Thursday, May 13, 2010

Baghdad Palace


Baghdad Palace
Originally uploaded by Jason Means

Well, it's been almost a year since my last blog post. Our deployment has, to say the least, been extremely busy. Couple that with poor connectivity and you've got a long time between posts.

Regardless, I'm sitting at the BIAP Helo Pad waiting for my flight back to Ramadi and thought I'd test the Internet waters with a small post and a cool image that I took while on pass.

Needless to say, I'm looking forward to the end of this tour and being able soak up the luxuries of civilian life.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Parting Shots....


Hummingbird_26.Jul.2009_004
Originally uploaded by Jason Means

Tomorrow I head off for my all expense paid government trip for sun and sand. For the most part, my blog will remain inactive for this upcoming year, so I wish everyone the best, and look forward to posting some really great images when I return next year.

Thanks to all who have helped me so much in my art over the years.

Flowers


Lily_18.Jul.2009_001
Originally uploaded by Jason Means

I haven't had much time as of late to shoot macro being so preoccupied with hummingbirds and such.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Bee Balms and Birds


Hummingbird_12.Jul.2009_008
Originally uploaded by Jason Means

With the build up to my all expense paid government vacation, I haven't had too much time to spend behind the lens of my camera. However, tis the season for hummingbirds, and I really wanted to make some time and take a few shots of these little beauties before my departure.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Wren's Nest


Wren_Nest_28.Jun.2009_003
Originally uploaded by Jason Means

I spent most of the morning helping my brother Benny finish putting a metal roof on his house. While in his garage, he pointed out a nest that a little Carolina Wren had built in a roll of aluminum. Naturally, I couldn't resist taking a few shots, and was really impressed by how much material that the mother had used in building her nest.

Barn Swallow


Barn_Swallow_27.Jun.2009_002
Originally uploaded by Jason Means

After a long week in Massachusetts, I've enjoyed being able to spend a little time unwinding this weekend. Tired of laundry and housework, I ventured over to Nelle's to photograph this Barn Swallow. Naturally, lighting and framing was a real challenge, but with a little patience and a lot of fill flash, I was able to come away with several decent shots.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Tree Swallow Feeding Young


Tree Swallow - 14.Jun.2009_002
Originally uploaded by Jason Means

I've been so busy with work, school and everything else as of late I haven't had time to post many images or blog at all. Hopefully, after this upcoming week is over, I'll have a few extra minutes to spare and I can get back into the groove of taking some pictures... although, I have my doubts.

In the interim, I'll share this image that I took last week. It's one of the Tree Swallows that I've been following for the past several months feeding its young. I find this image especially unique because the adult swallow stuffs its entire head down into to mouth of the young one, which can be a single bug, or several dozen all at once.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Why did the Woodcock Cross the Road?


Woodcock Crossing Road
Originally uploaded by Jason Means

Why did the Woodcock cross the road? I haven't the foggiest clue. But I thought I'd share a shot of this very elusive creature. I've been trying to get a shot of this goofy looking bird for several years now, not so much as for profit, but more just to prove that I had seen one. They're pretty rare in our area of the world, and even harder to photograph. They're small, flush quick, are perfectly camouflaged and faster than lightning. Needless to say, I'm pleased.

More Tree Swallows


Tree Swallow
Originally uploaded by Jason Means

To say the least I've had a ball over the past few months photographing several pairs of Tree Swallows in the area. This particular one is nesting adjacent to Nelle Chilton's pond. I spent most of the morning watching this pair go in and out of their box, catching bugs and just playing around in general like good Tree Swallows do.

The only goof that I made today was having the ISO range on my camera set way too high (1250). I had did some low light shooting the evening before, and had forgotten to set it back to a normal shooting range (400-800). Due to the glare of the mid day sun, I paid little attention to the shooing information in my view finder, and shot the entire day at that exaggerated ISO.

Thankfully, my new 5D MK2 has a pretty decent expandable ISO range, and very little noise can be seen in these shots. If I had made the same mistake with my 40D, then the entire day would have been a complete waste. Anything shot on the 40D over ISO 800 generates a tremendous amount of noise, and limits the usage of the shots taken beyond that point.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Red-winged Blackbird


Red-winged Blackbird - Female
Originally uploaded by Jason Means

I had a lot of fun today following a female Red-winged Blackbird flying around the pond for food. I kept hoping that it would get a little bit closer to me so that I could get a shot that showed large amounts of detail, but every time that I encroached on its territory, it would just fly a few cattails further down the pond. Regardless, I was able to get a few good shots, and have a lot of fun as well.

