Frames from the Back Porch

May 7, 2014

It isn’t always necessary to get up at 4:30 a.m. and hike five miles into a swamp or forest to find a great image. Often I find my best images in the parks of St. Louis, which still requires an early departure but not as much of a hike. But sometimes I find nice shots right here on the farm, in this case from Virginia’s back porch. Virginia is Joyce’s mom, by the way.

Lately, Virginia’s bird feeders have been teaming with action, often attracting birds that don’t even feed on seeds but just like the company of other feathered critters. This week’s featured image is of a red-bellied woodpecker (1000 mm; 1/500; f/8.0; ISO 400), which might have been better named, red-headed woodpecker, but that name was already taken. I do like the “red-bellied” label because it reminds me to look at the gorgeous blush of buff on the underside of this bird. I was happy to catch this female during a gust of wind which added some interest to an already beautiful specimen. For the photography buffs, I actually used a 2x converter with my 500mm lens to capture this, almost full-frame, image.

The second image is of a ruby-throated hummingbird showing off its namesake jewels. I watched this little guy for hours one evening, only getting an occasional shot of its bright throat when it flared its feathered scales at an approaching adversary. I’m amazed at how a simple adjustment of feather angle will turn on the throat of this species like a neon light. Watching hummingbirds is a lesson in biology and physics. By the way, the smooth, green background of the hummingbird image resulted from a row of trees about 75 meters behind the twig on which the tiny bird was perched.

DJB_FRM_2014_0678700 mm; 1/320; f/5.6; ISO 400

The final image is of a rose-breasted grosbeak, one of three that have been visiting Virginia’s feeder. We are now watching for blue grosbeaks, which also show up at the farm each year. Although the blue grosbeak is less common, I prefer the look of the rose-breasted version. This male was the most striking of the three birds I’ve been watching.

DJB_FRM_2014_07171000 mm; 1/250; f/10; ISO 400

As a hunter, fall was always my favorite season but as a photographer, nothing beats spring. I can’t wait to get back out this weekend for some more action. I have a lead on a flock of Bobolinks up north! I’ll keep you posted.

Thanks for looking,


Email me at:  NatureFrames@Rocketmail.Com

4 comments on “Frames from the Back Porch”

  1. A THOUSAND MM! *gasps*. Now you can take birds in Forest Park from your porch! Thanks for the id of the Red-breasted Grosbeak, I’d seen the image on FB and was trying, desultorily, to find a match. This “Red-bellied Woodpecker” is not a great name for me, because it’s not the attribute of the bird that I (or any other beginner) can see first off….!

    • Sorry about that Deepa. Rose-breasted though; not red-breasted. 🙂 Hope to see you this summer.


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