Tuesday, February 25, 2014

South Mountain in Black & White

The plan for today had been to go up on the rail trail and take landscape shots of the Cumberland Valley farms with Blue Mountain in the background. Unfortunately the weather wasn't cooperating; there were intermittent snow showers and the mountain had disappeared behind a curtain of snow and low clouds. Oddly enough, though, South Mountain was relatively clear. So I reversed direction and went up Old Scotland Rd. and back by Possum Hollow Rd., both of which provide good views of the mountain. I was in an Ansel Adams mood today, so the shots are all in black & white. Enjoy!

From Old Scotland Rd.
Farm on Possum Hollow Rd.
Grain Depot on Possum Hollow Rd.
From Possum Hollow Rd.
© 2014 by A. Roy Hilbinger 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Snow and Birds in the Park

I was finally able to walk around in the Dykeman Spring Nature Park, and with the new camera at that. I'm really, really pleased with how this camera is performing. And I can shoot birds again! I finally got a decent shot of one of the resident Belted Kingfishers, and there were some surprise visitors on the north duck pond - Canvasback ducks, two drakes and a hen! These must have strayed far off course; their usual habitat is bays and salt water inlets. So this was a good day, and I'm very pleased.

Duck tracks in the snow, in the Dykeman Spring wetlands
A female Belted Kingfisher in a tree overlooking the north duck pond
Canvasback ducks, two drakes and a hen, on the north duck pond
Blue Mountain view from the upland meadow
The Canvasbacks were still there when I came back through, so I took another picture
© 2014 by A. Roy Hilbinger 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

It's Still Winter...

... even though it rained this morning. Unfortunately, it being winter the rain froze as soon as it hit surface. Walking back and forth from the laundromat this morning was like walking on an ice skating rink. But around 10:30 AM the sun came out and POOF! the ice skating rinks turned back into wet sidewalks.I was doing errands today, so I got shots as I went to and from. Here are the results.

I love snow. But freezing rain? Not so much!
A bench in front of the Post Office. I think the guy running the snow blower forgot it was there.
The Shippensburg Select Diner is also waiting for spring
This curious onlooker was wondering what I was doing creeping around with that black box in front of my face.
© 2014 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Day After

I was off today and planned to visit the Dykeman Spring Nature Park to take pictures of the park in 10 inches of snow. Unfortunately that nice, scenic fresh snow laid over the existing 5 or so inches of hard, crusty snow, and trying to walk in the park was a good way to break an ankle. I am not a happy man!

In any case, I got two decent pictures along the route to and from the grocery store, as well as more shots of the birds at my feeder station, so I'll entertain you with those. Enjoy!

South Mountain from the railroad overpass on Baltinore Rd.
Waiting for Spring. A scene along West King St.
Papa Red and a female House Finch breakfasting at the flat feeder
Mama Red lunching at the flat feeder
A female Downy Woodpecker at the suet feeder

© 2014 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Snowy Downtown Shippensburg

As I mentioned in the previous post, we've been having a significant snow storm here today. I took a walk downtown, an aborted attempt to get to work. I ended up going back home and calling off. The sidewalks in the commercial district downtown were mostly shoveled, but outside that three block area walking was just a mess. But I did get pictures in the process, so all was not lost! Rather than give you pictures of some of Shippensburg's picturesque buildings in the snow, I thought I'd show you scenes that show how much snow we got. At that point I figure we had about 10 inches. It was an interesting walk, to say the least. Enjoy!

Walking down West King St.
Branch Creek at King St., looking south
Snow-clad evergreens at the corner of King and Prince Streets
God's Acre cemetery on North Prince St.
Branch Creek at King St., looking north
© 2014 by A. Roy Hilbinger

A Busy Day at the Feeders

We got hit with a significant snow storm today. I knew it was coming and made sure my feeders were filled before I went to work yesterday. Today during the storm the birds showed their appreciation. The visitors were mainly Dark-eyed Juncos and Mourning Doves. There were also some House Sparrows, but they always flew off when I came to the window with the camera, so the Doves and the Juncos got to be the stars of today's show. Enjoy!

