Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Reality of Warbler Photography

Cameras purchased by bird watchers who want to become bird photographers should come with a warning sticker that says:

Bird photography is not as easy as it looks.
In fact, it's not even close to being easy!

You need to be prepared to be extremely disappointed
in the images you'll be getting despite spending all this money.

Don't say we didn't warn you.
And no, there's nothing wrong with your camera.



That sort of fair warning/truth in advertising would go a long way to helping me feel better about the plethora of warbler images I take that look like this:


Or the ones that look like this:


Or this. Great photo of vegetation, perfectly in focus, hiding a blurry bird.



And then, before you figure things out, the bird bolts. Sweet!

But if the birding gods are smiling, the bird does a 180 and stops to check you out for just five seconds more, and you get this (below), an image which is JUST GOOD ENOUGH to keep you coming back, camera in hand, chasing after colorful fleeting things with wings.


Cropping and tweaking results in an image that is good enough for the old blog, but probably won't pass muster for the cover of National Geographic. Still, what a handsome devil this male magnolia warbler is!

Happy shutter-bugging to every bird watcher who is similarly afflicted.

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Monday, December 03, 2007

Reading the Clouds



I've always been a watcher of the sky.

I'm fascinated by its ever-changing visage and by how one can read the clouds to predict what weather is to come.

One evening during our recent trip to New Mexico the clouds, wind, and sunset combined to create this scene above. I at once thought the pink clouds looked like a woman praying or perhaps about to leap into action from a crouch.

Today I looked at the wider shot (below) and thought it might be a chomping crocodile. Crouching Woman, Hidden Crocodile.


What do you see? Woman or crocodile or something else all together?

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

New Mexico in Low Light

New Mexico is called The Land of Enchantment but it could just as easily be called The Land of Amazing Light. I can see now why photographers and artists come here to pursue their creative muses--the light goes from pale lemony to deep tangerine to milky blue and then back again in the course of a day. The air is clear and the vistas are vast. And then there are the places where the desert meets the mountains. It's one giant inspiration of light.

Here are just a tiny few of the digital images I've shot this week in New Mexico's low light--early and late in the day.


Pintails at dawn over Bosque del Apache NWR.


At dawn the birders and photographers gather on the Flight Deck for the morning fly out of the cranes and waterfowl.


A pre-dawn blizzard of snow geese.


Cranes and waterfowl darken the dawn sky at Bosque.


Phragmites is an invasive scourge, but its heads look feathery in the afternoon sunlight.


Sunset uses the same pink paintbrush on the desert and the mountains.


A drake pintail in the predawn glow.


Cranes are still flying well after sunset.



A Chihuahuan raven croaks at its flockmates.


Coots a half hour before first light.


The morning sun peeks through a notch in the rim of Water Canyon.


Pintails over pink clouds at Bosque.


Gleaming wires near El Salto del Rey.


A tangerine sunset from Arroyo Seco.

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