Photography and Revising

These are the months where I have the most time to play with my camera, but the subject matter is limited.  My loons have gone to the coast.  The eagles roam, not yet tied to a nest full of chicks, the heron has migrated, turtles are buried deep and the fox kits are just a gleam in their parent’s eyes  . . .

So I turn to my backyard chicks.  If they were my children, they’d roll their eyes at the number of times I stand in my little front yard with my biggest lens trained on their feeders.  You can almost hear them say, “Really?  Really?  Isn’t that a little bit of overkill there? Go find a snowy owl for goodness sake!”

But it’s more challenging than one would think.  Over the last couple of days, whenever I was stuck in my manuscript, I’d take the camera outside for a few minutes.  Then at night I’d pour through the photos to see what I’d caught.  From the five hundred I took over the last couple of days, perhaps twenty to twenty-five were salvaged.  Ten of those are sharp and crisp.  Some I wish I had do-overs for . . .


Grand Central Station

Right before a storm is best.  The feeders are a hub-bub of activity, the birds almost don’t pay me any mind at all as they choose their seeds.


Finches devour the seed, leaving a chickadee waiting in the wings


Emotions are high on these days . . . . everyone wants their turn at the feeder.



Wait your turn!


Downy Woodpecker


Mourning Dove with snow for a hat

Focusing and shooting birds who are perched and chowing down is fun, but I longed for a bigger challenge.  Incredible photos.

Flight photos.

So I turned my camera on my newest feeder, a shiny glass ball, where the flight in and out was constant.

Well, almost constant.

Red Feeder  (3)

With a little guidance from my husband, the photos became sharper and more interesting.

red feeder take2  (56) red feeder take2  (44) red feeder take2  (30) red feeder take2  (24)

But there were still a lot of photos I had to cut, interesting photos, but not clear enough, crisp enough to save.  I had to take comfort in the knowledge that I could try again another day.

Last night it hit me, for me, revising a manuscript is a lot like revising my photos. For every 1,000 strings of words, perhaps two hundred make the cut. Some need a little sharpening and re-focusing from a editor.  Some are put aside as a maybe.  Some you never need to touch, perfect in their rawness, from the minute you first wrote the words. Some are junk and just have to go.

Add color and substance here.  Move a chapter there.  Try to find the very perfect combination of contrast, exposure and depth . . . .

And of course, cheekiness . . . .

red feeder take2  (41)


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8 Responses to Photography and Revising

  1. Sandra Bogdanovich says:

    Thank you, Tami, for taking us along on your talented adventures…enjoy being immersed in your creative visions.

    • Tamra says:

      Thank YOU for reading, Sandy! Hope you’re staying warm and dry and not having to do too much shoveling.

  2. Meg Anderson says:

    Lovely photos Tamra!! You can increase the fun by feeding at a bird table. I have a 3×3 foot 3/4 inch plywood topped table on 4 1/2 foot tall legs. I spread the seed out on that and can have as many as a dozen larger birds like doves or 25 – 30 small ones on it at a time. The activity is amazing and often hilarious!!

    • Tamra says:

      Thank you, Meg! I too, have a bird table – I use our wooden campground picnic table in the front yard. I like to try different things on it, to see what they’ll go for. The snow is just piling up too fast today, I’m afraid.

  3. Nina says:

    I love the comparison, Tamra. Too true, too true. I’m still in the newish stage of photography where it’s still fun and I’m so excited to see what I captured. I have to try to go back to that with my writing as well.

    What kind of a setup do you have? You mentioned your biggest lens. These photos are great…are they taken with a 300?

    • Tamra says:

      Nina, I have a macro lens, but I also have a 50omm lens that I use more often than not , since I’m after wildlife shots. *That’s what I used with these photos) Unless I’m in my kayak, I take a monopod with me, for stability for those long distance photos.

      I’ve been having trouble staying focused on my writing recently, but when I procrastinate, it usually involves my camera and a hike to the lake. So I was trying to compare the two processes, and why was it easier with one, than the other? I’m not sure I have the answer, but I do know they are similar. And that helps.

  4. Nina says:

    500 mm! Whoa! I seriously didn’t know they made those. I have to go look that up! You’re like one of those photographers on the sidelines of the sporting games/matches. Big time, lady!

    Nicely done.

    And yes, I’m having a bit of a problem staying focused too and I also find myself going out for walks with the old Canon slung around my neck. Unfortunately, I don’t have as much wildlife here in the suburbs and the most I have is a 200 mm, so I can’t get as close to the seagulls and geese as I’d like. Is your husband a photographer? You mentioned him “helping you.”

    • Tamra says:

      Yes, we’d rented a 5oomm lens when our resident eagles had triplets, and oh boy, did I hate giving it back when the week was done! I saved my money for months to get the Sigma version. And it’s too funny you mention sporting games . . . this lens isn’t really for that, but I take it to my son’s soccer games all the time, and he calls me his paparazzi. 🙂

      My husband likes photography and he understands all the settings and speeds and iso’s and the like, but he admits to not having the patience to sit and wait for wildlife to come along or to “do something” cool. I’m forever asking him, “how to do xyz better”.

      I hope you get out often! Taking pictures is a real stress reliever for me.

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