Thursday, August 28, 2014

My Summer Barn Project: Part 3

With the broken beams under the floor of the west hay mow, the double layer floor needed to be removed to give access.  This photo was taken before I began removal.  Note the sway in the floor.  My wife shot the photos of me pulling up the floor.


With the flooring removed, the broken logs beams were exposed for removal.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

My Summer Barn Project: Part 2

As with all renovation projects, this project began with demolition and clean-up.  My goal was to keep as much of the original barn as possible, doing only a limited renovation.  The photos below were taken over the course of a few evenings.  Keeping up with other chores about the farm and holding full time employment limited my work to evening and a few Saturdays. 
Demolition began with the removal of the mangers.

Barn with girder removed

View from opposite end

The last photo shows the temporary supporting structure used to hold the broken beams in place while the floor above was removed.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

My Summer Barn Project: Part 1

For those of you who have faithfully followed Country Captures over the years have noticed I have not updated the blog much over the past few months.  With the passing of my father many decisions needed to be made.  Some of those decisions had to do with the future of our farm, the cattle and the building.  Having decided to continue raising cattle my attention turned to the buildings.  As dad had grown old and infirm the farm buildings had been allowed to fall into disrepair as well.  Willard and I closely examined each building to determine what was worth saving and what needed raised while keeping in mind the building needs consistent with our vision of the farm's future.  The barn, the cornerstone of farm, was of major concern.
The following photos were taken following manure removal.

While it showed major signs of disrepair and some structure issues with seven floor beams being broken, all in all it was deemed structurally sound and worthy of repair.  In future post I will walk you through my summer project of whipping the old barn back into a usable piece of farm infrastructure.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Cedar Waxwings and a Lens Fail

While my wildlife photography time has been greatly limited this year I also experience the sickening feeling of aligning the 600mm rig on a Red-headed Woodpecker only to hear a rapid ratcheting sound as the lens attempted to find focus but could not.  After trying the lens on another camera and finding it to perform the same there was only one thing to do; return it to Canon for repair.  I expected the lens back within ten days but this time it took a full two weeks.  Unlike the time when I dropped and broke it two years ago and it took two trips back to Canon to get it right; this time when it came back it worked properly.  With the 600 back I was ready to exploit a flock of Cedar Waxwings that have taken to catching insects on the wing at a nearby creek crossing.  Setting up the camera rig it was only a short time before the colorful little masked bandit birds were perching nearby.

These little birds must be observed closely to see the beautiful earth colors of their plumage highlighted by the tiny but brilliant splashes of red and yellow.  So now with the big lens back in business and summer winding down I hope to eek out a little more time for wildlife photography before the autumn elk and whitetail ruts begin.  

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Fuchsia & Yellow

While winter cloaks the countryside in earth tones and white, summer scenes are alive with vibrant colors.  With flowers blooming and birds displaying their breeding plumage brilliant splashes of color can be seen everywhere. 
While taking care of my daily chores I recently noticed that the ripening seed in a stand of thistle bordering my west pasture was attracting a large number of goldfinches.  Finding some free time this morning I setup near the thistle with a Canon 6D mounted on the 600 F4.  In a short time the brightly colored little birds returned to feed on the ripe seed heads.  The scene was a feast of color with the yellow and black birds surrounded by the beautiful fuchsia color of the newly opening blooms. 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Summer Scenes

Each season adds its own special flavor to the landscape and to life itself.  Mid summer is a time of hot days and warm misty mornings.  The following images were taken while spending a little time quietly watching daybreak unfold on our family farm.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Changing Focus

As I noted in a post at the beginning of the month this year has been a year of dramatic change in my life.  The change began with my father's passing and every time I think that I am beginning to arrive at the new "normal" something else changes yet again.  This has been a year of loss and at the same time a year of gain.  It has been a time of renewing and repairing of old relationships and the building of new ones.  In the midst of all of the change my wildlife photography has had to take a backseat. 

While outdoor photography has taken on lesser roll in my life temporarily I still make time occasionally to enjoy to the peaceful solitude of daybreak on the water. 

An hour spent one Sunday afternoon watching a pair of red-headed woodpeckers carry insects to their young was a special treat.  I located this den tree last year and upon checking it this summer was elated to find that it housed not only the red-headed woodpeckers but a nest of yellow-shafted flickers as well.

Monday, June 09, 2014

Wildlife Babies Arriving

While it has been over about two months since I first encountered the fox pups back in April, wildlife babies continue to arrive.  The big event over the past week has been the arrival of the whitetail fawns.  I spotted my first one of the season Sunday morning.  While its not much of a fawn photo it is the best I was able to capture as the mother lead her new charge to safety.
A little later as I was driving along a dirt road I noticed a black object lying in the entrance to a pasture.  I was already past the lane by the time I was able to stop, having to back up for a second look.  At first I could not identify it but as I reached for the binoculars a head and long neck stretched up.  Identifying it as a wild turkey hen I immediately suspicioned that she was hiding her poults with her body.  While I waited a few minutes, other than to move her head the hen remained motionless.
As my time was running out and I needed to be on my way I hit the trucks ignition.  The sound of the engine starting was just enough to startle the hen into moving, revealing her brood of about a dozen poults.

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Changing Times

The one thing in life that remains constant is change.  Everything in our world is always changing and for the whitetail deer it is that time of year when they are making the change from their cold weather coat to the light coat of summer.  I photographed this yearling buck early this morning.  While parts of his face has lost the long hair of winter, the remainder of his face and his entire body is still covered by the now sun-bleached lifeless hair.
Also photographed this morning, a two year old buck grooms in the first rays of morning sunlight.  With his antlers growing rapidly now the buck has completed the transition to his thin, red, summer coat.  For the does, now is the time for birthing the new fawns.  While I have not yet seen any new fawns I have noticed a couple of does with plump udders; a sure sign that they have new-born fawns hidden nearby.
And while things are changing rapidly in the world of the whitetail deer, rapid change has been occurring in my life as well.  Instead of spending my spare time pursuing wildlife photography as I once did I am now using much of that time to manage the small herd of cattle and whip the farm into shape.  As the regular readers of Country Captures know some of my favorite wildlife shots are of deer and elk lip-curling during their respective ruts.  Now the rut can happen any day as evidenced by my new herd bull performing the lip-curl just the same as is done by his distant relatives in the wild. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Sunrise: The Most Beautiful Time of The Day

For many of us the day begins without notice.  For some the new day arrives before their alarm clock sounds while others are already at work, busy with the day's activity.  For me the latter is the case for five days each week so when the weekend arrives being up and out before the dawn becomes a high priority.  While some will argue the case for evening being the most beautiful time of day it is difficult to make the case for evening when comparing it to the incredible beauty of a dew-soaked mid-spring morning.
The above panoramic image was created by merging 14 vertical photos capturing approximately 180 degrees of view.  The individual photos were shot with a Canon 6D, 24mm-105mm lens set at 24mm,  F7.1, 1/320, ISO 160