Rich Ditch's Photography Blog

May 28, 2012

An hour in the back yard

Filed under: backyard, Birds, light — richditch @ 12:53 pm
Ladder-backed Woodpecker

Ladder-backed Woodpecker

Nikon D300, AF-S 300/2.8 plus TC20E III (2x), Gitzo tripod, RRS BH-55, Sidekick, ISO 400, 1/320th second at f/8, 53% of frame

I don’t do much photography in our backyard, and I really try to avoid the hard light of mid day – especially here in AZ. My wife’s priorities are her plants, and the favorite birds she likes to feed. We get lots of birds in the yard as a result, but shooting birds while being fed just doesn’t appeal to me all that much. And even if I wanted to do some photography there’s almost always a new plant blocking my view.

But a “new bird” for yard is always exciting, and this male Ladder-backed Woodpecker was too convenient for me to ignore. We’ve been here in Phoenix for 18 years now and it was only a few months ago that we got a visit form a pair of these woodpeckers. We saw them around for about a week, then they moved somewhere else. Then a few days ago I heard a ladder-back again (they sound a lot like Downy Woodpeckers) and we hoped we’d get more visits.

This male spent some time in the yard just after noon and I was surprised when it stayed put as I dragged my bulky gear out onto the patio. It fed actively on the mesquite trees – too actively for me to work with it for more than a moment in any location. It seemed there was always some branch or leaf or twig in my way. On top of that problem there was the harsh mid day light.

I took 200+ shots of this bird and frankly didn’t think I’d have any decent images in the set. But this shot of the woodpecker hanging below a branch is acceptable – I’ve even managed to keep the heavy shadow off the bird’s face.

Ladder-backed Woodpecker

Ladder-backed Woodpecker

Nikon D300, AF-S 300/2.8 plus TC20E III (2x), Gitzo tripod, RRS BH-55, Sidekick, ISO 800, 1/320th second at f/8, 61% of frame

Here’s a more traditional position. A turn of the head more towards the camera would help, as well as a less bright background.

Northern Mockingbird

Northern Mockingbird

Nikon D300, AF-S 300/2.8 plus TC20E III (2x), Gitzo tripod, RRS BH-55, Sidekick, ISO 400, 1/125th second at f/8, 72% of frame

Taken during the same session as the Ladder-backed Woodpecker, one of the resident Northern Mockingbirds came over wanting to be fed. I wish I hadn’t clipped the foot at the bottom of the frame!

Curve-billed Thrasher

Curve-billed Thrasher

Nikon D300, AF-S 300/2.8 plus TC20E III (2x), Gitzo tripod, RRS BH-55, Sidekick, ISO 800, 1/500th second at f/8, 70% of frame

Another freeloader, this Curve-billed Thrasher is also looking for a handout. Check out that nasty light on the nape!

Gambel's Quail

Gambel’s Quail

Nikon D300, AF-S 300/2.8 plus TC20E III (2x), Gitzo tripod, RRS BH-55, Sidekick, ISO 400, 1/1000th second at f/8, 67% of frame

The Gambel’s Quail usually don’t come out when we are in the yard, but this male trolled by at one point.

Advertisements

1 Comment »

  1. The straight-on shot of that Northern Mockingbird is great! I was searching for reference photos of this bird and happened upon this beauty. Just the detail I needed for full-face view for sketch studies.

    Comment by Yvan — July 5, 2012 @ 4:45 pm


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: