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!
Yesterday we woke up to a couple inches of snow on the ground- which quickly became 4 or 5 inches at least, as it snowed steadily all day. It is super cold, as it was during and after our last snowstorm, so snow is still on the ground- unlike in our first two winters here, when it all melted away by noon. We are experiencing a real winter in the Arizona high country!
Around noon, my husband spotted this hawk sitting quietly on one of the birdhouses. It was snowing lightly at the time, and the wind was blowing. I’m not sure if he was just resting or was waiting for the birds that frequent the bird feeders in this part of the yard. I posted a shot of him on Facebook, and it was suggested he was either a Copper’s hawk or a Sharp-Shinned Hawk. I didn’t enter the debate (I have no confidence in this area), but I did read that even experienced birders have trouble telling them apart.
For the above image, I cloned out all the distracting branches and the rocks on the hill in the background, and then added a texture at low opacity to make the background less stark. Below is a more natural photo- with the branches and background clutter. Both photos were taken through a bedroom window, and he was definitely aware of my presence!
It was snowing as I waited at the church for members of my HeartMath group to arrive. I entertained myself by taking photos (of course) and was especially drawn to a group of robins on the roof. Two were flying around while this little guy sat there, making up his mind what to do next. I love our snow days!
On our way home from downtown on last week’s snowy day, we stopped at Watson Lake to see if the Dells were covered with snow. The sun had just started to peek through the clouds, and there was only a slight dusting of snow visible. I watched from up above as the heron waded along the shoreline- a peaceful sight.
When my friend Carol visits, it is pretty much guaranteed that every morning she will be found outside on the patio photographing the hummingbirds with her long lens. Here are a couple shots I took as I sat out back with her.
From last month’s visit to Tucson: