2012 Photoshoot #5, Part 1: South Llano River SP (Jan 15)
This Sunday trip has been in the works for about a month. I had visited San Angelo State Park back in mid-December and had discussed the state of the bird blind there with the park superintendent. I knew that I had a reason to be up in San Angelo for at least a fly-by to pick up some cargo and take it back home in mid-January. So why not make a day of it, make some images with a respected colleague and good friend, and then grab that cargo and head on home.
Great plans. Then life happens. My photographic meet-up wasn’t going to work. Medical issues popped up and in the big scheme of things recovering from a trip to the doctor is many orders of magnitude more important than a morning of photography.
So then I had to think to myself, “Do I really want to get up that early to drive to San Angelo to sit in a blind all by myself (which may still have some issues) when I can get up an hour or so later and visit South Llano River SP which will likely produce better images?” Easy call. Get an extra hour of sleep and go to South Llano River SP.
So as I pull into the parking lot at the Park HQ to give my three bucks to TPWD for admission into the park, a pick-up pulls in right behind me. Reasonably normal–this is a popular park. So as I’m getting out of the vehicle and start to walk to the park HQ, I glance over to the pick-up and I’m in shock. “Bill,” I say, “what the heck are you doing here?” Of all the folks to run into at this park was another photographer from San Angelo that I have spent many an hour with at the blind that I was going to go to before I changed my plans. Holy cow. Even if we had both planned to meet there, to show up literally within seconds of each other was crazy.
So after exchanging pleasantries we both paid our entrance fee and both headed over to the Agarita blind (also known in my Texas Photo Blinds Blog as Blind #2). I had a new toy that I wanted to try out–my Better Beamer had shown up in the mail and I knew that there could be some pretty wicked shadows in that blind. The Better Beamer, in theory, would help direct the light from my flash more efficiently than with just the flash alone. I will discuss the results of that test in a future blog entry.
My time in the Agarita blind was very good. The mix of birds in this blind is a little different than the Acorn blind that I had shot in back in November. I had two highlight birds. First was the Black-throated Sparrow, which had been absent from in front of my camera in the last few years. The other highlight bird was a life bird–a Fox Sparrow. For a full list of species seen at South Llano River SP, I invite you to look at my eBird list. That brought my year’s bird observations up to 50.
After a couple of hours and a couple hundred images I said my good-byes to Bill and I moved over to Blind #1. This too was primarily to test out the Better Beamer to see how it performed. And again, I report to follow soon. This blind has changed a lot since the last time I was there and I imagine that I will also have a more thorough review of that blind over at Texas Photo Blinds.
Overall it turned out to be a very positive morning of shooting. About 220 images on the card, some good conversation with an old friend, and a chance to try out a new toy. I’d call that a success. And it was still early–I could still make it to San Angelo SP to see what I wanted to see at that park. More about that in another blog posting…
About the Images:
While there were plenty of other birds making the rounds, it was this pair of sparrows that caught my attention. I was very happy to see this Black-throated Sparrow (Amphispiza bilineata) in the blind area. It had been far too long since I’d seen one and it was the first time that I’d seen one at Blind #2. I was equally thrilled to see this Fox Sparrow (Passerella iliaca) because it pushed me to 10 new life birds for the new year.