The Window Bird Chronicles
Documenting a Carolina Wren Mother and her Fledglings
I don't remember exactly when the outer window to my bathroom was broken, but I do remember the day. The North Carolina outer banks had been under a hurricane warning (possibly Hurricane Arthur), and strong winds and rain pounded the Sandhills. I had braved walking outside after hearing a loud noise that morning and saw that a tree behind our house had slumped over. There luckily wasn't any damage except for the broken window, and since it was an outer portion and there was still a screen and another glass portion we could put up, we didn't think much about it. Not too long after, there was a lot of rustling in the window area in the mornings. A bird had begun building a nest neatly in the corner of the small rectangular window area.
We didn't start seeing the mother bird a lot until the babies hatched and then a bunch of chirping emitted from that area mostly in the mornings. After a while of it happening and the mother was coming back more frequently to feed her young, I got the idea to try and document the mother and fledglings. I had a Nikon D5100 and while I don't think I'm particularly good at photography, I did manage to get some cool photos over two days.
The main photo for this article is my best one. I captured the photos through the window screen so it created a cool bokeh effect for the background.
I must admit I do feel a bit guilty. I was intrigued with what was going on. Either I or the sound of camera shutter scared them off. It was probably a mix of both as I took photos while balancing on the edge of my bathtub and leaning against the wall while waiting quietly for any action. They ended up jumping out of the window. I still wonder what happened to them, as at that time my uncle was moving our lawn. I felt awful. After he finished mowing the lawn, I looked outside and luckily didn't see any feathers anywhere so I hope they learned to use their wings and flew off to safety since the drop was high up.
After that it seemed as if another set of birds were going to use the abandoned nest a couple of weeks later, but didn't. The window was finally fixed when hornets began building a nest in it.
In 2014 I mostly used Photoshop PSD presets made by people on Tumblr for photo editing. With these you just open the PSD, drag and drop the preset group onto the photo you want to edit.
Mini Tutorial (If this can even be called a tutorial)
Step 1: Open the original photo in Photoshop
Step 2: Download presets and open the PSD you want to use
Step 3: Drag the grouped preset from it's file onto the original photo. You should end up with an edited photo from the drop.
The intensity of the coloring can be edited from the layers panel when you expand the group layers. Just either turn the layers on or off to see the difference.
I tried to recreate the edit I did back in 2014, but couldn't figure it out. I think I probably used a NEF file (Nikon raw photo file), with a mix of Camera Raw and then over-layed it with a preset I either don't have the original of anymore, or just adjusted the settings that I can't recreate. I mocked up a few quick edits that looked kind of interesting.
Now I mostly use Camera Raw for edits and simply adjust the temperature, exposure, contrast, sharpness etc.
I mostly photograph my embroidery work with my Nikon now, which only takes simple edits. Everything else I capture with my phone or Instax mini. Finding all of these pictures brought back a lot of memories. These were the days I lugged around my Nikon everywhere, excited to take pictures of everything.