Indian Creek Canal koi

15 10 2018

When I was driving en route home from San Antonio back to Virginia in early August, I stopped to visit my friends Sue and Steve in Huntsville, AL. Sue took me back to the Indian Creek Canal to shoot some photos of the beautiful koi with my iPhone 8Plus. I went a little crazy, running back and forth to capture these images (especially following the beautiful gold koi)!

The canal was the first one in Alabama, incorporated in 1820 and completed in 1931. It was constructed to the Tennessee River to facilitate the transportation of cotton to market. Developers were Thomas Fearn, LeRoy Pope, Stephen S. Ewing, Henry Cook, and Samuel Hazard.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Alabama Koi 1

 





Six-spotted Fishing Spider

26 07 2015

Six-spotted Fishing Spider (Dolomedes triton); it’s so hard to get perfect depth-of-field with these tiny subjects, but I’m happy with the overall look of this shot regardless (thanks to my friend Michael Powell for the identification). Re: size—this one was probably about an inch or so long (they can get up to 2.5 inches!). The lily pad was a smaller one.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Fishing Spider





Itsy bitsy frog

26 07 2015

The teeniest of frogs—barely a 1/4″—in one of the ponds at Lilypons this morning

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

TinyFrog lorez





Photo Lesson: Just ducky

9 12 2013

Anytime you notice an S-curve in your composition, relish it! An S-curve is an imaginary line in a photograph that resembles the letter “s.” This serendipitous composition of ducks leads the viewer in at the top, meanders into the middle, then curves back out again—which adds motion to the image. Look for opportunities to utilize the S-curve’s soft, flowing lines to help create separation in a frame or make the S-curve your focal point. And don’t stop with landscape photography—the S-curve can be used in posing subjects for portrait photography as well.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

JustDuckyFB





Getting my ducks…er, geese…in a row

4 11 2013

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

GeeseInARow





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)





The Painting Years: Birds in flight

30 12 2011

Here’s another painting I copied while studying with Lila Prater in Weslaco, Texas. I was about 15 when I painted this 18×24 canvas.





Here comes Peter Cottontail…

12 07 2011

Photographed at Green Spring Gardens this evening

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Spent blooms

28 06 2011

In past years the Lotus flowers have bloomed just in time for the annual Water Lily Festival and Festival of Lotus and Asian Culture at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens on the third Saturday in July. This year the flowers, particularly the white variety, seem to have peaked much earlier than usual. Most are past their prime blooming stage, but there were lots of opportunities to photograph spent petals in those beautiful Lotus leaves! There are plenty of pink blooms that haven’t flowered yet, though, and there are several ponds that are chock full of beautiful magenta-colored water lilies. Click on the panoramic image below to enlarge for full effect!

The place was a flurry of activity this morning, with children on field trips and student volunteers doing everything from garden chores to turtle counting. They caught the turtles in nets, pulled them up, filed a notch in the shells of those that weren’t captured previously, then released them back into the ponds. Michael saw a foot-and-a-half-long snapping turtle pulled to the surface and then released. Before I knew they were doing the turtle counting procedure, I saw a four-inch-long Red-eared slider by the edge of one of the ponds and was able to get the “record shot” at right (definition of a record shot: certainly won’t win any awards, but they’re proof I was there!). We’re pretty sure the dent on his right side wasn’t the work of a turtle counter since Michael said they were making the file marks on the shells near the back of each turtle and the notches were very tiny.

As I was wrapping up my very brief photo session at the park (it was too sunny to shoot any winners; no clouds to help out, either!), I looked behind me on the path and saw something dark, shiny, at least four inches long, with lots of legs. My first thought was “very large spider!” I moved closer and saw it was a crayfish (crawfish or crawdad if you’re a southerner like me!), hanging out on dry land. I got this one (slightly blurry) record shot of him and he skidaddled (slowly and backwards) back into the nearby pond. It was officially my first crayfish/crawfish/crawdad sighting ever!





Move over, will ya?

6 04 2011

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





The UT Turtle Pond

6 04 2011

Turtles bask in the reflection of the University of Texas Tower. The Red-eared slider (Trachemys scripta elegans) and the Texas river cooter (Pseduemys texana) are common to waterways in central Texas and are also the two most common species in the UT Turtle Pond.

The semiaquatic Red-eared slider is a subspecies of the pond slider and is native only to the southern United States. It is the most popular pet turtle and as a result of pet releases, it has been established in other places. It gets its name from the red mark around its ears. The freshwater Texas river cooter has yellow and black markings and is native to creeks, rivers and lakes in Texas. They can grow to a shell length of 12 or more inches.

