an everyday photo, every day | photography • art • poetry

Posts tagged “wildlife

I’ve Moved, Please Follow Me!

Seagulls on a Mission
Seagulls on a Mission

Seagulls on a Mission

I’ve finally taken the time to move “Today” from a free site to a self-hosted site so I have more control over the template and lots of other little details. Please click over and follow me there! I’ve moved all my photos and posts to the new site and this is the last time I will post on this site.

www.bernadettestoday.com

Thanks for following me!

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All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.


“Safe”, original framed pastel

"Safe", pastel, 15" x 20", 2015 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

“Safe”, pastel, 15″ x 20″, 2015 © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

This painting is entitled “Safe”, 15″ x 20″ , done in soft pastel on Strathmore pastel paper.

ABOUT THE ARTWORK

This work was one of my new paintings for the 2015 Wings & Wildlife Art Show at the National Aviary in Pittsburgh. It’s called “Safe”, done pastel from my photo references. It’s the two does who have visited my backyard for the past two years. They would often scurry through my woodland garden to the overgrown area between all our yards when I came outside, and though they were in plain sight of about six houses they apparently felt they were safe—and they were, really, because when I looked at the reference photo for this I wondered why I’d taken a photo of the brush at the end of the yard, and then I saw the ears.

The original is framed with a 4″ white acid-free mat and a 1.25″ white painted arched wood frame.

You can find the original in my Etsy shop along with framed and unframed prints.

SHIPPING AND CHARGES

Shipping within the US is included in the cost of each print.

Prints up to 16″ x 20″ are shipped flat in a rigid envelope. Larger prints are shipped rolled in a mailing tube unless otherwise requested; flat shipping is an extra cost because it’s oversized.

GICLEE PRINTS

The giclees are printed on acid-free hot press art paper for a smooth matte finish using archival inks. Giclee is the highest quality print available because the technique uses a dozen or more ink ports to capture all the nuances of the original painting, including details of the texture, far more sensitive than any other printing medium. Sometimes my giclees look so much like my originals that even I have a difficult time telling them apart when they are in frames.

I don’t keep giclee prints in stock for most of my works. Usually I have giclees printed as they are ordered unless I have an exhibit where I’ll be selling a particular print so there is a wait of up to two weeks before receipt of your print to allow for time to print and ship.

DIGITAL PRINTS

Digital prints are made on acid-free matte-finish natural white 100# cover using archival digital inks. While digital prints are not the quality of a giclee in capturing every nuance and detail of color, texture and shading, I am still very pleased with the outcome and usually only I as the artist, could tell where detail and color were not as sharp as the original. Digital prints are only available up to 11″ x 17″ and some of the prints are cropped to fit standard mat and frame sizes.

Digital prints have at least 1/2″ around the edges depending on the size of the print. All are countersigned by me.

CANVAS PRINTS

Because the standard size canvas prints are not proportional to the original painting, canvas prints of this painting will have a portion cropped off.

I usually have at least one of the smaller sizes of canvases on hand, but order larger ones as they are ordered because I have limited storage space. Smaller canvases are a 3/4″ in depth, Canvases 12 x 16 and larger are 1-1/2″ in depth. I set them up so the image runs from edge to edge, then the sides are black or white or sometimes I slip in a color that coordinates with the painting. This canvas mirrors the edges of the image around the sides.

FRAMED PRINTS

I do all my own framing and can custom frame a print for you. Please ask.

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All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.


Get Your Geese in a Row

Get Your Geese in a Row
Get Your Geese in a Row

Get Your Geese in a Row

“Getting your geese in a row. On Chartiers Creek in Carnegie.”

I had a meeting in Carnegie and walked to and fro. On the way back, about 2:00 in the afternoon with partly cloudy skies overhead. As I approached the bridge I could see geese in the water, coming out from under the bridge, first a little group, then single and evenly spaced almost in a perfect line. I got as many as my camera could get, and this time was happy for the focal distance in my smartphone as the line looks like it goes on into infinity. I used the “blue wash” filter and like the rainbow effect it put on the surface of the water.

