Photography: As Shot – Colorful Tom Turkey

NOTE – “As Shot” photographs are some that I have posted on Instagram, but without any unwarranted imposed crops, less detail reduction and more of an explanation.


On the road near Hereford, Arizona with storm clouds closing in

Tom shows his colors when is around the hens – Happy Thanksgiving – 2017!

On a hiking trip to Brown Canyon in Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge, southern Arizona, we were treated to a display by this Tom Turkey who was parading around in front of two hens.

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Metadata

File Name: turkey_tom_0597.CR2
Capture time: 2:26:46 PM
Capture date: April 12, 2014
Exposure: 1/640 sec @ f/5.6
Focal Length: 25.065mm
ISO: 100
Camera: Canon PowerShot SX50 HS
Lens: 4.3-215mm
Edited in Lightroom

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Read more photography posts HERE


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2017 – JBRish.com



Photography: As Shot – Fall Colors


Fall colors of leaves - Oak Creek Canyon, AZ

This is the time of the year when certain areas are transitioning between fall and winter and much of the fall color is now gone. In the desert we don’t have a dramatic change of season. When we want to get a sense of fall, we head north to one of our other favorite areas.

The picture above was taken at the West Fork of Oak Creek, just north of Sedona, AZ. While the post on Instagram doesn’t show the entire frame nor the degree of detail, I thought this was a season-worthy photograph to share with the additional clarity and explanation.

File Name: DSCF0045.RAF
Capture time: 12:01:07 PM
Capture date: November 9 2015
Exposure: 1/80 sec @ f/6.5
Focal Length: 215m
ISO: 100
Camera: Canon PowerShot SX50 HS
Lens: 4.3-215mm
Edited in Lightroom

  • Read more about hiking the West Fork Trail, HERE
  • Read more photography posts HERE


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

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Hiking: Bootleggers Trail, Scottsdale, Arizona

  • Address: 31402 N. 136th St., Scottsdale, AZ
  • Hours: Sunrise to sunset daily
  • Amenities: Passenger vehicle and horse trailer parking. NO RESTROOMS OR WATER

A couple of days ago I wrote about capturing my first “decent” photograph of a Phainopepla while hiking along the Bootlegger Trail off of the Granite Mountain Trailhead which is part of the McDowell Mountain Preserve in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Kudos to the citizens of Scottsdale for fostering efforts to support the acquisition of desert lands to be kept in their natural desert form. As you may imagine the population growth in the southwest is booming and native desert is disappearing fast. Land put aside to remain undeveloped is a treasure that can be enjoyed by everyone.

We have hiked other areas of the McDowell Mountain Presserve, but this was the first time at this particular location and we were not disappointed. Below is the view just a few yards away from the parking area.


View from the parking area

What helps to make this area somewhat unique and interesting are the boulders and boulder formations that populate the trail.


Numerous boulders along the trail

As we began to head west, the distant hills loomed large before us.


Granite hills rise up in the distance as we begin the hike.

The essence of the area really cannot be captured in individual photos so I hope the panorama below provides a sense of the expansive, hilly terrain.


A panorama reveals the full scope of the vista


To see a larger version of the panorama, click HERE

This was just one of the many boulder formations we studied as we hiked along the trail.


Interesting boulder formation

Boulder fields with rocks piled on top of each other often surrounded the trail.


Boulder fields with piles of rocks

As we hiked, I spotted a bird atop the granite hill far in the distance. Unfortunately my telephoto lens was not long enough to acquire a very detailed photo, but my guess is that it was a Harris’s Hawk (see the second image).


A distant bird; I think a Harris's Hawk


Closer view of the hawk

This is a description of the Harris’s Hawk from All About Birds – Cornell Lab of Ornithology:

“A handsome hawk of the arid Southwest, Harris’s Hawk is a standout with bold markings of dark brown, chestnut red, and white, long yellow legs, and yellow markings on its face. The most social of North American raptors, these birds are often found in groups, cooperatively attending nests and hunting together as a team. When hunting, a group of hawks surround their prey, flush it for another to catch, or take turns chasing it. This hawk’s social nature and relative ease with humans has made it popular among falconers and in education programs. “

While this trail is listed as moderate, we are inclined to label it more appropriately as easy. There were some inclines and the path does lead up to the distant hills, but we didn’t find any sections that we felt were strenuous.


