Tag: Birds

Favorite Photos: January 2024

  1. Favorite Photos: January 2023
  2. Favorite Photos: February 2023
  3. Favorite Photos: March 2023
  4. Favorite Photos: April 2023
  5. Favorite Photos: May 2023
  6. Favorite Photos: June 2023
  7. Favorite Photos: July 2023
  8. Favorite Photos: August 2023
  9. Paris Is Always A Good Idea
  10. Favorite Photos: October 2023
  11. Favorite Photos: November 2023
  12. Favorite Photos: December 2023
  13. Favorite Photos: January 2024
Close-up of white calla on a light blue background.

Another year, another month, other photos. I took this photo of a calla back in July when there was plenty of natural light. I usually take a lot of shots during spring and summer, which I can later edit during the long, dark winter days.

For this particular photo, I decided to give it a cool edit to complement the winter season.

Eurasian tree sparrow (Passer montanus) in the snow.

Eurasian tree sparrow (Passer montanus), winter edition. I love how the few remaining leaves poke through the snow and add a splash of color to the wintery scene.

Wood nuthatch (Sitta europaea) striking a pose. Nuthatches have such a graceful way of landing and taking off, pausing for a few seconds while posing like a model on the catwalk!

Common redpoll (Acanthis flammea)

I photographed this common redpoll female (Acanthis flammea) back in 2022 but only got around to processing it now. When I looked through my photo library for an image to edit, I realized I hadn’t seen many redpoles last year. I’m not sure why. I do hope they’ll return that year; they’re so beautiful and always fun to photograph, especially the males; they have pink breasts!

Blackbird female (T. merula). I shot this in the darkest December last year at ISO 12.800. It was 11am, and the brightest light you could get was some kind of grayish twilight. You wait and wait for the daylight to appear, and then, suddenly, the sun starts to set, and it gets dark again.

As mentioned above, I rarely shoot in November/December because it’s too dark. As you can see, you can still get beautiful photos, but I find it’s too much work; it’s not worth it. I ran the image through Topaz Photo AI to reduce the noise and then Nik Color Effex to retrieve some feather details.

To get away shooting in low light with a high ISO, you do need to shoot to the right (of the histogram), as noise hides in the darker areas. It helps if you have a lens with a large aperture (f/2.8 or F/4) to let in more light, but unfortunately, I don’t. My Canon RF100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM lens’ largest aperture is f/7.1 at 500mm.

On the other hand, problems are good; they force you to get creative and work around them. As I always say, creativity thrives on constraints. Look past the issues and see the opportunities!


As an avid birdwatcher and photographer, I always try to capture the beauty and grace of these magnificent creatures. Birds are fascinating creatures that come in all shapes, sizes, and colors, and taking their photos can be a challenging yet rewarding experience.

Overall, these photos are just a tiny glimpse into the incredible beauty of the natural world. By taking pictures like these and sharing them with others, I hope to inspire a love and appreciation for nature that will hopefully last for generations.

I hope you enjoyed these photos; there are more to come next month.


Related Posts


If you liked this post, share it on your preferred social network or forward it to a friend.



A Great Photograph

Eurasian tree sparrow (Passer montanus)

A great photograph is one that fully expresses what one feels, in the deepest sense, about what is being photographed.

Ansel Adams


Ansel Adams
 (1902-1984), American landscape photographer and environmentalist known for his black-and-white images of the American West.


To read more quotes, click here. To read more on photography, click here.


Beyond Reality: The Beauty of Photography as Art

Eurasian blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Eurasian blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus)

“This is not what that background looked like,” my friend said in a half-puzzled, half-accusatory tone. “And it wasn’t snowing.”

My friend had dropped by for a cup of coffee and some girl gossip and was peering at my computer screen while I was making coffee. The screen showed a before and after photo of a blue tit posing on a perch.

And this is the trouble, I thought, with everybody being a photographer nowadays. You snap a picture with your phone, and there you go, a dog, your children, a blue tit. What you see is what you get. Change that, and you alter reality. You fake it. You cheat.