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All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.


Beauty Overall

Beauty Overall
Beauty Overall

Beauty Overall

I stood on a bridge and photographed the wildlife activity in the creek today as I walked my errand to the bank and back. A fish that looked like a carp that looked like it was planning on a little spawning was moving the silt around in the creek bed; I photographed the activity, trying to see it more clearly. I also happened to see a goose farther downstream, standing in shallow water, first silhouetted, then against a reflected background of foliage. I photographed the goose too.

A while later the goose decided to take a little swim and quickly came toward where the fish was busily moving the creek bed around with pushes from its tail. Along his way the goose passed over still and riffled water, and the span of ripples he created as he floated were lovely, and the goose was lovely too, in silhouette. That was a lovely series of photos, and the one featured here is one of those.

Then as it came closer to me I saw this goose’s wings weren’t folded as usual, and one wing was lifted higher and almost held over his back. He’d been injured, and possibly had a bad heal, but he was still carrying on with his business in the creek. I wondered if he could fly and decided I’d keep an eye out for him.

It was interesting that the position of his wing wasn’t noticeable until he was very close, and where seeing him up close the wing might have been the first thing to notice, it was a minor detail. Seeing the goose in the context of what he was about in his daily routine told far more about him than his physical appearance alone. The beauty in him was in his actions and the scene overall, and that only one detail.

I feel fortunate that I can walk my errand and see these things, something new each day, and find inspiration and enlightenment during my own daily routines.

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All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.


Lunch and a Swim

Young Mallard
Young Mallard

Young Mallard

This young mallard combines both activities on a hot afternoon, wading in a shallow inlet and nibbling around in the plants growing on the bottom. I’ve been watching them grow and lately seen the little flock of seven venture farther from their mother. This was the first time they’ve been close enough for a photo.

That water looked very inviting on my way to and from the post office today.

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All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.


Changes Like the Season

Just napping, lionesses at the Pittsburgh Zoo.
    Just napping, lionesses at the Pittsburgh Zoo.

Just napping, lionesses at the Pittsburgh Zoo.

Today, a season changes. The change is not a sudden flip from one scene to the next but a subtle change of light and the tone of the shadows, a scent in the air, and a knowledge that something has changed that will never turn back. Summer has taken a step toward autumn, when the wild and abundant growth of the season ebbs and living things prepare to harvest or be harvested. It is both the cross-quarter festival of Lugnasadh, reflecting on the death of what has grown that now gives us life and sustenance, and the Christian Feast of Lammas, or Loaf-mass, when the first loaves of bread were baked from the year’s first harvest of wheat.

We’ve mourned the loss of a member of our animal kingdom, a wild but oddly friendly lion, unique in color, tagged by us humans in a way that teaches us about him and the way his species lives. Funny, you’d think for the millennia humans have shared the Earth with lions and the myriad ideals lions symbolize in nearly all cultures around the globe we’d know all about lions. But mostly what we know about lions is how to kill them, sometimes for protection, sometimes for food, and sometimes for the need to prove we are the dominant species on this planet. Only now, in this century and the last, have we humans mounted a serious campaign to actually learn about the king of beasts and his society instead of competing with him.

Why does the death of Cecil touch us so? Why him instead of all the other deaths of imperiled species and domestic animals and our pets and people too? In part because of its heinous nature, the trickery involved, Cecil’s suffering, the unfairness of how and why he was killed, and the absolute stupidity of trophy hunting itself—killing an animal just to prove you could kill it and taking its outer identity as a prize, even though the “hunt” was staged at little risk to the “hunter”. No doubt it’s also partly because in his way he reached out to us, and we felt free to reach back to him, and now we’ve lost a social link with a species we fear and hardly know and we may never have that link again.

Perhaps the calls for punishment for his death and an end to the practice of trophy hunting is a reflection of our regret for that loss, and while it seems to be centered on Cecil, it really extends to all the wild animals among whom we’ve lived in our time on earth but about whom we also know little but how to kill. Perhaps now we feel we can leave behind our fear of these animals and we feel safe enough to live in peace with them. Possibly some of us actually do.

