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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Birds and bees

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Gorgeous day for an excursion around the neighborhood at Lake Barcroft, from my backyard on Stoneybrae down to Beach 5, and here's what I photographed today.

Robins are everywhere, but up in the trees with the blue sky as a background, they are still stunning.

American robin
 A Carolina wren -- he's all squatting ready and looking at another perch (our bird feeder!)
Carolina wren
 Grackles shine with a purple/black iridescence, and those yellow eyes are amazing.

This guy, a grey catbird, has the most incredible song. You can hear a recording here at this link: I would have recorded him myself but with cameras and a camera bag, it wasn't possible. I think the one I heard and photographed had even more variety in its song than this recording.

Grey catbird
Grey catbird
 House finches -- great red color, and very common at our feeder.
House finch
We have a new sparrow family in the birdhouse. I can hear tiny little chirps inside, and here is the mother bringing some nourishing meal. I can't tell what it is, however.

Mama sparrow with food for the fledglings

The bumble bees were everywhere. I took a couple of stop action shots here:

Coming soon: Cicadas!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Lake Barcroft Earth Day: Raptor Show and More

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The Raptor Conservancy of Virginia,, held a captivating show at Lake Barcroft's Earth Day 2013 celebration. The Raptor Conservancy is a nonprofit volunteer organization dedicated to: 

1. Rehabilitation and release of injured, ill or orphaned native VA birds of prey (raptors);
2. Education of the public about raptors and preservation of their habitat; and,
3. Endeavoring to increase the wild population of endangered and threatened raptors. 

The Director, Kent Knowles, who appears in several of the photos here, is a resident of Lake Barcroft. He and his assistant showed us live hawks, falcons, and owls and explained all about these magnificent birds, many of which live right here at the Lake. Here are some photos of the birds that I was able to photograph that were shown at that presentation.

Screech owl

Barred owl

Kent Knowles with barn owl

Kids looking at the barn owl

Barn owl

Red-shouldered hawk

Red-shouldered hawk
Red-shouldered hawk
Red-shouldered hawk
Red-shouldered hawk

Red-tailed hawk

Peregrine falcon

Peregrine falcon
Peregrine falcon
Peregrine falcon
Enthalled by a screech owl

The Earth Day celebration drew quite a crowd, but not only to the Raptor Show. There were environmental displays with experts on hand to help residents with problems with beavers, woodpeckers and carpenter bees, a bird and nature walk with the Washington Post's writer and illustrator of the weekly natural history column, Patterson Clark, displays of local plants that attract songbirds, a raffle to benefit the Environmental Committee, with prizes including many beautiful pieces of art, fabric creations, sculpture, and photography and other prizes, all contributed by Lake Barcroft residents. This was a framed photo that I contributed:

Great Blue Heron
Here's Carole running the raffle:

There also was the Photography Exhibit and Photo Contest that I set up, with a "Guess that Bird" display of all the birds that's I've photographed here in Lake Barcroft. Carole shot this of me in the Photography tent with photos that I and others community residents contributed.

I even created a ©Lake Barcroft Poster that I have available for purchase for anyone who'd like one. I also have matted prints and notecards available of many of my wildlife photographs. Drop me a line and I'll tell you more.

Keep those cards and letters (and comments) coming and sign up for automatic updates with your email in the box at the top right of this blog.

A note about comments on my blog posts: I apologize if anyone has received notifications of comments posted on my blog that look like gobbledegook. This is someone spamming me. I've set up some filters to stop it. Let me know if you still see such comments. LG.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Dans la Cuisine avec Chef Lars: Food photography

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So I'm in the kitchen a lot lately whipping up a few things and tonight had an eggplant and some tomatoes, those small "high lycopene" tomatoes you see in Trader Joe's. What to make? How about what I'm calling "planques d'aubergine au balcon a la grec," which loosely translated from the French is "stacked planks of eggplant with tomato, feta and herbs. The recipe follows. It was a hit. Photograph © J. Larry Golfer Photography.

1 large eggplant

5 or 6 small tomatoes, sliced
crumbled feta cheese

juice of half lemon

1/4 teaspoon each of basil, rosemary and oregano
2 garlic cloves

extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Oiled glass baking dish or baking pan

Preheat oven to 400F.

For the drizzle:
Combine the lemon juice, 4 tablespoons of olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the herbs in a bowl.  Crush the 2 garlic cloves with a garlic press into the mixture. Stir vigorously to blend ingredients and set aside.

Cut eggplant crosswise into ½” thick planks. Slice the tomatoes into 4 or 5 slices per tomato. Lightly oil the glass dish/baking pan. Arrange 4 eggplant planks side by side. Drizzle the herbed olive oil mixture on top of each one, then generously sprinkle feta crumbs. Top each with tomato rings. Add another layer of eggplant, herbed olive oil mixture, feta and tomato rounds and top with the rest of the crumbled feta. Drizzle (there's a lot of drizzling here, true) some olive oil on top of each stack and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

The accompaniment: Legumes aux pates tricolores (tricolor vegetable radiatore pasta with mixed vegetables).
One container of Trader Joe's Asian Vegetable Stir Fry Mix
1/2 bag of Trader Joe's Vegetable Radiatore
Olive oil

Bring a pot of salted water to boil and add the pasta. Cook for 9 to 11 minutes and drain. Heat a large saute pan with olive oil on medium high heat. Add the vegetables and sprinkle with salt and pepper, and some additional olive oil. Use a wooden spoon and keep turning vegetables as they cook. When they are tender and slightly browned, add the pasta and mix until blended with the vegetables. Serve with the herbed olive oil drizzle.

Add a nice white wine and you have yourself a great tasting meal.

Photojournalism: Front Page News

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So now I am now a full-fledged free-lance photojournalist after having taken an assignment from the Falls Church News Press to cover Fall Church's Annual Easter Egg Hunt. The paper published one of my photos of the front page, above, and five more on the inside, below. In addition, they published the entire shoot on their web page, here:  

Needless to say, I was, very pleased. I even got paid! All photos © J. Larry Golfer Photography.

Cover shot

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Monday, April 1, 2013

Success with my Fox Photo

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I've always been very interested in the faces of the wildlife that I photograph so when I saw an international competition called "Faces of Wildlife" I took a chance and entered, not really thinking a fox from Lake Barcroft could compete with the exotic animals of the Serengeti or the Brazilian rainforest.  To my surprise, I just learned my fox photograph was selected as a runner up in the competition that I had entered. That made my day! See the announcement at this link: