Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Maybe Next Time

Originally uploaded by Jason Means

Most of my days behind the camera may not be monumental by any standard, but they are usually good days regardless. I may not always get the shot I pictured in my head, but I'll at least get something that makes my efforts worthwhile.

Unfortunately, today I blew it, and have nothing to show for my efforts other than knowledge that I blew it. I found a great pokeberry that some birds were feeding on and decided to stake it out with high hopes of getting a good shot. Within minutes of getting into position, my mind wondered off to other things, and noticed only too late that a little yellow warbler had snuck in under my radar and was making his rounds all over the pokeberry. By the time I drew the bird into frame he had made his way to another part of the plant and the shot was gone. I had missed a fantastic shot. The blood red pokeberries in contrast to the yellowest of all warblers.... what a drag.

Extreme frustration doesn't even begin to sum up how I felt. A golden opportunity had passed me by, and may not come again for quite some time. I staked out the pokeberry for two more hours, without a single bird coming into frame.

Oh well, at least I was able to pull a decent shot out of my butt yesterday with the chickadee pictured above. I put out some fresh seed the other day, and the chickadee's made little time in taking advantage of the fresh bounty.

Monday, September 29, 2008

An Excuse for Yard Work

Originally uploaded by Jason Means

I've been a bit behind on my yard work. Well... actually, way behind is a bit more accurate. I've just had so much going on as of late, yard work has taken a back seat to several other projects.

But, yesterday I found a tremendous excuse for letting my yard slip in to the third level of gardening hell - making a bird habitat. The floundering economy has already taken a big bite out of my home value... so, why not let a few extra weeds polish off what little value is left?

This little goldfinch and several of her friends made a meal out of the weeds in my garden. After watching her munch away on some seeds, I didn't feel so bad that I had let my yard disappear beneath a blanket of weeds.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sunday Walk in the Woods

Originally uploaded by Jason Means

Today's walk was a little on the wet side, but still a fantastic day to be in the woods. Fall is by far my favorite time of the year.

I came across this creepy crawly critter along a fence line on Nelle Chilton's property. It's orange body glowed against a background of changing fall colors.

The Art of Camouflage - and Persistance

Originally uploaded by Jason Means

Every so often, I help out the WVARNG Honor Guard with funeral details. This past week was really busy, and I ended up participating in seven funerals.

Several of those funerals were at Cunningham Memorial Park in Saint Albans. During one of services earlier in the week I noticed this toad precariously perched about five feet off the ground on a stone wall. I'm sure that getting into that position was no easy task.

The most amazing thing of all though was his absolutely perfect camouflage. His coloration was that of the concrete fill between the stones, and he matched it ever so well, even right down to the small black and grey spots of lichen between the blocks.

Due to the timing of the service, I was unable to take any pictures, but three days later, I was back at Cunningham for another funeral. To my amazement, our intrepid climbing toad hadn't budged an inch. He was in the exact same placement that he was days earlier, sitting as stone like as the wall upon which he was perched.

Naturally, I couldn't resist taking a few pics this time. After the funeral procession left I made my way over to the wall and snapped off several frames, this particular one being my favorite.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Ornamental Grass in Fall

Ornamental Grass
Originally uploaded by Jason Means

I've had a thing for ornamental grasses for some time now. I just love the shapes, lines and textures.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

You Just Gotta Love Fall

Blue Jay
Originally uploaded by Jason Means

To say the least, I'm ecstatic that fall has arrived. Cooler temps, warmer colors... a photographers dream come true.

This Blue Jay was digging for bugs on a dead tree. The low level evening lighting, combined with the turning fall leaves sits in stark contrast to our Jay, making the image really pop.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Something Mayfly This Way Comes

Originally uploaded by Jason Means

I was a bit of a bum today, and tried to make the best of things by spending a little time cleaning up around the house. Unfortunately (for the housework that is) I stumbled upon this huge Mayfly just outside the first window I started to clean.

Within only a matter of seconds, I had dropped my Windex and paper towels, turning to photography instead of the task at hand.

The lighting coming through the window was intense, and I loved the way it filtered through the Mayfly's translucent wings. I stepped quickly into the office and grabbed a sheet of white paper for a backdrop, and immediately was in awe of the perfect shadow that lay beneath the insect.

After several (hundred) frames, I felt that I had at least a few good images to pour over, and then the tedious task of image selection and editing began. I had several strong images from the shoot, but feel that this particular shot really combines many of the images I had in my head before I snapped the first frame.