But change comes slowly, like the seasons, leaf by leaf, grain by grain, moment by moment, day by day, until one day we notice the leaves are changing color and the fields are a sea of warm and waving amber and a new season is upon us and there is no turning back. Pets had always been considered expendable in evacuations but ten years ago people refused to leave their pets behind in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. That wasn’t the first time people had refused, it was one of a growing number of times, but it became a tipping point after which pets became part of the emergency plan. Cecil was a tipping point, many unjust animal deaths led up to the outcry against his killing, and we’ve taken a step or two farther in really, honestly, protecting wild species and in respect for the other living things on this planet and possibly finally learning about them. Everyone isn’t moving along at the same pace, but the standards have changed and there is no turning back.


This was first published on The Creative Cat. Read more Essays on The Creative Cat.

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.


 

© 2015 | www.TheCreativeCat.net | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski
Weekly schedule of features:
Sunday: Essays, Pet Loss, Poetry, The Artist’s Life
Monday: Adoptable Cats, TNR & Shelters
Tuesday: Rescue Stories
Wednesday: Commissioned Portrait or Featured Artwork
Thursday: New Merchandise
Friday: Book Review, Health and Welfare, Advocacy
Saturday: Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat, Living Green With Pets, Creating With Cats
And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!
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Spidery Visitor

Opportunist.
Opportunist.

Opportunist.

Today’s garden visitor, hard at work, clever little orb weaver. I’m surprised my smartphone got such clear photos, and the light was only angled into that spot for a few minutes. I posted it first on Facebook, but I always download my phone photos to my computer and I can do so much more retouching in Photoshop, adjusting the light and especially retrieving details in the overdone highlights on the spider, though I don’t get them all back.

Hanging out.

Hanging out.

And here is one from 2013 on this date, much more balance taken with my DSLR.

Waiting. spiderweb

Waiting

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All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.


Moving Along

Geese 1
Geese 1

Geese 1

The Canada geese took their daily tour of the creek around the bridge. Though I was caught with a very overcast day and only my smartphone for a camera which would make the photos dark with saturated shadows and likely a little soft, I photographed away. I can always do something with them using filters and so I did.

The goslings are getting pretty big—just a month ago they took their first swimming lesson—but still keeping close to mom and dad and the side of the creek. I liked the photos of them emerging into the light and the interesting patterns made by reflections and shadows.

Geese 2

Geese 2

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All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.


A Visitor

Squirrel having a drink at the birdbath.
Squirrel having a drink at the birdbath.

Squirrel having a drink at the birdbath.

When all the cats gathered at the windows and door and grew suddenly quiet, I knew we had an important visitor. And because the light was so special I got a number of really nice photos through the windows. I was focused on his reflection because the angle and the light were so good for that, and if it hadn’t been for the whirlybirds in the water I would have gotten a really nice one. Still nice photos though, with all the green coming through.

Squirrel having a drink at the birdbath.

Squirrel having a drink at the birdbath.

Squirrel at attention.

Squirrel at attention.

Squirrel having a drink at the birdbath.

Squirrel having a drink at the birdbath.

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All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.


Well Camouflaged

Well Camouflaged
Well Camouflaged

Well Camouflaged

A goldfinch landed just for a moment in the river birch as the sun shone through all the new leaves on everything. The photo is taken through a double pane window at an angle into the sun, I’m shocked I could focus at all and glad I caught this little guy.

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All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.


Squirrely

Squirrely
Squirrely

Squirrely

I have plenty of photos of squirrels, but I like the background colors in this one, and the contrast between cool and warm. All that soft blue and green is actually my neighbor’s recycling bin and garbage bags and car. You just never know how things will turn out.

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All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.


Sing Your Song

Sing Your Song
Sing Your Song

Sing Your Song

The wren may be the size of your thumb but she fills the morning.