What they fail to see is that even a “real” picture that seems to show you precisely what you saw is a two-dimensional depiction of a three-dimensional reality. Our eyes see more than that camera does. What you’re looking at is what the camera saw, not you.

And what you see is different from what I see. Ask a group of people what they saw, and you’ll hear different accounts of the same thing. We’re different, and we’re interested in different things. If I walk into somebody’s house, my eyes will instantly travel to bookshelves and pictures while my husbands will find the LPs. Same reality, different outlooks.

Eurasian blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Before
Eurasian blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus)
After

The important thing here is not what you look at but what you see. Some people would see a blue tit on a perch, and this is what they would attempt to record, the photograph an exact recording of reality. The result may be technically perfect but also impersonal. A good illustration for a bird guide, maybe, but no indication of the creator’s personality.

An artist, on the other hand, has a vision. S/he sees beyond the obvious, beyond the “bird on a stick.” S/he sees the promise, what it could be, the hidden layers of reality. S/he doesn’t attempt to record reality but create it anew.

Photographs are subjective, and it is the photographer’s vision that shapes the final result. This is where the line between photography and art blurs. While anyone can take a photograph, not everyone can create art. An artist sees beyond the obvious and captures the essence of a moment, not just the physical reality of it. They see the hidden layers of reality, and their photographs are a reflection of their unique perspective. The beauty of art is that it is not limited by the camera’s lens or the photographer’s perspective. It is an interpretation of reality; therefore, it can be anything the artist wants it to be. It is a creation, a representation of the world as the artist sees it, rather than a simple recording of it.

Everyone can be a photographer, but not everyone can be an artist.


To read more on photography, click hereArtsy has a good article on how to learn to see the world as an artist here.


Related Posts


If you liked this post, share it on your preferred social network or forward it to a friend.



Favorite Photos: December 2023

  1. Favorite Photos: January 2023
  2. Favorite Photos: February 2023
  3. Favorite Photos: March 2023
  4. Favorite Photos: April 2023
  5. Favorite Photos: May 2023
  6. Favorite Photos: June 2023
  7. Favorite Photos: July 2023
  8. Favorite Photos: August 2023
  9. Paris Is Always A Good Idea
  10. Favorite Photos: October 2023
  11. Favorite Photos: November 2023
  12. Favorite Photos: December 2023
  13. Favorite Photos: January 2024
Scaly-breasted lorikeet (Trichoglossus chlorolepidotus) sitting on a branch

Scaly-breasted lorikeet (Trichoglossus chlorolepidotus). I love parrots, and this one was so much fun to photograph! It didn’t sit still for a moment, jumping nosily around as these parrots do, but it did take a break for a few seconds, and I was ready with the camera!

Australian white ibis (Threskiornis molucca) standing on top of a dead branch.

I photographed this Australian white ibis (Threskiornis molucca) on my January 2023 trip to Kangaroo Island but haven’t edited it until now. Many believe they’re a feral species introduced to Australia, similar to foxes or hares. But these ibises are, in fact, native Australian birds.

Eurasian blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Eurasian blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus)

A cute tiny blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus) stopped by and posed so nicely for me. A blue tit weighs around 11-12 grams. A lot of attitude in such a tiny package, wouldn’t you say?

And a couple of squirrels, of course! A good ending to the year.


I hope you enjoyed these photos; there are more to come next month.


Related Posts


If you liked this post, share it on your preferred social network or forward it to a friend.



Favorite Photos: November 2023

  1. Favorite Photos: January 2023
  2. Favorite Photos: February 2023
  3. Favorite Photos: March 2023
  4. Favorite Photos: April 2023
  5. Favorite Photos: May 2023
  6. Favorite Photos: June 2023
  7. Favorite Photos: July 2023
  8. Favorite Photos: August 2023
  9. Paris Is Always A Good Idea
  10. Favorite Photos: October 2023
  11. Favorite Photos: November 2023
  12. Favorite Photos: December 2023
  13. Favorite Photos: January 2024
Reflection of pine trees and birches in the sea

Baltic Sea reflections. I hoped to photograph some beautiful swans that day, but they were nowhere to be found. 

