Sharing Brian Loflin’s feature article in Bird Watcher’s Digest

12 06 2019

Fellow photographers (especially the bird-loving ones), just wanted to share my former boss / mentor / lifelong friend Brian Loflin’s latest project—a feature article in the current issue of Bird Watcher’s Digest highlighting South Texas photography ranches and bird photography. Brian writes, “These photography ranches earn a secondary revenue stream from this type of activity instead of / in addition to the traditional consumptive activity of hunting. In my wildlife photography course, I try to instill the benefit of participation in, support of and aid in building these activities.”

You can check out Brian’s photography and learn more about this wildlife photography workshops here.

I hope you enjoy the article, which begins on page 58 of the pdf. Click here to download: Loflin-birdwatchersdigestJul-2019

Brian Collage Flat





iPhoneography: Freeway sentinels

7 02 2018

Playing with Snapseed and Distressed FX apps

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.  iPhone 7Plus

Birds on Wire

 





iPhoneography: Birds & branches

12 12 2017

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved. iPhone 7Plus, Snapseed border added

24910067_10215264571874367_4706910251750737826_n

24991347_10215264578674537_2155879210938457676_n

24991414_10215264574994445_8112853174998753354_n

 





Summer inspiration

1 07 2016

Inspired by summer and the beach (Polaroid transfers created from my favorite 35mm Fuji slides)

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

WEB Beach Transfers





Flying lessons soon…

10 05 2015

I photographed Mama Dove and her big babies again on Tuesday of last week. I checked yesterday and everyone has left the nest, but Mama and Papa are in view, behaving like sentinels, so I know the babies are now in their “flying lessons” phase and probably resting safely somewhere in my garden!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

MamaDoveBabies





Road trip in Iceland: Guillemots at Látrabjarg

16 06 2014

These are Guillemots (Common Murre); I counted more than 60 just in this “record” shot; bird cliffs of Látrabjarg in Iceland

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Guilllemot lorez





Road trip in Iceland: The cliffs of Látrabjarg

14 06 2014

This is a “record” shot” (meaning it won’t win any awards!) of a portion of the bird cliffs of Látrabjarg in the West fjords. I wanted to give you a sense of how steep these cliffs are. At the top of the photo, you can see a few little buildings and a lone man walking. There is a squiggly white line to the left of the man in the black jacket—this is the “safe zone” line they marked in the grass with paint. Before we went to Látrabjarg, I was doing some research and learned that in 2010, a 51-year-old German man and his wife were at Látrabjarg and the man fell to his death while photographing the birds. The cliffs are 1500 feet high and the ground at the cliff edges can become unstable because the puffins dig their burrows below the surface. I was a bit apprehensive about going after reading that, but once there, I felt safe since I was staying behind the safe line and using a long lens. I’d do most anything to get a good photograph, but I won’t risk life and limb!

You can’t see the birds in this photo, but there are hundreds of birds nestled in the nooks and crannies. I got most of my shots from one side, pointed toward the areas that jut out at an angle. I got the puffin shots easily because they nest close to the top of the cliff and my 80-400 lens was perfect for the task.

Látrabjarg is the westernmost point of Europe.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Latrabjarg scale





Road trip in Iceland: Miniature waterfall

14 06 2014

Miniature waterfall by the side of the road not far from the Latrabjarg bird cliffs in Iceland

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Mini Waterfall





Road trip in Iceland: Látrabjarg

12 06 2014

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Gulls Squawking

 





Road trip in Iceland: Puffins at Látrabjarg

12 06 2014

Puffins at Látrabjarg in Iceland. (No photographer was harmed in the making of this photograph; these cuties were perched on the edge of a very high cliff and I was about eight feet away from them, well within the “don’t pass over this line” zone). Shot with my Nikon D800 and 80-400 VR lens

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Two Puffins





Road trip in Iceland: Puffins

9 06 2014

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Puffins x 3

 





Stack ‘o gulls

6 04 2014

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Stack'OGulls





Gulls galore!