I have been trying to get this photo for years, the wren standing up with her head thrown back and her mouth open, especially in the morning light. They flit around so fast and I’m often photographing through my window so I can’t follow their flight. But I heard a sudden burst of wren song and looked out to see this little one on the deck railing. I focused and caught one-two-three photos as she hopped a step or two between each verse and looked to see…that I had forgotten to change the filter on my camera from incandescent to average balance, so the three photos were tinted very blue. I can remove that, but I also noticed that the plastic bag I’d used to line a hanging basket on the edge of the deck railing (the cocoa shell liner is seen at the right edge) had been pulled up by either one of the squirrels or one of the birds, and it just wasn’t something I wanted in this lovely photo. I had one more chance before she hopped behind the post and flew off, and this was that one chance.

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All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.


Playing Hide and Seek

Natural Background With Two Deer.
Natural Background With Two Deer.

Natural Background With Two Deer.

The two does were piecing their way through the debris of winter in our back yards on a sunny morning. Many trees stand at the end of my yard and all the adjoining yards, and tiny twigs and early leaves act as foils and decorations to the photos of these two. I like to get nice clear everyday photos of wildlife, but I also like to treat them as other subjects too, as if floating in a different reality, for instance, among unknown natural forms. Below the two are making a decision on something.

Making decisions.

Making decisions.

Here is the older one, standing tall in her cut-through spot next to my neighbor’s shed. She likes to sun herself there in the afternoon.

The doe in her favorite afternoon spot.

The doe in her favorite afternoon spot.

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All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.


Wishful Thinking

Violets in spring grass.
Violets in spring grass.

Violets in spring grass.

“Our life is shaped by our mind, for we become what we think.”

~Gautama Buddha, The Dhammapada as translated by Eknath Easwaran

I’ve never been one to be dissatisfied with the season at hand. What’s the point? I’ll put my energies to more productive activities, or like Moses napping below, taken in March 2004, I’ll just enjoy what is for what it has to offer and learn from that.

Moses napping on the sun-warmed boards of the deck.

Moses napping on the sun-warmed boards of the deck.

But I will admit near the end of a season I am decidedly looking forward to the change to the next one. I have always enjoyed the changing of the seasons. I am intensely visual and even indoors I become visually bored with colors and patterns so I thank nature for providing me with a reason to wear different clothes, participate in different activities and see things in both a real and virtual different light. I also then have a marker for memories by the season, or the weather, or what I was wearing, and many other details gathered and stored by my senses. And just as I have a way to perceive the past, I have a way to shape the future with the same means.

Contact print from March 2004 photos.

Contact print from March 2004 photos.

I’ve been following the seasons in my ongoing quest to work through three decades of photos on film to determine which ones to add to my collections, and with no small amount of wishful thinking this particular year I am anticipating spring, and in my photo collections I’ve come around to the sudden burst of colors I’ll soon see blooming in my yard. On just about each roll of 36 exposures there is at least one study of one of my cats, maybe just one photo of a special moment that marks it in time for me.

Cookie at the top of the stairs in spring sun.

Cookie at the top of the stairs in spring sun.

No doubt I appreciate now more fully what I see, be it clear or blurry, artsy or simply functional, than I did when first saw the contact prints and sorted through the prints themselves. At that time I was looking for what I saw when I took the photo, and often the image didn’t look at all like what I’d “seen”, what I’d “envisioned” when I set all the settings and hit the shutter. I often met with disappointment but just as often surprise as I discovered something I hadn’t planned that I thought was far better than what I had planned. Sometimes I took field notes on the mechanics of each shot, but usually not and I had to guess how to recreate the effect based on what I remembered, but so I learned through the years, reading, studying, and experimenting with lots of photos.

Native wild columbines, trying to capture their buoyant blooming habit.

Native wild columbines, trying to capture their buoyant blooming habit.

But now I have more years of experience at both taking photos and looking at them. As I would expect, my assessment has changed, evolved, as I have learned, seen, experienced, sharpened my vision and softened my expectations, both in photography and in life. Now when I look at these photos I see more clearly what is actually there, and less what I then thought could, should or would be there.

Namir studying me through the lace curtain; look for the ear.

Namir studying me through the lace curtain; look for the ear.

