Rich Ditch's Photography Blog

May 15, 2009

Arizona Summer (Tanager)

Filed under: Birds, Boyce Thompson Arboretum, favorite places, light — richditch @ 4:37 pm
Summer Tanager

Summer Tanager

Sorry about the title, but this Summer Tanager was the next image in the queue, and I’m already exhausted by our string of triple digit days that came early and has lasted for 10 days or so. So, its been feeling like summer, even though its only May and we’ve still got a lot of way to go to reach peak summer temperature (around 115 most years).

I’ve been working through my backlog of unprocessed raw files, and finally got to this one I’ve been saving since May 1st when I shot it at Boyce Thompson Arboretum. I’ve wanted a decent shot of one of these gorgeous birds since the early 1970’s when I met them in the Pine Barrens of southern New Jersey. But until two weeks ago they were always too high, too hidden, or too far away for photos. Then, as sometimes happens, I finally met a cooperative bird who landed close o me, in a nice place and god light, while I had my bird photography gear ready. It was one of those events where you hold your breath, take as many photos as you can without moving anything but your shutter release button, and hope that you aren’t dreaming. These are the times when all the past shooting pays off: the camera is already set up properly, you trust the gear (especially the meter), and you just concentrate on the subject in the viewfinder as long as it lasts.

Nikon D200, 300/2.8 AF-S plus TC20E (2x), ISO 400, 1/125th second, f/5.6, -1/3rd ev, spot meter.

Whiteboard at Boyce Visitor Center

Whiteboard at Boyce Visitor Center

I also wanted to share the current white board from the Boyce Visitor Center. Again, I’m impressed by the ability and imagination of the artist who put this together. There are blooming Saguaro cacti, a bat, a cavity roosting owl, a pair of Gila Woodpeckers using another cavity, a couple of hummingbirds, and a family of Gambel’s Quail. I hope I didn’t miss something!

FYI – the Arboretum began summer hours on May 1, opening daily at 6:00 AM and closing at 3:00 PM.



  1. Rich

    That is a stunning Summer Tanager image! I love the soft green background against the perfectly exposed Tanager.

    Comment by Mia — May 15, 2009 @ 4:58 pm

  2. The Summer Tanager photo is awesome! Looks like you got pretty close as well, they haven’t let me get that close yet. The other photos is neat also and they have updated the board a few times all have been really detailed like that.

    Comment by Brendon — May 19, 2009 @ 11:13 am

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