Late Afternoon Sun LEARNING THE ART OF PHOTOGRAPHY LATE IN LIFE

Kiernan O'Rourke-Phipps

Iris

My first loved visual art form was Chinese Brush Painting, but over the last decade, I started to gravitate toward photography. DSLR photography is not a quick study if the photographer is not content to let the camera control everything, and I am not.

When I started to move from taking snapshots to taking art shots, I did not have a clue how to handle my camera, now I most often use manual settings. I am improving every day. My biggest challenge is light. There's rarely enough where I live in Oregon.

However, over the years I have noticed that even in winter there's often a flash of sun near the end of the day. Photographers call the light right after sunrise and before sunset the golden hours. Now that I am no longer young or even middle-aged, this late afternoon sun has become a metaphor for life. The light is there even as we get old, it's our job to go find it or create it. Enjoy the journey. I'm enjoying mine.

The First Step

Photography practice at home had to come first. No point in going far afield when I didn't know the correct settings for shooting with a DSLR camera using manual settings. I had a lot to learn. I wasn't in point & shoot land anymore!

Hummingbirds are the hardest to photograph, incredibly fast and so very, very small. I started with them, of course!
Now I photograph flowers, herons, egrets, Red-breasted Sapsuckers, lampposts, fences, rocks, --anything animal. vegetable, or mineral that catches my eye. I am learning and everything teaches if you let it.
My first model was an Anna's Hummingbird. this is one of my early attempts to shoot her as she came to drink nectar. I used Flash.
Later I got better at capturing her in her environment.
Look at her little feet!
and her tongue!
I was able to get very close as she learned to trust me. Eventually she would come to a nectar feeder in my hand. I felt honored.
Rufous Hummingbird: Trouble in paradise
Rufous Hummingbirds winter far south then return to their summer home, often to the same house on the same street. This guy appeared early last spring, but he drove my poor Anna's crazy, constantly attacking her.
My anna protecting her nectar feeder. I PUT UP MANY EXTRA FEEDERS BUT THE BATTLE CONTINUED UNTIL THE RUFOUS LEFTIN SEPTEMBER. MY ANNA'S WAS REPLACED BY A MALE ANNA'S. I THINK HE'S THE SON OF MY ANNA'S. SHE HAD AN INJURED WING BY SUMMER'S END AND PROBABLY PASSED AWAY. I COULDN'T CATCH HER OR HELP HER. I MISS HER.
The Nectar War with Rufous
Those beaks can do damage
But I will still be happy to see Rufous if he does come back This month (feb 2017). He is what he is. Must be the red feathers makes him so aggressive. Ha!
Other things in our garden
Blooms
More blooms
Butterflies
Varied Thrush in our cherry tree
Quail couple
red-breasted sapsucker
Northern Flicker. when I hear him call, i grab my camera. So beautiful.
Dozens of chickadees
Juvenile Stellar's Jay
They grow up to look menacing.
Don't mess with me!
One of our neighborhood wild turkeys strutting his stuff
We do have cats but they are too well fed to hunt. they just watch the birds and go back to sleep.

The Next Step

Finding new models in new locations. I needed new inspiration and a lot of practice with new subjects.

We went to Oregon sites like Delta Ponds in Eugene, the Oregon Coast at Seaside, and Portland's Japanese Gardens. Also visited Puget Sound in Washington. Nothing exotic, just good practice. I'm not going on Safari anytime soon. (Grin)

Great White Egret on the wing. Birds in Flight (BIF) are one of the hardest shots to get. I'm still working on this, and probably always will be.
Great Blue Heron over Puget Sound
looks prehistoric
Fish for dinner!
CATCHING cool BREEZES on a hot summer Evening.
Great Blue Heron looking photogenic
Stalking frogs
Green heron at delta ponds. It was nearly night so the picture has too much noise. but i never saw him again to get another Photo. Maybe this year I can get a better shot. He's on my list!
where's the food?
drying off
I think I disturbed his hunting. Best to back away quietly.
Mirror, Mirror?
At Alton Baker park on a very cold winter day
Just dropping in.
Female Mallard
Widgeon
Cedar Waxwing
Mallard at Delta Ponds
Merlin Hawk in our cherry tree, looking for a songbird snack. he didn't get any!
Red-shouldered Hawk
This goose hit a power line and started to fall, but recovered immediately. Not a great photo, But i was surprised that I caught it.
Birds in Flight--I'm getting better at BIF.
WILLAMETTE River flooding into Alton Baker Park. Detail of Bikepath and railings. learning to look for patterns I never would have noticed before I started serious photography.
The Boardwalk at Seaside. The sun reflecting from the post and onto my lens made the lampposts appear gold. It was the pattern that I was after, the golden glow was a gift.
Seaside at sunset. Again this was a gift of light on the lens. No artsy auto settings were used.
I'm hoping for more gifts of light in the coming year. I will be looking for them...with my camera.
Full moon and fir
Flash!
Time to go....MORE later...

Revised February 13, 2017

Kiernan

To be continued....

All photos and text by Kiernan O'Rourke-Phipps Copyright 2017

An elegant Emu at Wildlife Safari, Winston, Oregon
Created By
Kiernan O'Rourke-Phipps
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All photos and text copyright Kiernan O'Rourke-Phipps

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