Tuesday, October 15, 2019

The Audubon Photography Award

The National Audubon Society was founded in 1896 by 2 women, Harriet Hemenway and Minna B. Hall in Boston who hosted afternoon teas for women to share their concerns over bird feathers being used in millinery. From this humble beginning has come what is now a conservation, educational and advocacy group for North American birds. Here's a short video that will give you the best information:

Their website, National Audubon Society, is a treasure trove of information - an index on all the North American birds, with calls included, and tons of information and tips re birdwatching, photography, bird-friendly plants for your garden, gear and so on. They also have a free mobile app, highly regarded by the birdwatching community.

And if it's conservation or volunteering you have in mind, that's all on the website too. 

Golden-Crowned Kinglet
Photo: Brian E. Small

And then there's the link to the Audubon Photography Awards where you can find information for entering the contest and who the judges are as well as the winning photographs from 2019 and past years too. If you have some spare time I highly recommend a visit to browse through the photos from the last few years. Each photo has accompanying technical details as well as Bird Lore and the Story Behind the Shot. It all makes interesting reading.


Saturday, October 12, 2019

Happy Thanksgiving!

An Autumn Day in Muskoka

It has been a spectacular week. Members of my family may recognize some of these views ;)

The leaves above were actually bright yellow. I tried taking a similar photo in a different spot but couldn't capture the colour with my iPhone. They just appear green. This is a basswood, also known as a lime tree or a linden tree. We're thinking of putting a nursery specimen or two in our backyard at home to replace the crab apple trees that fell victim to fire blight in 2017.

This enormous beech tree beside our road and near our hydro line is now felled, thanks to Ontario Hydro. It succumbed a few years ago to an insect and fungal (combined) disease that is killing beech trees in this province. A pileated woodpecker started to work on the base of the trunk and we started to fear the worst, so now it's on the ground and small pieces of it are making their way to our fireplace.

(for scale)

The deer harvested the coleus when we weren't looking.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Birds and Photography

I really admire people who birdwatch. Birdwatchers. Birders. They not only have the patience to watch and listen for birds, but they also have the knowledge to identify birds in their various plumages for each breed or season - male, female, juvenile, breeding and so on and even to identify species by their call alone. Such expertise!

Recently I read a Canadian memoir by Lynn Thomson, of the Toronto-based Ben McNally bookstore family, about her young son Yeats, who is an enthusiastic birder. 

Yeats is the kind of teenager who is, perhaps, somewhat different from his peers in that he is quiet, thoughtful and reflective, appreciates and likes writing poetry and needs alone time. He has always loved wildlife, especially birds and with his encyclopaedic memory, he has no difficulty id-ing them. Like most birders, he keeps a journal/list. 

Mother and son travelled together to neighbourhood venues, like the urban Toronto Riverdale Farm and southern Ontario Wye Marsh as well as to farther-flung places - Pelee Island, Vancouver Island and even the Galapagos, which was possibly an adventure too many - let's just say you should read this book because I don't want to give any spoilers!

I found the memoir particularly enjoyable due to a few coincidences which stem from the Thomson/McNally family spending time at their Muskoka island cottage within eyesight of ours, though I had no knowledge of this prior to finding this book. It's a small world!

While I was thinking about extraordinary teens who love birds, I came across a reference to Liron Gertsman, now 19, who lives in British Columbia. His focus is slanted toward photographing birds and other wildlife and he has many travel miles under his belt already. His most recent claim to fame is sweeping the youth categories of the National Audubon Society's 9th annual Photography Awards, 2018.

Liron has an Instagram account with beautiful photos and a very interesting website: Liron Gertsman Photography

More about the Audubon Awards in a future post.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Kumi Yamashita

Kumi Yamashita is a Japanese-born artist now living and working in the US after receiving her education in places like Glasgow and Seattle. As a sculptor, she does the most amazing things with light and shadow.

H200, W300, D10 cm
Carved wood, single light source, shadow
Permanent Collection Otsuma Women's University, Tokyo, Japan

H250, W500, D5 cm
Aluminum numbers, single light source, shadow
Permanent Collection Namba Parks Tower, Osaka, Japan.

CITY VIEW (detail) 2003

Kumi Yamashita also does portraits using thousands of tiny galvanized nails on a white wooden panel and a single unbroken sewing thread.

H39, W30.5, D3 cm
Wood panel, brads, single sewing thread
Private collection

Visit her website, Kumi Yamashita to see more.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Zack MacLeod Pinsent

Zack MacLeod Pinsent is a young British man who loves wearing period clothing. With an interest in historical clothing from a very young age, he finally gave up contemporary clothing at age 18 and started to wear only duds that he made himself, mostly by hand, eventually branching out into his own bespoke tailoring business which creates period clothing for both men and women in Brighton, UK.

Zack enjoys researching historical periods and does most of the tailoring by hand.

You can follow Zack