Rich Ditch's Photography Blog

April 6, 2009

Inca Dove

Filed under: Birds, composition, favorite places, Gilbert Water Ranch, light, style — richditch @ 6:54 pm
Inca Dove

Inca Dove

Inca Doves are unassuming birds of the southwest. They usually occur in groups and are most often seen near houses and parks close to human activity. We have a number of them in our back yard every day and it is fun to watch them. Their feathers have dark terminal bands (at least the adults) that make theeir plumage look heavily scaled. The wing lining is bright rufous, and they use this color to signal or intimidate other birds: they often raise one wing when another bird gets too close while they feed on the ground. Plus, they like to huddle together when they roost, sometimes even stacking up in a second row on top of birds below! Their call has a forlorn lonely quality and is often listed as “No Hope.”

In spite of how often I see them, and how common they are even in our back yard, they are very difficult to photograph as they spook easily. This bird was nice enough to land nearby as I walked around at the Water Ranch in Gilbert, AZ, yesterday morning. I immediately stopped moving when it landed and carefully set down my tripod with D200, 300/2.8 and 2x already mounted. I slowly moved the lens to point at the dove and took six frames.

I like the overall brown and tan color palette in this image. The head turn gives me a nice profile and makes the red eye stand out, becoming the obvious focal point of the image. The completely natural light gives a nice spotlight effect, highlighting the dove and separating it from the brown setting. Since I dared not move closer for fear of spoking the dove I’ve cropped the image – this is 52% of full frame. It holds up well because it was shot at ISO 200 and exposed properly, so it didn’t need exposure increase in raw conversion that makes noise an issue.

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