About the word Shekinah

The word Shekinah (shuh-kigh-nuh) means dwelling. It refers to the visible manifestation of the presence (or Shekinah Glory) of God. A luminous cloud. It is the very presence of God on earth. (see Holy Bible-Exodus 24:9-18)

Friday, January 30, 2009

"Sharp shinned Hawk"

I thought I'd post this shot of the sharp shinned hawk up in our tree, after he finished eating his prey.

"Winter Oasis for Northern Flickers"

Northern Flickers are almost a daily visitor to our yard now. They have found our pond to be a reliable source of water. Last winter we let it freeze over and we also weren't feeding the birds like we are this year. They haven't eaten from the suit feeder of woodpecker food I bought for them, though. So far, they just hang on our vines and eat the berries.

I didn't realize until I took these images just how fuzzy there little heads are. They look like a soft teddy bear, which I'm assuming is winter plumage because their heads look slick in all the photos I've seen of them in books and online.

So, here you see a series of images of him dipping his beak down between the ice to get a drink of water from our pond, which is pretty much directly under my family room window. I can't open the window to take these shots like I can from up in my blind, but they still came out okay.

Our pond does collect some ice, but we have a heater in it so it never completely freezes over. This also keeps our fish alive. I was amuzed by the fact that he stuck his beak through the smaller crack in the ice instead of the bigger area of water directly below him.

Here he is tilting his head up to swallow the water. It's so cute how they do this.

Now there's a happy little woodpecker! Until next visit...

"Fresh Kill"

The Sharp-shinned Hawk came back today with a fresh kill. My daughter alerted me to his presence and I grabbed my camera and went running up to my blind. As usual, I took a few shots for good measure and then slowly and carefully opened the window. He didn't fly away, but as nature would dictate, he was very nervous as he ate his catch.

We didn't see him catch it so I don't know if he caught one of our birds or brought it to our yard to eat. I'd like to think it was not one of the birds I feed and get so much enjoyment out of on a daily basis. Nature is nature, but...

Near the end of his feed he dropped the last piece of food he had, looked down and tilted his head right and left and looked down as if confused or trying to decide if it was worth picking up. In the end, he decided to leave it and he flew up into our tree and then off and away.

Since I don't have my new zoom lens, yet, I count it a blessing to have connections with the creator of the universe at times like these. I thank God for bringing the birds closer to me until I can get closer to them. LOL

To see the rest of the series, CLICK HERE.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

"More from our Lowman Loop Drive"

The image above shows what's left of the haze to burn off with the scenic mountains above and below the haze. The blue sky and sunshine was a welcome sight for us since it's been hazy for a while down in the valley.

We saw several deer that day. They are always on alert, but I got off a couple of shots to bring home. They weren't too threatened since I was shooting from inside the vehicle.

We saw several eagles. I took the above image when we pulled over to let another car pass. Another bald eagle landed in a tree just to the left of this one and then they both flew off. I sure wish I had a longer and faster lens for shots like this. Someday I'll be able to take awesome shots of eagles in the wild.

Here's another one of the trees that I converted to black and white.

More deer up on the hillside. I believe we mainly saw white-tailed deer. We saw some wild turkeys crossing the road, but I didn't get any shots of those. Maybe next time.

More hoar frost by the side of the road. There's more story and images from this trip under the blog entry entitled, "Frozen-in black and white."

Finch and Snow Cones?

It snowed last night, but since I'm once again under the weather I won't be going out shooting today. So, I've decided to post some shots I took several weeks ago. This little finch was eating the snow and it was so cute! He'd plant his face in the snow and come up with his beak covered with it. Then, he'd wipe or shake it off and dive back in for more. I really enjoyed watching this little finch. The last couple of images made me think of the song"Jack Frost Nipping at Your Nose"...or Beak. I hope you enjoy this series of images as much as I do.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

"Grey Skies & Bald Eagle at Lake Lowell"

Some winter days, when the weather conditions are quite cold and gloomy but not snowy, it's tempting to stay inside; especially when you have a cold and have been quite fatigued lately. I'm glad we had to take our kids somewhere or today would have been one of those days. I hadn't even planned to go shooting today, but I make it a habit to have my camera gear with me when we go out. You just never know...

