Tag Archives: birds

Migratory Geese Flying at Dusk


I had traveled around the levee roads a few times the afternoon this picture was made last year.  A lot of the geese had lifted off the ponds from a ‘scare’ and landed over in a field of stubble. After one more round on the levee road during the ‘sweet light’, where I managed a few nice photographs, I decided to wait it out and see what might happen if the birds flew at dusk. I was pushing the limits of the time allowed to be in there, but no ranger had come along, so I was staying until they came by. I’m so glad I did! When the geese lifted off, the full moon had also broken through the clouds a bit, and the combination was very exciting! It expressed what I wanted, the mood and mystery of how they fly at night by the full moon. I managed a few frames before they dissipated, and I went away happy out of the gate with the ranger not too far behind!

It’s the season for migrating geese, ducks, and cranes in northern and central California. At any given time, you will see flocks large and small all around the farm fields and refuges  along the Pacific Flyway. There are layers of birds in the sky, going every direction, making that a rather difficult picture to make, so I was looking for ‘less is more’ photos, where all I needed were a few birds to line up in a V, or at least be close to that, and I got lucky with this one image. I won’t tell you how many you ‘toss’ because they are just a ‘bunch of birds in a mess’! I got lucky with a great sky behind this silhouetted group, I cropped this to be a more panorama format because it emphasized their shapes and brought a better balance to the overall frame. No matter how pretty the sky was, negative space can still throw a composition off. But I saved the original, so if someone really needs that space for text, I’ll have it. 

Thanks for visiting. I’m planning to get out there in the next few weeks to create some fresh images of this wondrous annual event.



And by the way, I used DXO Optics for noise reduction on this 3200 ISO file from a Canon 5D MK III and it was amazing how it cleaned up the raw file. I’ll be posting more comparisons on the blog soon. stay tuned.

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Flying Away


These birds are doing just what I’ll be doing tonight -flying! Only I’m headed to Victoria Falls, then into Botswana and Namibia’s Caprivi Strip. But this image made me think of the ‘other’ type of flying, the wonderful annual migration process that begins in Alaska now, as birds slowly make their way south for the winter. I’ll be waiting for them again this year to visit California NW refuges, all up and down the central valley, celebrating the return of the cranes and the snow geese and ducks by the thousands!

I may not be able to post much on my blog while I’m away, but I will try to post via Instagram as that will be faster/easier. Follow me there !


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House Finches in Flight



They say practice makes perfect, but in this case, I think I simply got lucky!! I was practicing, however, over and over again, to capture these house finches as they skirmished in the air. A nearby feeder was their target and they’d squabble and land on this barrel cactus and it was great fun to watch and to photograph! I won’t tell you how many images I threw away – because the wings weren’t right, or birds overlapped, or half of the bird was great and the other half, well, wasn’t even in the frame! lol. But with persistence, and patience, I managed to get a few that I liked, like this image. The most fun was that I spent the time with my good friend Wendy Kaveney, who has been practicing this herself in her desert backyard outside of Phoenix, Arizona. It was a great time, and we’d spend each morning watching the birds and photographing Gila woodpeckers, Gilded Flickers, Cactus Wren, Curve-billed Thrashers, Mourning Doves, Verdins, Quail, and the sneaky Harris Antelope Squirrel who’d get into the food, too.

I recalibrated my Tamron 150-600mm lens with the Lens Align Kit and I’m so glad I did. If you think you don’t need to do that with your long lenses you bought, think again! I was able to make mine even more accurate by doing the test.

Thanks for visiting, and please share with friends!


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Seizing the Moment



Not all nature photography is easy, and the results don’t speak about the hours we slogged through a swamp swatting mosquitoes, or trudged up a mountaintop in fierce winds, etc. The results are what matter and it’s a good thing the images don’t reflect our efforts but rather the beauty, peace and drama of nature. I have spent countless hours hidden under hedges as a blind, lying on my belly in sand, freezing in snowy conditions while waiting for the light to break, etc., and I’m not alone in this! What we do as nature photographers to capture special moments is often a rather large effort, but dedication to the final photograph is what keeps us all going.

My latest ‘painful’ effort was photographing a mother humming bird feeding her young. I was standing tiptoed on a 6-inch wide wall, leaning against another wall, but leaning to the right about a foot into thin air, to avoid the branch that was crossing the mother’s upper body, and waiting there in that position for her to return. My weight was all on the ball of one foot, and the balance was precarious to say the least; my body was in an unnatural position, and everything ached; but I wasn’t going to give in, because watching her come and feed her babies took my breath away and I knew I had to get photos! So, in this awkward position, I waited without moving for about 10 minutes; thankfully not too long, because she feeds them very regularly. I managed to get about 8-10 good photographs before she flew off, and the pain in my right foot was just too much to do it again right away. I vowed to return in a day or two to make more. But that next visit, the wind was blowing the branch too much, the sun was covered by thick clouds, and the photograph just wasn’t going to work out. Am I ever glad that I stuck it out that first day to get some images!

Road trippin’ through Arizona and California,


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