Picture of the saguaros in the foreground of the mountains


More pretty boulders with the mountains in the background

The desert is a very harsh environment and death is often in evidence. Once stately saguaros often succumb to damage or drought. Even in death, they grace the area and give evidence to the beauty that is the desert.


Dead saguaro still graces the desert

This was a lovely area with the saguaro straight ahead and the boulder formation off to the right in the shade. There was a small “window” in the bottom, middle portion of the rock formation which enabled us to get a peek of the upcoming distant vista.


A bend in the path with a saguaro and boulder formation

As desert gardeners and proponents of native vegetation we always enjoy seeing clusters of greenery in areas that receive scant rainfall.


Green desert plants contrast with all the brown rocks and land.

At the start of the trail and then again as hikers make their way back toward the parking area, there are distant views of desert mountains and nearby housing developments.


Another set of mountains can be seen off to the south-southeast

We plan to return to the Granite Mountain Trailhead to take other hikes that lead to different areas of this interesting region.

  • Length: 2.9 miles
  • Elevation change: 175 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Use: hiking, biking and horseback riding

 

Read more Hiking and Exploration posts HERE


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

© Jeffrey B. Ross – 2017 – JBRish.com



Birds of Arizona – Phainopepla ( Phainopepla nitens )

Yesterday was an interesting day for me as the weather prediction was not excellent, but still fair and relatively mild with a predicted high in the low 80’s and we were eager to take a hike. We decided to select a route off of the Granite Mountain Trailhead (The Bootlegger Trail) which is part of the McDowell Mountain Preserve.

Whenever I hike, I anticipate capturing a picture of a bird that is either better than one that I currently have of that bird or, as a bonus, a bird for which I do not have a picture.

I have seen many Phainopeplas, but I have never been able to take a good picture of one. I also know that this is the time of the year that they visit the Sonoran Desert. I spotted one just 100 yards from my backyard a few days ago, but it was not in a very nice setting so I passed.

Today I was able to take a “starter picture” of a Phainopepla that we spotted along the Bootlegger Trail. I am labeling this a starter because I am hoping to capture a photograph that is even better one of these days!

As I have stated on this blog before, I am an amateur photographer with very limited bird photography experience and just a bit more as a birder. The only camera I have with a long reach is my Canon PowerShot SX50HS and that is the equipment I used for the shot below.


Phainopepla captured at the McDowell Mountain Preserve
Phainopepla captured at the Granite Mountain Trailhead along the Bootlegger Trail which is part of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve

Phainopeplas remind me of Cardinals or Waxwings because of their sleek profile and the tuft. Males are black while females are more grey. Interestingly enough, they have a red eye which is very striking and not always easy to capture in a photograph. I am placing a cropped image below to show more detail even though it may not be as sharp as I would like.


Phainopepla captured at the McDowell Mountain Preserve
A cropped version of the image above

Now I have one more picture for my collection!

Read more about Phainopeplas HERE

 
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Metadata

File Name: 000017_IMG_0806.CR2
Capture time: 9:28:51 AM
Capture date: November 15, 2017
Exposure: 1/500 sec @ f/7.1
Focal Length: 215mm
ISO: 80
Canon PowerShot SX50HS
Lens: 4.2-215mm
Edited in Lightroom

See previous JBRish posts about birds HERE


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2017


Adventures in Oregon: Warrenton to Seaside

 

After a couple of days of adventures in and around Astoria, OR, we were heading south toward Seaside. We had our itinerary planned and were excited to begin the day’s exploits.


Map route from Astoria, OR to Seaside
Map route from Astoria, OR to Seaside

Living in the desert of Arizona we don’t often have a chance to visit shore towns and see nautical sights and the idea tha we could get a close up view of an actual shipwreck could not be resisted. The British vessel, the Peter Iredale, ran aground on October 25, 1906 on its way to the Columbia River and was abandoned near Fort Stevens in Warrenton. As you can see in the photo below, people can walk right up to the remainder of the wreck when the tide is low.