On our way to drop off the kids, we saw several golden eagles, & red tailed hawks hunting in some agricultural fields. I didn't get any great images of those, though. They were pretty far away from us and the hazy, dark skies didn't help, either.

We headed to Lake Lowell to see what we could find. I managed to find the icy image below, by the docks on the north side of the lake. I tried a new frame on it. I think I like it. For a short time it looked like the sun might actually break through the haze, but it never did; at least not while we were there.

We walked down the nature trail by the Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center and entered the bird blind. It's really cool! I want one at my house. My upstairs blind in our laundry room is nowhere near as cool as this one, but then again mine's heated. A plus for mine. Mine's also higher.

Anyway, high above the blind, a bald eagle was perched. I couldn't really get a clear shot from any of the windows in the blind. Why do the birds always seem to know just where to perch to ruin my shots? The color version wasn't that great with the grey sky and all, so I converted this one to black and white. I also did a white vignette effect that I'm not sure I like.
I had a nice time shooting today, overall. Wish I'd had the proper clothing for the cold weather. I didn't even have my shooting gloves or anything so I'm glad we didn't shoot too long. I hope I rest well tonight, it's supposed to snow tomorrow!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

"Frozen-in Black and White"

This past Saturday, we (my hubby and I) went out for a full day of shooting in the field. We made a big loop, from Horseshoe Bend, to Lowman, to Idaho City and home again. We get something called an inversion in the wintertime, here in the Treasure Valley. Very cold air and smog gets trapped in the valley until a strong enough storm comes along and forces the high pressure system out of our area.

In the meantime, you have to drive up to the mountains to get out of it and see the blue sky. I am posting some images from the frozen part of our drive, both coming and going. I took most of these with the idea of converting them to black and white because I could tell they would look great in black and white. I then added the white vignetting to the image.

Before we left, I told my hubby that I just wanted to drive and see what I could see and stop when I saw something I wanted to photograph, so he knew we would stop often. Our first stop came about as we drove over the hill and headed down in to Horseshoe Bend. It was quite foggy and on the right side of the road, I noticed a little patch of trees and had my husband stop the car.

Due to the conditions, everything was pretty much covered in hoar frost and very gloomy looking, rather depressing if it were to drag on for weeks at a time. Anyway, I shot the scene you see above at that location. I knew that the texture of the tree trunk, branches and hoar frost would really be a nice contrast against the soft rolling hills in the background; especially in black and white.

I took the image above at the same stop. Grasses of some sort, all covered with hoar frost. Even though these are so very frozen, they just look joyful to me. They made me smile. After several more shots, including some of ice that I haven't processed or posted yet, I was about frozen myself, so we moved on.

As we drove higher and higher in elevation, the sun began to burn through the thick haze and hit the tips of the trees. For some reason I was seeing in black and white that day and knew that we must stop for some shots of this.

I just loved the way the haze looked more like smoke and the rays of sun lit up the treetops, as if on fire. I took many more shots at this location and I hope to post some more of them but this is it for now.

As we descended, we began to see the hoar frost returning and it was bitter cold as the sun dropped down behind the mountains. We stopped near a helipad on a road that was really just a sheet of ice and that's where I shot this fence. I'm fairly new to this black and white conversion, so I hope I'm doing a good job of it.

Well, that's all for now, but I hope to post another blog showing some of the color images I shot that day. Maybe some that look a little warmer with the blue sky and sunshine. Until next time...

Thursday, January 8, 2009

"Magazine Cover Shot #2"

I have once again had the pleasure of having my image on the cover of CHOIS Connection Magazine, Idaho's first magazine for home educators. "CHOIS is a non-profit, volunteer organization that seeks, under the Lord Jesus Christ, to encourage and equip parents to fulfill their God-given right to educate their children at home." (quote from their website)

The winter 2008 issue...

The cover image is of the Payette River near Cascade at dusk. It was very very cold when I took this photo. As soon as the sun went behind the mountains, the temperature dropped quickly. The water is really a layer of ice on the river. I just loved the color of the light as the sun went down even further, and the way it turned the snow to a light pinkish orange.

For more about CHOIS, CLICK HERE.

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