Interesting and Useful Contest Alert: Banded Pelican Sighting Contest
by Srihari Yamanoor

Photographic Contests are varied and many in number and kind. There are several that are just essentially marketing gimmicks, to get Facebook “Likes” or a direct effort to steal from you in the form of non-refundable “entry fees”. I only like the ones that are genuine, useful, or at least make an effort to return your “entry fees”.

Every now and then you will come across a very interesting contest or two. Today, an email landed at one of my favorite Yahoo! Groups, the “calphoto” group (link below).

The email details a very interesting “Banded” Pelican photo contest. You essentially have to take pictures of banded Pelicans, and report as accurately as possible, and from the looks of it, for a free entry, you stand the chance to win a 20-60 x 60 Angled Spotting Scope!

The benefits of this contest appear to be quite self evident. The International Bird Rescue Group (with the ambitious vision, “Every bird matters”) has ostensibly released over 1,100 California Brown Pelicans with blue bands from their wild life hospitals. It appears that not all bands are blue, and regardless of color they want you to report any that you find.

Of course, there are a few more rules for you to follow, which you can find here: http://bird-rescue.org/pelican-project/banded-pelican-sighting-contest.aspx

Very recently, on a random trip to the Coast, I spotted several Brown Pelicans, but I didn’t catch any with bands. Now, I will be on the look out, as I hope are you! Bon Chance!

References:

1. Bird Rescue’s Page: http://bird-rescue.org/pelican-project/banded-pelican-sighting-contest.aspx

2. Calphoto: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/calphoto/

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The Red Tailed Hawk Bonanza..
by Srihari Yamanoor

I know I have not been posting enough here on the blog. However, I have been posting regularly on Facebook, sometimes on Pinterest and regularly updating the albums here. With the other projects slowly winding down, I am trying to find time to post here. Today, seems to be as good a day as any. I had forgotten something at work, and while returning from retrieving it,  I saw these two Red Tailed Hawks, and turned to photograph them. The first thing I did, when I saw not one, but two hawks lounging on the lawn, I threw my car in reverse, put the blinkers on, turned on the camera and then ventured out and started snapping away. After all, chances were, I might get one good shot, or none at all!

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Hawks sit pretty on top of the food chain or a manicured lawn. These two (there’s two of them) had no fear of me, and knew quite well I was there. You always hope to blend in and appear as less threatening as possible, so you can keep working.

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As you can see in the image below and others, even with cropping, there are some distracting and unavoidable features in the background.

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 There was no major hunting. It is just a portrait shoot under very low light conditions, so graininess, and weird blown out white portions may apply! To allow pictures to load, I shrink them to 800 px, so they will appear of a lower quality than they are. On Facebook, I will upload high resolution images.

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I was intrigued by that little droplet at the very tip of his beak.

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After a few minutes, the first Hawk got bored and took off to sit on one of his typical perches, a traffic signal beam. I had nothing to do with it, and frankly neither bird cared much about my presence than mere passing interest. Here is the other bird:

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This was a curious bird indeed.

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Look at the claws of this bird, more clear because of where he/she was sitting.

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In the gap of a few minutes, it had gotten darker, and I tried to repeat the same shot as the very first one in this series with the other bird.

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The photo below is not sharp for the most part, yet I included it, and you will see why in the next frame.

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If you see her beak, you will see, she has a feather in between.

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After the last intriguing look in my general direction, this bird moved into a darker region, and I seemed to be attracting a few straggling drivers on a Friday night, which is never safe for the birds. I decided to leave these guys to their explorations of a well kept lawn and whatever mysteries it might hold for them.

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Thoughts and criticisms are welcome. You can also see these photos on my Facebook page, set to the highest possible resolution for each individual image.

The general location is http://facebook.com/voxluma .

This album is located here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.419292361501653.1073741833.146256005471958&type=3&uploaded=15

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Wetland Awareness, Day 2-ish; The Wild Radish
by Srihari Yamanoor

It is now day 2, since I found out that May is celebrated to be National Wetlands Month, and I am trying to continue working on the theme, uploading images relevant to Wetlands and the areas surrounding them. Today has been busy, so I am simply sharing the Wild Radish, or Raphanus sativus with seemingly attractive flowers. This is a very invasive species, and yet has its own role to play in the ecosystem.

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You can find this flower here with others: http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=19

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May is National Wetlands Awareness Month (USA)
by Srihari Yamanoor

May is apparently National Wetlands Awareness Month, as alerted to me by the National Environmental Education Week folks through their newsletter. I am quite excited, though a bit disappointed that I didn’t learn of this sooner. Well, now that I have, I want to share a few photos of the Wetlands where I spend quite an amount of time in. I am not necessarily going for cute or Pulitzer winning here (joke), just sharing what I see on a regular basis.

For today, here is a female mallard with one of her two young ducklings, as she corrals them and teaches them how to forage.

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Wetlands are at the core of ecological balance across the globe, and one would wish, all nations pick a month and try to raise awareness.

Also remember, May 22 is World Biodiversity Day.

To learn something about the National Wetlands Month: http://www.fws.gov/home/feature/2009/Wetland/

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Quick Post – 4:21: John Muir’s Birthday!
by Srihari Yamanoor

I am, as usual, quaintly running behind on everything, so I will keep this short.

A note on birthdays

Through the magical prowess of Facebook, I realized 4/21 is John Muir’s Birthday. As it turns out, April is quite the month. For the more quirky among us, in US culture 4/20 is sort of, well, you know. In addition, 4/20 is Hitler’s Birthday. For the Indians reading this, 4/24 is Sachin Tendulkar’s Birthday. To top it off, I join Saddam Hussein and Jay Leno to stake our claim on 4/28!

Back to Muir

If you don’t know anything about John Muir, you are in for a big surprise! I suggest you start with Wikipedia and work your way through his eternal influence through the Sierra Club and several iconic efforts: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Muir

Celebratory Picture

John Muir’s indelible influence on conservation can be felt in Yosemite, my “happy place” where I plan to spend my birthday, just like last year. So, I am sharing a photo in his memory.

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I have a few photos up in a Yosemite Travel Album where you will find this photo: http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=1124

For Facebook users, here is a link to my Facebook page, where you will find this and other assorted photos: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Photography-of-Yamanoor-Srihari/146256005471958

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And you thought your family had issues!
by Srihari Yamanoor

It has been a while since I have posted in the “funnies” or Humor section. Yesterday, out for lunch with a friend, a rarity of an indulgence for me of late, I saw this car proudly expressing the, er, true nature of their family. Clandestinely, I walked away with a quick shot. I thought you would like to see it as well.

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Let me know your thoughts. For more humor, go here: http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=57

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The Idiot’s guide to identifying (especially, invasive) wildflowers
by Srihari Yamanoor

[I do hope "The Idiot's guide" is not trademarked in some way!

I struggled for over 20 minutes identifying this flower. Before Google went ape-dropping-bananas pushing commercial stuff over real search results, you could type "invasive, pink and white flower weed, Northern California" or some such assortment of terms and end up with a result in about 5 minutes.

Now, it is nearly impossible. And, by the way, Bing.com is more useless, if anything.

I even failed to get anything out of "pinkish-white petal flower with yellow stigma". I mean, I was, rather correctly pointed to the erstwhile Hibiscus rosa sinensis.

Calphoto and Calflora, by the way are useless unless you know what you are looking for, in which case, you would only look to make busy work.

Finally, I typed "identifying wild flowers" or some such and ended up, quite thankfully, at the "Wildflower Conservancy"'s website (all linked below). If that thing were a book, I would kiss it harder than a newly elected Pope kisses the bible as the white smoke fades...

That page I went to had various useful links and the one I found very useful was "researchlearningcenter.org". The tool on the page itself is restrictive in results if you try to drill down, so I ignored all narrow paths and ended up at my flower just by skimming through dozens of flowers.

If you know a better way, more power to you. Some day I am going to make time and figure out how to get some image processing going. This is quite annoying.

What plant was I looking for?

The plant with quite a funny common name, "Wild Radish" or with due respect to Linnaeus's love for uniqueness in taxonomy: Raphanus sativus

As I find better ways to identify plants, more apt for the 21st century (stuff that really works), I will come back and post. Enjoy the image and links below.

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Links :

For this and other flowers, visit: http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=19

To comment on my recent photos using social media: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Photography-of-Yamanoor-Srihari/146256005471958

References:

The Wildlife Conservancy Blog: http://www.wildflowerconservancy.org/p/resources-for-wildflower-identification.html

Flower ID tool at ResearchLearningCenter.org: http://www.researchlearningcenter.org/bloom/query_compact.htm

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The updates is coming!
by Srihari Yamanoor

I just went and picked up 247 images from my film negative scans. It is time to do an “Update-fest”!!! I am starting off with Mono Lake, one of my official happy places! Look at the grainy pic with some meaty colors..

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So, time for all manner of updates! Some people have told me they like viewing the Facebook updates, so look for those here:

 https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Photography-of-Yamanoor-Srihari/146256005471958

 

 

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January 2, 2013: Bloopers – The fleeting Western Scrub-Jay
by Srihari Yamanoor

The Western Scrub Jay with its beautiful blue colors on one side is very attractive to shoot. I saw this one land right on a video surveillance sign and I thought I would snap off a few of these rather impertinent shots. However, as soon as I aim the lens at him, the bird decides he didn’t like the spot anymore and started taking off…

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Until next time!

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January 2, 2013: Bloopers – The Green Heron that wasn’t
by Srihari Yamanoor

Hopefully, yesterday’s post appeared on the correct date, January 1, and nothing screwed up in a big way. Now, on to January 2. As I said, this is an experiment. I am not promising a new blooper each day. Just as many as I can stack in batches of varying timelines.  I am front loading them, so I will not really know how many bloopers can be contiguously. A failed holiday trip has given me the time to relax and look at pictures as well spend time trying to write these posts. If you have feedback, do  let me know.