Instead, I stumbled upon the most breathtaking reflection of pine trees and birches in the sea, which looked like a Monet painting. I tried to do justice to that feeling in the editing.

Close-up of a a tiny snail peering down over the edge of a cone flower

A macro shot I haven’t gotten to process until now, a tiny snail peering down over the edge of a coneflower. I usually take lots of photos during spring and summer, when the light is good in Sweden, and then process many of them during late autumn and winter when there’s hardly any light. It’s a way of reducing my frustration during that dark time and enjoying spring and summer again.

Close-up of daisies

This is another shot from the archives that I just processed. I had almost deleted it. It wasn’t a bad photo, but there wasn’t anything special about it. Something about it made me give it a three-star rating and keep it to try processing it on a rainy day. Now I’m glad I did; I love it!

European honey bee (Apis mellifera
European honey bee (Apis mellifera

Another photo from the archives, a European honey bee feeding on an allium flower.

This November has been one of the darkest I can remember, and the snow came first at the end of the month. I use only natural light, so taking photos this time of the year is a challenge. The sun goes up around 8am, and it starts getting dark at 2pm already this time of the year. Unless it’s sunny or snow, there’s no real light in between, just some kind of grey curtain hanging over the world. On heavy overcast days (and we had many of these this month), you wait and wait for the daylight until you realize it’s getting dark again!

I’m glad I still have many photos left to process. Other people may be stressed by having many unprocessed photos, but I don’t. I know November will come, you see.

Red Squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris)
Red Squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris)

What a difference some snow makes! It acts like a giant reflector, hides messy backgrounds and dampens colors.


I hope you enjoyed these photos; there are more to come next month.


Related Posts


If you liked this post, share it on your preferred social network or forward it to a friend.



Favorite Photos: October 2023

  1. Favorite Photos: January 2023
  2. Favorite Photos: February 2023
  3. Favorite Photos: March 2023
  4. Favorite Photos: April 2023
  5. Favorite Photos: May 2023
  6. Favorite Photos: June 2023
  7. Favorite Photos: July 2023
  8. Favorite Photos: August 2023
  9. Paris Is Always A Good Idea
  10. Favorite Photos: October 2023
  11. Favorite Photos: November 2023
  12. Favorite Photos: December 2023
  13. Favorite Photos: January 2024
Glowing autumn foliage at Millesgården, Stockholm, Sweden

Autumn has never looked more stunning than at Millesgården. The vibrant colors of the garden are simply breathtaking, and that Lensbaby Velvet 85 lens creates the most delicious blur and bokeh. Can you believe this is a real place?

I usually use my Canon RF50mm F1.2 L USM lens at Millesgården or the Canon RF100mm F2.8 L MACRO IS USM one, but this time, I wanted to test my new toy, the Velvet 85. I bought it for flowers and still-life photos, but I was curious about other images.

All Lensbaby lenses use only manual focus, so it’s best to take lots of photos to make sure you nail the focus – especially when shooting at large apertures, as I do. I love to shoot for the blur, and I usually love F/1.8 to F/2.8, but I noticed that F/2.8 to f/4 works best for me when using a Lensbaby – for flowers.

It turned out that F/2.8 is the only aperture I love for this type of photo. F/1.8 is wonderful; the blur is insanely soft, but it only suits some photos, and getting the focus is really tricky. F/4 and up is fine; it’s pretty easy to focus, but as more of the background comes into focus, some of the magic disappears. Hence, F/2.8.

St. Martin fountain by Carl Milles at Millesgården, Stockholm, Sweden

Another shot from Millesgården. It is such a magical place in the autumn! This is the statue of St. Martin on the lower terrace.