4 04 2014

Gulls at Virginia Beach, VA © Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Gull Collage





You put your right foot in and you shake it all about…

4 11 2013

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

PutYourRightFootIn





Getting my ducks…er, geese…in a row

4 11 2013

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

GeeseInARow





Double date

3 11 2013

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Double Date





Announcing nature and outdoor photography workshops with Brian Loflin in Virginia and Washington, D.C.

12 07 2012

My photography mentor and former employer, Brian Loflin, will be in the Washington, D.C. area in August to conduct a series of lectures and hands-on photography workshops. Brian and I are partnering with my friend, Rob Bergsohn, who founded the Northern Virginia Outdoor Portrait Photographers group at meetup.com.

I’ve worked with Rob on several small workshops for the group and we wanted to expand the offerings to include workshops conducted by Brian Loflin, who is a published photographer, experienced teacher and author as well.

MY GO-TO MENTOR
I’ve learned so much from Brian and he is my go-to mentor whenever I have technical problems or want to learn a new photographic skill. When I worked with him, I assisted with him on shooting everything from the world’s largest offshore drilling rig to a western clothing catalog to an aloe vera processing plant to an overhead view of a shopping mall from a small plane. He is an excellent teacher who makes learning fun!

PUBLISHED AUTHOR AND PHOTOGRAPHER
A master natural science photographer, Brian has photographed and authored several books with his wife, Shirley: Grasses of the Texas Hill County and Texas Cacti, both published by Texas A&M University Press. They have just completed text and photography for their next new book, also by Texas A&M University Press: Texas Wildflower Vistas and Hidden Treasures.

Brian Loflin is a seasoned photographic professional with a career that spans more than four decades in the advertising, aviation, bio-medical and publishing industry. As a graduate biologist with a background in marketing and communications, his early experience was as a medical photographer and a freelance photojournalist.

During his career, Brian’s photographs have been published in many international magazines as well as books and other publications, including major news agencies of the world. His work has won numerous industry awards and has won the admiration and respect of his clients. Those clients include leading names in the advertising and aerospace industry including: Bozell Worldwide, Milici, and Frye-Sills Advertising, Fairchild Aircraft, Aeritalia, Raytheon/Beech Aerospace and BFGoodrich Aerospace.

Brian has been active in several professional industry organizations, is past president of the Minnesota Nature Photographers and founder and current president of the Austin Shutterbug Club. He is now is an active photography instructor in the Informal Classes program at the University of Texas at Austin. Brian and his wife, Shirley, actively teach and conduct seminars and workshops in many areas of photography. They also lead nature photography tours to a variety of destinations. Below is a small sampling of his nature photography.

See his work at www.loflin-images.com and www.thenatureconnection.com. His blog, www.bkloflin@wordpress.com, highlights tools and techniques used in natural science photography, in both outdoor and studio settings. Below is a video that promotes his ongoing photography classes in Austin, Texas.

______________________________________________________________________

Register for the workshop of your choice by clicking the register link next to each course. Meetup.com will require you to create an account, which is very simple to do. Once you have an account, you may pay for the workshop through PayPal on the site. If you have problems or questions, e-mail Rob Bergsohn directly at rbergsohn@gmail.com.

These workshops are a fantastic value with an experienced and published photographer who is also a great instructor. August is fast approaching, so sign up today!

For more information, e-mail us:
Rob Bergsohn: rbergsohn@gmail.com
Cindy Dyer: dyerdesign@aol.com

The workshops below are listed in chronological order and some repeat more than once to allow participants ample choices to fit their schedules and interests.

