scott bean photography

I like all the seasons and I’m glad that I live in a part of the world that has seasonal weather patterns. I do get tired of the heat at the peak of summer and the cold and colorless world at the end of winter. The seasons don’t listen to our complaining though, they come and go as they will…but part of the joy of seasons is the excitement of experiencing the changes that go along with them.

squirrel relaxing on a tree branch
Relaxing – ISO 400, 330mm, f/8, 1/250

This past weekend, the changes of the coming spring were evident. Beautiful weather, warm temperatures and color were all coming back to our world. I have a lot of yard work that needs to be done to get my yard ready for spring and summer, but I wasn’t really feeling very motivated for yard work (or for much of anything). While sitting on my back porch with my camera I happened to look up and noticed one of our squirrels stretched out on a branch just relaxing. I decided to take the squirrel’s advice and just spend my weekend around home relaxing and photographing spring’s arrival in my yard.

Forsythia blossom
Spring’s Arrival – ISO 400, 400mm, f/8, 1/250th

The forsythia bushes in my backyard were in bloom and in the afternoon sections of them were lit up by the sun – making the blooms almost glow. Our forsythia bushes usually bloom before anything else in the yard and each spring I spend some time photographing them. They are planted close to a wire fence so I typically use a telephoto lens to isolate single clusters of blossoms. Using a shallow depth of field helps isolate the blossoms against the background and removes the fence from the photo. The fence is always there, spring isn’t.

Female Northern Cardinal splashing
Spring Cleaning – ISO 400, 400mm, f/8, 1/400

We have a small stream and pond in our backyard and earlier in the day I got it running again. As soon as the water started flowing in the stream, the birds really started coming into our yard. This female Northern cardinal really seemed to enjoy some personal spring cleaning.

Chickadee – ISO 400, 400mm, f/8, 1/200

The forsythia made a great setting to photograph the birds that were coming to visit our stream. This was the first weekend that the black-capped chickadees had visited our yard in any substantial numbers for awhile. The chickadees are fun to watch (and listen to). There were several that were making trips down to the pond for some bathing and then back up into the forsythia to preen and dry off.

Tufted Titmouse Arrives
Tufted Titmouse Arrives – ISO 400, 400mm, f/8, 1/250

While I was photographing the birds in the forsythia I noticed a new comer to the backyard, a tufted titmouse. While photographing the bird, I noticed that it was eating petals from the forsythia blooms.

Tufted-titmouse feeding another
Love is in the Air – ISO 400, 400mm, f/8, 1/250

Not long after it started doing this, a second titmouse joined it and the first bird started feeding the petals to the second bird. I’m assuming this was some sort of courtship ritual. Love was in the air I guess.

Pair of Tufted titmouse in my yard
Spring Visitors – ISO 400, 400mm, f/8, 1/250

Whatever the behavior was, it was fun to watch and to photograph. It was great to have the birds and the blossoms close by so I could get my “nature fix” while relaxing in my backyard. How cool is that? I’m grateful that I live in an area where I can have a yard with nature in it and where I can spend my weekend relaxing. I know not everyone has that luxury. I also know that I don’t always take the time to appreciate all the cool stuff Mother Nature provides right outside my windows. This winter I’ve spent several weekends photographing the birds in my yard. I’ll be doing less of that this spring and summer, but I’m not going to stop watching (and photographing) nature around my house. I hope I never lose interest in the goings on of nature in my yard or looking forward to the return of the forsythia blossoms each spring. It seems like more and more scientific studies are showing the benefits of enjoying Nature in some form. I think we can all use some relaxation and whatever bit of nature you have around you may be a good place to grab a moment off the whirlwind of modern life.

Happy Spring!

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Scott (249)