Millesgården was the home of Swedish sculptor Carl Milles (1875 – 1955); he designed and built it, and it is now a museum with Milles’ antique collection, sculpture garden, and art gallery. The garden is inspired by Italy’s Mediterranean gardens, and it’s a work of art in itself. Carl Milles and his Austrian wife Olga, an artist herself, spent the winters in Italy that both loved.

A red squirrel atop a pumpkin

Squirrels! As soon as there are fewer squirrel photos on my Instagram or Facebook accounts, someone will wonder where the squirrels are. Somehow, I became the squirrel whisperer. Not a bad thing when it comes to social media.

This is a photo from last year that I hadn’t processed. I thought it would make a nice Halloween card and processed it accordingly. You can see the card here.

A red squirrel eating a hazelnut atop a pumpkin

Just squirrel-ing around and finding its inner peace, ha, ha!


I had a few pumpkins out in the garden to get some photos for a squirrel Halloween card, but I wasn’t pleased with the images. They were fine, like this one, but didn’t work for a card, so I gave up in the end and used that photo from last year.

Eurasian nuthatch (Sitta europaea)

I love photographing wood nuthatches (Sitta europaea); they usually strike a pose when landing and again before taking off, checking their surroundings. I can always count on them to sit still long enough for me to get a decent photo.


Did you know that nuthatches can forage when descending trees head first? Inveterate hoarders, they store the food in the bark of the trees, then conceal it with moss or small pieces of bark.


I hope you enjoyed these photos; there are more to come next month.


Related Posts


If you liked this post, share it on your preferred social network or forward it to a friend.



Share My Wildlife With Me

A young red squirrel
A young red squirrel photographed in my garden

Although my plan was to photograph flowers when I left Microsoft, my photo library began to fill with more and more wildlife photos instead. 

When we bought a new house upon relocating from Switzerland, it came with a large garden. The garden was, in fact, one of the main reasons we bought the house. I always loved animals, so naturally, I wanted it to be a wildlife-friendly garden. Not so much manicured lawns and formal flower beds but a place where animals, birds, and insects would thrive. A wildlife heaven.

Birds on a bird feeder
A tree sparrow, a great tit, a blue tit and a wood nuthatch at one of the bird feeders in my garden.

Four years on, I can safely say we succeeded. We have identified over fifty species of birds (so far!) coming by to sample the food on offer or drink/bath in one of the many bird baths; insects love the flower beds planted with pollinator-friendly flowers, the tiny insect water holes we set up here and there, and the insect hotels we offer in winter, free of charge; and animals are roaming the grounds day and night.

So far, we’ve got deer (oh, how they love my flower beds!), red squirrels, foxes, rabbits, and badgers (only short visits, none have taken up residence, thank God!). Unfortunately, there are no hedgehog sightings yet. However, I did prepare a corner in the backyard for them, with a huge pile of dry leaves, twigs, and water nearby. I’m still hoping, though.

A deer laying in a garden
Mi casa es tu casa. Or garden 😉.

Naturally, I wanted to document the process. It was so much fun seeing the garden transform and more and more animals and birds coming by! One thing led to another, and I’m now, somehow, a wildlife photographer, too.

Kangaroo Island kangaroos holding hands
Kangaroo Island kangaroos, mother and daughter, one of my favorite photos from my 2023 trip.

I’ve started traveling to photograph wild animals, and it was so exciting! Combining my love for Australia with wildlife photography was the ultimate experience. I’m looking forward to more trips and meeting more animals and birds in their natural habitat.

Snail on a pink cone flower.
A tiny snail on a coneflower

I reflected on my journey to wildlife photography as today, October 4th, is World Animal Day. My love of animals brought this amazing transformation into my life, for which I’m forever grateful.

If we can teach people about wildlife, they will be touched. Share my wildlife with me. Because humans want to save things that they love.”, Steve Irwin said.