It’s perfectly fine that I’ve gone through this process, that I saw things as I did when I was younger and less knowledgeable but see things as I do now through a lens more clearly focused by experience. We roll around and squall before we crawl and babble, and there to toddling and talking. Learning and change is part of life. In the same way I have learned more and yet more about caring for my cats, and myself, and my garden, and new skills and preferences that didn’t even exist when I first set out on this journey.

Contact print from April 2004 photos.

Contact print from April 2004 photos.

And as I can look through that lens filtered with my collected experiences and see what is there, I can relive the memories gathered therein, remember the heat of Moses’s fur after she’d been absorbing the sun on the deck and how deeply I loved her in that moment of trust for a formerly feral cat, or exactly what Cookie’s face looked like fearing I might actually forget, and how she always made me smile inside and out, and she knew it too, Namir studying me through the lace curtain metaphorically hiding his feelings, and those spring mornings in my yard with each of them, hearing birds whistle, finding new flowers each day, finding new ways to capture, interpret and express all of it. I can also look through it for what could be there with new ideals and aspirations modifying my view, anticipating changes to make to achieve new effects or conclusions, trying a new technique or further perfecting one I’ve been learning, determining what materials I need to achieve my goal.

Our life is shaped by our mind, for we become what we think.”

Wishful thinking has never been a bad thing. I’m looking forward to a new spring of cats and flowers so that I can perceive and interpret these things with yet one more year of experience to filter my abilities and my creative endeavors.

A cardinal seen between the porch pillar and a tree.

A cardinal seen between the porch pillar and a tree.

I originally posted this essay on The Creative Cat.

For more feline photos, visit The Creative Cat.

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All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.

 


Make it Stop

Tufted Titmouse
Tufted Titmouse

Tufted Titmouse

This is a little tufted titmouse I photographed over the weekend when it was snowing and icy…again. The little guy got his wish! Today was in the 40s, and it’s getting warmer.

Photographed through my window.

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All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.


Breakfast!

Just the three sparrows.
Just the three sparrows.

Just the three sparrows.

sparrows in snowy bush

Breakfast!

The sparrows fill the forsythia, twittering until I fill the feeder on the deck and go back inside, though plenty of times they’ve “jumped the gun” and nearly landed on me in their excitement to eat. I managed to get this shot when I get back in the door and took a group photo of them waiting in the forsythia, and managed to catch three of them taking flight.

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All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.


Bright Spot in a Dark Day

male northern cardinal
male northern cardinal

Bright color

It was so dark today that even this male Northern Cardinal’s brilliant feathers were dulled down instead of his typical flaming red. He’s tucked into the bare branches inside the spruce while ice pellets are falling, not a nice weather for anyone out there.

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All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.


An Unexpected Visitor

deer in wildflowers
deer in wildflowers

An Unexpected Visitor

Some people may be laughing very hard right now that I was surprised to find a deer in my back yard, considering they seem to be everywhere as we’ve taken over their habitat and they find our landscaping more than edible. But in the 25 years I’ve been here I’ve never even seen a deer in my neighborhood let alone in my yard. I’ve been kind of glad for my garden, though the groundhog does as much damage as a herd of deer. But I couldn’t even figure out how the deer got in my yard. It’s not entirely fenced, only on two sides, but there are brush piles and dense shrubs on the other sides so the back yard is pretty protected, and not easy for a deer to break into…unless he walked through the spot Mimi and I had walked through the other day.

I returned from errands today and prepared to step out to the back yard for a bit with Mimi—she had been waiting all day and was letting me know about that. I had my container of things for the compost and my cameras and just went to the sink to fill the watering can when I looked out the window and saw…

A buck sleeping in my back yard.

A buck sleeping in my back yard.

Of course I raced around with my cameras photographing out the windows and into the back yard with my zoom lens. I wasn’t interested in getting caught in my yard with a deer who might feel he was trapped. He didn’t pay me much attention, though, just layed around here and there, got up and had a snack on wild grape leaves and goldenrod stems, which is fine with me.

A buck sleeping in my back yard.