I knew that the University of Texas Tower was infamous because of the shooting rampage by sniper Charlie Whitman on August 1, 1966, but I didn’t know many of the details. Click here for trutv.com’s Lost Innocence, a chilling account of that day by author Marlee Macleod.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Can you spot the critter?

6 04 2011

Where is it and what is it? Photographed at Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, Texas

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.






Critter alert!

25 05 2010

I was scrounging around the refrigerator earlier this evening, hunting for something interesting to eat for dinner. I glanced out the window and saw this large rabbit (about the size of a normal-sized cat, actually!) grazing in the grass on the common area strip in front of our townhouse, alongside two squirrels and a robin. He was out earlier than I normally see them in the neighborhood (still daylight at about 7 p.m.). I grabbed my camera with a 105mm lens and ran outside, slowly approaching him. He let me get within five or six feet of him before slowly turning away, and even then he didn’t go very far. I was able to fire off almost 20 shots—these are the cream of the crop.

© 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.






Goose and gosling

24 04 2010

While I was photographing the ‘Blue Moon’ Siberian Iris, a pair of Canadian geese waddled across a boardwalk near the Martha and Reed West Island Garden at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. Mom and Dad were trying to keep up with their baby gosling, off exploring the world in all directions. I got this “record shot” (not award-winning by a long stretch) when the mother (I presume) and baby slid into the water and began grazing in the vegetation.





Leopard seal in Antarctica

4 01 2010

I photographed numerous leopard seals in our back-and-forth jaunts in the inflatable boats from the MS Disko to land. They look sweet and cuddly, but leopard seals are the second largest species of seals and by far the most aggressive (something I didn’t know at the time). The whiteish throat with black spots gives the seal its name.

According to Wikipedia: The leopard seal has an unusually loose jaw that can open more than 160 degrees, allowing it to bite larger prey. It can live up to twenty-six years, possibly more. Orcas and large sharks are the only natural predators of leopard seals. The leopard seal is the Antarctic’s equivalent of the polar bear and is the top predator on the continent. Visit Wikipedia‘s link on the leopard seal here. (In the section on “attacks on humans,” I read that “leopard seals have previously shown a particular predilection for attacking the black, torpedo-shaped pontoons of rigid inflatable boats….” Hmmm…sounds like what I was in while photographing this guy!)

If you possess a morbid curiosity about how leopard seals devour penguins (one of their diet staples), take a look at the incredible still photos (many underwater….brrrr!) of leopard seals in Antarctica by National Geographic photographer Paul Nicklen in a video he narrates here. Nicklen’s latest book, Polar Obsession, is available on Amazon here.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Wildlife in Spokane

21 09 2008

Last Sunday evening I photographed this doe and her two fawns in a field not far from Barb and Dean’s home in Spokane. I shot the first photo and then the sun broke through and illuminated the family from behind. Mom was cleaning one of the fawn’s ears in the second photo and then the fawn nuzzled her in the last photo.

© Cindy Dyer. All right reserved.






Baby Chickadee

1 08 2007

I have a newly-hatched family of chickadees in my backyard garden. I have a metal and wood bird feeder that I never even noticed had a bird house built into the top (and I’ve had it for four years!)…an observant Regina pointed out a chickadee had gone into the hole a few weeks ago.

Yesterday I was looking through the patio doors and saw a “miniature” chickadee on one of my plant stands (and you know how tiny an adult chickadee is), and realized it was one of the babies (there are at least two of them).

I got some “record” shots of him through the window yesterday, but this afternoon, as I was watering the garden, one of the babies flew up about two feet away from me and just sat watching me…I slowly went to get my camera (which was near the patio door) and went back to the basket where he was perched. I sat there for at least 15 minutes on the arbor bench, just watching and photographing him…at several points I was less than two feet away from him…so I was able to get some beautiful shots. Momma (or Dad) and the baby were chirping back and forth….I’m sure they were telling him to “be careful, that’s a red-shirted-frizzy-haired human about to pounce on you!”

Learn more about these beautiful birds at the links below:

http://www.birds.cornell.edu/AllAboutBirds/BirdGuide/Black-capped_Chickadee.html 

http://library.thinkquest.org/5078/Wildbirds.dir.chicadee.html

baby-chickadee.jpg

© 2007 Cindy Dyer, All rights reserved.