Turkey Calls Summit Ave. Home

Over the last few months, neighbors and dog walkers have been sharing their stories of spotting the ‘resident’ female turkey that’s presently making the rounds in our Lake Park neighborhood.  I first saw her in the park and she seemed quite unalarmed by my dogs.  My English Pointer went right to a point, holding it steady and firm, but the Turkey just strolled along, looking for insects in the grass.  Then there was another few sightings on adjacent streets until yesterday morning, when I spied my neighbor Dave, crouched down by a tree with a familiar object in his hand – his camera.

Out for her walk

I ran inside for my 70-200mm  f 2.8 lens, slammed in a fresh card and out I went ‘turkey hunting’.  Preferring to be unobtrusive and wanting to stay outside her amazingly small circle of safety, where animals will alarm and flee, I positioned myself in front of a parked car and went to work in high-speed continuous mode.  (Former digital photo class members should recognize this setting!)

Here's my best side!

Curious to know what they eat, I googled it and found that they like insects, grasshoppers, small frogs, crickets, etc.  Basically things that hang around in grassy meadows or wood’s edges.  Seems as thought she’s getting plenty to eat!  The neighborhood talk suggests that we’ve adopted her as a permanent resident.  “I hope she doesn’t get hit by a car,” said more than one neighbor.  We’re concerned for her safety from the resident red fox, as well.  Although I did read that they fly up very quickly and I vividly recall a personal experience with that once, when I was running in the Kettle Moraine Forest – North Unit on the Ice Age Trail.

My dog at that time, Murphy, was part border collie and was good for 18 miles with me on the trails.  We ran up a short, but steep hill on the forest trail and couldn’t see what was on top.  As we crested the trail, we were met with a cacophony of beating wings as a flock of turkeys forcefully left the pull of gravity  and headed for the safety of the trees.  Murphy and I, scared by the sudden noise and movement, reflexively hit the forest floor in record time!  He on his belly and I on my knees.  In milliseconds, when you collect yourself and you’ve figured out what it was that happened, I turned and looked at Murphy.  He looked back at me with white eyes showing and I burst out laughing.  Relieved that it was nothing life threatening and looking back at our primitive, fight or flight response.  We dusted ourselves off and continued on the run, thankful for that funny, memorable moment on a Wisconsin hiking trail.

My profile view

If you’re in the neighborhood during the day, please drive slowly.  You never know if you’ll see our resident turkey.  Shall we name her?  If so, what would you call her?  No, we won’t be calling her to dinner but no doubt she’ll have a few Thanksgiving jokes tossed her way.  For more info on wild turkeys, go here.

Survival of the Fittest

Photographing the natural world can bring some surprises and if you watch your subject long enough, some great insight into the ethos of the wild.  This week I was lucky to photograph a Great Blue Heron catching a fish in a very small, duck-weed filled, mucky water hole in Fakahatchee Strand, located in Southwestern Florida.  Not a small feat considering it’s the drought season in Florida and two Alligators were fishing the same 700 sq. ft. water hole!  Knowing a Red Shouldered Hawk was watching, I prepared for the action that was about to ensue.

A Red Shouldered Hawk, the most well known bird of prey in the Everglades decided that he could intimidate the Great Blue into serving up breakfast.  And so the visual story unfolds in this series of still images.  You may not be able to discern it but the Hawk was injured by the Heron’s sharp beak – the same beak that stabbed the fish.  After it was all over, I saw the hawk fly, but only into cover.  Perhaps it licked its wounds after breakfast.

One Lagoon, One Bull Terrier in Puerto Rico

Just returned from a fantastic stay in Puerto Rico!  My cousin Carole and her husband Joe, taxied Kathy and I to some of the great ‘off the beaten tracks’ locations on the west, north &  south side of the island.   (More about those locations coming)  It was warm – 75 – 85, sunny, and the weather packed the kind of humidity that your skin and bones long to soak up in February.   When you hail from the upper mid-west it takes about 3 days before your skin feels ‘human’ again!

First Day at Cabo Rojo Beach, Puerto Rico

On the extreme southwest side of the island lies Cabo Rojo.  There you’ll find a light house and a lagoon beach to die for!  Warm water that’s more than swimmable can be found here, and the friendly people that Puerto Rico is know for.  Because my camera is with me wherever I go when I travel, I had fun photographing an 8 week old Bull Terrier.  Like me, it was his first visit to Cabo Rojo!