Friday, May 22, 2009

A Sucker for Tree Swallows


Tree Swallow
Originally uploaded by Jason Means

What can I say, I'm just a sucker for Tree Swallows. I love watching their mannerisms and socialization. I was also able to get some cool HD video of them today going in and out of their boxes. Hopefully, I'll get a chance to aggravate some other birds over the weekend and give these guys a break.

Jessica Means Graduation


Jessica Means Graduation
Originally uploaded by Jason Means

My niece Jessica graduated from St. Albans High tonight. Naturally, I was glad to share in the joy and get a few pictures... but why, oh why, does everybody have to make a speech.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Tree Swallow HD VID


Tree Swallow HD VID
Originally uploaded by Jason Means
I've put together a few pieces of video from the other day when I was shooting a pair of Tree Swallows nesting near Nelle Chilton's pond. In the second portion of the video I've slowed it down so that you can see the birds going in and out of the bird house in a bit more detail. I also love the long drawn out sounds the birds make while the video is in slow motion.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Pink Lady's Slipper


Pink Lady's Slipper
Originally uploaded by Jason Means

Nelle Chilton turned me onto this wonderful little orchid, and I had a lot of fun playing around with a variety of angles capturing this beautiful flower. It was also a lot of fun trying out my new 5D MK2 and 100mm 2.8 macro lens for this particular shoot.

My First Stab at HD Video


Frog in Chilton Pond
Originally uploaded by Jason Means
I'm putting my new Canon 5D MK2 through the mill trying out all of its features. Being a stranger to video, I'm still learning my way around motion capture and movement.

Blocks and Rows


Block Steps
Originally uploaded by Jason Means

I'm a sucker for patterns of all sorts, and these rows of old concrete blocks really spoke to me.

Wide Angle Lenses and Lots of Brass


WVARNG
Originally uploaded by Jason Means

I don't shoot wide angle as often as I would like, but every once in a while I get a really good shot like this one that encourages me to shoot wide frame more often. For this particular shot I dug my camera down in the dirt next to the pile of spent brass in the foreground. From there I rolled the camera around snapping off shots at several angles and changing the aperture for varying levels of depth of field.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

All Good Things Must Come To An End


Morel
Originally uploaded by Jason Means

This year's morel season was a bit sparse compared to years past, but I was able to manage enough for several good meals. I was a bit bummed since I have to go out of town for several weeks soon, and thought that I'd miss a lot of morel picking. However, it seems that this year's crop of molly moochers have come and gone, so I guess I'm not going to miss out on that much after all.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

WV Cycling Symposium


WV Cycling Symposium
Originally uploaded by Jason Means

I spent a good part of the day photographing the WV Cycling Symposium. After the group finished up a morning's worth of meetings, they hopped on their bikes and took a spin up to the state Capitol.

WV State Capitol Complex in Spring


WV State Capitol Complex in Spring
Originally uploaded by Jason Means

On my way to the Cycling Symposium at the Governor's mansion, I spotted this colorful array of tulips next to one of the statues.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Tree Swallows in Spring


Tree Swallows
Originally uploaded by Jason Means

I've been watching this pair of Tree Swallows for the past month or so, having a blast photographing them on my lunch hour. Never before have I seen two birds so animated and fun to watch.

They continually repeat the same patterns over and over, so it's easy to move around and set up the same shot from a variety of vantage points and lighting conditions. So far, I think this particular shot with both birds in full focus is my favorite.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Morel Madness


Morel
Originally uploaded by Jason Means

This year's morel harvest hasn't been the best... but it hasn't been the worst either. I haven't found them in quite the same numbers as this same time last year, but I have found enough to make several good meals.

Hey, I'm All Ears


Sheltie
Originally uploaded by Jason Means

My neighbor Noel on Sutherland Avenue has two great Shelties, and I've been wanting to catch them romping about in the yard on a day with good lighting. Well, today was that day. Despite their barking and running around in circles, they modeled quiet well.

Pipe Smoke


Jason Smoking Pipe
Originally uploaded by Jason Means

Ever since I got my new fedora and started puffing on my pipe, I've been inspired to return to black & white portraiture. I just wish I had a few more people to model for me that would commit to wearing a silly hat and puff a pipe so I wouldn't have to do self portraits.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Barred Owl


Barred Owl
Originally uploaded by Jason Means

Well, I have had a really fun filled day of birds. Its started this morning on the way to work when I was able to get a picture of a Pileated Woodpecker. During lunch I climbed atop a ladder and shot preening Tree Swallows for about and hour. Then, on my way out to my dad's house, I came across a Red-tailed Hawk feeding on a branch.

