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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

disappointment


I drove to the store for birdseed - black oiler sunflower seeds to attract cardinals, and wild bird seed for whatever other birds might be around. I brushed eight inches of snow off the bench in the middle of the meadow and scattered birdseed on and around it.



I set up Don's little deer blind tent near the bench (the red camouflage thing you can't see, above), mounted the camera on the tripod inside, opened the zipper window enough for the camera lens to stick out, focused it on the small tree behind the bench, and waited. I was going to get some stellar close-ups with my new zoom lens of cardinals, or something. I sat on a chair inside, layered in warm clothes and a fleece blanket wrapped around my legs. Oh, and I brought a banana, Oreo cookies and Gatorade. As I say, I waited for the sweet birdies that were sure to light on the pile of seeds for a mid-winter treat. Free food on display! 

Below is the view I could see out of the tiny opening, of the poplars behind the pond. Occasionally clumps of snow fell from the trees, and I jumped (erm, I mean I would have jumped if I'd been moving) thinking a bird had knocked off the snow. But it was only the sun trying to warm things up a bit that made the snow shift off branches. It was around 17 F (-8 C).



If I had the other three flaps of the tent open (I didn't since I wanted to keep the wind out), I'd see this view to the left - the 15-foot sumac and Don's barn. The as-yet-unpainted corner door in the lower left hiding behind the sumac is the door to the chicken coop. Strange how the snow had slid off the black roof in three patches:



. . . this view to my right, of the deer's piney bedroom:



. . . and this view of the neighbor's black walnuts out the back:



In an hour and a half of sitting there, trying not to move or make a sound, I saw birds but only at a distance. They didn't even discover the birdseed. Well, it was a new spot for it.
-
I started shivering, and so I decided to go in. I'll try again. As Peter said when I came in chilled and disappointed, the TV series Planet Earth took five years to film 11 episodes. They sometimes waited and watched hundreds of hours resulting in one video clip.
-
I need patience. And I need to develop an expectation in the birds that seed will be at this spot consistently. If I don't disappoint them, maybe they won't disappoint me.-


I processed the image above at picnik.com with the lomo filter.

For breathtaking snow photographs, please visit Vincent Munier's site. His book White Nature has inspired me to work on snow photography.

87 comments:

VioletSky said...

Patience. It is so hard, isn't it?

All those beautiful nature photographs that you think 'just happened'.

I bought myself the Planet Earth (no one else was going to) and now I just need HDTV (which I assume no one else will buy me either).

rauf said...

oh i typed picnic.com Ruth and it took me somewhere else.
Banana at -8 C ?.. you'll have a runny nosee Ruth. Fast running nose. You start at home now and your nose already reached the university.
i have no patience too. The birds will soon discover the seeds, you'd be havin an apternoon nap den.
i am still trying to figure out picnik.com, too many tings here Ruth, don know where to click.
All the pictures are like paintings Ruth. The last one is a winner.

Anet said...

I filled our feeder in late November. Not a single bird touched it until last week on a bright sunny day, we had chickadees for hours. I also heard them happily chripping away the other morning when the sun was shinning. I stopped and listened. It reminded me of spring!

I don't know Ruth, maybe you should try on a sunny day. They seem to be more active when the sun is shinning.
I think it's wonderful, all the effort you put into your photo session. Good wishes for lots of birdies for you!!!

Oliag said...

I remember some of my favorite earlier movies and tv shows were Disney's nature movies..I wondered then how they managed to get that film!...I agree that if you wait...they will come!

Your property makes beautiful winter landscapes..

Loring Wirbel said...

While I hate to bring up hunters (growing up in Michigan and forsaking hunting after age 16 really makes me weird), duck hunters are used to sitting in blinds for seven hours or so without a sighting. That's why so much alcohol is consumed.

Thanks for the link to Munier's site, and thanks as always for your outstanding pictures.

Sandy said...

These photos are gorgeous! I could never had sat in the cold that long but of course, the oreos must have helped.

Love what you did with the bottom photo. I'll have to check out that site.

thanks for getting so cold trying to bring us beautiful photos of birds. You missed the mark on the birds but the photos are great.

Susan said...

Boy, you're gonna get really cold in five years time! ;) But, I expect we will see some Planet Earth-quality photographs. I love, love, love that last picture. I'm pretty sure you could sell it as a print. In fact, I would buy it for framing, most definitely. It would look great in my bedroom.

Oh yeah, that log bench, yeah, we have one just like it in our backyard by the fire pit. Coincidence? I don't think so. Doo-doo-doo-doo......

carl h. sr. said...