Standing up–he looks a little shaggy still.

It looks like he’s still shedding out his winter coat, and the velvet is still on his antlers, so he’s looking far and wide for food. At this point there is nothing actively growing in my garden. The early things are done and the weather was too wet and cold to work the soil so I decided to wait before planting again.

A buck sleeping in my back yard.

“I hear a human.”

Interestingly, while I was photographing at my garden gate, from where I got most of these photos, I heard a familiar avian voice and heard a humming, and turned to see a humming bird hovering near me. It left, then came back and perched on a branch in the lilac, but didn’t seem to be upset with me being there, if there was a nest near, for instance. They can be quite aggressive but this female just seemed to be spending time with me. I see them at the feeder in front, and soon the geraniums and scarlet runner beans will be blooming to their great delight.

The buck left the yard while I was inside for just a moment and I didn’t see how he’d gone. I went up the street to look into other backyards and talk to my neighbor who has cats and a dog and kids to see if they’d ever seen a deer in the yard or the neighborhood and they had not. We all went down to my yard so I could show the kids some cardinal nests in my spruce and give them some doggy goodies from Saturday, when another neighbor came up the street from a block away to show me a photo he’d taken of the deer in my back yard. Apparently it was the talk of some of the neighborhood this afternoon! He told me he’d seen them come down the alley from the top of the hill a few times, but today his father had told him, “That girl has a buck in her yard,” so he came up to photograph the buck. He’ll be sending it to me, and when I get it I’ll add it—it was a very nice photo, and I’m so glad he told me he’d seen the buck before.

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For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.

All images in this post are copyright © Bernadette E. Kazmarski and may not be used without prior written permission.


Family Outing

Canada Geese on the creek
Canada Geese on the creek

Family Outing

Mom and dad and the kids out for a little practice swim on the creek.

This would have been so nice if I’d had my DSLR, but I’m glad to have seen them nonetheless. They are paddling upstream, and a little farther down was another two adults with a whole bundle of little fuzzballs floating on the water. I couldn’t even count them, way more than two geese typically have, but that explained why the first two only had two.

It’s rare that I don’t have the good camera with me, but when I forget it or leave the house too fast I’m sure to see something like this shot of the great blue heron that would have been fantastic with my good lens.

great blue heron

Great Blue Heron

 

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For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.

All images in this post are copyright © Bernadette E. Kazmarski and may not be used without prior written permission.


Backyard Bunny, original pastel sketch

“Backyard Bunny”, soft pastels on pastello paper, 11″ x 8″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski
“Backyard Bunny”, soft pastels on pastello paper, 11″ x 8″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

“Backyard Bunny”, soft pastels on pastello paper, 11″ x 8″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

I’ve been photographing plenty, but all this new color and sunlight makes it prime time for artwork too.

I’d been watching the bunnies in the back yards since early morning in my yard and the neighbor’s and decided I’d eventually do a sketch of them. I spent a good part of yesterday working in my garden and I did take my drawing materials outside but I only got a start out there; I finished it inside and bunnies have many of the same habits as it bears a resemblance to a photo I’d taken of a bunny in the back yard a few years ago. I’m sure as I finished the sketch, unfortunately without having taken a reference photo, I had that image in mind since I’ve used it for a number of articles here as well as in designs for customers. I’m glad I finally got around to sketching our backyard bunny, it’s one of the sketches and paintings I’ve been planning for years. Maybe I’ll even sketch that pesky squirrel too…

This is done in pastel on pastello paper with just my limited outdoor set of pastels.

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For the original or a print of this sketch, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.

This was first posted on The Creative Cat where I post original daily sketches of my cats each day.


Everything Matters

frog in pond
frog in pond

Everything Matters

Including a homely little frog who found a home in a reclaimed golf course pond, taken on Earth Day 2006 in a conservation area. Happy Earth Day.

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For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.


The Belted Kingfisher

belted kingfisher
kingfisher watching water

Fishing for dinner.