What could be the icing on an already perfect cake? Seeing this Barred Owl on the way back to my house. He was sitting on a power line at the foot of Berry Hills Drive. And, just like our Red-tailed Hawk earlier in the evening, he had just finished his meal. If you look closely, you can see a little bit of blood still on his beak and talons.

Red-tailed Hawk Leaping from Branch


Red-tailed Hawk Leaping from Branch
Originally uploaded by Jason Means

I came across this Red-tailed Hawk on my way out to pick morels at my father's house this evening. His broad shape stood out in contract against the bare branches. After I hopped out of my vehicle, I was able to snap a few shot before he leaped. And, if you look really close on the right side of the frame, you can see some of the guts of whatever he was eating still hanging from the branch.

The Cleanest of All Birds


Tree Swallow
Originally uploaded by Jason Means

I'm pretty convinced that Tree Swallows are the cleanest of all birds. I photographed this same bird a few weeks ago doing exactly the same thing, picking and preening, over and over and over.

On The Way To Work This Morning


Pileated Woodpecker
Originally uploaded by Jason Means

My morning drives are usually uneventful. Like most drivers, I'm just content avoiding traffic and getting to work on time.

But, just a few hundred meters from my house, while I was coming down Sutherland Drive, I watched this big Pileated Woodpecker swoop right in front of my vehicle and land in a tree next to the road.

Thankfully, I had my camera sitting in the passenger's seat and was able to get a few grainy images of this elusive bird. Not the best shot in the world considering available light and framing, but this is bird that I've been wanting to get a shot of for years.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Chilton Pond Reeds


Chilton Pond
Originally uploaded by Jason Means

I'm a sucker for abstract patterns in nature, and reflections as well. Needless to say, this image really stands out in my book. My only regret was that the wind was a little stiff, and it would have been nice to have a little sharper reflection in the pond.

Monday, April 6, 2009

WVARNG - CLS


WVARNG - CLS
Originally uploaded by Jason Means

Really good training is also a good place to find some really good photographs.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

IV and Me


2009-04-04 20:06:01 -0400
Originally uploaded by Jason Means

I snapped this shot today with my iPhone. What can I say... I'm a sucker for purple gloves.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Moonset - 30 March 2009


Moonset - 30 March 2009
Originally uploaded by Jason Means

I caught this really neat moonset through the trees last night. I was a bit aggravated at first because I couldn't find a clean spot to shoot without limbs in the way, but I think the final image is actually enhanced with limbs in the frame.

First Morel of the Season


Morel - 28 March 2009
Originally uploaded by Jason Means

I spent a little time in the woods on Saturday, and was pleasantly surprised to find the first morels of the season. I can always count on the first ones to come up in the same spots, year after year.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Carbide Building Demolition Sequence

Today's drop of the old Carbide Building in South Charleston brought everyone out to watch the spectacle. Local law enforcement definitely had their hands full keeping everyone safe and traffic moving as smoothly as possible. My hat goes off to all involved for a great show.

Monday, March 23, 2009

So, what does a swallow's butt smell like?


Tree Swallow Butt
Originally uploaded by Jason Means

So, what does a swallow's butt smell like? Inquiring minds want to know.

Tree Swallows in Early Spring


Tree Swallows in Early Spring
Originally uploaded by Jason Means

As I stepped outside this morning to sip my coffee and grab a breath of fresh air, I noticed some tree swallows had moved in next door and were doing a little spring cleaning of their own, getting their box ready for by picking out debris and dropping it in the adjacent field.

So, over lunch I stood atop a metal ladder, hoping and waiting, and after filling my memory card up with some nice shots, I had three frames left. This particular frame was the second to last shot I had available.

Despite being a little hungry and tired, I think it was well worth it.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

I'd swear, it doesn't look like rain


Bluebird_Branch_001
Originally uploaded by Jason Means

This curious little bluebird kept looking up... for what reason I haven't a clue.

Another Brick in the Wall


Carbide_Building_002
Originally uploaded by Jason Means

The old Carbide building is getting ready to tumble next Saturday, so I've been out combing around the neighborhood, scouting locations to shoot the demolition.

Dusty Job


Dusty_Job_001
Originally uploaded by Jason Means

This guy had the wind to his advantage... sad to say his co-workers did not.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A Little More Smoke


Smoke
Originally uploaded by Jason Means

On the way home yesterday I stopped by Smoker Friendly to pick up a little bit of pipe tobacco. As I was heading out the door I saw some huge sticks of incense. I decided to get a few and play around with a little more smoke photography. I've been generally pleased with some of my previous shots, but naturally always want to improve upon them.