It was a sunny day in October when I was tracking this Green Heron. Yes, not a great picture, but that was the idea – I was hoping for better:

 

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Well, I did get a better shot, sort of, that is, making it today’s blooper!

 

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Birds in the wild don’t take too kindly to stalking. I have found Green Herons, at least in the Sunnyvale, California area to be particularly camera shy. That makes this blooper, technically a loss, particularly hurtful. Which is why, there are “next times”.

Until next time..!

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January 1, 2013: Bloopers – the humming bird that wasn’t
by Srihari Yamanoor

I am starting this new section. I will post on and off with images that almost made it! The first one is from a humming bird that took off at the right moment, with his head turned away, turning this into a perfectly unusable shot!

 

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Chronicles of a Turkey Vulture’s meal…
by Srihari Yamanoor

One day, about couple of weeks ago (11/26/2012), I was returning from an errand, and saw something very interesting unraveling on the road to my workplace. I parked my car and came back, hoping I wouldn’t miss much. Little did I realize that my experience with this Turkey Vulture, and his/her dining experience would span a few days! This is my first shot:

 

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A few photos later, I was able to get close enough for this. The vulture was fighting away several hungry animals and I just added to the noise, so she/he did not care (Turkey Vultures are not dimorphic, as in both males and females look alike!) about me.

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A lot of the effort in the eating process involved fighting off another Turkey Vulture gunning for the same food (pictures to follow) and other predators and scavengers, including hawks and crows. So, she (ladies first, and keeps things simple from hereon) would often fly out to fend off other predators. Here’s one for the bloopers…

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Here is the other Turkey Vulture, sitting by, ready to pounce…

 

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After being chased away, he circled around and came back to display some antics…

 

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Hope you have stomach to look at the food…

 

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Here is another close-up. Don’t ask me why she started eating “that” part:

 

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I am not sure this Cooper’s Hawk was vying for the food, but he was definitely interested.

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Day 2

So, I decided to leave the Turkey Vulture alone and left. It rained quite a bit, and it was 11/29. I presumed the event had come to an end, but a short walk proved otherwise. I am not sure if it was the SAME Turkey Vulture, since there are so many in this area. Again, I was able to get close “enough” to this amazing scavenger:

 

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 There’s the same dead animal, still being pulled away from me. That’s okay, I am not that hungry!

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 Look at that beak!

 

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Yum!

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The Turkey Vulture gets her own folder: http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=1045

A few pictures were indeed added to the “Aviary”: http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=279

And next time, I will present an Egret hunting a crawfish…also yum!

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Desert Bighorn Sheep in Zion Canyon National Park
by Srihari Yamanoor

My annual Thanksgiving Holiday tradition appears to have become a visit to Zion, ever since I stumbled upon the park by accident, Thanksgiving 2008. Having missed only one year in-between, I have been having so much fun exploring this small, yet, well stocked Park has to offer. I have lamented the paucity of wildlife that I can notice because of how busy the Park gets during the weekend.

Thanks to the kindness of two other visitors who pointed the sheep to me, referring to him as a goat, I had two minutes of fun!

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I had some difficulty identifying which specific species of Bighorn Sheep subspecies I had photographed – there are three: Rocky Mountain, California (the first two are now being claimed to be the same) and Desert Bighorn.

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I found this very interesting and yet, disappointing report about “Sheep Management” in Utah. It takes some really small men to think hunting sheep is “game”.  The report though, clarified that what we have here is the “Desert Bighorn Sheep”. You will find the link referenced below.

 

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As you might have noticed this guy was a bit shy and was trying to cross the road…

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Some photos were obviously shot rather quickly and may not be as sharp or as focused as I would normally wish!

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I know what you are going to say! Why did the sheep…

 

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 He is getting to the other side. Almost safe:

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You can’t tell, but he is inspecting the canyon below:

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This last one was him giving one last look at the road, which is momentous enough that I decided I wouldn’t crop it:

 

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Reference:

http://wildlife.utah.gov/hunting/biggame/pdf/bighorn-plan.pdf

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Color changing fun with the Oregon Maple Leaf
by Srihari Yamanoor

Every year, thousands of Californians make the pilgrimage to shoot Fall colors, and I am no exception. I found some quaint colors up Highway 50 this year, with the Oregon Maple or the Bigleaf Maple changing colors. Here are a few of them…

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The “big leaf” part is not an understatement. This is the maple with the largest leaves, and hence the scientific name Acer macrophyllum.

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The Oregon maples change colors everywhere they grow, and in the lower Sierras, they can be spectacular.

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It is not just the color of the leaves that render the dramatic colors. It is also their growth in semi-shade under the larger conifers of the Sierra Mountains.

 

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Below is an example of a tree sitting pretty in the shade of the larger conifers.

 

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Driving on from where I first spotted them, I ended up at this small waterfall on the roadside called the “Bridalveil Falls”. While it is nothing like the Bridalveil Falls of the Yosemite Valley, this one is a nice favorite resting/shooting spot for me. Maples had adorned the waterfall here, and I experimented with the wet leaves.

 

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 Here is a lonely looking leaf, completely drenched in water…

 

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Here’s another…

 

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And this one….

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Here is one that is seeing reprisal and reuse as a water conduit…

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One more to round them off…

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The leaves are in the “Folia” album here: http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=394

The big leaf maple tree is in the arboretum here: http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=47

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Dusk on Highway 89!
by Srihari Yamanoor

I was out shooting Fall colors, and fall colors I did get. Except maybe, not always on the leaves. Here are a few shots from the very last rays of sunlight seeping through…

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Yes, that is the road, more towards the West. Below is the dusk, more towards the North-West.

 

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And I caught some semi-purple clouds on the other side. Clouds are always mystifying!

 

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Within a few minutes, I had work to redistribute to three different albums:

The road joins other roads and pathways here: http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=24

The trees adorning the dusk now reside in the Arboretum: http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=47

The clouds have a new album, “Megha”, Sanskrit for cloud: http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=953

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Field Notes: Bird banding in Lassen Volcanic NP, Part I – The Lincoln Sparrow
by Srihari Yamanoor

Preface: Today’s post is  a rather long one. It dates back all the way to July when I went camping to the Lassen Volcanic National Park. Due to my klutziness, I had locked myself out of the car.

While I was waiting for the rangers to get me back in (yes, they do that, if you sign a liability release form), another NPS employee told me about a “once in a year opportunity” when Park naturalists and the non-profits do a demonstration of bird-banding for the benefit of the public.

I spent about an hour watching them do bird banding on a Lincoln Sparrow and a Yellow Chested Warbler.  This is Part I, and I will follow this write up with Part II.

Since this is very long, some of you might want to jump ahead and just watch the slideshow below. Remember, we were standing in the shade in summer, so there is some noise in the pictures. To give you an idea of sizes and proportions, I have also not cropped any images. Some images are warm and some remain cold, the warmth added to try and give you an idea of the real colors in the bird. Still, your own monitor will determine the final appearance.

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Picture 1 of 16

Right after being brought back from the net

Look at her in someone’s hands…

 

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The NPS team works with members from a non-profit, I believe the Point Reyes Bird Observatory (PRBO). I do not have my notes, so I cannot confirm, but I found them through a simple Google search.

 

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A nice display of the claws…

 

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Look at those feathers…

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There is a new band, with the banding tool. Yes, it looks gruesome, but it is indeed not that bad.  

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Here he is, getting branded!

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Watch this newly banded bird…

 

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The Film Canister Revived! 

For smaller birds, the erstwhile film canister, which has protected many a roll has a second lease of life, as a weighing tool. Even though the ensuing photo looks like torture in progress, it is a quick process. The dry weight of the canister serves as a reference.

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Before he was set free, he was held out for one and all to admire…

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Typically, the banding takes place at remote sites, and not around the iconic Manzanita lake, but this is done as a favor to teach the public, and I must say, if you ever see the opportunity, take advantage of it!

 

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That’s it for this installment! There is one more bird, and I am probably going to hold off a bit before posting the next one. Let me know your thoughts!

This guy does get his own page as a slideshow here: http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=907

The other birds perch here: http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=279

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Dragonfly mania…
by Srihari Yamanoor

This summer, the one day I spent in Lassen Volcanic National Park turned out to be serendipitous. I had fun shooting several subjects, including a handful of dragonflies…

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Here are few shots for your pleasure, starting with the eyes…

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This one is just for my pleasure..

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Find these and other dragonflies, in their own new album, here: http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=899

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Just a couple of predators..
by Srihari Yamanoor

Alright, I am partly lazy and partly trying to determine how many good shots I can use off a single upload. There is much to come, I promise, but for now, enjoy this Red Tailed Hawk and a Turkey Vulture, both seen minutes apart..

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This guy you see up there is young and the crows were actively chasing him away in a territorial fight. Too bad, I didn’t get clear shots of that. Seen below is  a Turkey Vulture seen a few minutes earlier. See her beautiful wing spread, albeit cropped a bit…

 

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Well, there go your 2,000 words…

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The erstwhile Bank Swallow..
by Srihari Yamanoor

[Thanks to the observant Tania Marker, a great friend for reading and pointing out a spelling error in this post. It has now been corrected]

The erstwhile Bank Swallow gets her scientific name Riparia riparia, ostensibly from how commonplace she is along the banks of marshy flows, as you would find locally in Sunnyvale, CA along the Bay. Colloquially, she is also known as the Sand Martin.