I'm Safe With You

He was curious about the waves coming and going and when he was a bit frightened, he hightailed it towards his owners feet.  It was fun to watch him play with the water and even try to drink it – too salty.  I loved his flat, broad muzzle and of course, those pinky, pig-like ears.  I’m sure he’ll be making more visits to Cabo Rojo in the future!

My First Day on the Beach

You might be wondering how I made these images and managed to stay dry.  Bathing suit – of course I was in the water.  I like to get my autofocus point set in the camera for the kind of image I want to make – horizontal vs. vertical.  Use a wide angle lens (this was Nikon 12 – 24mm f2.8 DX lens) to get an environmental portrait and start shooting.  You should know the closest focusing distance of your lens so you can keep your subject at least that far away from your lens.  Continuous focus settings help also.  Try it!  You’ll get some great images that show the life of the dog from their point of view.  Try something different from the thousands of images that shoot down on the dog’s face.  This angle show a more relaxed dog from their perspective.

A Camera for Your Sweetheart?

Christmas and Hanukkah are long gone, and the next season of gift giving has arrived – Valentine’s Day!  If you’re scrambling for a great gift, look no further than some of the fantastic new cameras that are being released by Nikon and Canon.  Just before the holidays, I talked about how much I liked the Nikon D3100 (DSLR) and the compact Nikon S8100.  I liked the S8100 so much that I plunked down the $249  ($299 Retails) and purchased one as a gift.

I’ve recently been helping a client learn how to use hers and I’ve been so amazed with the ‘intelligence’ in the pocket camera.  My client will take hers to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro to record her ‘once in a lifetime’ images, so don’t think this camera is a lightweight.  I look forward to taking mine to Turkey in the spring!

Nikon S8100 in Red

Nikon S8100 Back

When everyone seems to be jumping on the DSLR bandwagon, I think you should look at these smaller, compact cameras that pack 12 megapixels and some awesome, scene recognition abilities, like the S8100!  If you’re worried about a shutter lag time in this camera, forget about it.  It’s minimal.  Now you can check out the S9100!  ($329 Retail)  The improvements just keep coming folks.

Nikon Coolpix P500

Nikon Coolpix P500 Back

Today I learned of some other cameras and I want to share this info with you.  The press release for the Nikon Coolpix P500 is: http://tinyurl.com/6cfs7xk The URL for the Nikon Coolpix 300 is: http://tinyurl.com/4ogpe6v “Created for the photo enthusiast who seeks creative control but will not compromise image quality for portability, the versatile P300 features manual controls, Optical Vibration Reduction (VR) technology, and ISO sensitivity up to 3200. These features help create low noise images and faster shutter speeds, which minimize motion blur in low-light conditions like night portraits, even when handheld.”

Now if a DSLR is what you’ve been lusting after, besides the D3100 and D7000 from Nikon, take a look at Canon’s new EOS Rebel T3i and EOS Rebel T3.  “The EOS Rebel T3i, Canon’s new flagship Rebel, offers fun and easy-to-use features for beginning photographers, and the EOS Rebel T3 provides a more attractively priced option for those looking to experience the pleasure of shooting with a DSLR camera.”   The T3i with an 18-55mm IS (image Stabilization) lens retails for $899.  The EOS Rebel T3, with the same lens, retails for $599.

Canon EOS Rebel T3i

Canon EOS Rebel T3i Back

At 18 megapixels, this is a camera to ‘grow into’ and make some great videos with.  Just have enough extra computing power to deal with the file size.  The T3 is 12 megapixels so that might be more of a file size you can handle on the home computer.

THINGS TO CONSIDER – if you want a newer camera to make great photos of your children, family gatherings, vacations, and you want to stay ‘light’, then consider the compact cameras.  Just read the manual, a little at a time, to get familiar with the controls and learn what situations you might want to use some of the wonderful ‘scene selections’ like “museum.”   Try it for indoors – it’s cool how it works!  If you think that you want to learn more about photography and use the interchangeable lenses, then a DSLR is the way to go.  Again, read that manual OR contact me to take one of my classes on “Understanding Your Digital Camera.”  Better yet, enroll your sweetheart  today!  4 classes for $150.

