I recently attended a day-long seminar that covered creative use of Photoshop and how to think about a picture being made with an awareness of how Photoshop can bring the image to a unique finish or translate what may be a bland capture into what you saw in front of you or had in your mind at the time of the capture. I learned several new things but the session’s biggest reward for me was that it gave me new excitement about creative photography. It was also a chance to spend time with my friend Deigh who usually offers a witty and insightful interpretation of something we see or hear when together. This session was no different in that regard and we occasionally shared some joke or wise-crack during the presentations… quietly, of course. Deigh also usually finds a way to turn a visit into something bigger and frequently we end up with our camera gear and “out there” to see what just might appear. This time we ventured to Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge (again) to see if we could find some birds of interest. Turns out that the place is pretty un-inspiring right now. Very few herons (highly unusual in my experience), the swans have left, the hawks and eagles were low in number and the otters were absent. What’s a guy to do?
One thing you can count on at Ridgefield and most other places in the Willamette Valley, is the presence of red winged blackbirds. At Ridgefield these birds hang out in the cattail flats near the refuge information center. They hop around on the heads of cattails and the stems and sing their hearts out. I prefer meadowlark calls but the blackbird song is pleasant enough that it adds to my experience and doesn’t become motivation to get away. We had some pretty bright light on the birds by the side of the road and took advantage of their close proximity to capture a few frames. Here is one that I picked from the collection I brought home.