 

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I know, she was far away, but she had this fruit in her mouth and I thought it might get interesting…

 

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She thought so too, which is why she took off as above and I was left holding some vaguely artistic shots like the one below:

 

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That concludes the fun birding/photography update for today…

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A squirrely afternoon..
by Srihari Yamanoor

Squirrels are typically both simple and endearing to shoot. So one typically does not have a reason to make a big deal out of them. However, in Sunnyvale, around the aqueducts where I take my walks and do my photography, there are a lot of predatory birds out there. Previously, I have reported a squirrel being hunted by a Hawk. It is natural then that the squirrels here are typically shy, and more so to someone who deliberately slows down with a big lens and stalks them. However, there was this one…

 

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He was not shy. Either that, or his flight or fight response was suspended…

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For a second, it looked like he would go hide in his hole (it could have been a she), but he persisted. Look at the patterns on his back, meant to scare… 

 

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I will leave you with his tail, another attempt to scare. What can I say, I am in love, especially, with this inordinately shy bunch…

 

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The Sun in Fall…
by Srihari Yamanoor

Shooting Fall colors three weeks in a row can numb you a bit. However, with digital cameras having a challenge capturing the Sun straight on, Fall can offer an opportunity that I tried to capture. Remember, this weekend, to add a twist, I stayed off film cameras, where these shots are so easy, you can meter them to near perfection with a little effort.

 

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And then, there is the vertical shot..

 

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And finally, some yellow joy…

 

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The “Falliage” trees will get their own album soon, but for now, find them in the Arborea: http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=47

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Play by the rules or break your rules?
by Srihari Yamanoor

That is the question. I saw this interesting tree while out shooting Fall colors. This was right around the 9000 ft. marker on Highway 108 on the Eastern side (there are two 9000 ft. markers on that freeway). First, I followed a “cardinal” rule (more like BS from people with a you know what up their you know where) – the rule of 1/3rds, where you are demanded to make sure that the important parts of the photograph do not follow symmetry, but occupy only a third of the frame…

 

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Then, I stopped being lazy and took something that I would prefer more as an engineer. Plus I think rules suck. Chaos has always been just fine by me. In this case, chaotic rule breaking led to symmetry! Check this out…

 

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Which one would you like?

For this and other trees, visit the Arboretum here: http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=47

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What mallards do on a hot day…
by Srihari Yamanoor

The past few days were really hot, until about Thursday when things started turning around. In the heat, my walks got shorter  to avoid heat. And, on one such walks, I watched with jealousy as this Mallard took advantage of his aquatic gifts to take a quick shower.

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After the quick dip, he raised himself up, but you can still see a stream of water running out on his back. This is because his wings have feathers that are oiled, so that water just slips through

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All said, there is always some water left behind from the shower. Who wouldn’t want to give themselves a good shake?

 

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I leave you with this final shot of the mallard in mid-flap of his avian appendages…

 

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For this lovely mallard and other birds, visit my virtual aviary: http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=279

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Missed one of Yosemite’s two birthdays..belated wishes!
by Srihari Yamanoor

Ever since I learned about Ansel Adams, Yosemite was my goal. Having set foot in 2005, I was blown away by the magical nature of the place. Not to compare myself with these great people, I finally understood what had turned the venerable John Muir, Olmsted, Roosevelt and Adams into such great fans of this paradise on Earth.

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 It is my belief that Yosemite is a role model of conservation for the entire planet to learn from. Personally, I believe it is my “happy place”, and there is nothing – no sorrow or negativity in me that this endearing place cannot erase effectively. Such is my bond with this place that sometimes I make my pilgrimage about 10 times in a year! This year, I have been there 4 times, including my birthday!

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Yosemite has two birthdays to speak of – June 30th, 1864, when it was the first piece of land dedicated for public use and benefit, predating even Yellowstone! It wasn’t until October 1, 1890 that Yosemite was declared a national park. I should be marking both birthdays without fail, and I have already missed this one by a few days, but hey, you have to start somewhere!

All the photos below were taken on a recent day trip. The only “fauna” I saw is the red fox below. I wasn’t fast enough for him/her, so this is the only photo I have.

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Just a roadside tree can be quite interesting in Yosemite…

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I have said this of Yosemite before. One could close one’s eyes and still come away with amazing, breathtaking pictures. The Tuolomne River runs as an excellent example of this below…

 

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Everything and everywhere within the park bounds is a great opportunity for experimentation in Yosemite. Returning from a short jaunt to a spot off the road where I was shooting a before-after type of shot, I saw the sun tucked away behind the trees. I played with the cameras trying to get the flares the way I like them. See one sample below. I left the grains in there:  

 

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Here are a couple of sunset snaps from slightly different regions of the Tuolomne river…

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Yosemite has several lakes and ponds. Here is the much photographed Lake Ellery reflecting Mt. Dana and Mt. Gibbs at dusk. I shot this at a very high ISO rating. You could potentially get rid of the grains.

 

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On the way back, I knew it was late and without a tripod, my shaky hands wouldn’t do it justice, but I really had to stop by and snap away at Lake Tenaya, named after the erstwhile Paiute chief.

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In honor of the occasion, I have started the travel section, something I have been yearning to do for a long time. Eventually, this will be a sub-site with its own design, but for now, here goes: http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=837

Here are a few more posts about Yosemite that might interest you: http://yamanoor.net/?p=522

http://yamanoor.net/?p=506

http://yamanoor.net/?p=292

http://yamanoor.net/?p=140

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Documenting the fight vs. flight response…
by Srihari Yamanoor

Last Friday, I was returning from my walk peppered with flying egrets, herons, hawks and squirrels, when I saw this molluscan shell on a rotting piece of wood and I thought – this might be artistic. I zoomed in to take a picture…

 

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I was surprised to see this lizard, so I snapped away for a minute or so.

 

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Imagine my surprise when I was reviewing the photos and saw the lizard’s tail well on its way to snapping. From the amount of time I spent around the lizard, I can surmise it wasn’t me though it could have. I think I have pictures of an egret snapping up a fence lizard for a mid-afternoon snack.

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Fight Vs. Flight

Lizards, and similar reptilians will use their brain to surmise if it is better to stay and fight or run away in danger. If they decide running away is better, they would rather take off with less weight. So, they sever their tail from their body, somewhat like throwing your backpack down and running away from the angry bear.

Look closely at the tail in the next one again if you will.

For this and other animals, go here: http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=37

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Fractional American White Pelicans…
by Srihari Yamanoor

It has been a while since I posted. Crazy stuff has been happening. Here are a few beautiful pelicans from a pod in Sunnyvale.

 

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I followed them along a narrow canal, and kept getting closer. Look at the tight photo below. I haven’t cropped much.

 

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As with all birds, at some point they decided I am too close…

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 All hell broke loose and I have a handful of shots with fractional body parts, like the one below, the last for today! If you carefully observe the bottom left corner, you can see a few water drops the bird is leaving behind.

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 To see these and other birds, go here: http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=279

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The White-Breasted Nuthatch..
by Srihari Yamanoor

I saw this guy at the Mono Hot Springs. This shot shows him/her walking up a tree looking for bugs. Only one turned out to my satisfaction, so I am sharing it:

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For this one and other birds, go here: http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=279

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Some trunks..
by Srihari Yamanoor

I started doing a series on the Giant Trees at Sequoia, and I realized there are too many to choose from, just the  digital work (there will be so many more when I finally scan the film negatives). Instead, I want to present you some interesting trunks. This one is from early in the morning. My day started at 6am on that Sunday.

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On the big meadow walk, I saw a freshly barked trunk.

 

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I got a bit closer…

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and closer…

 

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and a little more closer, because it looked just that interesting…

 

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And then, I saw a tree with a damaged trunk, probably from a prescribed burn: 

 

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And here’s a couple of alternate angles. First, this one:

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Here’s the other:

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Here’s a stump  that was lying around:

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Here is a final close up:

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So many trunks deserve their own album. You will find them as a sub-album under “Arborea”:  http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=790

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Worm’s eye, foliage, sun and smoke…A
by Srihari Yamanoor

It has been another couple of busy days falling sick and then deworming a sick foster cat.

Now, to the shot: actually, it was just a regular summer morning in an urban park in the middle of everywhere in the Bay Area. A little framing helps you go a long way…

 

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At least one of them is bursting at the seams, waiting for someone to stick a quotation on it…

 

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And, finally:

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I am distributing these guys among the  trees and foliage here: http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=47 and here: http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=394

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The incredible Ursus americanus
by Srihari Yamanoor

Last weekend, I went on my annual trip to the incredible Sequoia National Park. Almost every time I have been there I have seen a Black Bear. Tired from a hike and post-lunch somnambulism, I almost turned back homeward, and then turned back again, with the hopes of enjoying my Caramel Ice Cream in the shade on Highway 198. I got lucky when this European (I learned later) was pointing something out in the trees to his girlfriend. The shutterbug radar went up and I asked him what he was pointing at. He said something that didn’t sound French, Spanish or Mediterranean…so who knows – he just pointed me to this incredible cub! Thanks to the stranger though. Here goes…

 

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For some of us, no matter how many times you have seen a bear, it remains a wonder the next time you see one! So, there are quite a few snaps in this one…

 

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With bears, keeping a distance is key for safety. So, I am not focused on pretty and cute pictures. So, the cub might be dark at places, but still there are shots that bring out the beautiful cub’s different body parts as you will see. In the picture below, look closely towards the left, bottom corner for her/his claws and one partially visible paw!

 

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Here’s another photo, perhaps not so great, but with more of her claws and paw showing!

 

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The cub seemed curious more than hungry, and did not mind the dozen or so onlookers. Even Hollywood stars would buckle under such an audience, all cameras gunned and flashing!

 

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Here’s one where she/he looks so much like a dog!

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Not sure what she was up to here, but look at that beautiful paw! And, no Mama Bear was nowhere nearby. This one  is young, but looks weaned..

 

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Below, he is not screaming or yelling, I just caught him in a bit of a compromised position:

 

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This is the last one I am posting. So much fun, and so many pics, but these ones won me out!

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 For more animals, captured in their own habitat, click here: http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=37

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Death by cuteness – introducing Squeaky, the 4th!
by Srihari Yamanoor

Too lazy to post other photos, I thought I would introduce you to my foster, Squeaky the 4th. And yes, his cuteness is very dangerous! Did you know they are now giving Gitmo prisoners kittens?

 

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Why the 4th? My first kitten, Squeaky, a gentle senior, the love of my life, fell victim to metastatic bone cancer after I had him for approximately 3.5 months. I am now spending the rest of my life in the company of kittehs, as much as I can! To learn more about the original Squeaky, the other felines I serve, and our mission: http://yamanoor.com/blog/

 

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So, there was the original Squeaky, then there is Squeaky 2, a kitten thus named by the Humane Society Silicon Valley at my humble request – also an orange tab like the original. I then helped rescue another kitteh and had her home for just one night. We called her “temporary Squeaky”. I sense you are getting the underlying theme here…

 

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When I picked up this beautiful Flamepoint – the kind of cat with a tabbed face, a tabbed tail and brownish/orange ears and claw fur, and started calling him Squeaky as well (I was told I get to name the foster), a friend complained and suggested I just suffix the different Squeakys with a regal order and thus, Squeaky, the 4th is here.

Bow unto him and succumb to the cuteness!

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Squeaky here definitely loves the laptop, like any other kitten due to the warmth. And, also don’t think he just sits there and acts cute. About a pound in weight at 5 weeks when I got him, he has now doubled in weight and has become quite the climber, hunter and escape artist. Also note, some shots were with Flash, and many without, explaining the color difference…

 

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 That’s it for now. Soon, I will introduce you to Squeaky the 3rd, Bob and Saxon. For more kittehs, go to Neko (Japanese for cat):

http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=325

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Macro madness continues – the Variegated Meadowhawk Dragonfly…
by Srihari Yamanoor

It will cease soon I promise. In fact, my truncated walk about experience today involved fun with a California Black Squirrel, that will find its way up here soon. For now though, look at this beautiful Variegated Dragonfly that let me get up close and snap away.

 

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Interestingly, the Variegated Meadowhawk has the scientific name: Sympetrum corruptum. Look at the species name. 

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Examine the reddish tinge on the wings and observe closely. He appears to have a toothless-grandpa grin!

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Those beautiful eyes…

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Now the side view…

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And finally, my personal favorite…

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The dragonflies, precursors to insects, will soon have a home here. For now, find them under “Entemo”: http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=452

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The incredible painted lady butterfly…
by Srihari Yamanoor

Always amazing to shoot..here are a few close ups!

 

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The thistle in the background added some nice flavor to the shots.  By the way, I believe this is Vanessa annabella, or the West Coast Painted Lady.

 

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The painted lady waited patiently as I moved around shooting from various angles.

 

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And lastly, look at that beautiful compound eye…

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Finally, the butteflies have a home under “Entemo” titled “Mariposa” here: http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=729

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More egret fun…
by Srihari Yamanoor

Today or rather most of yesterday, Monday was spent among other things, taking the foster kitten to the Vet for a vaccine. So, just a cute egret, one that shed his feather as he landed on a small, rolling hill…

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And here are those amazing black legs here:

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These won’t get filed, but go here for other birds: http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=279

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Fun with urban deer…
by Srihari Yamanoor

I was in the hills beyond Palo Alto the other day – an unincorporated town called Los Altos Hills within Santa Clara County.  I was running an errand, and as I was about to drive back, I went the wrong way and got really lucky! Here are a couple of lovely pictures of a female Colombian black-tailed deer and her Chital (Axis Deer) fawn, perhaps a kid – the age is hard to tell; purely a product of some naughty interbreeding with an Axis Buck…

 

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I know they are urban because they seemed habituated to human attention, the big black lens was not much of a threat to them and they lazily grazed, maintaining a safe distance as I photographed them.

 

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I am afraid, in my excitement, I did not indulge heavily in photographing the fawn/kid separately:

 

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I am sharing one more before I part with you today…

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For these lovely deer and other similar ones, please go to Animalia here: http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=37

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Just Lassen..
by Srihari Yamanoor

Another busy weekend, another hack. I am tired and I decided I will just leave you with a couple of rich, afternoon shots of Lassen.

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Mt. Lassen, is the cynosure of the Lassen Volcanic National Park.

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A young Herring Gull walks…
by Srihari Yamanoor

A day on the beach with a young Herring Gull. This could be a young California Gull. A bit hard to tell.

 

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Look at those beautiful webbed feet…

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And that gentle gait…

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For this and other aviary species…  http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=279

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The fig beetle, a pest, really?
by Srihari Yamanoor

Another busy weekend, another hackathon, so keeping it short and sweet here!

It took me a while to find out what species this beautiful, eye-popping green beetle is, and then I am a bit shocked to learn it is actually a pest! The beauty aside, I would have thought, pests would stay inconspicuous. No wonder, nature is always full of surprises…

 

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There was a plant causing some shade, but it is still a remarkable beetle..

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For these and some other nifty bugs, go here: http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=452

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The vivid, lovable Western Tiger Swallowtail
by Srihari Yamanoor

Its a busy Friday night with my three felines. So I thought I will post something cute – a butterfly with a “tiger” in its name! A few select snaps of the Western Tiger Swallowtail or Papilio rutulus.

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For this and other butterflies and insects: http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=452

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Stalking the Great Blue Heron..a 12-steps in 1-step program…
by Srihari Yamanoor

Photographing birds in the Bay Lands can be tricky. Given the significant human activity on the trails, the birds are wary of human contact. So, you need 12 steps to develop a good story – all the 12 steps are basically 1 step.

The first step: Patience ; The last step patience: Patience.

And that is what I did, 37 photos, a few of which are shared here:

 

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So, the bird you see up there. He was sitting right on the trail, instead of hiding in the riparian growth like he usually does. Reason – the water flow in the aqueduct has been higher than normal this week, so there are not that many spots to rest right by the water when you want to dry yourself off.

 

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So, I took several photos of the guy sitting down like in the first photo. Birds typically know you are there, and no matter how slow you are there is a zone, a safe distance beyond which they won’t feel comfortable. That made him stand up as you see above.

 

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In the photo above, he is getting ready to take off. Realizing I was getting close, I turned to a vertical frame, and he in turn, decided to express his displeasure. Sorry there chirpy!

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There are other shots of him taking off, but here he is filling my frame:

 

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For this bird and others like him/her:  http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=279

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Mono Lake…
by Srihari Yamanoor

One of my most favorite places on the planet, I don’t have any shots of Mono Lake on my site. That needs to change.

 

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For other water shots, go to l’eau: http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=31

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My very own internet meme image and the art of careful planning!
by Srihari Yamanoor

Disclosure: The March of Dimes is a very meaningful project, serving a very deserving need. All humor aside, I respect women’s rights and fully support March of Dimes.

Moving on…

A successful “March of Dimes” would need the month of March, a campaign, people with dimes and of course, babies, I suppose! And we all know that babies take some, er, effort.

Doing laundry on Friday night I saw the “reduce, reuse, recycle” policy being put to some awkward, yet interesting use that might, ahem, hmm, add value to a “March of Dimes” in hitherto unknown ways… 

 

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Taken with my cellphone on the spur of the moment, it doesn’t have the highest quality. It also seemed to be a good candidate for an internet meme.

Talk about your planning…

Now if you think about it carefully, given that we are in July, and March is 9 months away, do you think there is some solid planning going on in the background? :p

For more humor, click here: http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=57

A couple of notes:

1. What is an internet meme?

Look here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_meme

2. What is the March of Dimes?

Look here: http://www.marchofdimes.com/

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Dog-tired or bird-tired?
by Srihari Yamanoor

It is not really that the bird was tired, it is just that I photographed her as she was about to plop herself in the water. Look at this Mallard and her reflection!

 

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For more birds, visit the aviary: http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=279

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The honey bee…
by Srihari Yamanoor

Quite busy. So, just posting something cute from my recent Lassen trip:

 

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For more photos of insects, go to “Entemo”: http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=452

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Green Heron in flight…
by Srihari Yamanoor

I found this beautiful bird flying hither and thither earlier this month, and caught her doing this:

 

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For more, visit the aviary here: http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=279

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Finding gold in water…
by Srihari Yamanoor

A simple shot, nothing fancy. On a short early evening walk, I saw this great golden reflection of sunlight in the water of the Emerald Lake, in Lassen Volcanic National Park. The blue you see is nearly how it looked!

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To see the lake on a map:

 

I added this to the “L’eau” album that you can find here… http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=31

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Just an interesting frame…
by Srihari Yamanoor

I was in Lassen on Sunday morning, walking towards a bird banding talk, when I saw this quiet reflection on the Manzanita Lake… 

 

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I will add this to the “L’eau” album, which you can find here: http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=31

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Did you see this giant smiley on the beach…
by Srihari Yamanoor

Hot inland days make the beach so inviting. Unlike some of us that wander around with cameras looking for stale action, others get into making “found” art. Here is what I found on the beach, a giant smiley, with algae for a face outline, a stick for a mouth and good details including feathers for eye brows!

 

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I just thought this was an interesting and refreshing change to photograph. If you look carefully, they even named this guy Bobo!

 

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For more such “artifico”, go here: http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=345

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Failures are near final…
by Srihari Yamanoor

and sometimes, they are cooler than your successes. I was going through and getting rid of unusable images, when I came across these two of the red-winged black bird. Did you know that the birds are literally called that? “Red-winged black birds”. Since I wasn’t too sure of the species and I thought they were some thrush variation, I used this on my Google search to find these exact birds in other images. At first, I thought I was being hoaxed… 

 

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These birds are somewhat tricky to photograph, taking off at the slightest notion that people may be around. Consequentially, I always have my camera at alert, well in this case, not in focus. I have sharpened the edges a bit, but I like the mistakes, just the same – no heavy editing.

 

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I thought the motion represents a lot of fun. For the more purist among us, here are some serendipitous ones that are more in focus…

 

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For more aviary species, go here: http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=279

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Lizarding time…
by Srihari Yamanoor

On one of my walks, I spotted this lizard, that froze in front of me for a couple of minutes. I was wondering if he was hurt, and you can actually see a white line on his back. I am not sure, he ran away as expected. Just look at his nose, his eye and and the lovely scales.

 

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It is a bit hard to decide whether he is the Western Fence Lizard or the Southern Sagebrush. Looking at the images, I am tempted to go with the latter, but based on the typical distribution, I am forced to say he is of the Western Fencebpersuasion. In my defense, I am told the two species are often difficult to tell apart…tell me about it!

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Did you see the eyes and the nose? Since he froze, I snapped away a couple more, especially those amazing scales!

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One more….

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The reptiles are yet to get their own page, as I still have tons of other lizards and some turtles/tortoises to add. Meanwhile, they live in the “Animalia” page: http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=37

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How the Great White Egret lunches…
by Srihari Yamanoor

Egrets are great fun. They do not like being photographed while they are doing things, like eating for example. Usually, they fly away by the time I have the scene framed beyond the basic dead straight look. Today, I spotted 4 different Egrets. One of them was either hungry enough, or I was inconspicuous enough, hiding behind some riparian grass, that I had fun watching him or her eat. Then, I got to see them all fly away and while in-flight shots are a bit tough, I shared one of the ones I liked.

And yes, I could have burned in the white light on the photos, but for now I will ignore it.

 

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And here’s one more dive:

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Here’s lunch:

 

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Here’s him swallowing it:

 

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Ah, delicious, no:

 

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Then, there was one of the younger ones walking daintily a few minutes later: 

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And then there was the one flying away!

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And then, there’s this one from a few years ago!

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For other birds in the aviary: http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=279

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Too cute to be the basilisk of Slytherin…
by Srihari Yamanoor

Gopher snakes are like the bunnies among snakes – unless you are a gopher yourself, you probably have a different opinion. I always seem to be disturbing the guys at the wrong time, so I had fun chasing this guy around (no, not harassing, he was getting away from me, and I photographed him, following him around for not more than 2 – 3 minutes).

This one is subspeciated as the Pacific Gopher Snake - Pituophis catenifer catenifer

See him try to be sneaky here:

 

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And there’s me “getting” him:

 

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And to bid adieu, we turn to his tail:

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Until the reptiles get their own album, they reside with some other phyla of animals here: http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=37

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How are cabbage white butterflies made? :)
by Srihari Yamanoor

Yes, insect  por..er photography is all the rage this summer. I went on a walk to clear my head and look what I found:

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At first I was not sure of what was going on, but there was another large male, one similar to the whiter one fluttering around, perhaps wishing to mate the female himself that caught my attention. I did not want to disturb the happy pair, nature’s peeping Tom that I have become, so I did not try to catch the trifecta in action.

As you can see, I was trying to get these guys in different angles.

 

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Here’s a cropped close up. You can see the hairs and a faint view of the eyes on the male.

 

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Do you want to know how lady bugs or Eastern lubber grasshoppers are made? You can see the post here: http://yamanoor.net/?p=411

Well, to make it easy for you, I have shared those pics here:

 

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Soon, the butterflies will have their own album, for now, they will live alongside the other insects in the main “Entemo” album: http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=452

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Minimalist wildlife photography?
by Srihari Yamanoor

Is there such a thing? No, I am not getting hung up on terminology. It is just this one picture I love a lot. It was almost the last of the light I had to work with on the last day of my Thanksgiving trip, just past the North side of the Zion National Park on the Kolob Reservoir Road. Having made the decision to turn back with fond memories and a heavy heart, I saw these deer in a far off meadow. Knowing that there was not enough light for my macro lens to do anything meaningful, I should have just returned.

Well, no, instead I came back with this very simple photo that is quite endearing – not because it captured the perfect deer moment, but because simple as it is, it brings back good memories of a successful trip!

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And, because one is never enough!

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For these, and other critters large and small, visit: http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=37

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Whither?
by Srihari Yamanoor

Giving photos cute or thematic names used to be a fun thing to do. However, I was told later that it was considered unprofessional. Well, to hell with that. When I went back to the archives today, I saw this very simple, yet fun photo taken when I went hiking last summer at Rancho San Antoio, a local hiking favorite .

As I was going through the horizontal and vertical versions, the only thought that came to mind was a single word – whither? Minimalist indeed.

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Rancho San Antonio is a representation of the natural inland vegetation in the Bay Area – Oaks mixed with grasslands. This is exactly what you see here – a dead Oak bark, making for some interesting scenery and the grassland.

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Yes, it was the middle of a rather sunny, yet pleasant, windy day and I still decided to take my chance. For the technically curious, this was a simple Canon Powershot point-and-shoot camera. Never shy away from focusing on the scene and giving your obsession with technique a rest :)

For more trial shots, go here: http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=43

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Half Dome …a tale of two experiments
by Srihari Yamanoor

On any given day, if you go to the locations on the valley floor where you get good vantage points to shoot the Half Dome, you find yourself in the company of at least another dozen or so individuals, also attempting to shoot the erstwhile half dome. So I have always wanted to try and get a shot that may be different. Of course, I am not saying there is anything wrong with the monumental and legendary Tissayack (the Native American Paiute name for the Half Dome).

If you have heard of the Indian legend that describes the Half Dome, quite a misnomer for 90% of the glacier still left over, you would know it is quite an effort to try and capture an image that does some modicum of justice to the lore…

1. Memorial Day, 2012: It was a summery dusk on a clear day. This view is from the incredibly famous Sentinel Bridge.

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Then I used my usual trick of training my film lens using the APS sensor to get a longer apparent focal length and shot, what to me is the essence of the half dome at sunset..

 

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Getting even closer:

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2. My birthday, April 2012:  Yosemite is my “happy place” and I spent a partially cloudy April day on the Yosemite Valley floor (another misnomer, the valley is technically just a canyon with a very large flat region making it appear to be a valley). It started off with an interesting cloudy spell:

 

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A close-up turned this up:

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This is a view from the Swinging Bridge. I still had quite a while to go, so the clouds excited me! Driving over to the open meadows, I saw these views as the day passed into sunset:

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Of course, zooming in caused some softness, alongside the dense clouds. I did saturate them a bit as I did not use any filters while shooting, as is the norm with me. Here is another attempt to use a silhouette.

 

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As the day passed, the cloud cover simply swept up the entire dome, making for an exquisite view of something challenging, and impending:

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Here is a close up closer to the sunset that never was, at least for that day and location:

 

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Here is a different view:

 

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3. From the archives: And then there is one of my all time favorites from one of the driest winters we had in 2007. I believe this was shot in November. It has been in the water album forever:

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The experiment is not over! 

I go to Yosemite a minimum of 4 times, and in good years, many, many times. I have photographed the half-dome from the meadow, the Sentinel Bridge, from the hike leading to Mirror Lake, the Olmsted point, at the rest stop before the tunnels and on and on. Much has to be developed, scanned and analyzed. I will travel more as well, and I hope to find something that will hopefully satisfy me. It is an immensely pleasurable journey!

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Just some reflections…
by Srihari Yamanoor

Coming back from Yosemite on Memorial Day, I almost drove past this pond/lake. I parked a bit ahead and walked back to it. Imagine this at sunrise/sunset, should be lovely!

 

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Lovely right? I went on to shoot a few close ups. I am sharing them below.

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And the last one…

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Abusing the wide angle lens!
by Srihari Yamanoor

I love going to Bodie (Bodie State Historic Park). It is after all one of the best Ghost Towns in the West. Impertinent State Park employees who gave themselves cushy “Authorized Parking” spots (after fleecing you $7 per adult per day) notwithstanding, this is an awesome place! I love photographing here, and after a while I just have to look for new opportunities and angles. Sitting down to rest with a 15mm lens, on a slippery slope I found this house with the wheelbarrow and the wheel interesting…

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For more “artifico”, click here: http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=345

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Just a moody shot…
by Srihari Yamanoor

Not much to say, shot with a 15mm lens at a Chevys in Tahoe. They had put up this arrangement and had two dim flood lights nicely painting it. I just could not resist snapping it up…

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For more “artifico” shots, go here: http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=345

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On hawks and scavengers….
by Srihari Yamanoor

I was on my afternoon walk yesterday when I witnessed this event between a Swainson’s Hawk (hopefully, identified through an internet search) and some crows. There is a certain barricaded property that belongs to the city of Sunnyvale on which this hawk suddenly landed. That seemed to piss off all these crows while the hawk waited patiently. The crows were flying, many at a time, trying to threaten the hawk! This, of course did not make sense. I wanted to understand what was going on and whoosh…

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That’s right, the hawk took off with the crows still flying very close to him. Marveling at it, I wasn’t quite attentive to focus, sharpness etc. I then followed them all to a different structure, where the hawk settled himself down and …

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That’s right, the crows were at it again and this guy was trying to mess with the hawk. Meanwhile, yours truly was trying to get closer and caught a snap of some of those magnificent feathers.

