birds

Unafraid

Last week, we spotted a roadrunner coming into our back yard several times each day. One day, Carol and I were out there for over an hour with our cameras, and the roadrunner was everywhere! We even watched him kill a large lizard by- sorry!- whacking him repeatedly against the rocks (don’t worry- no photos). At one point, he came down to the lower level and drank from the fountain- leisurely and unafraid.

Here he is in all his glory:


Sweeeet

I’ve taken many, many hummingbird photos over the years. And now I am trying to take better ones. The hard thing is to take them in flight, in focus, and in a good spot in the frame (good composition and background). So far, I have many, many shots of their tails as they take off- or just sitting at the feeders. At least in this shot, the wings are outstretched and moving.


Mr. Quail

Here is another shot of Mr. Quail. I love being able to get closeups with my long lens.


Long Lens Technique

Thanks to the expert tutelage of my friend, Carol, I am finally able to use my long zoom lens with the gimbal head I got for my birthday. I am working on assembling and disassembling the lens and tripod combo, as well as focusing and panning techniques for bird photography. I am far from competent, but am thrilled with my results so far!

Meet Mr. and Mrs. Quail, regular visitors to our backyard:

 


Toucan!

At the beginning of our visit with our grandboys, we went to Butterfly World and the new OdySea Aquarium in Scottsdale. I fell in love with this toucan (I had never been so close to one) and spent a lot of time watching him watching us. He was in a fairly unreal environment, which I enhanced in post-processing.


Zoomed in . . .

I am now the owner of a long zoom lens- and am totally intimidated by it! It is heavy (4.5 pounds)and very zoomy (up to 600mm), but so much fun! Until yesterday I had only used it in the driveway (it has been rainy and dreary), but I finally took it out for a short walk at Willow Lake. I was fortunate to have my photo assistant (Lonnie) with me to carry the tripod (I didn’t attach the lens to it until we got out to where I was setting up). I know my friend, Carol carries her much heavier gear on a tripod over her shoulder, and I even watched a Moose Peterson video on doing it this way- but I was nervous about handling the new gear, not having the special tripod head etc.  But once I was by the lake, it was all fun!

The shot below was taken as we walked to the lake. It is the same spot where I took reflections shots earlier this month. Normally there is no water here. This was taken before I put the big lens on; I just used the lens which I happened to have on the camera, my 50mm.

 

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As you can see from the above shot, it was very overcast and even more unfortunately, there were no herons or egrets there to greet me. So once I got the tripod set up, I had some practice with the ducks who were reluctant to pose and were mostly swimming away from me. I have a lot of shots just like this one:

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Not too impressive, I know, but- take my word for it- he was very far away! And it’s all good practice!


More from Willow Lake

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Wise?

This eagle owl may be wise, but he is also pretty stern looking!

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A Hawk and a Windmill

There was a windmill in the background while we took photos of the two hawks last Saturday. I kept composing my images with that in mind- and then ended up cloning it out in the sepia portrait I posted Tuesday of Emily, the Swainson’s hawk. This is the Harris’s hawk with the windmill in the background- with a little texture editing.

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Being more of a windmill photographer than a bird photographer, I also took several photos of the windmill, including a multiple exposure shot. I will be posting those next week.


Marlee Again

Here’s that sweet face again!

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Hoot!

This is Marlee, a female Barn Owl! I can’t decide which I love more- that sweet face or her beautiful feathers.

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Emily

This is Emily, a Swainson’s Hawk, who posed so nicely for this portrait that I decided on an old-fashioned look for the editing. Normally I dislike sepia, but it seemed to suit the image.

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For a bit of a change of pace. . .

I seldom photograph birds, especially since my friend, Carol, has set the bar so high with her amazing, professional quality bird photography (oh, THAT’S what a bird photograph should look like!)- but I went along with my camera club on an outing to the  Arizona Raptor Experience. It was fantastic! We were there by 7:00 a.m. and had beautiful light for most of the morning. And the birds were magnificent!

I’m not posting any action shots- although I did get 3 acceptably sharp shots out of dozens I took.  It was operator error- my camera and lens did pretty well.  I did get some pretty raptor portraits.

Today it’s a Harris’s Hawk (which I always thought was a Harris Hawk). Tomorrow will probably be a Swainson’s Hawk. See you then!

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Beach Yoga

20161014-mma_7230_melinda_andersonObserved practicing a one-legged standing pose (yes, he did have 2 legs)


Alone in a Crowd

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from our Alaskan boat trip