To everyone who participated in our January Photo Night, please accept my apologies for being so late in posting your photos here. All I can say is it’s been busy at the library!

Our January meeting was, in my opinion, the best one yet! More photographers shared their photos than ever before, and we had some special guests from Hampton Roads’ photography club “Picture This.” Jennifer Williamson and Ralph Kuhnley spoke to us about the club and its website, meetings and activities, and showed some of their own work. I personally have joined the club and plan to attend their next meeting, which will include a beginner’s look at Lightroom software. I’ve never used a photo editor other than the basic software that came with my Canon camera, so I look forward to expanding my knowledge and maybe experimenting a bit more with my photos.

So, let’s get down to the business at hand — the photos! I asked each person who showed photos at our meeting to send me one of their favorites to share on the blog. The outstanding Bald Eagle photo at the beginning of this entry is the work of Jim Deal. This was the first time Jim has joined our group, and everyone was very excited about the Eagle photos that he took in Alaska (in fact, I think some of the group starting planning a trip to Alaska with him in the future, so they can photograph these beautiful birds!).

Lillian Casper is also new to our group, and we were very impressed! It didn’t take long to recognize her unique talent of incorporating natural textures into her nature photography. She has the eye of a true artist. Look at the layers in her photograph of the stone cliffs, below, and use your imagination; you might see faces in the stone, or a Sphynx, or something else —

Donald Hague, who is also a member of “Picture This” and shared information about the club, brought some beautiful photos, including several that he took in a butterfly vivarium (I’m sorry, Don, I can’t remember where that place is). Most of those butterflies are not native to North America, but occur in Mexico, Central America, and other places to the south of us. They are tropical species, and many (but not all!) are more colorful and exotic than what we see here in Virginia. This one (below) is called a “Sara Longwing” and it occurs from Mexico to the Amazon Basin and southern Brazil.

Stephen also joined our group for the first time, and shared many excellent nature photos with an emphasis on flowers. I’ve seen Stephen many times in the library, but had no idea that he was a fellow nature photographer, and has been for years. It was a pleasure to have him in the group, and the photo below is the one that I asked him to send to me — I just really like it!

Bill Niven is one of those people who gets himself out of bed for sunrises, a trait I admire greatly. I used to get up very early to go birding, but not so much anymore — it’s just too hard in my older age to get out of bed if I have the chance to sleep in! But it’s obviously worthwhile to do so; a look at Bill’s sunrise photos are clear proof of that:

Chris Williams is also one of those “morning people” who is at the gate at Back Bay N.W.R. or the Girl Scout Woods here in Chesapeake by 7:00 a.m. He often sees birds that are far less conspicuous later in the morning, as they are most active in the early hours. I know this for a fact; I met up with him at the Girl Scout Woods a week or two ago. He arrived at 7:00, and I arrived about an hour later. He was rewarded with seeing early morning birds that were already in hiding by the time I got there. Below is a photo of a very hard-to-find-and-photograph bird, the American Bittern. Chris found this bird in the open at Back Bay, and you can tell by the light that it was in the early morning — you would not be likely to see it like this later in the day:

Often the most common birds are overlooked by birders and photographers because they are not “special.” Nora Leonard’s photo below of a male House Finch is proof that we need to wake up to the beautiful things that surround us every day, both rare and common. Great job, Nora!

Like Jim Deal, Ralph Kuhnley shared some terrific photos of Bald Eagles, as well as other wildlife and nature. Ralph is one of the leaders of the “Picture This” photo club. If you would like to join the club, go to www.meetup.com, then select your location (I selected “within 10 miles” of Chesapeake), then enter your interest (“digital photography”). You can then join the club after answering a few questions, then explore their webpage for all their activities and meetings. Here is one of Ralph’s eagle photos (and trust me, it’s not easy to capture a bird in flight!):

Tim Fearington consistently shows top-quality photos at our meetings that usually make my teeth ache with envy. Tim wasn’t able to make it to our meeting but I asked him to send me some of his work anyway so I could show it. Here’s my favorite, a Northern Flicker (a species of wood
pecker):

And last, I’ll share one of my own photos. This is a male Hooded Merganser, a duck species that does not breed here in Virginia, but does winter here. A good, reliable place to see and try to photograph them is at the fishing pond at Huntington Park in Newport News.

Our next quarterly Photo Night at Chesapeake Central Library will be on Monday, April 29 beginning at 6:00 p.m. Most of us bring photos that we have taken during the previous three months and that highlight that season of the year, but participants can bring whatever they choose. I’ll publish more details in April, but feel free to call me if you have any questions or would like to join us(call Karen at 757-410-7147). Until next time, enjoy the season, try your hand at some nature photography, and come share with us in April!

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