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I've been wanting to try free-lensing and finally got around to it.  You take your lens off the camera and just hold it out front.  The idea is that you can get some weird tilt shift effects where the plane of focus is at different angles.  I didn't really get it to work, but I thought this image was at least cool to look at.  I don't think it's really my thing but I'll probably try it again with a person as the subject.

If you like photography I highly recommend you check out
They have seminars on all facets of photography.  They are the kind of thing you would pay hundreds of dollars to attend but you can watch them for free on the day of the event.  They are usually during the day but you can also catch the rebroadcast at night.  Tonight I watched Joey L talking about a little bit of everything.

I saw some pelicans by a peat farm near my Mom's house.  I couldn't get close enough to them to get any photos but I ended up in the right place to snap this C44-9W with the warbonnet paint scheme.

My uncle has tractors that he displays at fairs in the area.  When I was in high school I made a couple signs for him to put along side the tractors.  Every once in a while I make another.  I did this one today.

My son had a friend stay over tonight so I had a new model to work with.  I like the result but I know it could be so much better.  It just so happens that posted a short talk by Ira Glass that hits on what I'm going through with this image.  I've seen the video before but it was worth another watch.

This is my daughters gargoyle gecko.  It sells insurance and has a british accent.

I had a little bulb that I used to blow dust off of my camera's sensor but somehow I lost it.  My wife is an OB nurse and she brought me this to replace it.  They use them in reverse.  If you squeeze the bulb first when you let go it sucks in and you can clean a baby's nose out.  I hope this one was unused.

I ran in shorts today!  Forecast has 80% chance of rain and a high of 48 tomorrow though.  At least we got one day of spring.

I spent some time at the lock and dam and saw several different species.  American Kestrel

Blue-winged Teal


Lesser Scaup - These have really nice colors in their head if the light is right.

Pied-billed Grebe

And I was very surprised to see a bald eagle.  I think he was after a coot but came away empty handed.

I'm glad to see we have goldfinch's in our yard this year.  Last year I didn't see any until later in the year.  I just wish I had moved the blue recycle bin out of the background before I got in the blind.

The dark-eyed juncos never use the perch I set up near my blind.  They also never come to the feeder.  They do all of their feeding from the ground.  This shot is cropped quite a bit as he is pretty far away.

And why not a shot of a sparrow.

Sometimes we buy a big package of meat and then separate it into smaller packages to freeze.  I follow the eyeball method but my wife prefers to weigh it out with a scale.  It's an odd switch because on almost anything else I like rules and structure but she likes to just wing it.

This was a running path a couple days ago.

How about checking out another 365 blog today?  Terri is on her third year of 365.  We're having crappy weather here in Illinois but it's not as bad as Terri has in Canada.  There is still snow in her pictures.  So check out all of Terri's photos, and be sure to check out this series.  The expression on the last one is priceless.

If you haven't been playing along you can still catch up by visiting Pam and Olga.

Traffic was all backed up on Route 30 today.  After a four or five minute wait I discovered why.  I'm not sure exactly what happened but I know he didn't mean to park in the middle of the road like this.

I went for a run tonight and noticed a bunch of turkey vultures on a barn.  It's about a mile and half from my house so I had to run home, grab my camera and drive back.  Luckily, they were still there.

I trip out to the state park proved worthwhile today.  There must have been a hundred swallows in branches that hung out over the lake.  It was very cool to see but hard to photograph because there were so many branches going every which way and blocking the birds bodies.  I going with this one.  The orange breasted bird out front is a barn swallow and the others are tree swallows.

I also got shots of two new species.  I believe the above is a Yellow-Rumped Warbler.  Below is a Ruby-Crowned Kinglet.

I hope everyone saw my post on Monday and visited Pam.  Today I want to invite you to visit Olga.  It's never a surprise if I post a photo of a bird but you never know what you're going to get from Olga.  She always has a camera with her and and gets a great variety of shots.  So follow this link and leave a comment for her.

I'm really hoping to get a shot of a dark eyed junco on my perch but they prefer the ground.  Today I was staring at one, trying to move him up to the perch with my mind when a cardinal landed on the tripod handle that's holding the stick.  He did move out to the perch but the "pose" is better on the tripod handle.

Normally I'm happy to get a house finch because they are a little more colorful than the sparrows but they pale in comparison to the cardinals.

Some days you just don't have time to be super creative.

This is more of what I had in mind on Tuesday night but he was zipping around on his scooter so we went with that.  I know it's the same basic arm crossed pose that I've used several times lately but I'm trying to get better at my editing in Photoshop so I'm keeping the camera side simple.
I got the background from CGTextures.

I took this without looking in the viewfinder and decided I like the composition despite the poor image quality so I'm using it for today.

I'm not happy with the way this came out but sometimes you just have to call it quits.

I'm following about 18 other 365 projects on Blogger and thought it would be cool to point them out from time to time so others might discover other blogs to follow.
So tonight I invite you to visit Pam.  She started doing a self portrait every Monday and I have been playing along for the last few weeks.  Go visit Pam here and leave a comment, bloggers love comments.

I think he's showing off for his girlfriend but she doesn't look very impressed.

I saw this Red-Headed Woodpecker on my way in to the park but couldn't get a shot.  Luckily, I saw him again on the way out.

I'm using old plastic tripod to hold a branch over my bird feeder.  I sit in a small pop-up blind and wait for the birds to land on the branch.  Too bad this black capped chickadee landed on the tripod instead of the intended perch. 

This is a dark-eyed junco.  They seem to prefer to feed off the ground so still no luck with the perch.

While I was sitting in the blind, my wife came home from work.  I popped off a couple shots without her knowing.  Won't she be surprised when she sees this. :)

I've read about celebrity shoots where you only get five minutes with person to get your shot.  For this I  only got about five seconds.  It's Friday night and she has places to be.  I wish I could have a do-over with less room at the top and her chin more toward her left shoulder.

I decided the new pro level cameras were just too expensive for me right now so I turned to the used market.  I picked up this 1D Mark II on eBay for only $521.  It's only one model newer than the one I have but has double the pixels and the same auto-focus performance.  It was important to me to find one with a low shutter count.  This one only has 11,280 photos taken on it, compared to my 1D classic which is now at 88,000.  If you want to find out how many shots you have on your camera check out Upload the last picture you took with your camera and it will tell you the shutter count.

From Where I Stand

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