Surprise! I love that natural bench. Who'd a thunk it?
What beautiful scenery all around you,and the blind looks so small and cozy.
Hiding in a little tent with snacks and waiting to 'catch' a bird,sounds like your little girl inside was in charge for that adventure. Congratulations!
Oh by the way,the 'other'cake will make you large again if need be.

Mrs. M. said...

I'm thinking, "hahaha" at the very nutritional stash of food for the winter experience. What? No hot chocolate in a thermos? :)

I hope you value your time spent to capture the beautiful pictures.

Come to my house. We have a cardinal family that lives in our valencia orange tree year round...grant it, they probably look prettier against a background of white and brown instead of orange and blue!

Leena said...

Ruth,
you did not sit there for nothing, we can see now your fine waiting photos !
Birds will come still later and probably, when you are not there.

thank you also a link to Vincent Munier's site, I stayed there a long time admiring his work thinking those conditions, where he has been and inhabitants live.

Nice days to you, Ruth!

Gwen Buchanan said...

Oh this silly thing ate my comment..
here goes again...
You have a new lens for your camera.. you must be enjoying that...
I love the snow on the trees... especially in the sumac grove.. It must have been falling oh so gently..
what a wonderful landscape you live in Ruth... so much inspiration...

freefalling said...

Funny.
I can just see you sitting there all alone in your "camouflage" tent - waiting, waiting, waiting.
You are, what we would affectionately term, "a dag"
(I've told you about those, right?)

Babs (Beetle) said...

That's dedication for you! In time they will find your food and I expect great photos :O)

Amy said...

oh ruth! these photos are breathtaking nontheless:) darn about the birds you will catch them next time:) a new lens??? such fun and wow the shots! love that green barn:) it's my favorite as is PLANET EARTH at this house if it's on we watch incredible stuff! xo

Deslilas said...

Fine post and pics.
We had one week with intense cold (for us, around -10° celsius) our landscapes were beautiful with the frozen lakes and a thin snow cover.

Today it's less pleasant, the snow has melt and the fields are very muddy.

Ruth said...

Sanna, I hope you're feeling better. I was really afraid my stupidity was going to get me a full blown cold. But thankfully, after 24 hours of feeling punky, I'm fine.

Yes, I need patience, and intelligence and a plan. I need to go in when I start shivering. And I won't be going out this week, except to keep scattering seed. We are having -15C temps, and you are probably much colder up there.

Ruth said...

rauf, I see the picnic (picnic.com) is under construction. In picnik.com I mostly use some of the effects under "create" and I also use the frames. Thanks to Leena who shared this with me. She has beautiful snow pictures too, in Finland, just tremendous.

No doubt you are right, I will be sleeping when the birds finally come.

Ruth said...

Anet, that's a long time until the chickadees found the feed. It's good they found it before the deep freeze this week, we need to remember to keep them full. I could use some nice down like they have, I wonder if they ever feel cold.

Ruth said...

Oliag, they had some remarkable footage in those films. I don't understand how they can get so close without detection. The one that really astonished me was 'Winged Migration' following flocks of birds. They used balloons, gliders, planes and helicopters. And it took four years to film 98 minutes.

Ruth said...

Loring, I was admiring hunters sitting there for my measly 1.5 hours, when they stay out all day. And ice fishers.

Did you see Munier's photographs of the bison (ovibos)? Those are my favorites.

Ruth said...

Thank you, Sandy. I find the landscape beautiful, and it's enough for me. But it's nice to get an animal in the picture. I'm realizing just how much effort it takes to make that happen. I wonder how you do it at your bird blog?

Ruth said...

Dear Susan, if you have a good printer at home, and photographic paper, I'd gladly send you the photograph in high resolution via email, and you can print it out!

You have a bench like that?? Did David make it? Or you?

There are no coincidences, not between you and me.

Ruth said...

Surprise, surprise, Carl. That rough sawn wood sends you. Hehe. You're funny.

And thank you for what you said about the little girl. I hadn't thought of it, and that makes me happy. And good to know about resizing if needed. :)

Ruth said...

Mrs. M., I don't know, the valencia tree sounds picturesque to me. And I wouldn't be in danger of getting cold. Maybe hot though, or maybe it is perfectly pleasant right now in FL.

I do value the time I spent, mostly. It would be easier to be meditative sitting there if I wasn't concentrating on not being cold.

I did think about taking coffee with me, but I was running out of hands for carrying, and it's a rather strenuous trek (!) through the knee-deep snow, so I didn't want to make more than one trip setting up, well I did make two as it was.

Ruth said...

Oh Leena, I'm so glad you enjoyed Munier's work. You understand these conditions and have produced many memorable photographs where you live. You know it's one reason I like your work so much, because of winter.

Ruth said...

Yes, Gwen, the new lens is great. I didn't use it for any of these shots. It has a strong zoom and will be perfect when the birds come into range.

