio, on a spring morning when I saw this flycatcher land on a plant stem that extended above a field. The bird was close to me, probably less than 20 feet away, and a good distance from any background objects. I knew that would drop the background to a defocused blur, isolating the flycatcher against color to create and interesting photo.

Petal’s edge

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When I have my camera and see a flower in an interesting setting I’m often attracted by the colors I’ll capture in the scene.

But in this case I was attracted by the challenge.

We have a collection of white irises, the subject of my photo of the week, that bloom each spring beside our house. I happened to walk past them one afternoon and liked how the light was covering the scene so I grabbed my camera and tried to get some shots.

In this case, color wasn’t the focus. Instead I was working with lights and shadows and textures.

Philly reflection

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I’ve often mentioned how I enjoy photographing reflections. That’s why a short walk through Philadelphia’s Dilworth Park turned into a much longer visit. It became my personal photography playground for a while.

Dilworth Park is a small public park on the western side of Philadelphia’s City Hall. There’s not much to it. It’s only about a half acre in size.

But it does have a fountain, the subject of my photo of the week, that’s more like a play area for small kids than a traditional city fountain. …

In the wild

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I spend a number of hours carrying camera equipment through woods and fields while chasing photos of small birds. During these excursions I often encounter “non-feathered” wildlife, but anything larger than a chipmunk or squirrel can be difficult to shoot because of the long lens I’m using (Canon EF 600 f/4L with a 1.4x teleconverter, the equivalent of 840mm of glass).

At 840mm, something the size of a deer needs to be about half a football field away for me to get anything other than a head and shoulder shot.