This week has seen some changes and they herald the new season. Three mornings ago I awoke and something was different. I couldn’t quite make out what it was. Slowly the net curtains of my brain were pulled back and I realized I could hear bird song. The quiet of winter seems to have passed and the volume has been turned up. The territorial proclamations are being made, courtship songs belted out and the activity levels are moving from lethargic to frenetic. I love this time of year. A week or so ago I saw my first Red-rumped swallows, Hirundo daurica. Timing is spot on. According to the Avifauna of Hong Kong small numbers are recorded during the Winter but numbers start to spike up around the beginning of March. However numbers are already rising in the second half of February so they have obviously read the book. We are hoping our barn swallows, Hirundo rustica, will nest in the garage again this year. Last year they had already hatched a family when one night the nest was destroyed, we fear by vandalism but we can’t be sure. My wife was very upset as she loves to watch them feeding the chicks – the parents busily ignore us as we drive in and out of the garage. Once they have fledged the youngsters often sit on the lamp post adjacent the house so we can watch their early efforts at flight.
As I write this I can see a flock of house swifts, Apus nipalensis, hunting insects on the wing. The joy of flight, the fun of the swoop and soar, stoop and stall, magnificent birds the swifts and swallows.
I have also heard the Koel, Eudynamis scolopacea, calling. They can be a nuisance if they take up residence near your house for they keep very different hours from us. These cuckoos call well before dawn and the crescendo of their call often culminates in a hysterical ringing cry.
When I eventually open the real curtains I am interested in whether the light is likely to be interesting to me as a photographer. My retirement time increasingly revolves around tide times, light, wind and rain. Low tides for Nam Sang Wai. High tides for Mai Po. Good light for pretty much anything. Soft, warm, golden rays can make even my efforts look passable. And an absence of wind can be good for bugs and macros. The elements are in charge. A few days ago the sight that greeted me was layers of mist stacked over the bay and islands. It looked good. So I pulled on a pair of jeans, grabbed my Leica and hoofed it up to the roof to take a few frames before feeding the dog.
Here is the frame I chose to keep, processed with and without sharpening. I processed the file first in Silver Efex Pro and then finished it off in CS4. I prefer the unsharpened version but its your choice.
Have a good Spring.
And with acknowledgement to Sandra I have added a third version with the trees blurred – very crude but everyone has to start somewhere 🙂