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As I got a bit too close, the hawk, less scared of the crows, took off before I could get more shots. I kept trailing, and he went off to a nearby fenced property.

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I know the fence doesn’t get your pic of the month shot, but to the naked eye and to a lesser extent the photograph give you the first hint of the prey, and why the crows were all excited. Before I could gain vantage, the crows and the hawk took off, as the birds exercised their freedom of flight, took off to other territories, far from my lens.

And tomorrow, duck tales!

For more on these birds, click here: http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=279

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“What are you looking at?” – the American Robin version…
by Srihari Yamanoor

[Both of today's pictures were shot in low light, and the graininess appears on the background from sharpening]

Among photographers, there are some of us that look for the rare shot. Some of us just look to have fun. I think I am in between the two. Here I was in the Yosemite valley, shooting dogwood flowers off the Pohono bridge and the surrounding hike, when in the shade, was this American Robin.

Just a tidbit – the American Robin, or Turdus migratorius is also a migratory bird! This weekend marks the World Migratory Bird Day (it is celebrated May 12 – 13 this year).

Knowing it was dark, and surmising he might fly away, I decided to risk shooting him anyway. He was, shall we say, less than thrilled? He had this look at me that said, “What are you looking at?” :)

 

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I took a few sundry snaps of this cantankerous bird, and he decided to perch atop a small rock right next to the Merced bed. When I went back to him, he had a look that said, “Oh look, here comes my friend, the Ansel Adams wannabe again..” Not a happy bird you say?

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For this guy, and some other birds of varying emotional response and photogenicity, click here: http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=279

 For more on the World Migratory Bird Day, go to yesterday’s post here: http://yamanoor.net/?p=476

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It’s World Migratory Bird Day..!
by Srihari Yamanoor

Birds migrate to avoid extreme weather, typically winter, and sometimes, they travel across continents. Human activity has caused many a habitat to be damaged and in certain instances, be lost forever. Quite a bit of the habitat at risk lies in the path of these migratory birds. Creating awareness is key to make sure that several of the bird species already in danger, do not become extinct. In celebration of this day, here are a couple of snaps.

American White Pelicans (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos): These beautiful orange billed white birds, migrate from the North to Central/South America for the winter. I found a lovely couple in Sunnyvale. I got close ups of one of them. The yellow spots are basically mustards.

 

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To learn more about the World Migratory Bird Day, go here: http://www.worldmigratorybirdday.org/2012/

For more birds like these, visit the aviary: http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=279

Reference:

1. Birding Information – White Pelican: http://www.birdinginformation.com/birds/pelicans/white-pelican/

2. Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_White_Pelican

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A moody, California sunset…
by Srihari Yamanoor

In movies, television and folklore, California’s beaches, boardwalks and sunsets have always been celebrated. When you immigrate here, you would assume that there is a possibility that the poetry of California’s sunsets might wear off, or fall to the wayside, at least a tad bit. Well, take it from me, it has been over 10 years and the love affair only seems to increase with time.

This is from that famous Sunday a few weeks ago, that I have been going on and on about. This is a view of a beach near the Santa Cruz harbor.  Surfers, walkers, people holding hands – this moody silhouette has it all!

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For more water shots, go here: http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=31

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I can haz cute? Pweease?
by Srihari Yamanoor

Well, I had an internal server error 500 make the website unavailable. Thanks for those who pointed it out. It was fixed around 9AM PST after a painful five minute call. So, all’s good, and 1and1 promises it should not happen again. Time, the great tester will give us the results.

Secondly – I do NOT feed wildlife, ever!  The reason I write this is that the squirrel in yesterday and today’s images was  photographed at a picnic spot in Yosemite. There was a young kid who was attracted to this energetic squirrel, and he decided he should feed him. While I did mention to him casually that he is not supposed to feed wildlife, I decided not to push it. The kid and the squirrel were having fun, and once you bond with wildlife (yes, even squirrels that mingle with us count), you can fix small transgressions later. I know some of you would never agree, but that’s that.

In any case, as the squirrel put up that food grabbing pose, to my eye, the framing proffered sheer cuteness…

I promise, the next post will have some other animal! For more animals, go here: http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=37

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“Don’t taze me bro!” – the California Ground Squirrel Version..
by Srihari Yamanoor

You would usually go to Yosemite hoping to catch the landscape or wildlife shot of your dreams. I went to spend my birthday in my “happy place”. Yes, I did come back with a lot of good pictures of the beautiful Yosemite, and they will slowly make their way here. In the meanwhile, this random kid and I had a ball, observing this energetic (surprise surprise) squirrel who was just letting off steam.

Well, steam that he had gathered by stealing food off people’s picnics. He was running around, hiding, coming out, looking for food and begging for food, causing quite the frenzy. As I was training my lens towards him in an effort to capture something “candid”, I guess the lens moved, or I moved at the same time the squirrel decided to have a good ol’ scratchety-scratch, and we ended up with the “don’t taze me bro” version…

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For more photos of animals, go here: http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=37

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If you “Kiss My Glass”, it will keep Santa Cruz weird…
by Srihari Yamanoor

A lazy afternoon spent roaming around the coastline turned into a frenzied hunt for a good spot to shoot the sunset. This turned out to be the Santa Cruz harbor. As I wound my way back trying to find CA-1, I was granted what could be just one more piece of the puzzle that keeps this funky town enjoyable and weird…

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Keeping with the spirit of the town, I used flash to drown out the surroundings of what appears to be a nice stained glass shop. Yes, you may “Kiss My Glass” next time you are in Santa Cruz…

For more funny, quirky moments captured with light, click here: http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=57

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When insects play dead..
by Srihari Yamanoor

Something very run of the mill to share today…

Grasshoppers love to play dead when it appears they are in danger. If you are not paying attention, they can use this trick to force you to lose track of them, or spend quite a bit of time tracking them a second time. I was coming back from my usual late afternoon jaunts one day this week, and this guy landed right in front of me playing dead. I quickly snapped away, hoping to catch him before he ran off. He however stayed “dead” and I got quite a few off him. Rather than share a few clinical shots, I thought I will share a few.

By the way, using the power of the “inter-webs”, I identified him/her to be Schistocerca nitens. Apparently, the females can get up to 3 inches, making this a macro-friendly beast.

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I didn’t bother cropping, just adjusted the contrast a bit so you can see him a bit more “un-blended” with his surroundings. Here’s a side view. Look at the beautiful wing!

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I seem to have photographed him/hear earlier on the Sierra: http://yamanoor.net/?p=361

For more of these guys, visit this page: http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=452

Reference:

http://waynesword.palomar.edu/redmite5.htm

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Just an abstraction..
by Srihari Yamanoor

Yesterday was cloudy. Made things that are wiped out by light in the middle of the day more dramatic. Walking by a solar salt pond in the Bay on the property of the City of Sunnyvale, I captured this – the reflection of what appears to be e part of some water regulatory mechanism. Those yellow spots in front? Mustard seeds…

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I am going to add this to my “polysemy” or “many meanings” album. For more such photos, click here: http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=34

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California is always fun to photograph!
by Srihari Yamanoor

It was a sunny Sunday at the Carmel Valley beach, just North of the Point Lobos State Preserve. I was heading back from some run of the mill shots at the beach, when I was facing the back of a wooden notice board and a sketch/caricature on there. I shot a cropped view of the one that announces California. There is/was another mundane sketch with the mention of Pepsi that was not so attractive.

In due course, as happens with tens of thousands of photos I shoot, this one should have slipped through the cracks. However, the simplicity, the elegance, the artist’s confidence (notice no hesitation marks, unless she/he took efforts to clean up, which I doubt) attracted me to the photo.

Later, I realized, another reason for the attraction is this is a sketch of California, representing the joy of many a person who has visited the state and fallen in love, photographer or not…

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For more photos of artifacts, see the “artifico” album here: http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=345

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The R-Rated version of how are ladybugs made
by Srihari Yamanoor

They are so cute, makes you wonder, doesn’t it? On a walk with my new, used, Canon T2i, I was attracted to an array of ladybugs. Don’t worry, I am still primarily a film photographer.

Getting back to the story, I was snapping away at those ladybugs, cheating the APS-C sensor of the T2i by extending its focal length in the macro mode. Then I saw this pair, and perhaps, one of them was being a little less, er, lady-like with another ladybug. So, I guess, not all ladybugs are ladies. Here’s a couple of shots on what I learned about how ladybugs are made…

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Here’s another…

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Reminded me of the time in August of 2006, when I took my 200mm lens out on a Florida rain and ended up, er opening up to “de-fog” the lens. That’s when I learned they actually use LASER to assemble the damn things. I then had to buy an amazing Quantaray 300mm lens with macro. Later, lazing around the Everglades National Park, I found out

How Eastern Lubber Grasshoppers are made….

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Sadly, to find out how elephants are made, you have to either watch Love Guru or go on a safari and hope to get lucky…

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Don’t mess with….toddlers!?!
by Srihari Yamanoor

I am always looking for a funny snap or two. Slapstick and banana peels aside, jovial moments rarely breach the “somewhat funny” category. But when children are recruited to add to the scene, well, things get interesting. Who best to know this than someone that runs a preschool.

The nagging parking problem!

If you thought parking was a problem more for adults and toddlers were the biggest problem for a preschool…well think again. So, it appears that this quaint, little preschool somewhere in downtown San Jose has decided to use its meanest weapons to thwart this pesky parking problem…yes, the kids and their finger paints!

You should assume, you have been warned!