These classes, limited to 4,  will get you going with all your digital controls and make you more confident in using your camera in a variety of situations.  They are ‘hands-on’ classes so you can starting making the kind of photos you want today!  Email Peggy for more info:  pmorsch@att.net

Blizzard 2011 on Summit Ave!

No need for words here folks.  The video will tell the story of a winter block party on Summit Ave. the morning after the Blizzard of 2011!  Your comments are welcomed!


One Winter Morning

Mid January brings some cold, snowy, blustery days to the Upper Midwest.  The kind of days when our dogs head into the yard to do their business and then quickly run back towards the door.  Yes, -30 degree wind chill days!

January also starts my year off with a birthday – the 15th.  I’m honored to share the day with Martin Luther King!  January also turns my attention to seeing my photography friends, when I attend the Professional Photographers of America National meeting and head off to the Seniors and Youth Conference.  This year brings me other new adventures instead of conferences, but I found myself thinking about one winter day, about 3 years ago.

I’d invited a photographer friend to come visit me in January, when we could both go out and photograph the winter landscape, and enjoy a little time off after the busy Holiday seasoon.  Janet and I had met at the Rocky Mountain School of Photography in Montana and have been friends ever since, so she was ‘game’ to see what winter was like in Milwaukee.


Frigid Morning at North Point


When she arrived, Milwaukee was into our usual mid-January, deep chill – and I mean deep!  I convinced her to accompany me one early, Friday morning to North Point, near Bradford Beach, to photograph the chilly dawn.  I had been inspired by another local photographer and the work he created of the dock piers, still in the ground after all the years that had passed since boats moored there.  It was -4 degrees air temperature and about -20 with the wind chill.  (One good thing about early morning photography is that until the sun rises, there’s usually very little wind.)

Janet soon discovered that she didn’t bring warm enough clothing so off to the warm car she trudged.  Forty-five minutes into it, I conceded to the loss of feeling in my toes and paid for it as I felt the pain upon re-warming!   Funny I didn’t feel that kind of pain as they were getting cold.  I did get this wonderful shot and yes, Janet’s still my friend!  When we talk about her coming back for another visit, she’s quick to mention, ‘any month but January.’

For my birthday, we head north this weekend for the UP of Michigan!   It’s fun to take the dogs and get in some decent snow shoeing.  Of course I’ll take the camera and, this time, some hand and feet warmers!


Get MORE From Your Digital Camera!

Get MORE Out of Your Digital Camera in 2011!

Did you get a new digital camera for Christmas/Hanukkah and need to learn how to use it?  Tired of only using the ‘P’ or ‘A’ button on your expensive DSLR?  Want to get the great images everybody else seems to get with their new camera?  Well now you can!

Get instruction from one of the best area photographers for 4 week, 1 hr classes for $140! Class size limited to 6 people.

Check out more info below:

Couple Reading Near Window In Scotland
The Warmth of the Sun in Edinburgh, Scotland

Digital Camera Class Starting January 18th! 


You know you’ve been waiting for a class like this!  You’ve got family events to record, destinations you’ll be traveling to only once in your life, or kids and grandchildren whose moments you want to capture. Or maybe you want to grow your skills in the art of photography.  Now is your chance! 

WHEN:  Tuesday – January 18
Tuesday – January 25
Tuesday – February 1
Tuesday – February 8

WERE:  PEGGY MORSCH life photography studio
2738 N. Summit Ave.  Milwaukee  53211


CLASS SIZE:  Limited to 6 people

COST:  $140/person or $250 for 2 from same family for all 4

Scottish 'Leprechan'
Scottish ‘Leprechan’
1.)  Point & Shoot and Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR)
2.)  Various camera settings – both automatic & manual
3.)  Composition!  Composition!  Composition!
4.)  People, Nature, and Travel imagery and the settings
to best use for them.
5.)  Lens selection
6.)  Best Software for your skill level to produce photos
7.)  Producing a Book of your images for self, family, etc.
8.)  Mini-Critiques every class to advance your learning!
9.)  Email learning/support options for after the class! 

Register:  Email/text – peggy@peggymorsch.com
Phone:  414.550.5340

If you’re coming from work, I’ll have some healthy snacks for

WHEN CLASS IS FILlED you’ll be added to a waiting list for the
next class.

SUGGESTED BLOGS To Wet Your Appetite:

Have an iPAD?  Consider the Time Life Book (for iPAD) by the amazing Joe McNally for $10.  http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/life-digital-photo-guide/id409182961?mt=8