Magnolias and more.....Mom's yard in blossom

Before going out to Easter dinner (we gave up cooking), I had a chance to take some pics at my mother's. We also took turns playing glamour shot photographers of each other in front of the magnolia trees, but I won't be posting those here..hehe!

Weeping cherry tree. The birds really like this one. It's like a canopy.

Magnolia tree next to the driveway.

I spent a few minutes trying to capture the fuzzies backlit by the sun on the side of this magnolia bud.

The Star Magnolia.

Hope you enjoyed....I plan on stalking a few of the neighbors beautiful trees over the next days too, as long as the weather is nice enough. Although I'll take them anytime, flowers are so much more pretty in the sunshine!

Early New England Spring...sightings around town

I think I was born in the wrong latitude. It's like the trees agree with me, because they're all bloomy and pink and happy. These are just some photos I took from my car (yes!) while doing errands over the last few the coming week I'll hopefully have the time to actually get OUT of the car.

I think these are Saucer Magnolias.

and some happy Spring photos from my Flickr faves..

~Happy Spring~  :)

Photographing Babies

I know nothing about this, actually. But one of my goals this year was to try to learn how to better photograph people. And what better subject than my new(ish) twin cousins?  I visited the other day with my handy dandy 50mm 1.4 lens which I have discovered is a life saver when it comes to inadequate interior lighting. So I tried to get down to their level so I could catch them learning to crawl around.

They move and squirm so much it's still hard to catch one of their "moments" but I was determined not to use the flash or pose them which I think looks cheesy and feels awkward. One of the twins was constantly entranced by me and my camera and stared at me the whole time and the other could not care less and wouldn't face me at all!

I loved when they turned to face one another, it looked like they were "discovering" each other for the first time, it was so adorable...they don't look too much alike but I liked the effect of the vintage processing here because it tied the photo together and made the twins appear more alike in skin tone and color.

When I couldn't get anything of their faces, while they played around with each other on the floor, I took some of the feet...I wanted to get the four feet together but, they wouldn't all keep them in the air at the same time...hehe!

There's a lot of creative photo options I would like to work on with these two cuties...they are just starting to discover the world around them and are taking on more interesting positions and interacting with each other which will make some nice keepsake photos for my cousin before they get any older.  ;)

My Mother's Birds, Attack Spider, and 80's Cardinal

My mother seems to have a way of attracting some interesting characters to her backyard. Last year, she sent me photos of the hateful woodpecker that was eating her roof and waking her up every day. She actually considered buying the "Birds-Away Attack Spider", a creepy and kind of hilarious stuffed  toy-looking black spider thingy that supposedly drops down to scare off the offending woodpecker when he starts to peck. 

Seriously, you have to click on that link, it makes me giggle. Especially when they state that even though the spiders are exposed to wind, rain and such, that "[there is] an Attack Spider death rate of about one out of eight a year, or a survival rate of 87.5% per year".  ahaha!! 

 Not the pesky woodpecker, just a friendly (quiet) one I spotted one day. They're striking and easy to spot!

Anyway, I guess he left town since then but now my dad has begun complaining that the giant male Northern Cardinal that's been living in their yard for years has now started the bizarre behavior of"head banging" against his car mirror. Which I think is funny because the cardinal has hair/ bangs like he is from the 80's which goes along with the headbanging theme. The other day I visited and snapped some quick pics so my mother could see the birds up close (sometimes, my 300mm lens is like having fun binoculars that take photos!) 

Above, the 80's hairdo I was talking about..

Above a beautiful Blue Jay I caught hiding behind a branch..

A pleasingly plump American Robin. He was sharing a tree with Mr. Cardinal.

I can't wait to use my new lens more this Spring, although when the trees fill out it will be harder to spot the birds in them. Sometimes I just listen for their songs and then aim my camera in that general direction at its longest focal length and poof! They appear through the lens. Also somewhat unrelated but I would looove to visit Machias Seal Island in Maine/ New Brunswick (it is part of both the US and Canada) sometime in June or July to see the Puffin colony there.  Maybe I can convince my sister to make the 8 hour one way trip with me...:)