by Jeff Goulden
In Western Washington State the chickadee is a year-round resident. When I go out in my backyard I am frequently greeted by their chick-a-dee-dee-dee call. There are two distinct chickadee varieties that live in my area. The most common is the Black-Capped Chickadee with its buff colored sides and black gray wings and tail. The Chestnut-Backed Chickadee is slightly smaller and sports a rich chestnut brown color on its back.
Both varieties have a voracious appetite at the bird feeder. They seem fairly cooperative and I haven't observed much fighting or squabbling among them. One interesting habit I have observed is chickadees will take a nut from the feeder and peck at it while holding it between their toes. Did they learn this behavior or is it instinctive? One can only speculate. I've researched this behavior and have yet to turn up any information.
The chickadee is bold, gregarious and not a bit shy of humans. On more than one occasion, a chickadee has landed on my head, perhaps looking for nesting material.
I try to keep my distance when photographing birds by using a 400mm lens. On several occasions I have been able to approach a chickadee close enough to use a 200mm lens.
More pictures of the cheerful chickadee can be seen in my Chickadee Gallery at Istockphoto.com. Other bird species can be seen in my Joy of Birds Gallery. Signed fine art prints from many of my photographs are available for purchase on Fine Art America. For special offers and to follow my photographic journey please Join My Email List.
by Jeff Goulden
Birds fill our lives with joy and wonder. Constantly entertained by their melodic song, we enjoy observing their vibrant colors, watching their antics and photographing their unique expressions.
As we go about our busy lives, birds may be the only wildlife we see. This is especially true for city dwellers. Even through our own windows, we can see birds at the feeder or going about their daily business. And these are just the common species. Outside our cities and towns, in parklands and preserves, wetlands and wildlands, a vast array of intriguing birds can be found. Each species, with its own lifestyle and habits, invites observation, study and photography.
Some birds are with us year round and some migrate from afar only to stay a few weeks of the year. A bird’s diet is determined by the shape of its beak. Some are vegetarians, others scavenge carcasses and some kill for their food. Each has its place in the circle of life. And most have, now or in the past, achieved something that humans have never been able to do without artificial means. As we are rooted to the ground by gravity, birds have the power and freedom to soar above us, often traveling great distances to follow their instincts.
In many ways, birds bring us so much joy. These feathered friends have certainly earned a special place in our lives.
Future blogs will feature some individual bird species, their characteristics and habitat. Other bird species can be seen in my Joy of Birds Gallery. Signed fine art prints from many of my photographs are available for purchase on Fine Art America. For special offers and to follow my photographic journey please Join My Email List.
by Jeff Goulden
Nevada's Valley of Fire State Park is located near the town of Overton, 56 miles northeast of Las Vegas. The park is named for the fiery red sandstone formations found throughout its landscape. Established in 1935, Valley of Fire is Nevada’s oldest and largest state park. Ancient trees and early man are represented throughout the park by areas of petrified wood and 3,000 year-old Indian petroglyphs.
On May 20, 2012 there was an annular solar eclipse in which the sun forms a ring around the moon; a spectacular phenomenon to view. Since it had been advertised that Nevada's Valley of Fire State Park was an excellent place to see this event, I was extremely fortunate to be there in the late afternoon when the event occurred.
Viewing a solar eclipse without proper protection can be damaging to the eyes, so I concentrated on photographing the surrounding landscape. Several other photographers with welding goggles and other eye protection looked skyward to record the actual eclipse. However, the real action was on the ground. As the sun passed behind the moon, the land acquired an other-worldly glow, providing me the opportunity to capture some brightly colored and radiant scenes, including the two shown here.
Early morning and late afternoon/evening are the best times of day to photograph the Valley of Fire. The entire park with its red rock is quite colorful, but the multi-colored Rainbow Vista and White Domes areas are especially beautiful. More images of this picturesque state park can be seen in my Valley of Fire Gallery at Istockphoto.com. Signed fine art prints from many of my photographs are available for purchase on Fine Art America. For special offers and to follow my photographic journey please Join My Email List.
by Jeff Goulden
The American Pika (Ochotona princeps) is an herbivorous, smaller relative of rabbits and hares. These very cute rodents can be found in the mountains of western North America usually above the tree line in large boulder fields.
The Pika could well become the first mammal in the lower 48 United States to be listed as endangered by the US Fish and Wildlife Service as a result of global climate change. According to the Center for Biological Diversity "rising temperatures caused by global warming shorten pikas' food-gathering period, change the types of plants available, shrink the alpine meadows where they feed, and reduce the insulating snowpack that protects them from winter cold snaps. Because pikas are specially adapted for cold climates, warming can even directly kill them through overheating."
One of the places I find Pikas is Sunrise Lake in Mount Rainier National Park. The trail passes a large boulder field on the left just before reaching the lake. Listen for the Pika's whistle while scanning the rocks for movement. I got most of my pictures with a medium telephoto lens (18-200) but a larger lens would help avoid getting too close and disturbing these shy creatures.
The Pika pictured above can be seen in the German edition of National Geographic. More pictures of this fascinating animal can be seen in my Pika Gallery at Istockphoto.com. Signed fine art prints from many of my photographs are available for purchase on Fine Art America. For special offers and to follow my photographic journey please Join My Email List.
by Jeff Goulden
Welcome to my Photo Blog. My portfolio of images has been a 40 year work in progress. The postings in this blog tell the backstory; the who, what, where and when of many of my pictures. My portfolio started out as Kodachrome slides and has since progressed to digital images. As I went through the process of converting the early slides to digital files, I recalled the circumstances behind each image. I realized each picture had a unique story behind it. In this blog I hope to share these stories with you, the reader. My intent is to keep these postings light, informative and entertaining. If you like what you see and want to be informed of new postings please consider signing up for the RSS feed or follow me on Twitter.
Signed fine art prints from many of my photographs are available for purchase on Fine Art America. For special offers and to follow my photographic journey please Join My Email List.
Jeff's Photo Blog
In this Photo Blog I have combined my 50 year passion for photography and my love of the natural world, creating a portfolio that reveals nature in its pure and simple beauty. I am pleased to share my passion with you through this blog.