The snow did fall all day Sunday when I was out there. I never tire of it, but I must say this cold got to me a bit this time.

Eat a pickled egg for me!

Ruth said...

Letty, I can't remember if 'dag' is in my glossary of Aussie terms from Letitia. I looked it up at the Aussie slang site and it says:

Dag - Amusingly uncoordinated, "he's such a dag"

I embrace 'amusingly uncoordinated' and march on stoicly forthwith!

Ruth said...

I hope so, Babs. I took more seed out in the dark last night. It's dark when we leave for work and dark when we get home. Well, it wasn't very dark because the snow made it bright.

Ruth said...

Hi Amy! I didn't use the new lens for these shots, but it has a terrific zoom, and I'm learning its qualities.

We watched the Deep Ocean episode at Christmas with Don's family, and we were spellbound. I'd like to buy the set.

Ruth said...

Hi Daniel. The last few winters here have provided fresh snow every few days so it always looks fresh. We haven't had a muddy winter in so long. Now we wait for March mud.

I hope you folks in France are staying warm, I know you're not as prepared for this cold. At least Russia's pipes should be opening back up to you soon (I think Ukraine still kept them closed after Russia released it?).

Gwen Buchanan said...

Ruth I stole some moments to take a tour of Vincent Munier's site.. I am blown away by his photography.. I don't even know if I have the words to describe the way I feel for it.. makes one stop! center in..absorb.. study .. .. I am still without the words!!! simply in AWE.
Thank you..

Peter said...

I think you just have to accept that some birds are a bit stupid! :-)

Donica said...

Ruth..these shots are amazing! Did you say "new lens"? Was it a Christmas gift? Keep trying...they will come and you will be rewarded for your patience.

laura said...

A valiant effort, Ruth. You were well prepared! Hopefully the cardinals will catch on, though, in the meantime, the birdless views are also very fine!

Anna said...

Ruth you are funny, lol. Well it took 3 months for the birds to find birdseeds on my backyard. Unfortunately, I had to stop, it attracted rodents, and there is one now in my window frame. Hopefully those noise repellants will work, lol. Excellent photos, love every one of them. Anna :)

Moi said...

things we do for love (of camera)!!!! :) :)
before commenting here, I checked out the link to vincent munier's website.....breathtaking!!!!! thanks for sharing the link.......

the cardinals must have been cuddling together to stay warm......better luck next time, Ruth......on the lines of if you build, they'll come.......if you feed, they'll come :)

meanwhile, you stay warm and enjoy the winters .......:)

photowannabe said...

Its so hard to be patient but I bet you will get the best bird shots ever.
I love your final snow picture with the drifts in the bends of the trees. Really beautiful.

lesleyanne said...

You are truly an amazing woman. To sit in the cold (that is already showing extreme patience), to take photos. These winter wonderland photos are truly beautiful. Loves.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Oh, but look at the photos you did get! Perfect paintings of winter! I loved them.

Ruth said...

Gwen, that's all you can do with his photographs - and all photographs that make you go inside. They are a revelation.

Ruth said...

Peter, hahaha.

But I'm afraid that are much smarter than me. They are surviving more than 1.5 hours in this cold.

Ruth said...

Donica, the new lens was a gift, yes. I need to do more with it, and as you see, I am developing patience.

Ruth said...

Thanks for the vote of confidence, Laura. I'll keep you posted, literally you'll see anything here that I eventually catch on the sensor. Let's hope sometime this year!

Ruth said...

Hi Anna! When I took more seed out the other night, the first seed was gone. Whether it was birds or deer that ate it, I can't tell.

Ruth said...

Moi, yes I think they will come too. I must be steady and keep giving them seed. But I must also stay alive and healthy. Thankfully my little sore throat has not developed into anything worse.

You stay warm too! This is mighty cold stuff.

Ruth said...

Sue, I hope I can get some eventually. I'm glad like that last shot. This winter stuff is so beautiful, even if it is harsh.

Ruth said...

Haha, Wesrey. Takes one to know one, hehe. We have more snow than when you and Brian were here! It's knee-deep, and by the time I get back to the house from the meadow I feel I've climbed Everest. Well, not exactly, but I think about thems who did.

Ruth said...

Oh, thank you Pamela!

Ginnie said...

I'm guessing by the third time you'll be charmed, Ruth. And knowing you, it'll be a delight for sore eyes! :)

Ruth said...

Boots, we shall see, as they say. In this cooooold weather, it's harder, and even more important, to remember to keep seed out there for them.

Bhavesh Chhatbar said...