People can get very close to the remnants of the Peter Iredale
People can get very close to the remnants of the Peter Iredale

The hulk was quite impressive when considering it has been windswept and bathed in salt water for more than a century.


Remnants of the ship wreck draw visitors to the beach
The ship’s carcass remains after more than 100 years

Although this day didn’t provide the best weather, when the sun poked through visitors could appreciate the form and structure of the ship along with a stark beauty created by the rust tones against the blue-grey seascape.


Beauty amid the wreckage
Beauty amid the wreckage

At times, the crowds would grow as photographers and dog walkers visited the water’s edge to take in the sight. We soon moved to other areas of Fort Stevens State Park to continue our explorations.


A viewing platfrom along a jetty or breakwall at Fort Stevens Park
A viewing platfrom along a jetty or breakwall at Fort Stevens Park

I never appreciated how much the west coast had prepared for invasion during WW II. Certainly Fort Stevens provided plenty of proof. This (below) was one of turrets that can be easily seen among the many other fortified batteries.


Defensive gun turret along America's western coast
Defensive gun turret along America’s western coast

After hiking one of the major trails through Fort Stevens and gaining an understanding of the military preparations there, we made our way to another planned stop, the Necanicum Estuary near Seaside. I was hopeful that we could spot a bird or two that I would be able to mark off my birding list and indeed we did pass some birdwatchers eyeing a Cedar Waxwing. Much to our surprise, it wasn’t birds that caught our attention…


Roosevelt Elk along coastal Oregon
Roosevelt Elk along coastal Oregon

… there was a herd of elk. They were quite numerous. One doe found us interesting, but not enough to stop eating.


An elk doe eats as she watches us walk along the path
An elk doe eats as she watches us walk along the path

We found ourselves in an unusual and unexpected situation as the hiking path we used to get to the bay was soon surrounded by the herd. A few males, which can weigh nearly a half a ton, were not happy that we were among their harem. We carefully made our way to the shoreline. There were some does there as well, but only a few.


Elk along the shore
Elk along the shore

Another doe nearby looked on as we approached the beach.


Another doe watched as we walked to the beach
Another doe watched as we walked to the beach

We were able to circle around to find a clear way back to the parking area and were glad to arrive safely at the car to head to our evening’s accommodations.

 

More information about the Peter Iredale shipwereck

Learn more about the elk at Gerhart’s preserve

Read more about the Necanicum Estuary in Seaside


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Read previous posts about our adventures hiking and exploring in Oregon:

Exploring Astoria, Oregon – Part 1

Exploring Astoria, Oregon – Part 2

Exploring Astoria, Oregon – Part 3

 

Read more Hiking and Exploration posts HERE


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2017 – JBRish.com



Photography Quote — 20170904

Today’s Photography Quote


“If you are out there shooting, things will happen for you. If you’re not out there, you’ll only hear about it.”
– Jay Meisel
– Original Photograph ©Jeffrey B. Ross –

 

NOTE – As residents of the Sonoran Desert who like hiking, encountering snakes is nothing new for us. This photograph was taken in Cave Creek, AZ along one of the trails at the Jewel of the Creek preserve. shortly after this sighting, we came across another rattlesnake and turned back because we had young children with u.s

Jay Meisel’s quote reminds us that if you are interested in photography, you have to be out there taking pictures to find interesting subjects and events.

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Photo Meta Data

File Name: IMG_1960.CR2
Capture time: 3:13 PM
Capture date: March 30, 2015
Exposure: 1/500 @ f5.6
Focal Length: 83.27mm
ISO: 200
Canon Powershot SX50 HS

*Edited: Lightroom with text added in Preview (Apple Software)

 
See previous STATUS QUOtes Photography Quotes HERE


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All content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2017


otographs

Fuji X T-2: Making the Lens Cap

Stay Put on the Kit Lens

Some say TO-MATE-TO and some say TOM-AT-TOE so I guess it is whatever one is accustomed to that really counts; at least to them. I do a lot of hiking photography. You know the type – mountains, lakes, waterfalls, paths, bridges, streams, animals, etc. Because I am on the move a lot and the trails can be very dusty, I keep my lens cap on the lens when I am not actually taking photographs.

