Nikon D300, Nikkor 300/2.8 AF-S plus TC20E (2x), ISO 400, 1/320th second @ f/8, Gitzo tripod with gimbal head
I’ll admit to having once been a “birding snob,” where I rank ordered birds by rarity or lifestyle (raptors at the top of the list). And I still get a thrill chasing after vagrants in AZ and rare birds elsewhere as recent posts (Kittiwake, Mew Gull, Glaucous-winged Gull, Eastern Phoebe) attest.
In snob mode I seldom paid attention to the lowly Mourning Dove, at least once I’d seen one for my current outing list. But I’ve grown fond of these common birds and now look more closely at them. This is probably because we have so many of them in our Phoenix backyard, but it is also because bird photography has slowed down my bird listing frenzy the more time I spend with my camera gear.
These three images were made over a three minute interval at the Gilbert Water Ranch on November 29, 2011 a little after 3:00 pm – a time of day I’m usually not at this location. My eye was immediately caught by this dove on a branch close to the parking lot when I arrived, so I decided to see what I could do with it. My first shot of the day is the second image presented here: it is usually a good practice to start taking photos as soon as you can in case the bird decides to leave. Once I’ve got an initial few frames I’ll try to get closer or adjust my position to improve my initial composition. The lead image of this post was taken one minute after the initial shot. Ir shows that I’d moved a bit closer, and decided to clip the tips of the interesting perch to move the dove somewhat away from the left edge of the frame. I was not able to completely clear the out of focus twigs for a cleaner image, but decided I liked the dove and background enough to shoot anyway.
As I moved up the slope after getting the shot I wanted I gave the dove another look and decided it was worth a few more frames. I suuspect most viewers will find this final image too cluttered, and I understand that sentiment. but I like the variety of brown tones this gives the image.
If you have any preferences I’d like to hear them.