That's sad, but I liked the first photograph.

workhard said...

hey nature lover, those pictures are simply beautiful, i think im gonna pick one of them and paint

BPO work from home

Tracie said...

i had to giggle reading your blog.. as i am a 'newbie' at photography.. and have my share of missed moments and impatience. ;) [see blog for my snow shots]
CONGRATS! on being blog-worthy!!
and look forward to adding you to my faves!

blessings,
Tracie

Drive thru said...

Congratulations for "Blog of Notes". it is really a piece of art. I just started blogging 5 weeks ago and I love it.

Very nice pictures. It's - 25 to -30 C here in Canada. Brrrr...

Christina said...

These pictures are positively gorgeous! Gorgeous!

Michelle said...

Your photos are amazing... I love the last one... it captures something that resonates with my memories of being a kid in Massachusetts in the early 80s... snow coated the trees like blankets, so pretty!

~Michelle
http://givingtree2009.blogspot.com/

Noelle said...

beautiful photos and Bishop the barncat is adorable. :)

Ruth said...

It's ok Bhavesh, I'll try again. Thank you!

Ruth said...

Oh, Workhard, that's terrific! I'd love to see the results.

Ruth said...

Hi Tracie! Your snow shots were beautiful, and also some funny ones. It's fun to see the world through the eyes of others, isn't it?

Thank you!

Ruth said...

Hi, Drive thru! Wow, don't know what I am complaining about, that is cold.

You have a unique blog, I like it. Best wishes in your PhD work.

Ruth said...

Thank you, Christina dear.

Ruth said...

Thanks, Michelle! Ah, New England in winter, I've never experienced that. But it's in my head as beautiful.

Ruth said...

Thank you, Noelle! And yes, Bishop is the queen of adorable.

Cori said...

Thanks to blogs of note I found your blog and love seeing your snowy photos. I look forward to seeing birds enjoying your sunflower seeds

Ruth said...

Hi, Cori, thanks for your visit. I hope we'll all see the birds at the seed - from my camera!

I hope you're enjoying all those animals of yours.

Gary said...

Patience is the key. When it's really cold, plenty of birds will stay in the thickets keeping as warm as they can.

Also, birds can detect something new in the area - the blind may be making them wary. Can it be semi-concealed amongst coniferous trees?

A couple of tricks that helped me, on occasion, are the following:

- Spread plenty of seed on top of the snow in a fairly wide circle so that birds can spot it from the air.

- I have a couple of cardinal ornaments, real size, the proper colour, and covered in feathers. If you can find similar ones in a craft type store, they would be good to use as decoys for the real birds.

A great blog!

Keep up the good work. I enjoyed it very much.

I invite you to visit my site at garyross.ca.

Have a healthy and prosperous 2009.

Good luck birding.

UFO Blogger said...

Here you got a really fascinating blog ...Good work ....


UFO Blogger

Ruth said...

Thank you so much, Gary, for the birding tips. I will spread the seed wider. And the bird ornaments are a great idea.

I appreciate your kind visit!

Ruth said...

UFO Blogger, thank you, not fascinating like yours is fascinating! I have chills . . .

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CSouthwell said...

You have some beautiful shots here.

ashame you got no birds. But you got a hell of a lot more snow than i have ever seen.

:)

keep at it, and you will be rewarded.

definatley a blog of note.

Ruth said...

That's really nice, CSouthwell. Have a terrific birthday on Inauguration Day!!

CSouthwell said...

I shall do.

thanks again, for you lovely comments.

Bob Johnson said...

Awesome images Ruth, sometimes we don't get what we want no matter how long we wait, but we do get something, your images are cool, even without the birds.

This is coming from someone who has spent countless hours in the cold waiting for stuff that never happened but got something else along the way.

Mónica said...

nice pic

Ruth said...

Bob, I'm embarrassed to even be complaining in your presence. :|

Ruth said...

Mónica, obrigado!

Daisy said...

Hello (distant!) neighbour!
Even without the hoped for birds, your photos are wonderful! I'm also visual and enjoy your blog immensely.
Barbara, writing for Daisy

Painting said...

Sounds nice! Thanks for sharing!
Warmly welcome to visit http://www.art-ych.com
Oil painting
Oil paintings
Painting

Ruth said...

Thank you very much, Barbara. Please tell Daisy I loved the Irish song about O'Bama.

Ruth said...

Keep sharing art tips, Painting.

Bhavesh Chhatbar said...

I would like to know when you retry

Ruth said...

Bhavesh, I will post when I do. Thank you for your interest.

Edward Yablonsky said...

Ruth I really enjoy your naturescapes and photography. I have learned by being sensitive to nature. I do hope you visit my blog. THANK YOU.

Ruth said...

I'm so glad to hear that, Edward. We need to learn more from Nature, I know I do.

Best wishes for your blog, I enjoyed reading your posts.

workhard said...

once im done i ll send you :D

BPO work from home