Sunday, June 17, 2012

Nature Photography: Trees, Plants, Birds & Critters

I thought I'd share some photos I've taken in my neighborhood over the last couple of weeks. This large flowering "golden shower tree" (Cassia fistula) is located on some empty land nearby. I had noticed some cardinals in the area and spent a little time early one Sunday morning trying to get a photograph of one. They seem to be awfully wary of people and don't hang around any particular area for long, but I managed to get a few shots, although not as close-up as I would have liked. While I was waiting patiently for the cardinals I found a few other things to take photos of, namely butterflies, dragonflies and lizards!




The Cassia fistula tree is the national tree of Thailand, and according to Wikipedia its yellow blossoms symbolize Thai royalty. It is native to southern Asia, but I've seen quite a few of these trees scattered throughout Miami. At this time of year they are all in bloom and are a lovely sight. 




Above and below is a young female Northern Cardinal. I noticed her eating the yellow petals from the tree.




  
  

Another young cardinal above. Isn't it cute? As it grows into adulthood its crest will turn red at the top and its bill will become orange instead of the dark color you see here. 


This lizard has quite an interesting pattern, not typical of the ones I usually see 'round here. 

A stray cat wandered over and scared off the birds, oh well...






The red flowers above are from a wild vine called the "Rangoon Creeper." It is native to Asia, but is also found in other parts of the world. I've seen it in many areas in Miami and it has lovely red and white blooms, but if left to its own devices it can sometimes take over other plants and hedges. 


Mini-dinosaur ;)
 a.k.a. the Brown Anole (a common type of lizard)
   




These pretty yellow blossoms cascade downward like a golden waterfall.
  
  
Here is a male cardinal I followed around with my camera for a bit. I love his vibrant color and crest.




"Maybe if I hide behind this palm frond she won't see me"

    

Above and below is an example of an older female whose bill has already turned orange. Her coloring may not be as eye-catching as the male, nevertheless I think she is beautiful!

 
All of the Royal Poinciana (Delonix regia) trees in the city are in bloom and looking gorgeous. Interesting fact (which I just learned): this type of tree originally came from Madagascar. However, they have been widely introduced into tropical and subtropical areas. I have one in my back yard and they are very common in South Florida. I love the coral color of the blossoms. The flowers are shaped a bit like an orchid.







  




Some more photos taken on a morning walk around the neighborhood...
   












~ Thanks for visiting. Have a great week! ~

22 comments:

  1. Your photos are so beautiful. I love birds. We live near a lake and preserved mini wetland area, so there are always birds, and right now, there are DUCKLINGS. They are the most adorable creatures. I see cardinals every once in a while (well, male cardinals - I don't know that I could recognize a female one, though now I will try!) and they are such a lovely splash of color. Also, isn't it wonderful to know that you can have a bit of a faraway place by enjoying the same flowers?

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    1. Hi Larie, Aw, how cute, ducklings! How nice to live near a lake :) It is interesting to learn about the plants and trees in the neighborhood & I had no idea some of them originated so far away!

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  2. Oh my these are beautiful professional looking photographs. You do an awesome awesome job with your photos. What camera and lens do you use if I may ask?

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    1. Hi Michelle, Thanks so much. I use a Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1. There are a few newer models though. It is called a "Micro-Four Thirds" camera because it is a bit smaller than a regular SLR so it's a little easier to carry around. For these photos I used a Panasonic 100-300mm zoom lens. I usually tweak the photos a bit in Photoshop or other program just to make them lighter or adjust contrast. I like this camera, but I find that the only time it captures really sharp images is in bright lighting.

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  3. Sitting here enjoying my morning cappuccino & enjoying your feast of photos.
    What a happy way to start the day:)) Thank you!

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    1. Hi Buggsiebee, thank you!! It was fun taking the photos of the birds. I am still hoping to get a real close-up of a cardinal one day! :)

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  4. you are such an amazing photographer--I always enjoy stopping by and looking at all of your photos. The Royal Poinciana pictures that you took look just like a tree I saw earlier today at a gas station, actually! I thought it was beautiful and was trying to figure out what kind of tree it was. I'll have to go back sometime and see if they are the same!

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    1. Hi Becca, Thanks for the sweet comment! :) The Royal Poinciana trees are so pretty at this time of year. Usually they just kind of blend into the background but then suddenly they are in bloom all over the city and I really notice them now when I'm driving around.

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  5. stunning! i love your photographs so much! can you please share which camera & lense you use?

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    1. Hi delicate hummingbird, Thank you so much! :)
      I use a Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 and for this post I attached a 100-300mm zoom lens so I wouldn't scare off the birds :)

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  6. Amazing pictures! I loved specially the ones with the orangey cardinal! :)

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    1. Hi Maria, Thank you!! :) The cardinal is so pretty, isn't it? There are a few in my neighborhood right now, and in the mornings sometimes you can hear them calling to each other.

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  7. love those pictures so much <3 amazing, stunning ... nature seems so perfect, always nice to look at <3

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    1. Hi Claire, Thank you! :) Nature is such a great subject to photograph because it is so perfect. Even though I live in a city that has a lot of traffic & people, I'm glad there are still areas that have lots of natural wildlife and plants :)

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  8. Very pretty pics, indeed!

    I especially love the shots of the butterflies and lizards. The detail that your camera catches is incredible!

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    1. Hi Torika! Thanks for stopping by and for the kind words :)

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  9. Thank you so much for sharing the joy and beauty you have captured. It made me feel calm, refreshed and with clearer breathing. Lisa - Australia

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  10. Hi Lisa, Thank you for such a sweet comment! I'm glad you liked the post :)

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  11. Very beautiful photos you've taken there! I love nature pictures. They are very relaxing to see/admire.

    I'm curious to what kind of camera you use and if you utilized a tripod in taking these photos. They were perfectly stilled!

    Despite my ethnic background is Thai and I had lived in Thailand for a few years, I have no idea that the golden shower tree is the national tree for Thailand O_o I just don't recall seeing this tree very often though.

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    1. Hi Paige, Thank you so much! I really enjoyed taking these :)
      I use a Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1. For these photos I attached a 100-300mm lens so I could zoom in on the birds without scaring them away. I don't use a tripod but just try to hold the camera as steady as I can :)

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  12. I adore these photos. :))) Lately I'm getting into bird watching, too, though we don't get very interesting ones around these parts. Cardinals are a rare sight and I never see bluejays after we cut down the pine tree in the back yard. But I will keep my eyes peeled. :)

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    1. Hi Liz, Thank you!! I'm not sure why but I've been paying more attention to birds than I used to :) There used to be a lot of bluejays around but now I rarely see any. There are always mockingbirds around! :)

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Thanks for commenting!