Craig Strand's Photo Blog
Recent PostsPreening Maintenance Winter Solstice begins Friday Dec 21, Goodbye Autumn PHOTO OF THE MONTH, SEPTEMBER DAHLIA'S PHOTO OF THE MONTH, AUGUST NORTHERN SHOVELERS Photo Of The Month - July "Pre Flight Dreaming" Photo of the Month - JUNE PAINTED TURTLES Photo of the Month MAY - YELLOW RUMPED WARBLER THIS YEARS OWLETS FLEDGE THEIR NEST WOODLANDS 10TH ANNUAL TULLIP FESTIVAL VIDEOS NOW AVAILABLE
KeywordsWoodland Tulip Festival
craig strand's photo blog
Welcome to my photo blog! I plan to use this space to keep you and others that are following
my "photo trail" updated with a few of my most recent photo's. I will also mention any
upcoming shows, awards and unusual photoshoots along with camera settings used in
capturing the images. Please bookmark the site and share it with your family and
friends. I hope you will return often for the latest photo's and updates.
I appreciate your comments and suggestions on how I can improve the content.
"Thank you" for visiting, Craig
February 14, 2013 • Leave a Comment
In general, Winter in the Pacific Northwest brings lots of overcast and rainy days. For nature photographers this translates into fewer opportunities and less available light to get out and capture good quality photo's. I was lucky enough recently to get out to the Ridgefield Wildlife refuge between showers and also be close enough to this Bufflehead drake to take several shots. The buffleheads are a smaller diving duck that is usually very wary of us humans and it can be very difficult to get close enough to get this good of an image. The image shows him briefly doing some preening of his shoulder feathers. Like most waterfowl these ducks spend part of their day preening, conditioning feathers by squeezing oil from a gland at the top base of their tail and applying the oil to their feathers making them buoyant and great water birds.
December 19, 2012 • Leave a Comment
Dahlia's, one of natures most beautiful, colorful and varied blooms. We are fortunate to have wonderful growing conditions and climate here in the Pacific Northwest. They are easily found by visiting one of the many Dahlia Farms during August and September. This multi-colored beauty was captured at Klug's Dahlia's in Battle Ground.
A pair of Northern Shovelers spend much of their summer days Foraging on aquatic plants? They do this by "tipping up," like many puddle ducks. The shovelers however often feed with their heads down, tails up and swimming in a tight circle together.
July 19, 2012 • Leave a Comment
July at the Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge is a time when most of the nesting birds have finished raising their young and moved them out on their own. Many of the adult parents are difficult to spot as if they have left on vacation after fulfilling their parenting duties. A closer look reveals lots of juvenile birds as they practice the new skills of hunting, fishing, flight and avoiding being a predators next meal.
This months photo pic is of a Pied-billed Grebe chick that was one of 7 that were spotted last week about 7 am. It was interesting to observe the juveniles go through many of the actions mentioned, some sleeping with their juvenile black and white striped heads turned back and under feathers. Others were preening and diving to catch small fish for breakfast. The photo captures the tail end of a classic Grebe wing stretch which usually follows the preening. While a post preening wing stretch is not unusual among waterfowl the grebes add their own touch by moving their head and beak in a downward and then upward arc (think of the arc in a soup bowl,) with the finish position captured in this months photo. While the photo captures the end of a "Grebe Stretch," I entitled it "Pre Flight Dreaming" as it reminds me of a young bird that is possibly thinking of the days ahead and learning to fly. A bit more growth of the flight feathers and this little one can begin practicing the art of flight.
June 22, 2012 • 1 Comment
This image of Painted Turtles is selected as the "Photo of the Month" for June. Shot at the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, the turtle residents can often be found during the warmer months, hauling themselves out of the refuge ponds and sloughs to take in a good part of their day sunbathing. It must feel good to bake in those shells.
May 19, 2012 • Leave a Comment
A "Photo of the Month" is a Blog feature I decided to add recently. This first pick for May 2012 is a Yellow Rumped Warbler captured 2 weeks ago while shooting at the Ridgefield NWR. After shooting the owlets I noticed several of these colorful warblers were all around and landing on tree branches with uncluttered views and nice out of focus backgrounds. This turned out to be my favorite of the several images from that days shooting. Here in the Pacific Northwest we get to see both varieties of the Yellow-rumped this is a male Myrtle, distinguished by it's dark black mask and white chin. It's cousin, Audubon's variety, has a yellow chin and while the area around the eyes is dark it's much lighter then the Myrtles darker mask.
May 11, 2012 • Leave a Comment
This years Great Horned Owlets have fledged their nest. The photo above was taken at the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge on April 18. These two fuzzy balls of feathers did remarkably well, especially since the parents decided to reuse their old nest which is next to the main auto tour roadway with lots of Lookie Lou's and gawkers. The second photo, below, was taken about a week later when both had moved from their former "home" and into nearby trees and then eventually gaining enough strength and flight experience to make it across the nearby slough in roosting with their parents in a large stand of trees.
April 15, 2012 • Leave a Comment
The TULIP FESTIVAL in Woodland Washington officially opened on April 14th. This is the 10th year for the festival which is sponsored by the Holland America Bulb company and has become a traditional spring celebration of floral colors and activities for individuals and families alike.
I look forward to the festival each year and its turning point from our rainy Northwest winter to the sunny days of spring and summer that follow. It offers me the opportunity to get out and photograph some of the most gorgeous floral subjects, which have become my second photo passion behind shooting wild birds. In the coming weeks I will be adding some of my best images for 2012 to the 'Tulip & Daffodil" Gallery on my website. The newer images for this year can be viewed at the beginning of the galleries collection and will be marked as a "2012" image.
