Another Week in Salineno
More good weather, and yet more bird shots. As I continue practicing, I find the percentage of decent shots keeps improving, leaving me with a new problem … too many images to now process, and what to do with them. Just how many images of an oriole, or a great kiskadee do I really need ?
To see a larger, sharper version of any image, simply right click on the image and a new window with the larger version will open ( on a Mac, at least ).
Yet my duties require me to sit in front of all these beautiful birds for 9 hours all but every day and I still have almost two more months to go here, and I can’t get out of the habit of setting up me camera and tripod when I settle in for my day’s ” work “.
But where I initially was shooting 1000 or more shots a day, I could quickly delete all but 30 or so that I would have to examine closer on the computer to see if they were sharp enough to bother processing. Now, out of that same 1000 shots or sometimes even more, I find I now have 100 or more that demand closer examination … and that is keeping me busy processing images for pretty much all of my free time.
After we close the gate at 4 PM each day, there is about a one hour window where I can set up and shoot with the setting sun at my back and get some pretty nice shots of these colorful birds with the shaded bushes in the yard as a dramatic dark background.
I never know how these will turn out as I shoot them because there is so little time to check the images on the camera’s monitor due to the constant action. The Cardinals, along with the hundreds of nuisance Red-winged Blackbirds, constitute what we term the ” cleanup crew “, the birds that come in just before sunset and pretty much vacuum the grounds of any leftover seed and cracked corn.
While we always have several pairs of cardinals in the yard all day long, all of a sudden, just after 4 PM, about a dozen or more pairs materialize, and I set up a prop to try and lure most of them to come flying into a precisely located perch where I have the light just so and the background just the way I want it.
Then it’s just a matter of prefocusing on a point where I think they will be, and shooting off volleys of shots as they descend. As I have said before, then it’s just a numbers game, hoping they hit my prefocused spot, hoping they have their wings in the right position, etc.
Sometimes the results are quite dramatic, like above when I have the good fortune to catch more than one bird in the prefocused point, something that very rarely ever happens.
The female Northern Cardinal is considered by most to be a drab counterpoint to the brilliant red male, but in my humble opinion, certainly under these lighting conditions, she is anything but.
The gorgeous pink undersides of her wings and tail, unseen normally except when taking these sort of shots, make her quite the beauty.
I search the surrounding woods for new props almost daily and came up with this one that I set up to get shots of our two woodpecker species here at Salineno, the Golden-fronted and the Ladder-back Woodpecker.
We have a covey of a dozen Northern Bobwhites that visit us a couple of times a day. No props for these guys as they are pretty much strictly ground feeders.
My first flight shot of one of our Long-billed Thrashers. This bird often comes walking into the yard rather than flying and does most of his feeding on the ground, so attempts to get flight shots of him are few and far between.
And finally, yet more shots of our Great Kiskadees and Green Jays.
Though they now seem almost common to me, the Green Jay is one of the most colorful birds I have ever photographed. The blue head, the blue-greens of the tail feathers, bright yellow underside and outside tail feathers, along with it’s black mask … just a bird one never gets tired of shooting.
After 8 faithful years of flawless service, my IMAC died on me a few days ago. I will not be able to process images or do any blog posts until I have a new IMAC delivered and I go through the painful experience of getting it up and running. As of January 30th I have one ordered and hopefully enroute, but with no phone service and a very weak internet signal here in Salineno, it undoubtedly will take me a while to get everything I need loaded on the new unit, so please bear with me in the interim.