There have been several times when I have had to backtrack on the trail to find my lens cap and one time, another hiker was kind enough to retrieve it for me when I didn’t realize right away that I had lost it. He had picked it up along the way and handed it to me!

Do you like a tethered lens cap or do you prefer to have it totally removable?

Since I want to take it off and replace it when done, I like to have it tethered because most lens caps/covers don’t stay on the lens that well. With all the technology and innovation taking place, one would figure this problem would have been solved by now.

My new Fuji X T-2 does not have a tethered lens cap AND the lens cap does not easily stay put on my 18-55mm kit lens. Add the lens hood (more about that later) and it is even harder to get that cap to hunker down. I decided to do what I did with my Nikon D3300 and create my own tether.


Fuji X T-2 lens cap

Fuji X T-2 lens cap

This is my procedure for attaching my lens cap so that it does not get lost:


Supplies needed to tether the lens cap
Supplies needed to tether the lens cap

  • Get some relatively thick black thread.
  • Take a piece of strong tape. I use tape that is designed to be put on metal chimney flues so you can understand that it has a rather strong adhesive and it can stand the heat! This is sometimes referred to as aluminum tape.


Thick black thread attached to lens cap
Thick black thread attached to lens cap with aluminum tape (silver)

  • I tape one end of the thread to the lens cap with the aluminum tape and then cover that silver tape with black electrical tape.


Black electrician's tape is used to cover the silver foil tape
Black electrician’s tape is used to cover the silver foil tape

  • I then tie the other end of the black thread to the strap loop.


Thread is tied to strap loop

NOTE – If you think you will want to remove the lens cap completely to attach a different sized filter, change lenses, etc., make a double strand (loop) with the thread and “loop it” through the strap. This way, the lens cap can easily be removed by backing it out of the loop when necessary.


Thread is tied to strap loop
Thread is tied to strap loop (red oval)

Now when the cap is unleashed, it can hang by the side of the camera. I often hold it in my hand to keep it from swinging or being a distraction.

X T-2 with tethered lens cap

Lets talk about the lens hood. The lens hood is a pretty typical “tulip” type lens hood. It appears to be made of plastic. One would think that a professional level camera, even if ordered with the kit lens, would have a more robust lens hood. I would have paid a few dollars more for a better lens hood; just sayin’!

My Nikon D3300 lens hood does not stay on the lens with much active use so I tethered that to the camera too. Here is what that looks like…


Nikon D3300 with tethered lens hood

So far the Fuji lens hood has remained relatively loyal to the lens and has not wiggled off errantly so I will leave it as is unless it becomes necessary to tether that as well.

I am very happy with the X T-2 so don’t get me wrong. I am just modifying it to suit my particular photography style. You might or might not like to work that way. This just keeps me from lens cap hunting and enables me to keep my lenses as clean as possible through a day of hiking.

I will talk about my first photographic experiments with the new Fuji X T-2, but since, in my previous post, I said I would share a picture, here is the first picture I took with the new X T-2; Explanation and discussion to follow in another post.


First photo with my new Fuji X T-2

UPDATE – Don’t be disappointed with your Fuji RAW files when imported into Lightroom. Read about the way to post process those images to bring out the color and detail Fuji X T-2: Improving LR Post Processing Process

Read more photography posts HERE


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2017



Identification for the Birds

Here is a problem every novice or occasional birder is bound to face…

We were enjoying a beautiful hike through Zumwalt Meadow in Kings Canyon, CA observing all of the plants, scenery and wildlife we encountered.

Keep in mind that much of this trail has tree roots, rocks, boulders, fallen branches, etc. so keeping eyes ahead or up is not an option for those hiking along. We would stop when a sudden motion or noise caught our attention or we just wanted to gaze at the scenery. We are avid gazers and thus would probably be considered somewhat pokey when it comes to the more speedy hikers.

But I digress… We were climbing upward through a somewhat narrow corridor formed by boulders on either side and ahead, no more than twenty feet away, an attractive multi-colored bird landed in a tree. I was almost sure this was one that I hadn’t identified yet so of course I was very interested in photographing the bird for future identification.