Now, this is my mission, too. Share beautiful photographs of the amazing creatures we share our planet with, share my wildlife, and touch people’s hearts. Because humans want to save things they love.

Woodpecker on an oak tree
A woodpecker on the old oak tree in my back yard

October 4th is Animal Day, but every day should be animal day. We share this Earth with others, and the topic of animal rights isn’t about animals only but about us, too. Let’s build a world where both animals and humans can thrive. Animals also have a right to live free lives unharmed and unexploited.

“He who is cruel to animals becomes hard also in his dealings with men. We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals.” – Emmanuel Kant. Some food for thought.

Red squirrels on the trunk of an oak tree
Red squirrels playing in the same old oak tree.

If you care about animals, there are a lot of things you can do to help them, for instance:

  • Spread the message, not only on this day but all year. Every day should be animal day.
  • Support an animal charity by raising funds, donating, or volunteering to work for one. 
  • Donate supplies to an animal shelter (towels, toys, medicine, etc.).
  • Become a fan. Like and follow your local animal charity or shelter on social media and share their posts.
  • Adopt a rescue animal or become a foster.
  • Make your garden or balcony a haven for wildlife to find shelter, food, and water.
  • Support companies that don’t test on animals.
  • Support fur-free fashion.
  • Do not support animal attractions.
  • Fight poaching if you can.
  • Draw attention to cruelty.
  • Take a stand against overfishing, pollution, habitat destruction, and other threats to animals.
  • Educate children to show compassion for animals.
  • Help change the laws by signing petitions, e-mailing your local representatives, and involving your friends (share campaigns and social media posts).

I hold that, the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to the protection by man from the cruelty of man.” – Mahatma Gandhi


Related Posts


If you liked this post, share it on your preferred social network or forward it to a friend.


Favorite Photos: August 2023

  1. Favorite Photos: January 2023
  2. Favorite Photos: February 2023
  3. Favorite Photos: March 2023
  4. Favorite Photos: April 2023
  5. Favorite Photos: May 2023
  6. Favorite Photos: June 2023
  7. Favorite Photos: July 2023
  8. Favorite Photos: August 2023
  9. Paris Is Always A Good Idea
  10. Favorite Photos: October 2023
  11. Favorite Photos: November 2023
  12. Favorite Photos: December 2023
  13. Favorite Photos: January 2024
Close-up of two pink dahlias

Another photo taken with my new Lensbaby Velvet 85 lens, and I’m still in love with it!

All Lensbaby lenses use only manual focus, so it’s best to take lots of photos to make sure you nail the focus – especially when shooting at large apertures, as I do. I love to shoot for the blur, and I normally love F/1.8 to F/2.8, but I noticed that F/2.8 to f/4 works best for me when using a Lensbaby.

And since EXIF data for the lens is not available, it’s best to note what lens and what aperture you were using. Since I only have the Velvet 85, the lens is not an issue, but I tend to forget to note the aperture. I still need to find the best process for this. I think simply going from large to small apertures (F/1.8, which is the largest on this lens, to F/2.8, then F/4, then F/5.6, and so on) would be simplest. Or having cards with the aperture values that you photograph every time you change the value. Oh well, time will tell.

Still-life with pink dahlia, vintage camera and vintage books

I’ve continued experimenting with still-life photos and textures. This is so much fun! I particularly love this photo because it contains the three things I love most: photography, books, and flowers.

I used my macro lens at f/2.8 for this photo and a couple of textures from 2 Lil’ Owls Studio.

Close-up of a pink dahlia

This is another photo taken with the Lensbaby Velvet 85. How gorgeous! Straight out of the camera, hardly any processing needed. Did I mention that I love, love my Lensbaby? I added a texture from 2 Lil’ Owls Studio, since I’m so in love with textures at the moment.

Hackspett, Great spotted woodpecker (Dendrocopos major)

Great spotted woodpecker (Dendrocopos major) posing in our backyard. This is the old oak tree that both squirrels and birds love.

