Rich Ditch's Photography Blog

July 22, 2009


Filed under: Birds, composition, light, style — richditch @ 5:48 pm
Peregrine Falcon

Peregrine Falcon

In spite of the nasty temperatures here in Phoenix (up to 115 degrees this weekend) I was lured out for a couple of hours of bird photography on Sunday 7/19/09. Even at 4:00 AM when I got up it was already in the low 90’s, so I limited my time in the field to just  a couple of hours and was home by 8:30 AM.

The visit was to a a set of water recharge ponds on the west side of Phoenix that I’d never been to before: there’ve been some good reports of birds there in the past few months so it was worth a look. But the birds were limited in number and variety, and they stayed much too far away for cameras; this definitely is a place better for spotting scopes than photography.

This Peregrine Falcon was my best shot of the morning. Although these magnificent birds aren’t nearly as common here as they are in migration at Cape May, NJ, I still get to see many more that I expected when I moved to AZ. I see them most often at various waste water facilities (like this or the Water Ranch), but I occasionally encounter them a long way from major concentrations of ducks or shorebirds.

This image was taken with my Nikon D200, 300/2.8 and 2x converter, but I still needed to make a major crop to get this composition: this is only 23% of the full frame (what I’d have seen with twice as much lens). ISO 400, 1/640th second at f/8. I wouldn’t mind the falcon being larger in the frame, of course, but it i already dropped to much to hold fine detail. So, I’ve used the interesting branch to “fill out” this composition.

Many photographers wouldn’t want a bird looking to the close edge of the frame as I have here, but getting light on the face and bringing out the yellow eye ring makes a giant difference to the image than others I took with the bird’s head turned to the left as the “rules” would have me do.


1 Comment »

  1. My brother in law is based in Tempe and he described the heat index as ‘a 100 and silly’.

    Comment by Owlman — July 23, 2009 @ 1:35 pm

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