NOTE – For those who want to know why I didn’t or more truthfully, couldn’t, identify the bird right there and then, read my earlier post – Photography and Birding: Good Photo, Bad Photo

The bird was mostly black, with orange-brown sides, a buff bottom and rump with white markings on black wings. The face also had some blotches of other colors as well. Immediately I thought this was an oriole of one type or another.


Black-headed grosbeak

By the time I was able to stop and take note, the bird was flitting from branch-to-branch and this (above) was the first photograph I was able to capture. Hmmmm – pretty hard to ID from that shot.

What was infuriating was that the bird would jump down closer to me, let’s say eight feet away, but would be among a mass of branches; drats!


Black-headed grosbeak

There was one instance, when the bird was just above my head and I got a good luck at its rump and underparts.


Black-headed grosbeak

Although the bird was skittish, it appeared to have a certain curiosity as it lingered in the area for a long time; in bird minutes!


Black-headed grosbeak

In the field it is hard to tell exactly how good the photographs are and whether or not there would be enough information to piece an identification together, but using all of the photos, I believe I was able to correctly ID the bird.

Let’s take a look….

Using the Internet, I was able to find a few reference photographs. This was one of the better shots


Black-headed grosbeak
Photograph By Alan Vernon – Male Black headed grosbeak (Pheucticus melanocephalus)Uploaded by Snowmanradio, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12140735

NOTE – Text added by JBRish


Looking at my less than stellar photos, I was able to locate most of the same markings. For those new to birding, keep in mind that males and females often have different markings and colorations. I knew this wasn’t an oriole as I originally suspected primarily because of the shape of the beak. An oriole would have a much more pointed beak.

NOTE – This is why I like to take multiple photographs and work the identification at my leisure.

What are your thoughts? Leave them in the comment section below.

To read more JBRish.com posts about birds or birding, click HERE.


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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2017



Hiking the Peralta Trail, Gold Canyon, AZ – 20160701

The Finale of the Peralta Trail Photo Essay

NOTE – Keep in mind that we took this hike and these pictures represent the trail as we saw it in December, 2009. The trail may have changed a bit since them and some of the flora may no longer be exactly where we are reporting, but this is a good representation of things you may find along the way. Perhaps you will find even more intriguing highlights.

Of course the large rock formations and mountains will remain largely unchanged.


Long shadows, time to head backk
Toward Sunset

After spending some time at the Fremont Saddle and having a snack, we wanted to head back to the trailhead. As you can note from the picture, the shadows were getting longer and with that the cool, soon to be followed by cold, December chill would be setting in.

Even the decaying plants add a beauty to the desert if we take time to notice and appreciate them. Desert life is hard and any plant or animal that can survive gains my immediate and ever-lasting respect.

This is the final post about our experience along the Peralta Trail, Gold Canyon, Arizona. If you like moderate hiking and a walk in a very different and beautiful landscape, I recommend it. Just be prepared, heed all warning signs and read about the hike before you commit.

Read more about the Peralta Trail HERE.

Previous posts and photographs in the Peralta Trail series in chronological order:


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All content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to JBRish.com are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.


©Jeffrey B. Ross


Hiking the Peralta Trail, Gold Canyon, AZ – 20160630

Hiking the Peralta Trail, Gold Canyon, AZ – 20160630

NOTE – Keep in mind that we took this hike and these pictures represent the trail as we saw it in December, 2009. The trail may have changed a bit since them and some of the flora may no longer be exactly where we are reporting, but this is a good representation of things you may find along the way. Perhaps you will find even more intriguing highlights.

Of course the large rock formations and mountains will remain largely unchanged.


Spent desert flower stalk
Spent desert flower stalk

As I pointed out in one of the first posts about the Peralata Trail, there is an abundance of desert flora along the trail as far as the eye can see. There is beauty all around during the spring as cacti and desert trees bloom freely.

Once the bloom is over, some of the plants continue to provide aesthetic interest with their dry stalks, etc. I so appreciated this willowy structure highlighted against the dark, shadowy background in the picture above. It was truly striking! The lower group of plants sporting their colors of yellow and orange were supporting cast members.

Read more about the Peralta Trail HERE.

Previous posts and photographs in the Peralta Trail series in chronological order:


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JBRish.com originally published this post
*All photographs Copyright by Jeffrey B. Ross with all rights reserved.