This bird has been teasing me for two years as I walk along this section of the creek on my way to and from Main Street. He blends in with just about any backdrop and waits until I just about stumble over him, makes his chittering little noise and flies off before I have a chance to even get my camera in position!

kingfisher

Closeup of kingfisher.

Of course, he’s protecting his territory, holding fast until the last moment, then leading me away. He’s still been impossible to photograph as I either haven’t had my good camera with me or changing lenses took too long, but in the process I’ve had a chance to observe more of his habits, which saplings he flies to, when he skims down to the water, and even dives in. And he is a male; the female has a band of copper on her chest below the gray band that both sexes wear.

belted kingfisher

View of the kingfisher from the side.

So today I followed this bird along one bank of the creek, then back, across a bridge and down the other bank for a ways, and across a second bridge. To explain, two bridges span the creek maybe 100 yards apart, and the creek itself is about 40 feet wide though the banks are high. The light can be tricky, but I finally got the photo I wanted along with a few extras, and two I didn’t expect to get!

kingfisher

Taking flight.

The temperature was about 20 degrees, about 4:30 pm, and this kingfisher was looking for a dinner of fresh fish, really remarkable for our creek which had once been so polluted algae wouldn’t even grow in it. I didn’t want to bother him too much, but I really couldn’t imagine voluntarily diving into that frigid water for my dinner, but this time he wasn’t concerned about me—and I think he got his dinner!

kingfisher lands in water

Splash!

Perhaps the kingfisher is a more accurate predictor than Phil the groundhog. Kingfishers symbolize sunshine, warmth, love and prosperity and presage new adventures.

belted kingfisher

Kingfisher on a branch watching the water for fish.

All this while two mallards were floating around on a date. More about the two of them and their shenanigans another time. Ah, spring.

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For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms. For photos of lots of black cats and other cats—and even some birds as I first published this post there—visit The Creative Cat.


Red-breasted Mergansers

merganser on creek
merganser on creek

Which way?

Even from a distance as I took my shortcut from Main Street under the bridge along the creek I knew these three water fowl were neither the common mallards I’m accustomed to nor the geese I’d seen earlier. Being able to look through a telephoto lens is almost as good as having binoculars sometimes—the crunchy snow and ice on the ground made quite a bit of noise and the birds, whatever they were, might easily be startled and take off before I was close enough to get a good photo.

merganser on creek

Cruising along.

These are taken at 300mm, and from a distance of about 50 yards, but I knew those mohawks were something special! And the long thin beaks and red eyes. I took as many photos as I could and looked them up in my bird guide as soon as I got home and found they looked like the entry for red-breasted mergansers. A cross-check with a wildlife biologist confirmed it.

mergansers on the creek

Through the rapids

They are far more common on larger or deeper bodies of water like lakes and rivers, not 18″ deep Chartiers Creek, but I was glad to welcome them here and actually get photos of their visit.

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For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms. For photos of lots of black cats and other cats—and even some birds as I first published this post there—visit The Creative Cat.


Safe Camouflage

wild rabbit under tree
wild rabbit under tree

Safe Camouflage

“Is it safe to come out?”

Each year around this time a juvenile bunny moves into our yard, pretty well grown up now and ready to winter over to be ready for spring. They nestle into the brush piles I have round the fence, judging by where I see their tracks leading to and fro in the snow. They visit areas in the front and back yards near the bird feeders. I know they eat bird seed sometimes, and they also clean up all the little sprouts around the bird feeders, even those that happen to sprout in mid winter.

Though I am close to the street, the area is well-protected for little critters. That spruce is taller than my house and blocks the wind, and I leave the branches dense on the south-facing side of the tree. The bare branches on the shaded sides of the tree are great cover for little birds, and along with the shrubs along my property line down the side of the house it’s pretty snug.

We won’t see too much of the bunny during the day as the weather gets colder, but I always see both the front yard and back yard bunny out at night in winter, and find lots of tracks in the snow. For now our front yard bunny tucked neatly in under the edge of the spruce and the burning bush.

See another view of our bunny on The Creative Cat.

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For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms. For photos of lots of black cats and other cats—and even some birds as I first published this post there—visit The Creative Cat.