SATURDAY, AUGUST 4

9:00 a.m. – Noon
$45/per person (Register here)

Macro/Close-up Photography Class
Location: Rob’s studio, located at 3106 Shadeland Drive, Falls Church, VA, near 7 Corners

This class will cover the skills and techniques required to enable the participant to capture photographic images of tiny subjects around us. It will illustrate the procedures and equipment to make images at- or near-life size or larger of various subjects from small plants and insects to postage stamps and miniature electronic components. Macro equipment need not be purchased prior to the course; the class will provide insight as to the appropriate equipment for each participant’s needs. Emphasis will also be made on how to construct many of the tools you may need. It is valuable to the film and digital photographer alike. (Photo of currency © Brian K. Loflin)

1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
$45/per person (Register here)

Nature Photography in a Studio Environment
Location: Rob’s studio, located at 3106 Shadeland Drive, Falls Church, VA, near 7 Corners

This course will cover the skills and techniques required to enable the participant to capture photographic images of natural subjects from the world around us without leaving our kitchen. It will illustrate the procedures and equipment to make excellent images of living plants and flowers, animals, patterns and textures. (Photo of ant © Brian K. Loflin)

______________________________________________________________________

SUNDAY, AUGUST 4

9 a.m. – 6 p.m. (lunch and beverages provided)
$90/per person (Register here)

All-Day Nature Photography Workshop at Huntley Meadows Park in Alexandria, VA
Lecture Location: Lecture at Rob’s studio, located at 3106 Shadeland Drive, Falls Church, VA, near 7 Corners.
Outdoor bbq lunch will be provided on Rob’s deck after lecture.
Photography Location: We will all meet at Huntley Meadows by 2:00 p.m. to begin the hands-on photography portion of the workshop. Huntley Meadows Park is located 12 miles from Rob’s house at 3701 Lockheed Blvd., Alexandria, VA. For exact directions from Rob’s house, click here.

This is a comprehensive hands-on workshop to teach the skills, tools and art of nature photography. A classroom discussion will cover the skills and techniques required to enable the participant to capture photographic images of natural subjects from the world around us. In addition to the mechanics of making a technically accurate nature photograph, the class will cover the tricks of the trade that will hone the understanding of the art of nature image design. Following the classroom discussion, the group will break for lunch and reconnoiter at Huntley Meadows Park. Brian will guide us through a four hour nature shoot, putting into practice the techniques during the morning class discussion. Participants are advised to bring a tripod. (Photo of dragonfly © Brian K. Loflin)

About Huntley Meadows:
Nestled in Fairfax County’s Hybla Valley, Huntley Meadows Park is a rich, natural island in the suburban sea of Northern Virginia. Its 1,425 acres harbor majestic forests, wildflower-speckled meadows and vast wetlands bursting with life. Some of the best wildlife watching in the Washington metropolitan area is enjoyed here. From the ½ mile wetland boardwalk trail and observation tower, you’ll have excellent views of beavers, frogs, dragonflies and herons. Huntley Meadows is well known as a prime birding spot, with over 200 species identified in the park. The Visitors Center has informative exhibits on local natural and cultural history, as well as the gift store featuring nature-related books, jewelry, and stationery. (Photo of dragonfly at Huntley Meadows Park © Michael Powell)

______________________________________________________________________

MONDAY, AUGUST 6

10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
$45/per person (Register here)

National Zoo Photo Safari
Location: National Zoo, 3001 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. (map)

Zoos can be a visually depressing environment for visitors, but animal photographs made in zoos don’t have to be! Learn how to make dynamic animal images at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. with Brian Loflin. Learn the tricks of avoiding cages, concrete and confinement as we spend time on our walking zoo photography workshop. You will learn hands-on how to take advantage of the best light, composition and use of lenses to improve on animal photography. Watch for the fleeting moment that will make animal pictures pop! Learn how to accentuate the positive aspects of animals in their existing environment in order to make effective and dynamic images.

7 p.m. – 10 p.m.
$45/per person (Register here)

Night Photography on the Mall
Location:
Meet at 23rd and F Streets, N.W., Washington, D.C., near Foggy Bottom metro, on-street parking available (map)

How do you make perfect pictures of cityscapes, monuments and other scenes at night? This class will cover the use of time exposures using manual exposure techniques to produce stunning nighttime images. Many photographers have never used shutter speeds longer than one second, and low ISOs to produce the perfect image. This class will break open the mystery of low-level and night photography. Participants must have a tripod available for the class. We will meet up at the corner of 23rd and F Streets N.W., and begin the class with a walk to the Lincoln Memorial.
______________________________________________________________________

