Saturday Snapshot Jan. 26: Winter Birding

The sun and the birds are the main reasons for going into the woods in January. These are common birds for us, but catching a good photo of them is always a challenge. That’s when the common becomes a joy.

The Northern Flicker, I know where they hang out. And they’re not too hard to photo when perching or pecking.

Northern Flicker pecking

But what I’ve been aiming for is when they fly, I can shoot from below, for the orange underwing is beautiful. I’ve spent frustrating hours wading and standing in deep snow just to wait for such a moment. Here’s a semi-successful one.

Northern FlickerThis is my first photo of a Common Redpoll. Look at her demure pose.


This Red-Breasted Nuthatch is easy. She comes near me as if to greet a friend:

Red-Breasted Nuthatch

And for all ye squirrel lovers, here’s another one, too oblivious to be bothered by me taking pictures of her (him?) having breakfast. Look at the open mouth:

Squirrel at breakfast


Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Alyce of At Home With Books. CLICK HERE to see what others have posted.


Saturday Snapshot January 19

Winter in snow country. Here are some photos I took while trying out my new camera, a Nikon D5100. No editing has been done here, not even cropping.

I admit these are the more successful ones. There are lots that I’m not satisfied, with capturing light and focusing. Still figuring out how to use it, especially for birds. If you’re familiar with this camera, do let me know what’s the best settings for flying objects, identified or not.


Sunset at 4

Black-capped Chickadee


Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Alyce of At Home With Books. CLICK HERE to see what others have posted.


Saturday Snapshot: Life in the Snow

Some of you may still have roses in your garden and lush green lawn, but here in my neck of the woods, this is what we’re having… Exactly, with the snow falling.

Fish Creek ParkBut what did I find while birding recently? The woods teeming with life as in the summer sun. Take this buck, our curiosity is mutual:


Or this Blue Jay flying overhead:

Blue Jay flying overhead

This Pileated Woodpecker busy at work:

Pileated Woodpecker

Or this Black-capped Chickadee having fun:

Black-capped Chickadee

Or this Red-breasted Nuthatch lounging on two branches:

Red-breasted Nuthatch

Woodpeckers, Chickadees, Nuthatches, Robins, Blue Jays, Finches… They don’t migrate, but stay put and enjoy life where they are, even in deep winter when temperatures can easily dip below -20C.  This is their hood.

It’s me who want to fly away to somewhere warm.


Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Alyce of At Home With Books. Do click on the link to explore snapshots from other bloggers.


Saturday Snapshot Nov.10: A New Gravatar

After a few years of using the blue ripples as my Gravatar, recently I’ve created a new one. It combines several of my interests… at present. I designed the set and took the photo in a mini makeshift ‘studio’, a little corner on a desk.

This Gravatar depicts pages rippling in fight, the soaring power of words. From the symbolic to the actual, most noticeable in the background is my bird book, guide to a new-found passion.

Underneath the pages in flight is Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast. While Hemingway may not be my favorite writer, the title of this book is significant, albeit you can’t see it here. Less noticeable is the screenplay I’m writing at the base of the pile. Can you see the brad? And oh, the title of the open book? Roger Ebert’s memoir Life Itself.

Books, films, birds and screenplay in progress… a moveable feast.


Thanks to Alyce of At Home With Books for hosting Saturday Snapshot.

Posts you may like:

A Moveable Feast by Earnest Hemingway 

Roger Ebert in Toronto: A Close Encounter

Saturday Snapshot Oct. 27: Birds in the Snow

Yes, it’s snow for us all this week. A strong taste of early winter. But the birds don’t seem to mind. Here they are, Robins hanging out:

This is the attraction… juicy fruits:

But some are just born to work:

With so much food around, I’d rather be a slacker:

Now, roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of winter…


Thanks to Alyce of At Home With Books for hosting Saturday Snapshot.

Saturday Snapshot: Gliding Into The Sunset

On Thanksgiving Monday (Canada, Oct. 8), I stopped by Iona Beach in Richmond, B.C.  On the smooth water illuminated in a golden hue were Mallards gliding into the sunset.

The common Sparrow too was swept in an amber tone. In that frame, nothing seemed common anymore.

And finally, I saw the sun slide down the distant sky. What a sight to wrap up Thanksgiving. If anything’s common… it’s common grace.


Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Alyce of At Home With Books.

A Note About These Photos: No colours had been added nor saturation altered in any of them.

Saturday Snapshot August 4

Found this while taking my evening walk a few days ago. A white spider on what looks like a miniature sunflower. Can anyone identify both? I’ve never seen a spider like that before, or such a flower in the wild.

Soon it begins its acrobatic routine:

a natural for the Cirque du Soleil:

These last two shots are taken pointing to the light, hence the hazy result. But if you look closely you can see this little spider having fun.


Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Alyce of At Home With Books.

Saturday Snapshots July 28: Paris Montage

The Brasserie Balzar
Near the Sorbonne, Sarte and Camus’s frequent hangout where they dined and debated. Insert shot of Menu: Breakfast for 6 Euros includes a croissant, tartine, confiture, hot drink, orange juice.

A View of the Tower
Size is relative. 

The Paris Apple Store
Probably the most elegant of all the Apple branches.

The Paris Collage
As you can see, I got a bit carried away playing with the features in the photo editing site Picmonkey.

Again, Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Alyce of At Home with Books, Paris in July at Bookbath and Thyme for Tea.

Thanks to Zara Alexis for pointing me to for making these collages and watermarks.


Saturday Snapshots July 21

Once again, Saturday Snapshots framed by a Paris in July backdrop…

I was pleasantly surprised to find the open space outside the Louvre being used not only for tourist line-ups but as a spot for a family outing.

Dad can keep an eye on Sis biking, while Mom gets baby ready for a video shoot.

And Li’l Bro rides into the sunset.


Saturday Snapshot hosted by Alyce of At Home With Books, Paris In July at BookBath and Thyme for Tea.


Saturday Snapshot & Paris in July

Here are my photos for two blogging events: Saturday Snapshot hosted by At Home With Books and Paris in July over at BookBath.

In August, 2010, I was in Paris, stayed at a small hotel on a side street in the Latin Quarter, across from the Sorbonne. And just recently I was reading the book The Hundred-Foot Journey (my last post). In the book, the protagonist Hassan was offered a place to start his own restaurant, at 11 Rue Valette, near the Panthéon. When I came to that part of the book, I quickly went Googling and found, ta-da! Hassan’s restaurant was within walking distance of the hotel I stayed in.

This is what happens, you fuse together reality and fiction… that’s the joy of reading. And I could even imagine stopping by the restaurant to have a taste of Hassan’s haute French cuisine.

No, I didn’t get to Hassan’s Le Chien Méchant, but found this little cinema not far from our hotel on another narrow side street, Cinema du Panthéon, and it was showing the acclaimed film Des Hommes Et Des Dieux.

I had an urge to go in and watch it, but on second thought, I was in Paris, a French film showing in Paris would probably not have English subtitles.

I did get to see the film Of Gods and Men (2010) when I came back home, French with English subtitles.


Saturday Snapshot June 23

… Amina Sinai and Baby Saleem arrived home in a borrowed Studebaker…

Don’t laugh. But I’d never heard of a Studebaker until I read Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie in recent months.

You can imagine what a pleasant surprise it was for me as I came out of the Book Sale at Crossroads Market. The name on the back of that antique truck had an almost electrifying effect: STUDEBAKER.

Wow here it is, a real-life, bright and shiny Studebaker. From the antique license plate at the front you can see it’s a 55. I know the one that brings Baby Saleem home has to be 1947 or older, and definitely not a farm truck.

Here are the back, side, and front views… exact sequence of my discovery. O what joy. Those two people watching me take photos of it with my iPhone must have thought I was … uh… born yesterday.


Thanks to Alyce of At Home With Books for hosting Saturday Snapshot… for keeping my eyes peeled, making finding a farm truck as exciting as watching a sunset.


Saturday Snapshot — June 2

Saturday Snapshot hosted by At Home With Books.

At long last, Spring has finally sprung. For those of you in a much warmer climate, you can’t imagine we’re just beginning to see greens and buds.

Here are some of the photos I took while taking an evening walk in my neck of the woods a couple of days ago.

Wildflowers emerge:

The evening sun turning the green trees into golden fall colours.

And this morning I find all these buds on a pine tree, haven’t seen them so red like berries before:

Yes, Spring is finally here for us.