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For more humor, go here: http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=57

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A few leaves, a few thousand words…
by Srihari Yamanoor

I am tired from my loss of sleep last night, so I am unable to write a lot or pick and choose more for the presentation. You know what they say about pictures and thousands of words, so here goes. The first one was shot locally, in the Bay Area and represents the spirit of the season!

 

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This one is from Yosemite…

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This is not it folks, much more to come. Do let me know your thoughts!

All these guys and more, have been filed under Folia here: http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=394

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More fall foliage headed to a website near you!
by Srihari Yamanoor

Alright, it has been two fairly successful Sundays of fall foliage shooting. Actually, today was more successful than last Sunday. Here is a quick snapshot, and I will post more soon. I will soon have a separate album for foliage….

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Check back for more!

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Can photography help prove God exists?
by Srihari Yamanoor

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Okay, maybe that was a stretch, and would have applied to those of the Christian faith only. On a trip to catch the fall colors near Lake Tahoe, I trained my lens upwards and caught this dramatic scene caused by the dissolving jet streams left by two different aircraft.

This image will be filed with “polysemy” till more skies turn up on my lens and find their way here. For more images, click here: http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=34

Here’s one more for your viewing:

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And since I keep talking about fall so much, here’s one to share.

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Do I shoot (er, photograph) people?
by Srihari Yamanoor

I bill myself a nature photographer, simply because I am heavily skewed towards shooting stuff in the wild. Most times, I will not try to move even a blade of grass, in some puritanical attempt at capturing nature, er, naturally. I am not really sure why I don’t shoot (again, photograph – I have actually been asked, “Oh, so you hunt?”, when I say I shoot) people that much. I am not a misanthrope by any means. I guess it is just a preference.

Most of the time, the people I shoot are very close to me, and the effort means a lot, for me. I also do not like to share the portraits I shoot generally. And you know there are always exceptions…

Then there are moments where I am simply tempted to train my camera at perfect strangers. Recently, I bought a DSLR that had been used and dropped, just to expand the types of cameras I shoot with. I have been taking walks every so often, and one morning, I saw this elderly gentleman, standing on a local bridge on the Stevens Creek Trail in Mountain View, looking out at the crowded morning traffic. I was clandestine, capturing a few images of him, lest he be disturbed and chagrined.

A couple of days later, I still saw him, albeit on the opposite side, and he didn’t seem to care one way or the other about being photographed.

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Normally, when I hike, I carry at least 4 – 5 camera bodies, but for walks I wanted just one. I was kicking myself over the fact that I had left all the b/w cameras and the film behind. However, nowadays with tools like Picasa, one only has to try, and here is what that would look like!

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This will be filed under Artifico, since I don’t have too many portraits to share, yet!: http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=345

 

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Grasshopper say “Hey, I’m pretty too…”
by Srihari Yamanoor

People look at grasshoppers and go “Ugh!” I demand we treat them differently. On a recent fall color hunt, I tracked this guy down on a dirt pull over. He was hopping away merrily and I got a few snaps. I was telling myself, he looks so alien, and I wonder if we look any different to him…ha ha!

I am not sure if he is a grasshopper or a cricket..does it matter?

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He will be filed under animals for now, though with enough scans, we will soon have an album for insects. For more, click here: http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=37

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Explain to me how this parking works again…?
by Srihari Yamanoor

Alright, this may only be mildly funny, but I have been to Tahoe about 4 times in the recent past, and each time, I have taken US 50. Please don’t ask, and in any case, I have run into the same sign each time as well. No one has bothered to lift it up, yes, including yours truly, although I am not sure how legal it would look and what explanations I would have for a ticket-hungry CHP. It does crack me up each time I drive by and I thought I would just ask – I will try to park for 30 minutes, just explain to me – how!

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To give you, er, a better picture of what is going on…

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This photograph is filed under “Humor” and more photos can be found here: http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=57

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Do flowers need a season?
by Srihari Yamanoor

This picture would be more apt, had I posted it in say, May? Well of course, when I shoot the pictures and when the negatives get scanned, and reduced for web uploads are chronologically disparate.

This among other flowers, was shot at Stanford University. They spray several areas with seeds on campus each year, so these are not exactly, er, “wild”. Well, instead of going on and on about it, I thought you should just look at this flower, placed in focus among the others:

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You will find this guy in the album “Flora”: http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=19

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The many naps a cat takes…
by Srihari Yamanoor

A cat nap is a famous aphorism for the tired mind to achieve that state of rest, and those that miss this are jealous and wonder when they would be blessed with the same nap. A cat owner would typically find his or her cat/cats napping in many contorted ways and wonder how any of these machinations could lead to comfort. However, they somehow seem to pull it off!

With my 50mm lens, I got ready for work today, albeit begrudgingly, what with my cat fast asleep while I had to go earn his grub for him. Here he is, and you have to figure for yourself how this could be peaceful :)

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This is filed under the album “Neko” (Japanese for cat). For more, click here: http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=325

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The art of making attractive things more attractive!
by Srihari Yamanoor

It was one of those days when I was coming back from San Francisco after having done something or the other. I was driving on 19th street, when this roadside flower shop caught my attention. Such neatly organized rows of floral arrangements, they gave me pause. I was impelled to think about the fact that someone had the amazing talent of taking something that is already exceptionally beautiful and make it even better. As a photographer and gardener, I pride myself in being able to snap pictures or grow plants, but my talents stop there!

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With no one to give these to, the photographs remain as quaint and pleasant memories…

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This is filed under “Artifico”. For more, click here: http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=345

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Likable mistakes…
by Srihari Yamanoor

Any photographer will make mistakes, and I have made my fair share. It is important that we learn from our mistakes, through forensics and practice. It is also important to discard many of the ones that don’t fit the bill. But, it is important to keep your eyes peeled for certain mistakes that may capture a mood or an emotion in a way you haven’t thought possible. One such picture is the one below:

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As you can probably surmise, a sudden breeze must have caused this shake. Unlike the all-knowing DSLRs, my film cameras pretty much capture what they see, and this one did. In the normal course, I would throw away a negative like this, but this one caught my eye, with a vivid capture of motion – a snapshot of wind and it’s power, if you will.

Was it  a mistake worth keeping? I think so!

This photo is filed under “polysemy”. For more, click here: http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=34

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Are buildings boring subjects?
by Srihari Yamanoor

I have generally focused on very few buildings for a subject matter. Most of the time I find myself in nature, and as such I have very little interest in shooting buildings and such. Sometimes though, I find myself intrigued by buildings and this happened in my recent trip to Pennsylvania. I saw the University of Pittsburgh against the setting Sun in the West…

I was intrigued, and of course this is not art or anything but makes for good colors, contrasts and heliography, almost to the point of definition. Artifacts don’t interest me as much as nature, but buildings are not altogether boring either!

 

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Getting to a DSLR…
by Srihari Yamanoor

I shoot film. That is what I do. However, the DSLR has intrigued me for a while now. I have settled on the Canon EOS II D. However, it is a major investment and I was looking at taking baby steps along the way. I was snooping around Craigslist and found this used Pentax DSLR which works with lenses that have aperture rings. Well, I picked it up.

The first thing I did was photography my cat, Bob of course. Will DSLRs permanently change the way I shoot? Absolutely not! It is just one more medium to write, as they say, with light…

 

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For more of Bob, go to http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=325

Neko, stands for cat in Japanese.

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The Roadway to Heaven…
by Srihari Yamanoor

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Or rather, it is a roadway through Talol/Tacoma (Mt. Rainier National Park). I have been to Mt. Rainier twice. The first time was in November 2008, when they were literally shuttering the park for the season behind me. The second time, was as I was driving away from Washington, of course in the middle of September 2010, with much sunshine, unlike the previous time when snow and rain dotted the roadside with waterfalls everywhere.

I stayed in Rainier towards the end of the day, and as the Sun was setting, I turned my attention to one of my favorite subjects, roads through nature.

This is of course where the shot came through. There was some Sun trying to steal it’s way through to the bottom as the forest tried to fight back. Roadways provide us with a sense of promise. This one, provides me with a sense of calm in addition.

Trivia: To those who live in, or have been to Washington State, the rain forests would be familiar. It is possible that someone might assume the name had to do with the rain. In fact, it has to do with a British Rear Admiral in whose honor Vancouver (on whose behalf, a place in Washington and Canada have been named), named the mountain.

To me Tacoma is more melodious and meaningful than some guy who didn’t really have much to do with the place, but what you call, something so imposing and noticed from hundreds of miles, to something that was much a resource for man and animal alike, is your choice…

For more:

This has been filed in the Roads Album. For more: http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=24

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An evening in Zion Canyon
by Srihari Yamanoor

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During Thanksgiving 2009, I was in Zion Canyon National Park. In lieu of camping out in the cold, I decided to stay in a motel outside the park. As a result, each day I would drive out. This resulted in some interesting dusk shots, of which this is a sample. With warmness and saturation, the colors can improve further.

Here is one more for your reference.

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The first one is filed under water and the other in canyons.

For more in water:

http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=31

For more in canyons:

http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=60

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Trail “Magic” Mix…
by Srihari Yamanoor

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Sometimes you don’t need a breathtaking landscape filled with mountains, snows, valleys and trees. You just need something really simple to give you those goosebumps. The preserved areas around the San Luis Obispo Reservoir present these opportunities if you are ever in the San Francisco Bay Area and prefer to go a bit South and East, on Highway 152.

Yes, this photo was taken pretty much on the same hike that was the source of yesterday’s photo: http://yamanoor.net/?p=296

Trails give me a great pleasure, much so their photos, even when they are ones like this one, where I broke the rule of thirds…and all that fancy stuff!

