Wild Wings, Inc and May Term

This past week, during AC’s May term, we had guests from Wild Wings, Inc. visit our campus. Wild Wings is a not-for-profit educational organization that cares for permanently injured birds of prey.  This was part of an Ornithology Science and Art May term course. It was great seeing the birds out of a cage and close up, which allowed us to get a true sense of their personalities. Screen Shot 2018-06-03 at 2.53.12 PM.pngGreat Horned 1.jpg

Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden – May Term Day 4

Today we had to switich things up due to the weather. BayCreek Paddling was not an option, so we headed over to the Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden  at The Strong.  This was great for many of the first time photographers, as there were plenty of opportunities to get some great shots of the birds and butterflies.

 

May Term – Day 3 – Montezuma

Day two at Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge was even better than the first day. We went earlier in the morning, leaving Rochester around 8:30. The animals seemed more active in the morning, and this allowed for some great shots.

Mrs. Lisi and Mrs. Wun have been awesome. They have arranged these amazing field trips and experiences to allow for us to do this work. I cannot wait for tomorrow.

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Home Sweet Home
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On the Waters Edge
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Wetlands
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Busy in Montezuma
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Outing
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Winged Reflection

May Term Day 2 – Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge

For Day 2 of May Term, we headed off to Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge for the Ornithology Science and Art Field Work class. It’s about an hour from Rochester, and right off the New York State Thruway.  It is just short of 10,000 acres of both dry and wetlands set aside for the nesting, feeding, breeding, and resting of waterfowl and other migratory birds. We are fortunate to be so close and we will head back for another day tomorrow. No bald eagle sightings, but maybe tomorrow will be our chance.  I’m so excited to go back. May Term is such an incredible experience, and I’m so glad I go to a school that doesn’t keep me sitting at a desk taking exams when there is so much out there to learn.

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May Term – Ornithology and Photography

Today was the first day of May Term for us at Allendale Columbia. May Term is a time toward the end of the school year where we can choose coursework from a variety of different things and specialize to our interests.  After seeing an offering for ornithology and photography, I was excited to sign up.

We spent a majority of the first morning with a refresher on how to use a camera for those who didn’t have experience from Mrs. Wun, the Upper School art and photography teacher.  We also had a visit from former Allendale Columbia Biology teacher, Mr. Paul Amber, who was kind enough to give us a tour of campus and the nature trail while helping to identify birds.  Mrs. Lisi, who is one of the instructors, also had a former student who is an ornithologist in Maryland who Skyped with our class. It’s great having my photography teacher Mrs. Wun and science teacher Mrs. Lisi team up in this course, which brings two of my favorite things together; wildlife and photography.

I’m very excited about tomorrow as we head to the Montezuma Wildlife Refuge. Hopefully, I’ll be able to see a bald eagle and get a good photo.

National Geographic Your Shot Community

National Geographic has a great community site for sharing photography. I know there are many of these sites out there, but Nat Geo Your Shot by far has been the most influential to me. I have used the site for the past 2 1/2 years, and in that time and gotten great feedback from other photographers on my work. My favorite part about National Geo Your Shot are the assignments. I think it’s very easy for me to get caught up in taking only wildlife photography, which is a passion of mine. The assignments and stories part of the site let the editors give an assignment for photographers like myself to submit photographs to that fit a particular theme.  I have enjoyed challenging myself on themes just as “The Gift of Life”, “Invisible Worlds” and “Facing your Fears”, After the editors close the entry period, they craft a story that is then published. I love reading these stories and seeing which photographs made the final cut. I haven’t earned this yet, but I hope to keep submitting my photographs, as my goal is to someday be part of a published story.

What has been really wonderful for me is to be selected as an “editor favorite”. These are special shout-outs from the editors for liking my submission, and some of these shots may have been at least considered for a published piece. The fact that a few of my photos were liked have kept me excited about trying to become better at my work. An even bigger plus is when an editor leaves a comment. For me, that is the best thing that can happen, as I know that a professional who liked my work took the time to let me know that.

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National Geographic Your Shot also just added a “follow” feature, which allows a photographer to follow another photographer’s work. I do not have a large following at all, but the fact that 8 people decided to keep track of my work is a great start and something I think I hope to improve on.  There’s no catch. It’s free, and for a high school student like me, the feedback is priceless.

Reflecting on the Past – Patriotism

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This is a shot of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. I may not have been around during any of these wars for which these memorials stand, but for me, the patriotism that these men and women must have had to die for their country is something I cannot yet fathom. I can a least do my part by honoring these heroes by respecting, reflecting, and admiring those who came here to remember.

Endangered – the Ring Tailed Lemur

The ring-tailed lemur is iconic because it’s the most recognizable kind of lemur. It’s black, gray and white tail make them pretty obvious to pick out.  It was an honor seeing them when I traveled to Madagascar, and they were one of my favorite things to photography while I was there. According to a new study by the University of Victoria in British Columbia and the University of Colorado Boulder in 2016, the number of ring-tailed lemurs is guessed to be around 2,500 in Madagascar, the only place where they exist. Here are some of my favorite shots. These lemurs were in Anja Reserve, a protected area in Madagascar.

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