Raptor Hunt (Episode 1)

The bird I photographed for this post is a juvenile because it has not developed the white feathers of the head and neck.

Photographed with my Fujifilm X100F street camera

This season I plan to focus on two subject areas. The first is macro photography, and more specifically, insects. Yes, Insectorama season 4 is in the works! Whether you love or hate them, I am interested in them since most of the good insects are in rapid decline (alas, there is no shortage of biting or otherwise destructive insects–another one of the calamities from climate change).

My other focus is raptors. Although I have done a lot of bird photography, I have few shots of raptors and most of what I have are from afar. So, unlike the photos presented here that are also from afar (and less than super-sharp) I intend to get some close-ups this season. This means finding some good feeding locations for different species and spending time there in wait.

The bird I photographed for this post is a juvenile because it has not developed the white feathers of the head and neck. The rest of its feathers have more pronounced marking than full adults which, as with so many animals, provides camouflage to better protect them until they have gained maximum strength and life skills. By the way, have you ever noticed that raptors never smile?

Although I am getting more technically proficient with video production, the current video would benefit from a tripod to eliminate camera shake. While I do have a second tripod, it is getting increasingly challenging to carry all my equipment when there is significant hiking involved. I might have to hire an assistant! In the meantime, please bear with me. And yes, I could benefit from hiring a voice coach. I will add that to the list. Anyway, here are my four best images from Raptor Hunt.

Day Five at CVNP–The Eagle Has Launched

Update: Here’s the entire sequence of the bird leaving and returning to the nest.

After photographing some Park Service buildings, I got to the nest around 9:00. I set up my tripod and camera (and my tripod stool), pointing it at the nest, hoping mom would exchange places with her mate. Her head popped up and I grabbed my remote shutter release cable. Sure enough,

Launching off the nest
Launching off the nest

she launched and I caught a series of her with a high-speed burst. She flew about a hundred yards away to join her mate, where they copulated. I knew one of them would have to return pretty quickly to keep that egg warm. I kept the camera in position. When she flew back I pressed the release as she approached the nest. Unfortunately, I was premature and only caught her in the lower right of the last frame shot. The light level was low, so I needed an ISO of 1000, resulting in a less than tack sharp image.

I spent the afternoon photographing rock ledges (using my tripod, most shots bracketed for HDR).

I’ll return tomorrow at 8:30. If the bird flies, I’ll be ready to pan her/him on the way back to the nest. After that, it’ll be breakfast, get fuel, and return to Rochester.

-From the river of fire

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