Everyday photography in Costa Rica is a cornucopia of delights! And on many visits over the years, I have spent countless hours observing and photographing birds. The diversity of the bird life is astonishing and pervasive.
You wake to parrots squawking outside your bedroom, a house wren serenading the day, or a multitude of other small song birds greeting the dawn.
Deep in the rainforest, the birds are often hidden in the trees and hard to see, but you can always hear them. Imagine the thrill of discovering a family of spectacled owls peering at you through the leaves.
Along the rivers and in the mangroves, some of the larger water birds are more visible. They are so graceful in flight, and it is fascinating to see them preening their feathers or wings spread, drying off in the sunshine.
By the ocean, a skein of brown Pelicans frequently sweeps along the coastline, or a solitary hawk flies high looking for prey. Down at the water’s edge, a sandpiper forages for food.
So much to see. I have captured some of these experiences in a recently published book, Costa Rica: Bird Portraits. Published by Blurb, you can get a preview of the first fifteen pages at http://www.blurb.com/books/3954987. I invite you to visit and have a look at more bird portraits. Please note that all images are Felicity Somerset copyright.
September is such a beautiful month. I love the vivid colours, the still warm temperatures and the sense that the final burst of garden life, before the winter, is in full swing.
Sunflowers and various kinds of yellow daisies are brilliant lights in the neighbouring gardens, especially when captured against the intensely blue sky. If you want to see a garden alive with colour, visit the Rosetta McClain Gardens on the Scarborough Bluffs in Toronto at 5 Glen Everest Rd. There you will also see migrating Monarch Butterflies clustering around the Buddleia blossoms. Soon they will be starting their trek south across Lake Ontario.
And the Fall colours are beginning to appear in the farmers’ fields. Driving through the South Western Ontario countryside at the weekend, I captured an image of the decaying soya bean plants against a dramatic stormy sky.
If you would like to see more of my Fall images, visit my website at http://www.felicitysomersetphotography.com. And better still, subscribe to my monthly newsletter!
All images are copyright.
Flowers and Photography is currently showing at the Art Gallery of Peterborough, Ontario. Curated by Caria Garnet, the exhibition includes work by Suzy Lake, Sara Angelucci, Barbara Astman, Sasha Yungju Lee, Dyan Marie and Lori Newdick.
I loved the different ways in which these women artists addressed a subject that has inspired artists since early times. I found resonance with my own work in the close up images of Lori Newdick, and appreciated the imaginative digital treatment in Dyan Marie’s image-making. Again, I found resonance in Marie’s work with the directions of my own digital explorations. Suzy Lake’s images in a garden at the end of the season was also of special interest as I am currently working on this theme for an upcoming exhibition. This is an exhibition, and a gallery that is well worth visiting – the exhibit runs until September 4. And if you visit Peterborough, try Brio Gusto for lunch at 182 Charlotte St – excellent food.
Here are a couple of my recent images that reflect the directions that I am working on at the moment.
The Van Gogh: Up Close exhibit currently at the National Gallery in Ottawa is a feast for the eyes – exuberant colour and wonderful brush work. I particularly enjoyed the intimate view in many of the paintings, often the focus of my own work. The Arnaud Maggs photography exhibit was also extremely interesting; he gives meaning to everyday things by presenting them in multiple versions that are mounted together. And such a beautiful gallery, filled with light.
Late Sunday afternoon, we took a boat down the Ottawa river and explored the lock system in the canal leading into the river.
There was also some imaginative street art. We found this wolf image on a flight of steps. The image details were on the front risers of the stairs, and at the right angle, the image of the wolf appeared.
And the day finished with a dramatic sky with a suggestion of possible rain!
Last evening, as we sipped a glass of wine before dinner, a fox ran through our garden – so quickly that there was no time for a photograph. As we watched, we noticed a commotion in one of the of the flower beds. A groundhog was hiding under a tree, and as the fox left he ran in a panic in the same direction and then veered into the next door garden. Since foxes prey on groundhogs, we are not sure whether the met up again! Meanwhile, our resident raccoons (a mother and four babies) have moved out of their Spring quarters under our front porch, so no more scuffling and squeaking.
The garden is full of colour – foliage and flowers highlighted in the dappled sunlight. And every day, there is something new in bloom. I’ve included a few of today’s photographs.
The tent is re-packed, the hanging frames are folded and the images, except for those that were sold, are returned to the studio. The Riverdale Art Walk outdoor show is over for another year and despite cool and showery weather, it was worthwhile. One hundred and twenty-five artists participated and there was an incredible variety of art on display. For me, one of the highlights was the wonderful community of artists who share their work with the public and with each other. It’s such a supportive group and we enjoy each others success. Now I’m back in the studio working on orders from clients.
But in the spirit of everyday photography, which I want to continue to highlight in my blogs, I have not had to go very far to add further images to my collections. The garden is flourishing, and day after day there are new discoveries. The clematis have been beautiful this year and one of the recent delights has been a flock of Cedar Waxwings. They have been frequent visitors for a couple of weeks just outside my back door. And there is more to come so watch out for future blogs!
Warblers galore! Over the weekend, I sat on my back porch – camera at the ready – and was delighted by the succession of small migrating warblers. Ten to twenty feet from me, these little birds danced around the tree branches, took a bath in the pond or fountain and played tag with each other.
The selection included Magnolia Warblers, many Yellow Rumped Warblers, the Nashville Warbler, the Black Throated Blue Warbler, the Yellow Warbler, the Black Throated Green Warbler, and the Chestnut Sided Warbler.
These little birds are not easy to photograph. The dart in and out of the tree branches and when they perch, they are often obscured by branches. I’ve included a couple of photographs that show you what I mean!
But that wasn’t all. The garden was also visited by American Redstarts, a pair of Baltimore Orioles, an Indigo Bunting and three Rose-breasted Grosbeaks who spent the whole day on the bird feeders.
This is the Yellow Rumped Warbler and below you’ll find the Black Throated Blue Warbler,
Please note that all images are Felicity Somerset copyright.