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:
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.
Here is another shot of Mr. Quail. I love being able to get closeups with my long lens.
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:
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.
This eagle owl may be wise, but he is also pretty stern looking!
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.
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.
Here’s that sweet face again!
This is Marlee, a female Barn Owl! I can’t decide which I love more- that sweet face or her beautiful feathers.
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!
from our Alaskan boat trip
I’m back among the land of the living again! I haven’t quite returned to photography as yet, so today’s photo is a reworking of one I took last summer in Tucson. I played with it in Photoshop and added some textures to create a painterly look.
Last week in my photo class I overheard someone mentioning a path by the rookery- and I interjected, “What rookery? Where?” It turns out that deep in a grove of cottonwoods at Willow Lake there are huge old trees containing enormous heron, egret, and cormorant nests. Although I am sadly lacking in bird knowledge, I love to take photos of them- and the idea of a rookery close by was impossible to resist. A few days later, Lonnie and I found the right path at the lake- and we were there!
As we entered the area, we could hear wingbeats and gutteral squawks overhead before we even saw the nests- which are impossible to miss. I don’t think I managed to convey the enormity of the nests in the photo below, but you can get an idea of how numerous and high up they were.
In the first tree, there were 10 or 12 herons perched on nests or branches and occasionally flying around. The next tree was packed with cormorants actively nest-building. We didn’t see egrets, although we heard they were around. It was an amazing sight!
I think this is the first time I’ve ever photographed herons from below- probably not a wise place to be.
Stay tuned for more rookery photos tomorrow!