We call it the Tree of Life. Woodpeckers and squirrels chase each other up and down its trunk, small and not so small birds land on its branches first before jumping down to the bushes closer to food and water, and a lot of insects call it home. It provides a quick getaway for birds and squirrels when they get startled, and even our tabby Minette climbs it every now and then to survey her domain. (I suspect the woodpecker may have something to do with it.)

Emerald Damselfly (Lestes sponsa, Pudrad smaragdflickslända

The butterfly and damselfly season is here, at last! I’ve taken loads of photos, but I didn’t have time to process any of them, save for this one 😅. This is an emerald damselfly couple (Lestes sponsa). The top one is the male; females lack the bright blue color of the males. 

I’m looking forward to setting camp by the little lake in the woods and photographing more damselflies and dragonflies again!


I hope you enjoyed these photos; there are more to come next month.


Related Posts


If you liked this post, share it on your preferred social network or forward it to a friend.



KI Glossy Black-Cockatoo Photo Published!

Pair of Glossy Black-Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus lathami halmaturinus)

My Kangaroo Island Glossy Black-Cockatoo photo has now been published in the Journey Beyond Magazine in Australia! Here’s the article if you’d like to read more about these magnificent birds and Kangaroo Island wildlife.


Related Posts


If you liked this post, share it on your preferred social network or forward it to a friend.


Favorite Photos: June 2023

  1. Favorite Photos: January 2023
  2. Favorite Photos: February 2023
  3. Favorite Photos: March 2023
  4. Favorite Photos: April 2023
  5. Favorite Photos: May 2023
  6. Favorite Photos: June 2023
  7. Favorite Photos: July 2023
  8. Favorite Photos: August 2023
  9. Paris Is Always A Good Idea
  10. Favorite Photos: October 2023
  11. Favorite Photos: November 2023
  12. Favorite Photos: December 2023
  13. Favorite Photos: January 2024
Red squirrel holding a strawberry


I’d seen some cute photos of squirrels and strawberries on Instagram, and I decided to give it a try. Said and done. I picked up the most beautiful strawberries I could find at our little market, set up my hide, and waited. For a long time. I had almost given up when this cute red squirrel finally showed up and approached, oh, so cautiously, the strawberries. Quite suspicious of the whole thing, I can tell you.

She picked one up, sniffed it carefully, and then threw it away. Not interested, apparently. I barely had time to take a photo. Then she selected a large walnut instead and ran away with the treasure.

Experiment over, and I’m happy with the outcome. One photo but quite pretty, isn’t it? It’s enough for me.

A goldfinch standing on a branch

A goldfinch posing so nicely in my garden. I’ve been trying to get a decent photo of a goldfinch for quite some time now and wasn’t pleased with the earlier results. Nailed it this time, finally!

Close-up of ivy-leaved toadflax (Cymbalaria muralis)

A close-up of ivy-leaved toadflax (Cymbalaria muralis) taken at Millesgården. I’ve added a texture from Flypaper for more background interest; the background was a bit flat for my taste. The texture I used is Vetheuil from their Impressionist Painterly Pack. (I’m so impressed I could identify the texture; I had actually renamed the texture layer for future reference, I always intend to but very often forget it ha, ha!).

Close-up of a blue forget-me-not flower

Forget-me-not from my garden. I used a texture for the background again, but I’m not sure which one; I obviously didn’t rename the texture layer in this case. I think it’s from Flypaper as well, their textures are some of my favorites.

A portrait of a pair of Kangaroo Island Glossy Black-Cockatoos (Calyptorhynchus lathami halmaturinus)

I didn’t process this photo of the Kangaroo Island Glossy Black-Cockatoos (Calyptorhynchus lathami halmaturinus) in June, actually, but I’ve included it anyway. It’s the one that will be published in the next issue of the Journey Beyond Magazine in Australia. So, super favorite at the moment!


I hope you enjoyed these photos, there are more to come next month.


Related Posts


If you liked this post, share it on your preferred social network or forward it to a friend.