A snowy, and busy, day at the feeder station
A Dark-eyed Junco at the flat feeder
A Mourning Dove feeding on the ground below the feeders
More Juncos on the flat feeder
© 2014 by A. Roy Hilbinger 

Sunday, February 09, 2014

An Attempted Sunday Stroll

Having today off and having a brand new camera to give a workout, I decided to visit the Dykeman Spring Nature Park. Bad idea. The snow here is over-the-ankle deep, and when it fell it was very wet and heavy; then it froze up overnight, and then we had a day of sleet and freezing rain to top it off. So what looks like a beautiful, snowy winter scene is actually a hazard. In many places you can walk on top without breaking the crust, but sometimes you break through, which makes walking difficult. And where the crust is hardest it's slippery on the surface. I made it through the wetlands part of the park with much difficulty, but getting up on the meadow proved impossible. So I only got a few pictures. But the camera is proving its worth, and especially that Hemlock branch with the cone is showing that I'll be getting my signature macro shots again. Hooray!

Branch Creek at King St.
A stream in the Dykeman Spring wetlands winding its way through the snow
A Hemlock branch along the Dykeman Walking Trail
© 2014 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Saturday, February 08, 2014

First Shots with the New Camera

My new camera arrived yesterday - a Canon PowerShot SX510 HS, one of their "bridge" cameras, meaning the bridge between a simple point-and-shoot and a DSLR. That's what my old camera, the one that drowned back in November, was, and this is the latest version of that. I spent some time trying to figure out how to get the shots I used to be able to get with the old camera, and then went to the kitchen to get what I haven't been able to get since November: shots of the birds at my feeder station. Here are the best of that shoot.

A Dark-eyed Junco feeding on the spillage
Mr. Red staring off intruders on his spot
A very busy feeder, with a Mourning Dove and some Sparrows
© 2014 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Groundhog Day

They dragged poor old Punxsutawney Phil out of his den this morning; supposedly he saw his shadow and retreated, meaning six more weeks of winter. I don't know how he saw his shadow; it's been a solid overcast all day, and Punxsutawney is only about 150 miles up the road. The kleig lights from all the TV cameras must have freaked him out. But the prediction looks to be good. It certainly looks and feels wintry here, and we have more snow heading here early tomorrow.

I went walking in the Dykeman Spring Nature Park this morning to get Groundhog Day shots. I was undecided between color or b&w, and decided to go with both, but only post the color ones here because in this post I want to emphasize Mama Gaia's paintbrush at work in the midst of a typically nondescript season. If you want to see the b&w versions as well, click here to go to the web album. Meanwhile, enjoy the colors of winter here!

The wooden bridge over Gum Run, which joins up with Branch Creek a little farther downstream
Branch Creek in the Dykeman Spring Nature Park
Looking across the north duck pond
Looking north down the length of the north duck pond
The wetland north of the north duck pond, with Martin house
© 2014 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Saturday, February 01, 2014

While Walking Around

These are things that caught my eye while walking around on errands today. I'm really liking black & white photography lately; in great measure that's due to having lost my good camera and having to learn to deal with the limitations of the camera on my cell phone. Black & white photography turned out to be the best way to present photos taken with the phone, and I've been having so much fun with it that I'm almost tempted to not buy a new camera. Heh, heh! The operative word in that sentence is almost; there's no way I'm going to give up taking my macros, and my bird portraits, and other things that the cell phone camera just can't do. But this experiment in working within strict limitations has been very good for my photography, and the cell phone photos will keep coming even after I get my new camera in a couple of weeks. For now, here's the latest batch.

Branch Creek on the other side of King St.
One of the narrow alleys of Shippensburg
An abandoned factory complex
The stairs, rails, and windows on the side of Messiah Methodist make an interesting pattern.
© 2014 by A. Roy Hilbinger