Just click to quickly jump to the TULIP & DAFFODIL GALLERY
April 07, 2012 • Leave a Comment
I have started experimenting with taking videos of wildlife and making them available for viewing on my website. I have owned my Canon 7D digital camera for two years and I am just getting around to learning about it's video capability. So far my experimenting is limited to 2 days in which I shot 2 very short videos of an American Bittern and another of a Great Horned Owlets first days at the Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge. If your interested you can view them by going to my websites homepage and under the topics listed to the right of the opening slideshow, click on "VIDEOS" at the bottom. A drop down menu will list the available videos.
Both of these initial videos were shot with the camera and a long 600mm lens. The gear was handheld while resting on a beanbag on the cars window. On May 1 the refuge's "remain in your car" restriction will be lifted and then getting out of the car and using a tripod should greatly improve the video quality. View Videos by clicking Here!
March 30, 2012 • 1 Comment
The Woodland Tulip Festival holds a "Tulip Artwork Contest" each year and features the contest winner as a limited edition poster. I was surprised and happy this week when contacted by the Holland America Bulb company and informed that my photo entry of "Green Tulips" (above), had won 1st place and would become this years Festival Poster. This is my third year in entering this contest and after winning a 2nd and 3rd spot in previous years it was nice to learn of the 1st place win for 2012. In recent years the winning entries have been beautiful artwork submissions by local artist using several mediums including fine artist oils, acrylics and watercolors. My photographic entry is the first to win in this medium in several years. The Holland America Bulb company has a wonderful variety of tulips and other spring flowers on display for the public in April. This years activities including a display garden for photo taking, gift shop, vendors and a 5K run will be on April 14-15 & 21-22. Your encouraged to visit their website at... WOODLAND TULIP FESTIVAL for more information. You may want to plan a family visit during this colorful festival that has something for everyone and helps to usher spring into our great Northwest. This years Green Tulips Limited Edition poster prints will be available for purchase at the festival.
March 08, 2012 • Leave a Comment
Hooded Merganser drake
One of my favorite ducks are the handsome and elusive Hooded Mergansers. Of the six living mergansers worldwide, the hooded are the second smallest and the only one restricted to North America. I have found the "Hoodies," along with Bufflehead and Ruddy ducks, to be three of the most elusive waterfowl to find and get close enough to capture good photographs. These three species of birds are all very wary of people and if your lucky to stumble upon one or a pair, the experience is normally short lived. One advantage we have as photographers is occasionally finding them within good shooting range during the early pairing up and pre-nesting season of late February and early March. So far I have been fortunate and within range of several pair this year and have been able to record some of my best photos yet of this very handsome species.
Hooded Merganser Ducks, adults 16-19" length, 24-26" wingspan, 16-31oz weight, diving duck prefers fish and crayfish, nest in tree cavities, hens average 13 eggs, newly hatched down covered ducklings leave the nest after 1 day
Drake, partially raised hood
Hooded Merganser, hen
Merganser pair, (2 separate images merged into one)
February 23, 2012 • Leave a Comment
One sure sign of springs imminent arrival is catching the Marsh Wrens and their mates singing and showing up on cattails. They are obviously in the early stages of looking for nesting sites and making appearances in the warmer weather. Image captured 2/22/2012 Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, WA
camera- canon 7D lens-canon 600mm F4.L IS USM F/8 1/350 ISO 100
February 19, 2012 • Leave a Comment
A BITTERNS INTENSE CONCENTRATION WHILE HUNTING
On a visit to the Ridgefield NWR a few days ago, I was lucky to spot and photograph 3 separate American Bitterns. These birds are perhaps my favorite species. I love the stealthy posture and look of the long legged birds, especially when they are in search of prey. Bitterns, in my opinion, have a couple of other features that I enjoy. One is the earth tone colors that make up the palette used by mother nature in creating them from beak to tail along with the varied feather patterns. The other quality that continues to amaze me is how the colors and feather patterns are so well applied in their defense as camouflage. This first photo is of a bittern that I photographed in the open (see below middle photo) and he later moved into the natural grass habitat.... not far, only 6-8 inches top photo, but that is enough to almost make him invisible. More often then not they can be found in similar grassy habitat and when alerted by danger or human presence, they assume a position with their heads up, beak tips pointing toward the sky. This presents maximum camouflage with the alternating white, cream and brown neck stripes blending in with the grasses. In this position they will even sway back and forth with the grasses in breezy conditions. The stealth observed in stalking, bottom photo and catching frogs, tadpoles, fish and voles is even more entertaining.
IMAGE 1 camera - canon 7D lens canon 600mm f4.L IS USM plus 1.4 teleconverter settings- F/16 1/45 ISO 200
IMAGE 2 camera - canon 7D lens canon 600mm f4.L IS USM plus 1.4 teleconverter settings- F/16 1/10 ISO 200
IMAGE 3 camera - canon 7D lens canon 600mm f4.L IS USM plus 1.4 teleconverter settings- F/8.0 1/60 ISO 125
Bittern camouflage at work
Habitat matched colors and feather pattern
February 18, 2012 • 1 Comment
This Great-horned Owl was captured yesterday morning at the Ridgefield NWR. His mate is currently sitting on eggs in a tree nest not too far away. Owls are nocturnal birds doing most of their hunting at night and he then spends most of the day perched on one of several favorite tree limbs and getting some sleep
camera - canon 7D lens canon 600mm f4.L IS USM plus 1.4 teleconverter settings- F/8.0 1/10 ISO 160
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