Posts Tagged Birds

Caught in the Act!

I took a hike today down by the Yellowstone River. Under a highway bridge I found some interesting icicles. The photo conditions weren’t very conducive to photography, but when I noticed there was water dripping off the icicles, I decided I had to try to capture a drop.

After several tries, I guess I got my timing OK. While it would have been better to have a faster shutter speed, the drop was changing shape as it fell, so the squashing is probably pretty natural.

Here it is (click on the image to enlarge):

Icicle

Icicle caught in mid-drip, Yellowstone River, Billings, Montana.

 

A little way down the trail, I met a woman who expressed some disappointment that she couldn’t find any Cedar Waxwings. All I had seen so far was a Magpie, so I wished her well and headed back to the car. Soon I was in the middle of a flock of Waxwings. Here’s one:

Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing

 

Quite a handsome bird!

Moret to follow,

Bob

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Oregon Coast 6

Here are a few more images from the Newport Aquarium.

I just had to follow the tufted puffins around and this one finally got into the water. He did a lot of swimming and some preening, but this is a nice capture with a pretty good reflection. And now you can see why they’re called tufted puffins.

As always, click for full size and proper color.

 

Tufted Puffin 3

Tufted Puffin 3

 

After watching the birds for a while we went into the watery displays. The first thing we saw was the jelly fish display. These orange critters against the blue background were hypnotic. It was something of a challenge getting an image of them without some awful reflections, but it was possible. I tried a few images of the shark tank, but they weren’t very interesting and the person in SCUBA gear cleaning the inside of the glass was fun, but moved before I could get a good portrait. Oh, well, even humans have their own agenda.

 

Jellyfish, Newport Aquarium

Jellyfish, Newport Aquarium

 

More to follow,

Bob

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Oregon Coast 5

One of the stops on the Oregon Coast Workshop was the Newbury Aquarium. I don’t mind walking through an aquarium, but it’s often hard to find a good way to do a photo there, so there’s a lot of gawking but not much photography. Well, besides fish, this aquarium had a bird exhibit. And the birds were handsome and interesting. It was easy to get a few hundred images of them as they posed, swam and paraded in front of the camera. The hard thing is to edit down to a couple of good ones. I’d never seen a puffin in my life, and never even knew there was such a thing as a tufted puffin. I soon learned the truth and fired away at some of these handsome birds. I think these are fairly nice portraits. I hope you agree.

Click on the image to see full size and with the right color.

 

This one seemed interested in what was going on, but, of course, you can’t see why it’s called a tufted puffin.

 

Tufted Puffin 1

Tufted Puffin 1

 

Here’s a nice profile shot with a good look at the tufts and a nice backlight on the bill.

 

Tufted Puffin 2

Tufted Puffin 2

 

I’ll share a little more from the aquarium Wednesday. It’s going to take a while to get through the 4000+ images I recorded in the state, so there will be a lot more as time goes on. I haven’t even gotten to the lighthouses yet!

More to follow,

Bob

 

 

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Birds at the Zoo

There are interesting birds at Zoo Montana, too. The first one we encounter is a bald eagle (actually two of them). When I first came in, neither felt like posing. One hid behind a rock and the other was nowhere to be seen. As I was leaving the park, I decided to check one last time, just in case. That was a good decision. I found an eagle perched in a very good location. He seemed to be giving me the skunk eye in one of the images below, but I don’t blame him. If anyone tried to take a picture of me, I’d probably do the same.

Here’s the stern look from the eagle (click on the images to see them full size and with proper color):

 

Bald Eagle portrait 1

Bald Eagle portrait 1

 

I guess he decided it was OK for me to take photos, because he started to strike a few poses. This profile is one I particularly like:

 

Bald Eagle profile

Bald Eagle profile

 

Well, the bald eagle is a beautiful bird (even thought Ben Franklin didn’t like them too much), but there are others that aren’t native to the Americas that are awfully pretty, too. I caught this guy looking something like a teenage boy strutting his stuff:

 

Peacock

Peacock

 

I think I really like my new Sigma lens. All the zoo photos were taken with it and it seems to work just fine.

 

More to follow,

Bob

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A-birding we will go!

I’ve fed birds for a lot of years. It’s fascinating watching them at the feeder. But, of course, there are a lot more birds than come to the feeder, so going out in the field is always a good idea. There’s a lot to see out there.

I hooked up with a group from the Yellowstone Valley Chapter of the Audubon Society for a little jaunt into the field yesterday. Birding, it’s called. Used to be birdwatching, but that was a long time ago and things change. The one thing that doesn’t change in a hobby like this is the fact that the people who do it are full of knowledge and passion about birds. And to make things perfect, they are generous with their knowledge and extremely welcoming to a newbie to their hobby. I really appreciate that.

I knew I didn’t really have the equipment to do a lot of good photography, but took the camera along anyway. Glad I did. We stopped at the home of an artist who lives in the mountains. He invited us to have lunch on his porch and watch the hummingbirds. There were quite a few, of several varieties. The people I was with could tell by looking what they were. I couldn’t. Nick said the birds were only rented, not his. They come in in May and leave in September, but while they are in Montana, he feeds them and welcomes them while they visit. I tried a few images and got a couple that weren’t awful. Here’s one (as always, click to enlarge and see the right colors):

 

Hummer at feeder

Hummer at feeder

 

Nick had a couple Labrador Retrievers, too. I love labs. They’re great dogs and someday if I ever retire, I’ll get one to share the house with me and the cats. I decided the yellow one was a good candidate for a portrait (sorry, I’ve already forgotten her name), and took two or three. Then I found out one of the settings on the camera got inadvertently changed and the image was just awful. Well, the old cliché goes that if you’re handed a lemon, make lemonade. So I did. Here’s the badly-exposed image turned into a high-key black-and-white. Now it’s deliberate, and I like it!

 

Yellow Lab

Yellow Lab

 

All in all, a good day and I expect I’ll have more adventures with the birders!

 

More to follow,

Bob

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