It’s Spring Time and the Critters are out There

It’s finally Spring and that means that the kids are out. I love this time of the year because there are so many possibilities of photographing parents and their kids doing what they do. It’s a whole other challenge of cpaturing that part of the life cycle without endangering the critter and it’s a very important one. Whether it’s a Nuthatch going into a cavity, a Prryhuloxia bringing a nice grasshopper in to it’s noisy kid or even a couple of pup foxes bugging Mom to nurse, there’s is always some great moment out there waiting to be captured.

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Not to mention that the kids themselves are usually pretty darn cute. If you want to start with something simple and easy to find, you can never go wrong with rabbits. They are everywhere and are always a fun subject. Trick with working on a ground critter, get low. Getting low can eliminate that background and make it blur out. Not to mention everyone looks down at a critter munching on the grass but not enough look across at their level. It can be a very powerful image when you see life from their perspective.

The kids are back at play

It’s spring time, finally, and that means all those lovely kids are out of the holes and the parents are working hard trying to make them happy. Boy they don’t have it easy do they; us picky kids, take this Prryhuloxia for example. The parent brings in the meal, a juicy grasshopper, and the kid starts squawking and then drops it when he gets it. Of course he makes the parent pick it up, then they fight over it. I love the whole thing, best part it’s green. Kids just hate eating green things. Such fun times, makes summer all worth while.

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Images captured with D3, 600f4, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film

Wrapping up Texas

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I’m back home now and going through images. The joyous part of every trip is at the end having to go through all the images on the externals and filling them on my non travel hard drives. This past week was awesome. I have never photographed more bird species then i did at the Bentsen and Jackson ranches down at Texas. It got to the point that there were so many species to process when we got back to the room i was too tired to blog. So i thought i would put one up today. Before going down to Texas my Dad said that it would be hot, just hot. Boy were we in for a surprise when we got there. Not only were most days not hot but it humid and rather comfortable. It even rained when we were there which is great for them but not for us.

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The reason we were there in late May was because it was hot. The heat is supposed to force the birds to the water holes setup with photoblinds. It worked but not to the extent we were looking for. We came back with 40 different species of birds so not complaining. Like the Pyrrhuloxia at the top and the Couch’s Kingbird just above. Two really great birds that i loved too photograph. The Kingbird wasn’t as cooperative as the Pyrrhuloxia. The kingbirds would show up briefly and leave suddenly, so we didnt get much time to play with them. The Pyrrhuloxia on the other hand would come in and pose for us.

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One of the best things about these ranches is that there are many different bird species requiring different types of compostion. What i mean is the Pyrhuloxia and Couch’s Kingbird would always land ontop of the Mesquite Trees or on some branch. The Scaled Quail would never do this. The quail would be ground level so instead of shooting up we would be shooting down. This gave us the opportuntiy to photograph everything from ground level to tree tops. Doesn’t seem like a big deal but when there a five different speceis of birds at the water and you want shots of all of them this thinking comes into play.

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Of course there was the raptor blind as well and it just blew away anything that i have ever down before with raptors. The last day we were in the blind in the afternoon and it was busy. We had four Harris Hawks, which is what this is, and at least four Crested Caracara individuals possibly more. The challenge with this blind was getting the birds as they flew in. They would normally come from the left but they came in low behind the brush line making it harder to get a good shoot as they came out. Of course in order to get the hawks in the frame without cutting of the wings the teleconverter had to be off, and then to get the hawks looking the best in the frame when on the perch the teleconverter had to be on. So Dad and me were going back and forth switching on and off the teleconverter. The results are great so all the waiting, sitting and sweating was worth it. Can’t wait to go back to Texas for more birds. Special Thanks to Steve, Hardy, Nora, and Richard for making it possible for Dad and me to have this opportunity.

Images captures with D3, 600f4, TC-14E, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film

Down in Texas for the week

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For some time now i have seen images produced from a ranch down in Texas. Now i get to find out how this images are acquired. A while back as the summer was getting planned out, Dad invited me to come to Texas with him to photograph these marvelous birds. Yesterday was the first day of shooting out of the blinds, with a morning blind and an afternoon blind. These birds were out of the afternoon shoot. The morning shoot was good, mostly shooting the Crested Caracara’s but i didn’t have anything that i really wanted to blog.

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This afternoon blinded produced so many good birds that i have never photographed before. From thrashers to jays to cardinals we had so much to work with. Of course nothing stayed for to long they kept coming and going but we had our options. The Curve-billed and Long-billed Thrasher were too of the most interesting, Long-billed being up above. The Curve kept feeding a juvenile thrasher that was there and the Long-billed took a bath in the pond. They were a lot of fun to work with except for when the male thrasher would chase away the Green Jays. The Green Jays are so cool, if you didn’t know what the bird was, by its color alone it would never be considered a jay.

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If the Jays weren’t enough fun this little guy was. A male and female Pyrrhuloxia came by. They didn’t stay long but i was able to get a couple shots off of the female. May not be as colorful as the Green Jays but i liked the shot so i thought i’d blog it. It was a great afternoon and i can’t wait for the next blind.

Images captures with D3, 600f4, TC-14E, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film

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