End of the line

I was watching this woodpecker work his way up a dead tree.  He was hidden behind the leaves of surrounding vegetation and I thought there was no way I would get  a good view of him but he kept going up.  Finally he reached the top and popped his head out from behind the leaves.  I guess he thought he was still protected or he just liked the clear view of the surroundings as he stayed in this spot for quite a while.

I guess patience pays off now and again!

Red-bellied Woodpecker
(Melanerpes carolinus )
Alpharetta, Georgia, USA

Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2
350mm @ f/8 – 1/40 sec – ISO 200

Here’s how it’s done, son

One of the neat things about bird-watching this time of year is that there are so many baby birds around.  I was watching this pair of Downy woodpeckers and followed how one of them seemed to be feeding the other.

Birds-4715

At first, I didn’t know if it was just friendly sharing of food but on closer inspection, you can see that one (the one with a bright red stripe on the back of his head) is an adult and the other is a juvenile.  You can see the pale red patch on the top of the one to the right of this shot.  That’s the baby and it seems that he was hungry because they kept doing a dance on the side of the tree until Dad forked over some food.

Once again, I learn a little about nature while trying to get some good images.  What a great way to spend an afternoon.

Downy Woodpecker – Adult Male and Juvenile
(Picoides pubescens)
Alpharetta, Georgia, USA

Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2
400mm @ f/8 – 1/40 sec – ISO 200

Gotcha!

So, I just pounded my head on the side of a tree to get some bugs to peek out of their hiding place then, Zap! I snag one with my tongue and there’s a mid-day snack.  The life of a woodpecker is so glamorous.

I don’t think I ever gave any thought to how a bird would snag a moving insect.  Kind of thought it would be like the Karate Kid catching a fly with chopsticks.  It’s more like an anteater burrowing into a termite mound but actually, the woodpecker’s tongue is like a spear with barbs on it.  They impale their prey with the tongue and the barbs pull the insects out of their holes and into the bird’s mouth.

The wonders of nature are all around us.  I love learning about this as part of my photographic journey.

Red-bellied Woodpecker
(Melanerpes carolinus )
Alpharetta, Georgia, USA

Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2
600mm @ f/8 – 1/15 sec – ISO 200

Pine Warbler

It is amazing what diversity of birds are visible in Georgia and how you see different species appearing in one area and then not in the next neighborhood over.  We went over to our friends home in Alpharetta to see if I could catch a shot of the yellow-variant of a Red-bellied Woodpecker that they have been seeing.  That rare bird did not show but we got a range of other birds some of which, like this beautiful yellow Pine Warbler, I never see at my house in Roswell.

We got a nice variety of birds who came up to the feeders and posed in the nearby trees.  There was also a great symphony of bird calls which ebbed and flowed with the birds moving around.  You could tell if a bird of prey passed by when the songs suddenly stopped and then soon after, the sound would rise and the little birds would quickly re-appear.

I guess this wouldn’t be an exciting Memorial Day for too many people but I sure enjoyed it.

Pine Warbler
(Setophaga pinus )
Alpharetta, Georgia, USA

Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2
600mm @ f/8 – 1/30 sec – ISO 200

Look, I found a seed

I think Bird watching is even more fun when you can see them up-close.  This image is your basic backyard Nuthatch on a feeder.  From a distance, they’re cute to watch but when you can get close like this, you can actually see what’s going on!

I watched this guy for a while and waited for a moment when he would be in nice light and was doing something interesting.  It is definitely a waiting game but, I was happy with this shot.  Apparently, they like sunflower seeds the best because he had sorted through the other choices and grabbed this one in his beak.

Hope I get some good pointers on improving my bird photography when I’m on a workshop with David Akoubian this weekend.

Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2
600mm @ f/10 –  1/100 sec – ISO 400

Alleluia, He is Risen!

I had the privilege of being the official photographer for the Easter Vigil Mass last night at St Thomas Aquinas parish in Alpharetta, Georgia.  A group of about 60 people were welcomed into the church during this marathon of the catholic church’s most holy ceremonies.  The mass began at 9:00 PM with a bonfire outside and proceeded through just over 3 hours of readings, music, and sacraments, ending just after midnight of Easter morning.

Having gone through the RCIA process which initiates new members into the Catholic church myself, the Easter Vigil is always a special event for me.  Being a witness to all these other people joining in full communion with the church is a fantastic way to celebrate Easter.

Prayers and good wishes to all the neophytes and their friends and family and to all believers throughout the world on this beautiful Easter day!

Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Tamron SP 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC
22mm @ f/4 – 1/60 sec – ISO 1600

Living Stations of the Cross

Since this is Holy Week, I am deep into the process of capturing the events at my parish which lead up to Easter Sunday.  Yesterday, being Good Friday, the Hispanic community at St Thomas Aquinas put on their annual presentation of the Stations of the Cross.  This includes Gospel readings, music and a live re-enactment of the events leading up to the crucifixion of Jesus.

This scene shows Jesus on the cross where the Roman soldiers are breaking the legs of the criminals.  We often hear the readings and many people walk around statuary that represent the stations of the cross but, to see it live is another experience altogether.

Were you there?

Nikon D7100
Tamron SP 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC
18mm @ f/9 – 1/200 sec – ISO 200