Archive for Slaty Flowerpiercer

Miriam’s Place

Posted in Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 16, 2014 by chamimage
Flame-colored Tanager

Flame-colored Tanager

One of the most awesome days I have had as a photographer occurred last December in Costa Rica at Miriam’s Place, Comidas Tipicas Miriam.

We spent the morning in transit from La Selva in the hot and humid central Costa Rica to the Talamanca Mountains in southern Costa Rica, which are cool and not humid at all.

We arrived in time for lunch, and oh what a lunch Miriam made for us. Her restaurant is on a windy gravel road that runs seriously downhill from the main highway to Savegre Lodge where we were to stay.

She kept bringing out dishes full of chicken that fell off of the bone, the traditional rice and beans that are required fare for every meal in Costa Rica, even breakfast. I can’t even remember what all was served now, but I remember it was the best lunch I ever had and I was hungry.

After lunch we got our gear and headed out into the back yard where bird feeders were set up. The action in Miriam’s back yard was non-stop all afternoon. We shot flame-colored tanagers, acorn woodpeckers, yellow-thighed finches, slaty flowerpiercers (they pierce the base of a flower with their beak to get at the nectar); mountain robins, slaty robins; rufus-collared sparrows and magnificent hummingbirds.

Acorn Woodpecker

Acorn Woodpecker

At one point some other photographers stopped by and were very disappointed that we were already there. They decided they would come back later. They had some perches they wanted to set up so we offered to set them up for them.

“Oh no, these are our very own special perches just for our photographs.” Really. They hid the perches in the house for later. We heard Miriam and her daughter laughing in the kitchen. It turns out she knew where these very special perches were hidden and wanted us to set them up. She was not impressed with the other photographers attitude. She was feeling naughty and so were we so we got the perches out and set them up, fully intending to leave them set up.

Slaty Flowerpiercer

Slaty Flowerpiercer male

Slaty Flowerpiercer

Slaty Flowerpiercer female piercing flower.

The evening was then spent photographing Resplendent Quetzals in a wild avocado tree down the canyon a ways, just to round out a long, productive day in the rain forest. And the cool nights in the mountains were so welcome after sleeping in wet sheets from the humidity in other humid parts of Costa Rica.

Yellow-thighed Finch

Yellow-thighed Finch

Mountain Robin

Mountain Robin

 

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Tell a Story

Posted in Philosophy and Spirituality with tags , , , , , , , , on January 13, 2014 by chamimage
Anhinga with Rainbow Bass

Anhinga with Rainbow Bass

Most days all of the social media sites I visit just seem like one big time suck that I should live without. But then I will run across a gem of a post that makes it all worthwhile. I will share of few of those gems today. They are words to live by for 2014 for me.

1. Tell a Story – I got this one from Karen Hutton on The Grid podcast last week. When you find a subject and you are looking for The Picture, try looking for The Story, instead.  That will inform your decision on how much of the environment you need to include, what mood to go for. It wasn’t hard to find the story above – that anhinga may have bitten off more than he can chew. Adding more rain forest wasn’t needed for that story.

Wild Timber Wolf

Wild Timber Wolf

A tight shot of this wolf would have been ugly, but showing what a miserable day it was to be out in the woods was the story. He was walking along the cleared road side to keep out of the wet brush, cars be damned. A good photograph informs the viewer of an aspect of the subject they had not previously considered, a new truth, like leading them to think about the wild animals out in the forest on a wet, stormy night.

1a. I can’t use the one above without adding the famous saying by Jay Maisel as a corollary – “If you want to take more interesting pictures, be a more interesting person.” Listen to music, watch dance, read classics. It can be pretty interesting what bangs around in your head while you are out with your camera.

2. “Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.” – a quote from John D. Rockefeller I found on Sue Bryce’s Facebook page last week. I don’t think he had photo editing in mind when he said that, but that is certainly where I will apply it. We all have the problem of all of those technically good documentary images that we can’t get ourselves to delete. Let them go. They are not great so they are of no value to you. Post only your great stuff. My recent trip with Todd Gustafson was helpful in terms of seeing that he chose to keep maybe twenty images from the 300 we had shot that morning. On the first edit. That is my goal. To be able to find and keep only the images that speak to me without having to edit the folder four times to get there.

Canada Goose

Canada Goose

3. Find your passion, then build a body of work in that area. This doesn’t mean you have to shoot just birds or do macro only, but it doesn’t make much sense to build a portfolio full of landscapes if your passion is wildlife photography. I remember a conversation with Wayne Lynch in Africa about how it would be better to work locally and build a deep body of work in your local wildlife refuge or national park than to try to piece together enough trips to Africa and the arctic, etc. Give yourself creative projects in your genre rather than doing assignments that someone else makes up that accomplish nothing on Google+. Build a body of work. Get better at what you love.

Slaty Flowerpiercer piercing a flower.

Slaty Flowerpiercer piercing a flower.

I have a few more that are appropriate to the conversation. They are oldies and on my New Year’s Resolution list every year lately, but always good to be reminded.

4. Live as if every thought and action affects the collective consciousness and might just possibly influence others in a positive way. 

5. Less lawn mowing, more adventures. Metaphorically and literally. See Brooke Shaden’s recent blog on busy-ness. Don’ confuse being busy with accomplishing anything worthwhile. I have a theory that every meaningless meeting I am forced to attend, every sales pitch I get sucked into, every soggy sandwich vendor-sponsored lunch I eat, and every PBS pledge break is like smoking a cigarette, they shave minutes off of your life.

6. Tomorrow is not guaranteed. Live accordingly. Leave nothing undone and nothing unsaid. Lie in your death bed with no regrets about the life you lived.

7. No negativity allowed.

8. Be generous.

9. Be humble.

10. Be loving and kind. Speak gently.