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Tag Archives: Photography

I’m a Solivita Celebrity Blogger

Just what does that mean? The Central Florida retirement community that I live in had a contest to select three bloggers to represent the community. We had to submit a writing sample and go for an interview. Part of the interview was videotaped and appears on the blog. I was excited to be one of the three chosen for the seven weeks of blogging about Solivita.

I’m hoping that all the people who follow this blog will drop over to see what my new blog is all about. I’m interviewing interesting people in the community to create profiles to post on the blog. I’m also creating posts about my wildlife photos and observations. Solivita has quite a few nature preserves, so we see many animals. Since I now have a camera with lots of zoom, I’m thrilled with the wildlife I’m capturing with my camera.

The bloggers are competing against each other for the most visits and comments. The winner gets a BBQ for 40 of their friends. This is a great incentive to promote our blogs and try to bring in viewers. Come give it a read! Just click on any of the links on this page to get to it. Please pass it along to your friends who might be interested in Florida or retirement communities or wildlife.

 
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Posted by on May 26, 2011 in Blogger, Writing

 

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Those Cute Chipmunks

Rodents aren’t supposed to be so darn cute. After a mild winter this year, the chipmunks in New Hampshire are having a population explosion. It has given me an opportunity to try out the zoom on my Canon SX20is. Capturing digital images of the little critters has been fun.

What isn’t fun is the interest they’re taking in my strawberry patch. I have a photo series of the brazen culprit turning the large red strawberry around in his paws while nibbling daintily on different parts of the ripe fruit. Then we found they were even abscounding with the smaller green strawberries. As my husband waved his arms and stomped into the garden, a chipmunk took time to stuff a not-yet-ripe strawberry into each cheek before running away to safety.

I have two Squidoo lenses (webpages) about the chipmunks. The one about Ten Humane Ways to Get Rid of Chipmunks is proving quite popular. Apparently, I’m not the only one suffering from an over-abundance of these rodents with racing stripes. The second one is Fun Facts about Chipmunks and the target audience is children, but I’m finding that it appeals to adults too. It includes some of my chipmunk photos and observations that I’ve made of their behavior.

Update (July 2011): Since people wanted ways to more permanently get rid of chipmunks, I’ve created a new web page called Get Rid of Chipmunks – The Final Solution. Of course, new chipmunks will try to move into the territory left vacant by any that you have relocated or killed. Be prepared to continue your efforts every summer.

Eastern Chipmunk in New Hampshire

Eastern chipmunk (photo by Virginia Allain)

 
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Posted by on July 23, 2010 in New England, Photography

 

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Sorting My Photos of Insects

My inner-librarian took over today and I categorized some of my thousands of photos that are clogging up my computer. The original idea was to weed some of them out, but then I got caught up sorting them into categories. I had one section of insects under my animal photo category. That didn’t suit me with all the insects mixed in together.

I sorted them out into these sub-categories:

  • bees/wasps (41 pictures)
  • butterflies/moths (48)
  • caterpillars (22)
  • dragonflies/damselflies (6)
  • grasshoppers (8)
  • odd insects (45)
  • spiders/webs (82)

I used my caterpillar photos to create a webpage called Name the Caterpillars. Hopefully someone will give me the names to go with the photos.

This one fell into the odd insects category. Does anyone know what it is?

 
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Posted by on February 7, 2010 in Nature, Photography

 

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Lots of Gators

It’s not uncommon for us to see an alligator cruising down the middle of the small lake behind our house. Well, really it’s a retention pond for all that rain that Florida gets, but I think “lake” sounds nicer. When we have visitors, we hope that the resident alligator will show himself for their benefit. What’s the use of traveling all the way to Florida if you don’t get to see an alligator at least once.

Our visitor this week was escaping the chill temperatures in Missouri. Maybe he would have been satisfied with just Florida sunshine and dinner on the lanai. He hit it lucky though, getting sunshine, 80 degree days, and THREE alligators. First we saw one, just barely showing its head above water. Then we spotted the second one further down the lake. A short while later, the two of them looked quite cosy resting on the shore across the lake. I took my camera with its 20X zoom down to my neighbor’s yard to get a closer photo of the pair. They appeared to be at least 6-8 feet in length. It’s hard to judge.

While looking for a good angle, I noticed a small alligator just a stone’s throw away from me on my side of the lake.  Quickly I snapped a picture of it, then tried getting a little closer. Splash! He hit the water running and was gone in no time. Oh, well, I still had the two larger gators to capture. With the zoom, I could see them pretty well and took several shots. Here are the three alligators that were in our lake:

 
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Posted by on January 23, 2010 in Florida, Nature, Photography

 

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Cold Day for the Cranes

Undeterred by the chill weather we’ve had this week in Florida, the sandhill cranes wandered by looking for food. I assume it’s grubs they’re finding as they poke about in the sandy, soft soil below our St Augustine grass. Those impressive beaks penetrate the soil quite easily.

I wanted some fresh pictures, so I grabbed my Canon SX20 IS and hustled out through the lanai despite the low temperatures. Last night it was 28 degrees in Central Florida. Ugh.

Anyway, the cranes posed nicely for me. It amazes me how close they will let me come. I almost don’t need that 20X zoom. Perhaps being such large birds, they don’t find people that intimidating. If they stare intently at me and croon/purr deep in their throat then take a step towards me, I back carefully away. Often they let me come within 6 to 8 feet of them with my camera. It may be that our retirement community serves as a sanctuary for them where no one bothers them, so they feel secure and complacent around people here.

 
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Posted by on January 12, 2010 in Birds, Photography

 

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Photographing Blue Herons

Blue herons are pretty shy and I have trouble getting close enough for good photos. I’ve ended up with lots of blurry pictures of herons flying away. Now with my new Canon Powershot SX20IS, I’ve finally captured some decent blue heron shots. Having that much zoom is a real treat. Here are the results:

 
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Posted by on January 2, 2010 in Birds, Nature, Photography

 

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Dance of the Cranes

Yesterday I saw the sandhill cranes dancing. It was right in my backyard and a family of cranes came poking along. Their focus was on extracting grubs from the ground, so they poked and poked with those long beaks into the St. Augustine grass. Then one of them noticed me in the screen room. He, or she approached the screen, looking fixedly at me. Probably someone has been feeding them grain, which you aren’t supposed to do. Anyway I feared it would poke at the screen, so I moved away abruptly.

At that point, the crane turned and flapped his wings. Another crane in the group responded with a wing flap and a hop. They both hopped and flapped for several minutes and then the young cranes joined in. These were the cute twin cranes from the spring, but now almost indestinguishable from the adult cranes. The four of them postured, hopped, flapped their wings and ducked their heads at each other with open beaks. Quite a display.

I wish I’d had a movie camera at hand. Since they kept up their dancing  for awhile, I hastened in for my camera which was just inside. When I came back out, they had settled down and returned to grass poking. As I stepped outside the screen room to take a better picture of the group, they noticed me again. Two of them gave a token hop and wing flap which I captured on camera. That was the end of the show.

I’m not sure if the activity was from being startled by my original abrupt movement or what. Previously I’d thought the dance was supposed to be a crane courtship activity. Since this was a family group of four cranes, that didn’t fit unless the young cranes were just practicing in response to their parents’ behavior.  Anyway I felt quite priviledged to have seen it.

dancing sand hill cranes

Florida Sandhill Cranes Dancing

 
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Posted by on November 22, 2009 in Birds, Florida, Nature, Photography

 

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