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 8

10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
$45/per person (Register here)

National Zoo Photo Safari
Location: National Zoo, 3001 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. (map)

Zoos can be a visually depressing environment for visitors, but animal photographs made in zoos don’t have to be! Learn how to make dynamic animal images at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. with Brian Loflin. Learn the tricks of avoiding cages, concrete and confinement as we spend time on our walking zoo photography workshop. You will learn hands-on how to take advantage of the best light, composition and use of lenses to improve on animal photography. Watch for the fleeting moment that will make animal pictures pop! Learn how to accentuate the positive aspects of animals in their existing environment in order to make effective and dynamic images.

7 p.m. – 10 p.m.
$45/per person (Register here)

Night Photography on the Mall
Location:
Meet at 23rd and F Streets, N.W., Washington, D.C., near Foggy Bottom metro, on-street parking available (map)

How do you make perfect pictures of cityscapes, monuments and other scenes at night? This class will cover the use of time exposures using manual exposure techniques to produce stunning nighttime images. Many photographers have never used shutter speeds longer than one second, and low ISOs to produce the perfect image. This class will break open the mystery of low-level and night photography. Participants must have a tripod available for the class. We will meet up at the corner of 23rd and F Streets N.W., and begin the class with a walk to the Lincoln Memorial.

______________________________________________________________________

FRIDAY, AUGUST 10

10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
$45/per person (Register here)

National Zoo Photo Safari
Location: National Zoo, 3001 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. (map)

Zoos can be a visually depressing environment for visitors, but animal photographs made in zoos don’t have to be! Learn how to make dynamic animal images at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. with Brian Loflin. Learn the tricks of avoiding cages, concrete and confinement as we spend time on our walking zoo photography workshop. You will learn hands-on how to take advantage of the best light, composition and use of lenses to improve on animal photography. Watch for the fleeting moment that will make animal pictures pop! Learn how to accentuate the positive aspects of animals in their existing environment in order to make effective and dynamic images.


7 p.m. – 10 p.m.
$45/per person (Register here)

Night Photography on the Mall
Location:
Meet at 23rd and F Streets, N.W., Washington, D.C., near Foggy Bottom metro, on-street parking available (map)

How do you make perfect pictures of cityscapes, monuments and other scenes at night? This class will cover the use of time exposures using manual exposure techniques to produce stunning nighttime images. Many photographers have never used shutter speeds longer than one second, and low ISOs to produce the perfect image. This class will break open the mystery of low-level and night photography. Participants must have a tripod available for the class. We will meet up at the corner of 23rd and F Streets N.W., and begin the class with a walk to the Lincoln Memorial.

______________________________________________________________________

SATURDAY, AUGUST 11

9:00 a.m. – Noon
$45/per person (Register here)

Macro/Close-up Photography Class
Location: Rob’s studio, located at 3106 Shadeland Drive, Falls Church, VA, near 7 Corners)

This class will cover the skills and techniques required to enable the participant to capture photographic images of tiny subjects around us. It will illustrate the procedures and equipment to make images at- or near-life size or larger of various subjects from small plants and insects to postage stamps and miniature electronic components. Macro equipment need not be purchased prior to the course; the class will provide insight as to the appropriate equipment for each participant’s needs. Emphasis will also be made on how to construct many of the tools you may need. It is valuable to the film and digital photographer alike.

1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
$45/per person (Register here)

Nature Photography in a Studio Environment
Location: Rob’s studio, located at 3106 Shadeland Drive, Falls Church, VA, near 7 Corners

This course will cover the skills and techniques required to enable the participant to capture photographic images of natural subjects from the world around us without leaving our kitchen. It will illustrate the procedures and equipment to make excellent images of living plants and flowers, animals, patterns and textures. (Photo of leafcutter ant © Brian K. Loflin)

______________________________________________________________________

SUNDAY, AUGUST 12

9 a.m. – 6 p.m. (lunch and beverages provided)
$90/per person (Register here)

All-Day Nature Photography Workshop at Huntley Meadows Park in Alexandria, VA
Lecture Location: Lecture at Rob’s studio, located at 3106 Shadeland Drive, Falls Church, VA, near 7 Corners.
Outdoor bbq lunch will be provided on Rob’s deck after lecture.
Photography Location: We will all meet at Huntley Meadows by 2:00 p.m. to begin the hands-on photography portion of the workshop. Huntley Meadows Park is located 12 miles from Rob’s house at 3701 Lockheed Blvd., Alexandria, VA. For exact directions from Rob’s house, click here.

