This past Saturday parts of Kansas had a snow storm move through. Initial forecasts varied a bit, but on the upper end some decent snow fall was forecast. The storm didn’t live up to its potential and we didn’t end up with that much snow (and what we did get was largely melted by afternoon the following day). For awhile though on Saturday the snow was coming down pretty hard.
While the snow wasn’t that bad, it bad was enough that I didn’t really feel like going out and about while it was snowing, but I did want to spend some time photographing the day. I decided to just prowl around home and see what I could find to photograph. With all the fun I’ve been having photographing birds in my yard, I quickly ended up staking out a location with a good view of a few bird feeders in the backyard.
The snowy weather was really driving birds to the feeders and we had a number of species make an appearance. Most of the birds I had photographed before, but this was the first time I had photographed a Pine Siskin at my feeders. The Pine Siskins were very striking and I’m hoping to have some more chances to photograph them.
In years past we have not had any significant numbers of American Goldfinches visit our yard, but for some reason they have decided that our house is the place to be this year. The last couple of weeks our feeders have been covered with Goldfinches.
While I was photographing the Pine Siskins and Goldfinches, we had a couple of male Northern Cardinals come to see what was going on. I quickly changed position to get a better chance of photographing the Cardinals…who can resist photographing these striking birds on a snowy day!
Of course, I couldn’t pass up a chance to watch and photograph our resident backyard Fox Squirrel. A few minutes before I made the photo above the squirrel had been sitting inside a gourd feeder we have hanging up. Not really what we had in mind when we put up the gourd feeder, but you can’t really blame the squirrel…get out of the snow and the wind and eat all the sunflower seeds you possibly can! After leaving the gourd feeder, the squirrel made a stop at a platform feeder (I guess it didn’t get full enough in the gourd feeder) and then headed towards a heated bird bath nearby. I know squirrels are a pain sometimes, but they are so much fun to watch. The squirrel was watching me as well while I was photographing it and I did get some tail twitching sent my way.
I was also able to photograph a Blue Jay in the crabapple tree in our front yard. Like the male Cardinals, blue jays immediately grab your attention, especially on a dull, overcast winter day. For some reason, Blue Jays always seem like they are up to something mischievous (maybe they are always up to something, they might be the ones that are always pooping on my car).
Later in the day after the snow had stopped falling I went outside with our dogs. Maddie absolutely loves to play in the snow so I made sure I had my camera ready to make some photos of her. It was great to watch how much she really seemed to be enjoying the snow…an expression of pure joy. I’m sure there is a lesson there for me to learn.
All in all this was a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon. I’ve always been fascinated by animal behavior (at one point in time, studying animal behavior was my career path) and watching the birds and the squirrels in the yard gave me a chance to study their actions. I enjoy wondering about their behaviors and what drives them and how their actions play into their survival. What does that have to do with photography? Well for me it is about curiosity and learning more about what I’m photographing, which, I think, is one of the best things I can do to improve my work. It is also about connecting to the world around me, wherever I am, which is always important for improving my photography (and life in general). It is about finding opportunities to make nature photographs wherever I happen to be and of whatever I can. Nature is everywhere, photographic subjects are everywhere, the chance to connect is everywhere.
View more photos of back yard birds in my Wildlife gallery.
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