Rich Ditch's Photography Blog

September 25, 2009

Hopefully Past the Worst

Filed under: Birds, favorite places, Gilbert Water Ranch, light — richditch @ 9:43 pm
Black Phoebe

Black Phoebe

We’ve finally started seeing double digit highs in Phoenix, and along with the sub 100 degree weather we are also seeing migrant birds and the arrival of some of the local wintering species. Lower temps also mean I’m more inclined to actually get outside again and see if my “muscle memory” still lets me set my camera controls properly.

I took advantage of the mid 70’s morning temperature on 9/24/09 and visited my usual Water Ranch in Gilbert, AZ, for almost three hours of walking, looking, and photography. I saw a nice variety of species, and I also missed a couple of major rarities seen by others that I found out about that evening.

I also got lucky with a resident Black Phoebe that greets me almost evening visit around a picnic pavilion just off the main parking lot. Black Phoebe is the western counterpart to the Eastern Phoebe and has many similarities to it. For instance it loves to be near water, and they can be found in AZ almost anywhere there is water. But although I see them here a lot, I find them difficult to photograph. They tend to like high perches, and they seldom stay put for very long.

Yesterday I managed to meet the phoebe in its usual spot when the dawn light was just reaching this post and the bird decided to soak up some light and heat. Soft light is an advantage when trying to get detail in both the black and the white plumage on a bird like this phoebe.

Even at ISO 500 I could only get 1/40th second at f/5.6, so I took a few frames in rapid sequence to improve my chances of getting a sharp image. This one frame came out fine.

Our temps are supposed to climb back up to 105 or so over the next few days, but that shouldn’t last too long now that the nights are getting cooler. So if my other obligations ease up I’ll likely be out again soon enjoying the double digit temps and the birds.

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