Photography

FAUNA AND FLORA

Sound Beach resident Bonnie Boeger took this beautiful photo while walking in Rocky Point with her iPhone8 Plus. She writes, “The multicolored coneflowers were all lined up and this little guy was posing for me. Apparently I was talking to him, asking him to move and spread his wings. I love photographing butterflies and plants and as much butterfly- and bee-friendly stuff as possible, but you never know where they will be.”

Send your Photo of the Week to leisure@tbrnewspapers.com.

TAKING A REST ON A HOT DAY

Bill Pollack of East Setauket took this lovely photo of a cabbage white butterfly sitting on a cucumber leaf in his garden on Aug. 12  with a Samsung Galaxy S7. He writes, ‘I followed it for several minutes while it was deciding which leaf to land on.’

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SPARKLING SUNSET

Pamela Murphy of Stony Brook took this serene sunset picture at West Meadow Beach on Aug. 5 on her iPhone. She writes, “I never tire of gazing and capturing on film the sunsets we are privileged to enjoy at this jewel in our community. The brilliant saturation of colors, in addition to the way the sun was reflecting on the water leading right up to the shoreline, was beautiful to behold.”

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‘No, you ask him to refill the bird feeder ...’ Photo by Jay Gao

We have a winner!

Congratulations to Jaimie Lane of Selden for being the winner of our latest Caption This! photo contest. Jaimie’s creative caption, “No, you ask him to refill the bird feeder …,” beat out the competition to win a family four-pack to see “Shrek The Musical” at the John W. Engeman Theater. Congratulations and thanks to all who participated in our contest. Special thanks to the John W. Engeman Theater, 250 Main St., Northport for being our sponsor. Be sure to look out for our next Caption This! photo contest in the near future.

A juvenile male common yellowthroat. Photo by Joe Kelly

By Joseph Kelly

Those of you that view the work of nature photographers may enjoy the photographs of birds without thinking very much about what goes into these shots. “A bird. On a branch. Pretty bird.” While these are correct and true observations, they don’t really capture what is actually involved in taking a photograph of a bird, or any wild animal for that matter. 

I’m not complaining or bemoaning my lot in life. In fact, I’m hoping that parts of this little essay will bring a smile to your face. Mix in some nature, a little humor and a dash of knowledge, bake for 30 minutes and maybe we’ll all get to enjoy some wild creatures and places. And maybe we, or our children, will try to preserve the recipe.

Okay, back to the premise at hand. I was talking about photographing birds before I went all philosophical there. It happens, get over it. Photographing birds is not as easy as one might think. First off, you have to find the bird. I know, I know: They’re everywhere, right? But they’re not. Not really. We all have robins or sparrows or blue jays or crows in our backyards. Or pigeons for you city dwellers. But if I or any other wildlife photographer just took pics of those guys, we wouldn’t generate much interest. People might get to thinking that they’d seen all there was to see and why seek for more? No one would want to preserve open spaces or parklands. They wouldn’t understand the why of it.

I did it again. I was talking about finding birds and I went all sideways with it. So, really, you have to find the bird. You need to go where the birds are, whether it’s a park, a river or wetlands, a seashore or wherever. Again, you need to go where the birds are. You’re not done yet. Even when you’re in the right place, you still need to find your quarry. It’s not like birds are lining up to meet you. 

I have friends that can find and identify birds by their calls. I am not so gifted. I have several CDs of bird calls but I find my retention for such recordings — or lack thereof — do not help me in the field. Also, I am mostly deaf in one ear so even if I could recognize a particular call, zeroing in on the location of a particular call is nigh on impossible. By the way, I can hardly believe I found an excuse to use the word “nigh” in a sentence.

Okay, so you’re in a right place and you’ve found a bird. You don’t always see it right off. Sometimes, it’s just a rustle among the branches or a disturbance in the flowers. But it’s a bird. It’s right there, maybe just a few feet away. You know it’s there. Maybe you can even hear it. But can you see it? Can you get a photograph? Is that bird sitting there, proud and dignified, waiting for you to take its picture? Most times, at least for me, the answers are no, no and no. Birds flit and fly from branch to branch and from tree to tree. It turns out that the darn things have wings.

But sometimes, those sweet wonderful sometimes, you get lucky. The bird peeks out from the foliage or the flowers and is right there. All you need to do then is put it in focus. And that is an entirely different conversation. 

A resident of Stony Brook, Joseph Kelly is the official photographer of the Four Harbors Audubon Society. Visit his blog at www.joekayaker.com.

RED DARLING

Mimi Hodges of Sound Beach snapped this gorgeous photo of a garden with a red hibiscus plant in the foreground on July 31 using an Olympus OM-D E-M1. She writes, “This was in the beautiful backyard of dear friends and neighbors.” Hibiscus plants are known for their large, colorful flowers but they also have medicinal uses. The flowers and leaves and calyces (pods that hold the seeds) can be made into teas and liquid extracts that can help treat a variety of conditions.

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‘No, you ask him to refill the bird feeder ...’ Photo by Jay Gao

Jay Gao of Stony Brook captured this photo in his backyard on July 15 using a Nikon D5500. He writes, “It was in the late afternoon when we noticed these two squirrels were playing around on the  ground. Had just enough time to grab my camera and to take a couple shots before they disappeared into pine trees.”

Share your best caption for this adorable photo at leisure@tbrnewspapers.com. The reader with the most original title will be announced in the Aug. 16 issue and win a family four-pack to the children’s production of “Shrek The Musical,” now playing at the John W. Engeman Theater through Sept. 2. Open to all ages. Deadline to enter is Aug. 11. Good luck!

‘NATURE’S BEST SHOW’

Beverly C. Tyler of East Setauket snapped this beautiful sunset photo from the Mount Sinai Harbor entrance at the end of Harbor Beach Road at Cedar Beach on June 4 using his iPhone. He writes, “The fishing pier is a popular spot to fish, to walk and enjoy the view and watch the sunsets. This is a popular spot for lovers to hold hands in the evening and watch nature’s best show.”

Send your Photo of the Week to leisure@tbrnewspapers.com.

PROTECTING ITS TURF

Gerard Romano of Port Jefferson Station encountered this guinea hen on a recent  outing to Satterly Landing along Shore Road in Mount Sinai. He writes “It was unreal. This bird was approaching my car in a threatening manner. A gentleman in another car laughingly advised me that more were on the other side of the car and had me surrounded. The way this bird walked reminded me of their ancestral raptors.”

Send your Photo of the Week to leisure@tbrnewspapers.com.

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