Eye level with a Chipmunk.

A shot from a recent session in the yard using my ground pod to get down to eye level with the birds and mammals.

This Eastern Chipmunk was interested in the human lying in the grass while it searched for a few more seeds to stuff in its cheek pouches.

An Eastern Chipmunk with stuffed cheeks.

A portrait of a Mourning Dove.

A Mourning Dove feeding in the grass.

One of the first photos from last Sunday morning. Taken before I raised my ground pod a couple of inches. I also moved back a bit once I realised how tight in the frame the birds, squirrels and chipmunks were going to be.

Portrait of a Mourning Dove.

A juvenile Pine Siskin.

Sunday morning saw me lying in the yard behind the camera. I had set up my ground pod to try for some shots of the Squirrels, Chipmunks and whatever bird species decided to feed on the ground. I was expecting Common Grackles, Blue Jays and other larger species. I wanted to get as close as possible to eye level with the subjects.

A few weeks ago I got a low profile ball head for the ground pod. It would allow the lens to be about 3/4 inch lower than the ball head I had been using. Coupled with a couple of other changes I could now get the lens more than an inch lower to the ground.

So my initial set up was as low to the ground as possible. I then remembered a lesson learned in the 1980s. You can get to low, it’s hard to see through the viewfinder and you can’t see smaller species for vegetation sometimes.

So I swapped the 3/4 inch bolts that act as legs on the ground pod for the 3 inch bolts. This allowed me to see the juvenile Pine Siskin as it fed in the grass.

Pine Siskin juvenile.

A scruffy Red Fox from week 24.

This was my initial choice for week 24 because it was such a strange encounter. I was down at the Lake Huron shoreline in Southampton on Saturday morning. I grabbed the camera I keep in the car just in case there was something interesting.

It was cloudy, the sky was grey as was the water making it hard to tell where one started and the other stopped. Not a lot of bird activity either so I sat on one of the benches around the flagpole at the bottom of High Street. I was fiddling with the strap connectors on the camera when I looked up to see a Red Fox trotting along the Lake Huron shoreline.

It stopped briefly for a drink before carrying on towards me. It trotted past me at which point I stopped taking photos and just watched it. It turned around and started coming towards me again, climbing up on the boulders that protect the flagpole. I then made a huge mistake and stood up to get a better viewpoint. The Red Fox didn’t like that, turned around and disappeared into vegetation to the north of the flagpole.

At that point I forgot about it and started photographing two Ring-billed Gulls that had landed on a boulder. After getting plenty of photos of the Gulls I had gone back to watching for interesting birds when I heard people behind me exclaim about a Fox. It had looped around behind me and was heading back down the beach in the direction it had come from.

Trotting Red Fox.

Week 24. Sunday brunch.

I had selected a photo for week 24 on Saturday evening. That pick changed on Sunday morning and changed again in the afternoon.

I set a camera up in the yard Sunday morning but as my target bird species haven’t been cooperating I set up my ground pod to target the Squirrels, Chipmunks and whatever bird species decided to feed on the ground.

A portrait of an American Red Squirrel eating its Sunday brunch. The ground pod allowed me to get down to eye level with the Squirrel. I had to lift the ground pod up a couple of inches as my initial set up resulted in most of the subjects being hidden by the grass.

American Red Squirrel feeding.

A week 23 visitor.

Sunday afternoon of week 23 saw me in the yard trying to get some shots of the various Woodpeckers and Nuthatches we have around at the moment. The birds weren’t cooperating and I was considering swapping the tripod for my ground pod.

Getting down to ground level would allow the Squirrels and Chipmunks to be as uncooperative as the birds. However, before I had chance to annoy the resident rodents a visitor wandered into the yard.

The Raccoon wasn’t sure about sharing the yard with a photographer and retreated a couple of times. I used my normal technique for those circumstances and avoided eye contact and ignored the Raccoon until it was comfortable with me being there.

Racoon or Raccoon?

Old barn and crescent moon.

Another version of the old barn taken earlier in the morning than the version I used for week 23.

I tried various compositions keeping the crescent moon in the frame. I think this is the version that works for me.

Being earlier in the morning the mosquitoes hadn’t come out in force at this point.

Crescent moon over an old barn.