This photo will be posted along with the Trails album. You can see other photos here: http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=43

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The good, old California Oak – beauty in life and death…
by Srihari Yamanoor

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The California Oak, Querces agrifloria is a really cool tree. You will see oaks everywhere in the Bay Area, along the central area and much of California. If you are hiking in one of our state parks, you could of course stop by and snap a picture of an oak, full of character. However, it appears that the oaks like to taunt us by presenting themselves with exquisite branches and tumbleweed balls that are just about to launch themselves in mock rage along roadsides, where it would be especially hard to take pictures!

I could show you many a location where the oaks do this, on several highways. What has caused me much wonder though is that the oaks could be vibrant and alive, aging or completely dead, and yet they are able to stay photogenic!

This photo has been filed under Arborea. For more photos: http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=47

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Hey, that’s “traily”…
by Srihari Yamanoor

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For those of you who have hiked with me on those few occasions where I have allowed others to go through the misery of hiking with me, “traily” would not be new. I tend to love trails a lot, especially ones that have been worked on to give you the sense of being immersed in nature. I am not a big fan of trails that are adjunct to urban areas, or have been paved a bit too much like roads and such. To me, such trails are not very “traily”.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is the origin of the non-word “traily”.

The Toulomne Meadows

Yosemite National Park is one of my most favorite destinations on the planet. This shot was captured at the Toulomne Meadows on the Eastern side, coming back from the hike that randomly takes you to the Toulomne river. This was shot later in the day. I also managed some moon shots and those will be uploaded later.

This photo will be filed under “trails”. You can see other pictures here: http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=43

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Shorebirds galore!
by Srihari Yamanoor

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The Mono Lake in the Mono Basin Scenic Area is one of my most favorite places on this planet! I endeavor to visit this wonderful area about once or twice a year at a minimum. Filled with brine shrimp, the second saltiest lake in the US is home to several migratory birds at least for part of the year. This makes for some very interesting photographic opportunities.

However, it would appear that nowadays several shorebirds, especially the California Gull, Larus californicus, have figured out how to hang out in parking lots, most times hunting for food. The parking lots of the Mono Basin are not an exception. In past years, I have had opportunities to shoot several of these lurkers on their parking lot feeding runs – they tend to do the same thing. This year, Memorial Day weekend (not the Labor Day, just to point out that for once, I am not confusing the two :) ) was no exception. This is where I captured several shorts of the gulls.

This particular short is interesting to me, in that there were several birds flying off, and true to the captured moment, there were two or three that decided they were going to take it easy. I found this comical and interesting. I hope you do too. Let me know your thoughts.

And the anti-thesis to that image is this one…

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These images have been filed in the album “Aviary”. You can see other images here: http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=279

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On the erstwhile Canada Goose..
by Srihari Yamanoor

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Canada Goose, as I fondly, mistakenly call “Canadian Goose”, are amongst the easiest subjects to photograph. They are everywhere and not really much scared of photographers.

An interesting note

Canada Geese, Branta canadensis, were once a migratory species. Due to the safe and resource rich nature of urban spaces, these sneaky birds have now learned to live and thrive in urban spaces. Several attempts to bring back their migratory fervor have failed. Do not encourage these birds by trying to feed them. Interacting with them, in the wild or in urban spaces you will soon learn that enticement of any kind is not warranted.

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Haiku

As  I was posting, I tried to look for a Haiku, and found this one by Issa…

Wild goose, wild goose,
At what age
Did you make your first journey?

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These images have been filed in the album “Aviary”. You can see other images here: http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=279

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Butano State Park: An abstraction of beach sand and stone..
by Srihari Yamanoor

Another photo that I really liked was this abstraction I tried to shoot earlier this year. There were many shots that I covered of the water lapping the little granite stones and the beach sand. Here is one of my favorites.

This will be included in polysemy. For more from this album: http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=34

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As Fall approaches, a web update beckons…
by Srihari Yamanoor

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Alright, my beloved Ford Taurus finally gave in. As I was thinking of all the travels I have been in with the car, I figured, no better time than to start with a web update. This one is going to be large, about 350+ photos were scanned and more than a handful will make it to the website and the albums. I hope you will join me in this journey.

Above is the picture, the first one that struck from the scans. I usually prep the negatives for the scans and usually have no clue which ones get into what batches. It reminds me of a madrigal or haiku of some sort, though I can’t pinpoint which one. Maybe one will pop into your head.

Filed under polysemy: http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=34

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Getting high on…just another sunny day in California…
by Srihari Yamanoor

Yes, that’s all it was. A nice Saturday trip to Butano State Park brought us this treat at the State Park entrance! This is just from my PowerShot P&S…Most of the time, when you are in California, no great skill or fancy equipment is required..of course, I am not being disrespectful! And there’s more, poppy seeds can actually give you a high!

To understand why photo is saturated, refer to title… :p

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For more flower shots, http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=19

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Time for some zungguzungguguzungguzeng?
by Srihari Yamanoor

That’s right. I was with a few friends at a Starbucks store waiting for my drink when the signature screen that displays the song title caught my attention. The song title? You guessed right – “zungguzungguguzungguzeng”. Of course, moving past the initial “what the…” moments, I wanted to check out the crazy song…

One man’s funny joke is another man’s “influence on hip hop”. I listen to very few hip hop songs, so I was a little lost when I heard that the singer “Yellowman” had inspired several artists with his “riddims” and on and on. In any case, I am not going to regurgitate the Wikipedia page. Instead, take a look at the photo and see if you get a good laugh, and maybe, next time you will take a closer look at that screen.

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For more on Yellowman: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellowman

For more photographic humor! : http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=57

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The land of orphaned signs…
by Srihari Yamanoor

On a hike across Rancho San Antonio, my friend Anna Jao identified a couple of signs “Closed Not a Trail”. Great signs, except, alas, nature and considerate hikers seem to have rendered the signs rather anachronistic, visually and functionally…R.I.P. sign!

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And now, here’s the other…

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For more humor pictures: http://yamanoor.net/?page_id=57

Enjoy!

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The Figurine Conquistador
by Srihari Yamanoor

It was one of those weekends in September of 2010; I was driving through rural Washington State to the North Cascades National Park. I stopped by to pack lunch at a mom and pop store. There was this dog who figured he would practice bear hunting rather safely…

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What’s on your mind…?
by Srihari Yamanoor

On the border of Santa Monica and Los Angeles, on Santa Monica Boulevard sits a store.. I shot a few night snaps, cropped it, and asked people what come to their mind when they first saw the pic…now be honest, you!

Click on the photo to enlarge!

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Want the wild-flower bonanza to continue? You may want to volunteer…
by Srihari Yamanoor

Every year in Spring, hundreds upon hundreds of cameras are wielded against flowers, flower beds and on anything floral. In California, this is a celebration and a cult. Yes, we are talking about “wild” flowers, and yet, the flowers could use help from time to time..and the time has come now.

Anza-Borrego and the Sahara Mustard Weed

Since last Sunday, I have been following a thread on”Calphoto” stating that the Sahara Mustard Weed is a non-native species that has infested the Anza-Borrego State Park, which has the reputation of being the largest State Park in California. Since the Spanish Missionaries introduced several non-native species into California, more than 95% of California’s native species have become extinct. Our “modern” lifestyle, of course has led the remaining 5% to also remain in danger.

Without going on and on about it, I am posting a swell link here:

http://www.unce.unr.edu/publications/files/nr/2005/FS0502.pdf

You can read more suggestions at the thread:

http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/calphoto/message/18480

The Anza-Borrego Foundation is involved in trying to provide folks with training. If you are close by, you should consider attending. And in general, you should consider gardening with non-invasive non-natives or natives-only gardens.

If not, we may soon not have access to…

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Not yo mama’s waterfall shot – harbinging Fall!
by Srihari Yamanoor

Alright, a picture may be worth a 1000 words, but a catchy title still has street value, and hence the post title. If you have driven around and hiked in Washington’s several roads and parks, you will agree that if there is one thing that is aplenty, is the falls. Given the amount of rain the state sees, it is not surprising these falls can keep themselves flowing through the year.

So, after the first array of snaps, you are looking to make the shots more interesting, so that they don’t simply serve as stale diuretics. I was in this mode at the beginning of my second week in Washington when I stepped into the Wallace Falls State Park, approximately an hour and a half east of Seattle. Having approached the park towards sunset, I knew I wasn’t going to hike through to all the 4 falls in the park. Stuck with being at the “small falls” area, having forgotten my tripod, I was “winging” it with my Canon Powershot 1200 DS and my main film body positioned on a rest bench.

Eventually, I answered two questions – how can we make waterfall shots more interesting, and is Fall around the corner?!

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Note: The photo is optimized for the web, and the waterfall is obviously out of focus


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Instant poetry, anyone?
by Srihari Yamanoor

In the 21st century, everything is go, go, go! Everyone wants everything instantaneously… and now, if you are on 45th and University Way in Seattle, you can get instant poetry!

Allan Mandrake seems to appear at street corners in Seattle, and for donations of $5-$20 will compose “instant” poetry in about 5 minutes on any topic of your choice.

Here’s one that I received:

“nature vs. artifice”

the world exists

within a small reference point

a dot

on a large map

of God’s construction:

every thought

is filtered

through a fine sieve,

a tool to catch

a falling star

and hoped

(against hope)

that it stays put,

burning brightly

that it stays put,

burning brightly

though its true face

is far from tame

Allan Mandrake, Seattle, WA, 9.17.10

I think there is something to the poem. The next time you are in Seattle, you should look for some instant poetry…

You can also watch the YouTube Video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qu9HgZlGH8Y

Do you know of other artists who work like this? Let me know.

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