Friday, May 2, 2014

Flights of Fancy


I have several friends who are avid bird watchers.  


One sits in her sun room overlooking the Little Wicomico River with her field guide and binoculars at her side.  While savoring her early morning coffee and watching the sun rise, she searches for gulls, sandpipers, osprey, and hooded merganser ducks.  




My other birding friend, southern writer Candice Ransom, claims turkey buzzards as her spirit guide.  She is currently sharing the story of the Robin family nesting in her backyard over on her blog, Under the Honeysuckle Vine. Her den is decorated with vintage bird books and postcards, illustrations of birds, bird tchotchkes, and a beautiful assortment of abandoned nests. 


Both of these friends put me to shame when it comes to bird knowledge.  They share a deep connection with nature and birds in particular.  They talk excitedly about bird calls, mating rituals, and distinguishing characteristics.  I love their passion. 

The birds that visit my yard - gold finches, tufted titmice, cardinals, chickadees, woodpeckers, mourning doves, blue birds, vireos, wrens, and robins – entertain me. 


Watching them, I breathe deeply. The stress of the day ebbs away with birding. My imagination soars. Thoughts and ideas become my flights of fancy.

As a photographer who sometimes writes, I have thousands of fleeting thoughts and ideas. Many of these ideas are totally impractical or unrealistic. And yet, I entertain them nonetheless. I’m one of those people who responds to “that will never work,” with a stubborn streak.  “Oh yes, it will.  We haven’t even tried yet. Let’s just see.” I am seldom the most talented or the smartest, but I am often the most resourceful. 



Even though I cannot fly, my flights of fancy carry me. Maybe flights of fancy are clues to finding our real passions. What makes you smile? What makes you lose time? What comes naturally to you? What can you not stop talking about? What would you do for free because you love it so much?

I'm linking up with Kim Klassen today, and my Friday Finds are sweet little gold finches and flights of fancy. 

23 comments:

  1. lovely post. I am not an avid bird watcher but I do love to observe them. We have cardinals that are chirping away nearby as I sip my tea.

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    1. I'll admit there have been phases of my life where I seldom noticed the birds, but not so these days. I'm finally making time for a different life - where simplicity rules. Glad you have time to enjoy a cup of tea, one sip at a time. Thanks so much for visiting.

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    1. Thanks, Sarah! Such beautiful finds on your site today, too. The apron photo is my favorite. I look forward to another picture of the apron with you as the model - and perhaps a favorite recipe, too! The watercolor effect added to several of your pictures make for such artful images - so much fun to play.

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  3. Such wonderful post and dito images! I love birds but there are not so many in my corner of the world.

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    1. Maybe few birds in your corner, but I so love the ladybug on your petunias you found this week. I learn so much from looking at images like yours - again that restful negative space that I love.

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  4. Lovely setups on all of these, love the shots, so sharp and clear. Beautifully done Donna.

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    1. Looks like we were both in enjoying bird photography this week - love the owl and quail on your post, too!

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  5. Wonderful post and images! My mom and aunt are avid bird watchers, especially hummingbirds. We have a contest every year, the person who sees the first hummingbird wins. Since they live in a warmer climate, one of them usually wins. I'm like you, I don't know too much about wild birds, but I do enjoy watching them. Plus, we have a parakeet and 2 cockatiels as pets, and enjoy them too.
    I loose track of time with photography, shooting and editing. It makes me smile and teaches me to look at the world differently, finding the beauty that is there rather than noticing what needs to be changed.
    Have a great weekend!

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    1. Michelle, You wisdom shines through your photography. Even if you hadn't told me that you try to focus on beauty rather than what needs to be changed, I could predict that would be your philosophy. You focused on the crystal clear reflection in a raindrop and that says of a world of good things about you!

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  6. I love the goldfinch theme with the surprise of the blue jay feather. Your backyard is a bird paradise with lots of big trees and those feeders. Birds are all around us, all the time, no matter where we are, even in the canyons of New York City. Avid birdwatchers, like me and your osprey-watching friend, simply notice them. We don't relegate them to the margins of scenery, like moving background, but acknowledge their place on this planet.

    Your photos are gorgeous, as always. The blue-green sheen of the binoculars on the Peterson guide reminds me of a grackle's neck shining in the sun. And I love Michelle B's comment about finding beauty instead of noticing what needs to be changed. Yes!

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    1. Were it not for you, I might never have noticed the beautiful birds in my own backyard. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction where I can see with fresh eyes. Let me know when Zelda the Robin becomes a mother - eggs hatch!

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  7. Beautiful photos and beautiful thoughts! I have just started bird watching and love to go out with birders...they always seem to want to share their knowledge

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    1. Gail, Seems we both found light and beauty right in and around our own homes. Your onion picture looks like it could be on the cover of Cook's Illustrated magazine. Do you know this publication? They always feature a painterly version of veggies.

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  8. oh Donna.... you are so inspirational.....
    John and I love to sit on the porch.... and watch the birds feed....hours can pass.... just watching their busy-ness....
    We had a robin that kept nesting year after year..... on the ladder we have attached to our front porch wall....The mama would sit on the tree and give us heck for being on the porch...so protective.....

    your images today... are beautiful....each of them... but that shot of the binoculars and field book.... Oh my.. i absolutely love the perspective. And the tones....so earthy.... and the texture in the binoculars... Be Still My Heart...

    xo

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    1. Kim, I'm tickled that you noticed the binocular photo because I'm only able to take such a photo thanks to you! I have learned so much about making creative photos from your classes - and S2F is filling me with new ideas and knowledge. For a long time, I didn't understand that it was okay to break the "rules" of exposure - and I'm loving just trying all the features on my camera and seeing what happens!

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  9. Donna your images and the lovely story you told about your birds was such a pleasure to see. Loved the image of the old book with that beautiful bird feather on it.

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    1. Thanks so much. I may give the palette story board you used on your Friday Find photo a try, too! I really love the way you picked up the neutral tones in the shiny buckle to create such a stunning image. It's amazing to me . . . seeing the perspective of beauty through the eyes of another.

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  10. What a lovely post - and I agree with kim...I love the photo of the binoculars and field book.

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    1. Hi Cathy, Thanks for visiting. I was fascinated by your post for Friday Finds - a purse holder at the end of the restaurant table. Necessity really is the mother of invention. Can't wait to track more of your experiences and art as you bask in the culture of Japan. What will your next blog post reveal?

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  11. Lovely images, Donna. You have a lot of feathered visitors to you back garden. I love the image of your friend enjoying her coffee with her binoculars in hand to see what she can spot out on the river. That sounds like a very good way to start the day. All the best, Bonny

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  12. I love all your photos Donna, I love bird watching too. The neighbor across the road had bluebirds nesting in his newspaper holder under the mailbox, while our beautiful birdhouses remain empty ...hmmmm !

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  13. Just beautiful. Im not a big bird watcher yet two Robins keep visiting me in the morning while I have my coffee outside.
    Loved what you created and your words so uplifting.

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