I have a fantastic camera that I can barely use. Yes, I’ve taken thousands of pictures with it, but I’m just now learning how to adjust all it’s manual settings to mimic my old Pentax (film) 35mm camera. With my Project 365: The Daily Chicken I choose one picture I’ve taken daily. Often I take dozens of photos just to get the right lighting and best pose.
The other day, my friend Jess of Pork and Pickles gave me a goody bag of chicken treats: days old bread and muffins, Kale stems, apple cores and radishes roots. I really wanted to photograph the food in the snow with the girls eating. Of course, my chickens hate walking in the snow, but since they love old bread, I hoped it would entice them to leave their warm coop.
One thing I’ve learned this month is photographing snow can be tough. Sometimes it’s overexposed because my light meter is reading the saturation of a dark chicken, sometimes my chickens look black and the snow perfect. Yesterday I had the smart idea of photographing the food in the snow first to get my settings (F-stop, ISO etc.) correct before I let the chickens out. ultimately despite my preparations I wasn’t impressed with the photos–they were okay, but looked too much like a recent daily chicken photo.
As you can see in the photos below, I flipped through a few settings as I took pictures of Strawberry Sally.
Here’s the photo I ultimately selected for yesterday’s Daily Chicken — I just loved Sally’s expression over the bread and muffin, the vertically aligned composition, and the array of russet and brown tones in the photograph.
Did I choose the best photo?
Have you ever heard of Project 365? It’s a photo a day for a year. Some people shoot something new everyday, others stick to one subject for a month and then move on. Me? Well, we all know chickens are gorgeous birds, so why not them?
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Despite a lovely day of running freely in the backyard, the girls didn’t lay a single egg. Smart chickens–they knew something was up.
After hours in the 40 degree sun (sorry California, that’s downright balmy in Minnesota come January), it’s now windy and 14 degrees. And it’s only getting worse.
What’s a chicken to do? Snuggle up in their closed up coop with extra food and water, and a heat lamp.
Enjoy the show!
Chickens sleep on a roost.
Our roost is some leftover-from-somewhere 2 inch diameter dowel. The enclosed part of our coop is about 3 feet high inside. The roost is about 2 feet off the ground.
If I can take a photo without completely freaking the birds out, I’ll post it.
They have finally figured out how to get up there and sleep!
Now, if they’d only lay eggs.
While technically, our coop is big enough for 4 chickens, our 3 love to run around our yard.
The chicky-doodles are not laying yet, but we’ve been lucky enough to enjoy eggs from our friends and family and know how much better they taste. I’m not the only one:
It’s a huge difference. In color and in taste,” says chef Paul Keevil of Millie’s Diner in Richmond. “When you cook them, they glow. They’re just iridescent in the pan. Each one is different because every chicken has eaten different things. And the taste is just night and day.
So I’m hesitant to keep the girls cooped up. (Yes, pun intended).
BUT…Jim was cleaning the yard with the dog’s pooper-scooper because we’ve had too many “Ewww, I just stepped in…” lately. Let’s see what he builds next weekend.
Until then we’ll step carefully.
Only seven weeks old and already they are exploring the backyard.