This is a comprehensive hands-on workshop to teach the skills, tools and art of nature photography. A classroom discussion will cover the skills and techniques required to enable the participant to capture photographic images of natural subjects from the world around us. In addition to the mechanics of making a technically accurate nature photograph, the class will cover the tricks of the trade that will hone the understanding of the art of nature image design. Following the classroom discussion, the group will break for lunch and reconnoiter at Huntley Meadows Park. Brian will guide us through a four hour nature shoot, putting into practice the techniques during the morning class discussion. Participants are advised to bring a tripod. (Photo of cardinal © Brian K. Loflin)

About Huntley Meadows:
Nestled in Fairfax County’s Hybla Valley, Huntley Meadows Park is a rich, natural island in the suburban sea of Northern Virginia. Its 1,425 acres harbor majestic forests, wildflower-speckled meadows and vast wetlands bursting with life. Some of the best wildlife watching in the Washington metropolitan area is enjoyed here. From the ½ mile wetland boardwalk trail and observation tower, you’ll have excellent views of beavers, frogs, dragonflies and herons. Huntley Meadows is well known as a prime birding spot, with over 200 species identified in the park. The Visitors Center has informative exhibits on local natural and cultural history, as well as the gift store featuring nature-related books, jewelry, and stationery. (Photo of Great Blue Heron at Huntley Meadows Park © Michael Powell)





Blooming in my garden: Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ Beard Tongue

25 05 2011

Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ Beard Tongue—this perennial plant gets its “Beard Tongue” nickname from the tuft of yellow hairs just outside of the throat of the flowers. A North American native, Beard Tongue likes full sun to partial shade and prefers drier, average soil. This easy-to-grow plant attracts birds and butterflies. Hardy to zone 3; grows 2-3 feet tall

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Birds of a feather…

24 05 2010

On Lake Land ‘Or in Virginia…two sets of Canada Geese parents with 11 goslings between them. I think seven belonged to one family and four to the other parents—at least that’s the way this gaggle kept dividing when they paddled away from the dock. This group formed what is known as a crèche.

According to Wikipedia: During the second year of their lives, Canada Geese find a mate. They are monogamous, and most couples stay together all of their lives. If one is killed, the other may find a new mate. The female lays 3–8 eggs and both parents protect the nest while the eggs incubate, but the female spends more time at the nest than the male. Known egg predators include Arctic Foxes, Northern Raccoons, Red Foxes, large gulls, Common Raven, American Crows and bears. During this incubation period, the adults lose their flight feathers, so they cannot fly until their eggs hatch after 25–28 days. Adult geese are often seen leading their goslings in a line, usually with one parent at the front, and the other at the back. While protecting their goslings, parents often violently chase away nearby creatures, from small blackbirds to humans that approach, after warning them by giving off a loud hissing sound (often with a side of their head turned to the intruder). Although parents are hostile to unfamiliar geese, they may form groups of a number of goslings and a few adults, called crèches.

While researching facts about these birds, I came across this article here by Lynette S.K. Webster about feeding geese. Below is an excerpt:

Here are some facts and myths you should know about goose feeding:

1. Canada geese are herbivores; do not feed them with fish or cat food.
2. Feed whole wheat and cracked corn, not bread. Bread is not nutritious.
3. If feeding wild bird seed, remember that geese do not eat sunflower seeds. Therefore normal wild bird seed may be wasted on them.
4. Geese are fussy and do not eat everything, contrary to popular belief.
5. Do not feed geese from your hand as it can be dangerous. Spread seed on the grass so geese can feed on the seed while foraging.