Low Level Evening Lighting

Originally uploaded by Jason Means

Dhania and I took a trip out to the folks house this evening for a stroll and a breath of fresh air. As she was running through the fields, I noticed that lovely low level lighting that only the evening sky can produce.

My first round of snaps weren't so impressive, so I talked her into doing a few more laps around the field for me so I could get the perfect shot.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Black-capped Chickadee (Parus atricapillus)

Black-capped Chickadee (Parus atricapillus)
Originally uploaded by Jason Means

I ventured out to visit my folks yesterday afternoon, with high hopes of strolling around the road to stretch my legs and ease my mind. But, the heat and humidity beat me down, so I decided to hang out for a while around my dad's bird feeders.

The overall number of birds is dwindling with the end of summer upon us, but there are still a few that make their way to the feeders, which is plenty enough for me.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Gus the Pound Pup

Originally uploaded by Jason Means

This is Gus, a really friendly pound pup at the Kanawha / Charleston Animal Shelter.

My wife, Andrea, volunteers every Sunday at the shelter and takes pics of all the new arrivals to post on their website.

So, I decided that I'd tag along today and get a few pics myself. Naturally, a trip to the shelter is both an exciting, and somber experience.

For more information about pet adoption in the Kanawha Valley, visit The Kanawha / Charleston Humane Association's website.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

2008 World's Strongest Man Competition - Car Lift

2008 World's Strongest Man Competition
Originally uploaded by Jason Means

I've been known to flex a little muscle from time to time... but these guys take things to a whole new level. This guy actually strained so hard that either a blood vessel ruptured on the top of his head, or maybe a small cut reopened while he was straining during the car lift. Regardless, that is blood running down his forehead.

Before I started shooting these events at the beginning of the week, I didn't know quite what to expect. I'd seen the competitions on TV before, but never up close.

To say the least, I have a deep respect for not only how these guys train, but how they compete as well. In no other sport have I seen people who are competing actually cheering and rooting on who they're competing against. These guys put on a great competition, and have my respect on many levels. Check out more picks from today's event on my Flickr Photostream.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

2008 World's Strongest Man Competition - Atlas Stones

2008 World's Strongest Man Competition
Originally uploaded by Jason Means

Today's competition was the Atlas Stones, which was held on the campus of the University of Charleston.

Magnus Sumuelsson always has the best facial expressions. His form is top notch, and I can always count on getting some great pics of him during the competition.

Monday, September 8, 2008

2008 World's Strongest Man Competition - Viking Press

2008 World's Strongest Man Competition
Originally uploaded by Jason Means

This afternoon's competition at the Capitol Complex went pretty fast, so I'm glad that I wasn't too late in getting there.

I was getting pretty tired just holding my camera, so I can only imagine what these hulks were feeling after lifting a whole tree.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Phil Pfister - 2008 World's Strongest Man Competition - Truck Pull

Phil Pfister - 2008 World's Stongest Man Competition
Originally uploaded by Jason Means

Phil flexed his might once again today with a great time in the truck pull.

Check out more images of todays event at my Flickr site.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Phil Pfister - 2008 World's Strongest Man Competition - Keg Toss

Phil Pfister - World's Strongest Man Competition - 2008
Originally uploaded by Jason Means

Phil put on a strong showing at the first day of the 2008 World's Strongest Man Competition. He was one of only a handful of participants that was able to heft ever keg over the bar, which was no easy task.

I'm really looking forward to the remaining events in the competition. I'm sure there's going to be the opportunity for some great shots. Head over to my Flickr site for more WSM pics.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Water Tank Steps

Water Tank Steps
Originally uploaded by Jason Means

I walk past this water tank several times a week, and I never cease to be amazed at how angle of the sun, weather conditions and a variety of other factors make something so mundane seem so interesting. Every time I stroll past it, there's always a slightly different color cast on the faded skin of the tank, and the shadows are continually changing.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Moon Setting Over Treeline

Moon Setting Over Treeline
Originally uploaded by Jason Means

As I stepped out onto the front porch tonight, I noticed this beautiful waxing crescent moon. Just a hint of clouds was on the horizon that glowed in the moonlight.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Keeping an Eye on Me

Horse Eye
Originally uploaded by Jason Means

This horse was keeping a close eye on me today.