On a recent walk down our driveway, a bit of white on the dark ground of grass and dead leaves caught my eye. At first I thought it might be a feather but under closer examination I found it was a 4 inch/10 cm seed pod that had split open revealing the seeds still neatly packed. The slightest breeze would lift them up, up and away! I was mesmerized by the beauty of the intricate layers unfolding.
Note the gentle curves on the left end (dark drown exterior/white interior of seed pod) and the light brown spiral on the right that would have been a long edge of the pod.
Having observed a male ruffed grouse drum off and on for the past week or so (see previous post), I was surprised when, this particular day, he changed his resting posture from the usual. He stood taller and extended his tail feathers straight back then began to fan them out.
Apparently he had spotted a hen who answered his invite to rendezvous.
I could hardly believe this was literally unfolding right in front of me and into my camera! Admittedly, seeing this face looking straight at me freaked me out a little! My heart was already pounding at an increased rate.
Look at this gentlemanly bow!
While I focused my attention for a moment on setting the camera to video, he disappeared off the far side of the roof. When I found him again, he was on his merry way to meet his mate.
I was able to watch, but not capture the pair as they waddled away into the safety and privacy of the underbrush.
In the past week or so, we’ve been entertained by a male grouse perched on an out building in our backyard. (We recently acquired additional property across the street and apparently, he came with it). He continually performs a love song which he drums on his breast. We can faintly hear this all day long inside the acreage home!
I had only been able to catch him from behind – until this morning!
Having captured images of practically every position of his wings from behind during previous days of drumming, I was thrilled to get the show face on. Here are a few corresponding front and back shots from my image collection.
All that made for an exciting morning but there’s more! You’ll have to wait for the rest of the show….
Crab apples on our tree take on the look of having been ‘candied’ as cold, moist air crystallizes on the dimpled surfaces of the fruit. Hoar frost adds a lacy edge to the stems for an added touch of decoration. Although the air felt completely still, it’s imperceptible movement is revealed by the direction the crystal arrows point.
Every now and then, I catch a glimpse of a scene that stops me in my tracks then spurs me to get my gear and capture it!
(The sun sets remarkably fast when you start setting up and snapping.)
Shooting in aperture mode, I set the depth of field to f/22 for the sunbeam effect and got the image below.
Since the wind was brisk, I quickly boosted the ISO from 400 to 1000 to increase the shutter speed from 1/40th of a second to 1/160th of a second and managed to get a crisper shot before the sun vanished behind the low clouds.
Here’s the close up comparison with camera settings from Lightroom .So glad there was just enough time to make the quick adjustment. I love the final shot.
The transition from fall to winter was dramatic this particular day. Gentle overnight snow was followed by a heavy fog. As the sun chased the fog away, the golden leaves of birch and poplar brightened the black and white of pending winter.