Hmmmm…we tossed out tiny bits of bagel bread this afternoon—that’s the last time we’ll do that now that we know!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.






WOW! Behind the scenes of the PBS film, Hummingbirds

14 05 2010




Outta my way!

6 01 2010

This is one of my favorite Polaroid transfers. I shot the original image (Velvia transparency) one summer at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore, MD. While the original isn’t a bad image, it has more impact as a transfer, I think. This image was one of many I posted in a collage in October 2007 on this blog. See that posting here. I’ll post some more of those images enlarged and individually in the future. I’ve also run across some additional transfers I hadn’t scanned yet, so I’ll post those when I do.

FYI: I found this link here on photographer Holly Francis Dupré’s website. She has developed a comprehensive guide to creating Polaroid transfers that is free to download.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Squawking gulls at Cape May

12 12 2009

Photo notes: Nikon N90s, Fuji Velvia slide film, knee deep in the very cold Atlantic Ocean, Nikkor 105mm lens. 35mm slide scanned by ScanCafe.com

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

THIS JUST IN: Michael just reminded me that to get this shot, I not only waded out knee-deep into cold water, he had to hold on to my vest so I could lean forward (remember, this wasn’t a super-telephoto lens I was using!) to get closer. See there? I really earned this shot (and so did my assistant)!





The Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory

28 06 2009

While in Key West, we visited the Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory before we met up with the Muchemore family for the big event—Chantell and Austin’s wedding.

This conservatory is definitely one of our favorites now! As you walk around the winding pathway through the conservatory, you’ll hear classical music playing. Not only are there 60+ species of butterflies, they also have an array of exotic birds, tropical plants and a koi pond. Ever notice that most butterfly conservatories are hot and humid? That’s the case here, except for the strategically placed cool air tubes throughout the conservatory—these are to help cool the air for the birds. We humans appreciated that touch on a hot Florida day, too! There’s also a Learning Center and a wonderful gift shop. Founders Sam Trophia and George Fernandez established the Conservatory and the Trophia Butterfly Foundation in January 2003. Read more about Sam Trophia in this article on www.SunSentinel.com.

I photographed a plethora of butterflies at the Wings of Fancy exhibit at Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, Maryland last year. If you fancy butterflies, click here and here to see those photos. I often find butterfly subjects to photograph in our garden—check out the Monarchs I photographed last fall here. Last year I designed a Monarch Butterfly Habitat poster for my friend Mary Ellen of Happy Tonics in Shell Lake, Wisconsin.

I have no idea what kind of butterfly this is below, but it’s a beauty, isn’t it? I made a half-hearted attempt to identify it for you but it’s late and I need some shut-eye (it may surprise some of you, but yes, I do sometimes sleep).

As my father often writes on his blog www.thekingoftexas.wordpress.com, “I’ll get back to you later with more details.”

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Butterflylorez





Westheimer Avian Conference

10 01 2009

Sounds exciting, doesn’t it?

I shot this image the first evening of our road trip back to Virginia while we were at a stop light on Westheimer in Houston (I confess—we were just leaving a Half Price Books & Records store—I bought just three books, I promise—and they were all just $1 each from the clearance section). This was just one small section of telephone wire at the intersection and the area was clearly a magnet for birds. There were thousands of birds lined up on every wire! I shot about 20 shots through the window before the light turned green. (Michael was driving, by the way, so I didn’t put anyone at risk.)

I came across an interesting essay that answers the question, “Why do birds form large winter roosts and flocks?” on the Sibley Nature Center blog.

Love birds? Check out this bird-filled post here from my July 2008 archives, this post here on chicadees from summer of 2007, and this post here on mourning doves from spring of 2007.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.   

westheimer-birds





Hungry baby Robins

2 05 2008

I shot this photo of baby Robins last spring. The nest was in the crabapple tree just outside our kitchen window. Robin eggs are the most beautiful shade of pale blue green, one of my favorite colors.

