Wednesday, January 20, 2010

the ever-elusive red-tailed

man, those things are skittish.

hawk: perched at the very end of the very top branch of a very tall tree.
me: perched on top of the sidewalk, the tallest part of me reaching a mere 6'1" above the surface of the cement, a good 30 feet below mr. nervous nelson.

i don't know...maybe it was the eye contact. maybe it was the change in approach speed (i was walking up to the tree, then stopped). maybe it was raising my large, black rocket launcher and pointing it at him. or maybe he was trying to look for lunch and didn't need the unnecessary distraction.

i just wanted a picture. that's all.

instead, i got a chase, playing follow the leader from tree to tree; him making the effortless transition to a new territory, and probably enjoying a few laughs at my expense while i trudged through puddles down long stretches of sidewalk, finally arriving at the new destination.

stop. steady. slow movements. raise camera. fly away.

wait...what? no! that wasn't part of the sequence! come back here!

back and forth like this, three times. he ditched me on the third pass.

i hung my head and took defeat like a (hu)man, foiled again by the crafty ways of nature.

i left for southwest park, hoping to catch some jays, downys, butter butts, chickadees, kinglets, cardinals, sparrows, and nuthatches. found 'em all, but the day was very overcast, so my best shots were the ones i took next to the feeders, with flash, standing about 15–20 feet away. evidently my field craft skills leave something to be desired. thank God for feeders.

all of my non-feeder shots were at 800 ISO, 1/640 shutter, and f/5–6.3. they didn't turn out so well.

it was getting late and starting to drizzle again, so i headed home. back the way i came. past the area where the red-tailed gave me the slip. past the tree he was perched in when i first saw him. approaching the tree he glided to the first time i scared him off, and...there he was. sitting right at the top. dominating the scene. and i swear he was laughing at me, saying, "alright, big gonna stop now? polly want a picture? is that fancy camera of yours waterproof? hahahahaha!" yes, i swear i actually heard that.

i saluted him, acknowledging a job well done, and drove on through the rain.


Mary said...

black rocket launcher - LOL! Polly wanta a Picture? LOL! Doug, the whole thing is so silly - us folks being outsmarted by nervous birds and we keep going back for more.

I'm in awe of your flight shots. You're in burst mode, no doubt. I'm not good with that yet. And the BLUEBIRD is perfect! Lovely birds and many of them look just like mine ;o)


Mary said...

Doug, your previous owl post reminds me you might enjoy Jason at "xenogere"

He just recently published a post on a barred owl you'd like! Scroll down a bit to see his owl. You two have similar styles.

dugfresh said...

"...outsmarted by nervous birds and we keep going back for more."

you said it. trying to capture nature in action, or inaction, as the case may be, is always a humbling experience.

the burst rate of my EOS 50D is one of the top three reasons i chose it: 6.3 frames per second.

that flight shot was three shots combined into one in photoshop and heavily and intensely cleaned up. i really had to work on those in order to pull any detail out of them. glad i did, though...they're beautiful. again...humbled.

thanks for sharing jason's site with me. he's a great writer. his owl post made me laugh. although my shakespeare was very cooperative, what Jason went through to get his owl picture is normally what i go through just to get a shot of a robin or some other extremely common bird.

Mary said...

Good, I'm glad you enjoyed Jason. His writing is superb and his photography puts me to shame. However, he has the equipment and skill I don't have YET. ;-)

You are rolling right along with your camera and blog, gaining momentum. Keep at it.

cheap r4i software said...

Amazing photography! I appreciate it. Thanks for such adorable pictures. That birds looking so cute. These pictures will be move to my image gallery.

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