Rich Ditch's Photography Blog

May 4, 2010

House Finch in Brittlebush

Filed under: behavior, Birds, composition, favorite places, Gilbert Water Ranch, style — richditch @ 1:53 pm
House Finch

House Finch

I haven’t been doing much bird photography lately – a combination of other priorities, lack of much going on in local birds, and high winds on recent days when I wanted to be out shooting. I’m hoping I’ll be able to be more active soon, but we’re overdue for triple digit temperatures and that always limits me time outside.

Here’s a lowly House Finch from my most recent time out, taken at the Gilbert Water Ranch Friday 4/30/10 around 6:00 pm. I’d walked around with a friend for a couple of hours and only found this and a Song Sparrow that I bothered to shoot.

This is definitely not a shot that “pops,” like so many people want an image to do. By “pop” they mean immediately eye-catching, usually with bright colors and a subject that stands out from the image. If you want to win photo competitions then that’s something you want your photograph to do.

But I’m usually more happy going for a “quiet” look – an image without strong colors, that shows more habitat, and especially an image that shows the subject fitting into the habitat.

What caught my attention here was the yellow on the finch – a bird that is normally red in males and gray in females. There is variation in the intensity of the red, and birds sometimes show color tending to orange or yellow. The predominant story is that this is the result of what the birds eat, with certain plants needed to produce the red pigment.

We had just seen a male where the red was showing some orange and yellow, but it was backlit on a heavy metal fence. Then we came upon this bird feeding in a shaded brittlebush.

I can’t tell if the yellow seen on this finch is feather pigment, or just a heavy smear of pollen. But I like the image that lets me examine this condition, and shows the  bird going about its business.

Nikon D200, 300/2.8 AF-S plus TC20E (2x), Gitzo tripod, ISO 400, 1/125th second at f/5.6.

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