Here’s an excellent website with FAQs about the American Robin:
http://www.learner.org/jnorth/tm/robin/FAQBabies.html

A day-to-day journal of baby Robins here: http://kathyskritters.com/tales/robins/

Here’s a really great video of a baby Robin hatching:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FDKgLfWheoI

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





In Frank Lloyd Wright’s Footsteps…

31 03 2008

SUBJECT: Architectural Masterpiece

ARCHITECT: Cindy Dyer, a.k.a. Head Weed

CLIENT: Dim-witted Mourning Dove (with lack of sense to build nest in a less conspicuous area)

PROJECT: Nest Improvement, including A-frame (vented) roof that blends into surroundings

LIMITATIONS: budget (how much could a dove have to offer?), limited to materials on hand, and time (limited due to builder’s other job as a graphic designer)

BUILDING MATERIALS
Ample chicken wire from Carmen & George’s moving-out contributions, cheap wire cutters, plentiful source of leaves, twigs from last year’s liatris stalks, willow branches from delapidated garden ornament, and grapevines

THE BUILDING SITE
Client attempted to “break ground” without first consulting architect (or land owner); site is the empty gothic-style wrought iron planter box hanging on a limb stump on a tree in the architect’s back yard. Architect sees bird fly off, inspects site, notes start of nest, then proceeds to devise renovation plans, taking a gamble on bird returning after nest site is partially disturbed

THE THOUGHT PROCESS (yes, there was one)
— Build A-frame mesh roof, just wide enough to accommodate already-begun dove nest
— Attach mesh roof to wrought iron planter with green wire (to blend in nicely)
— weave willows to form back wall (rather crudely done, but this is the look I was going for….something a dove might do if she had opposeable thumbs, but not so complex that it would appear a real architect did it!)
— weave right side with same willow to add protection from the elements, but leave some open gaps to appeal to the (not so bright) bird’s penchant for open spaces
— leave left side of metal roof open for feng shui appeal (good vibes in, bad vibes out)
— tuck in leaves to further protect from the elements, add a softening touch to the heavy metal roof, and offering some camouflage from predators

CLIENT’S REACTION
— Didn’t get client approval (in the form of an immediate move-in) for at least one day

ARCHITECT’S LOG
— Let cats out in the backyard early evening, 3/29, and birds scattered from the home site
— Took a peek into empty domicile and observed blindingly white egg
— Add a few more leaves to obscure view of aforementioned egg
— Add a few more grapevines overhead, then cut (invisible) ceremonial ribbon, pronouncing the project complete

OBSERVATION, 3/30, 1:04 p.m.

Eureka! (Dad, eureka is one of those words that deserves an exclamation mark)

The client loves her new abode; see paparazzi’s photographic proof, attached, in the first photo below.

arch-masterpiece.jpg

© 2007 Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Later, I was able to observe and photograph Baby Yin and Baby Yang from birth to flying lesson day. Above: in the middle photo, Baby Yin is at recess under Mama’s watchful teal-rimmed eyes. (Baby Yang was not quite ready to leave home and stayed in the nest while his/her sibling learned the ropes.) In the last photo, Baby Yin is doing the all important wing stretches (yes, she does have two legs, but doesn’t she have remarkable balance on just one? I’m such a proud foster mother!)





Over the top

18 02 2008

Last Saturday was our fourth annual Chocoholic Party and this year I deviated from the look of previous years’ red, purple, and gold “upscale bordello” chandeliers. This year’s theme was decidedly more elegant with a lime green, bronze, gold, and white color palette and took its cue from nature: feathers, birds, baubles, butterflies, fruit, berries, white and green poinsettias, gold mesh ribbons, and dangling amber colored glass “crystals.” Even though the party is a week past, I’m pondering leaving the decorations up for a few more months (at least until this dreary wet winter weather passes). What would Martha do?

I’ll post people (and chocolate) photos from this year’s soiree soon. Wanna see photos from previous Chocoholic parties? Here’s the link: http://www.cindydyer.com/ChocoholicParty/

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

bird-lamp.jpg