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Rolled Over Again

November 16, 2013
Ladder-backed Woodpecker

© jmillerphoto.com – Ladder-backed Woodpecker

Last weekend just didn’t work out.  I did get out to attend the planned family business on Sunday.  But I was miserable.  Okay, miserable doesn’t begin to describe it. My body wasn’t ready to shift back into drive after being down for a couple of days and it reminded me with every step I made and every bump on the road.

But obligations are obligations and family obligations are gladly undertaken.  But Monday was thus spent mostly sleeping, relaxing, getting the oil changed on the rust bucket, and getting prepped for the coming week.

Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)

© jmillerphoto.com – Northern Cardinal

This morning, however, was a different story.  I had the drive and the energy to get out of bed fairly early and make it up to Pedernales Falls State Park near Dripping Springs, Texas.  I had two primary goals for this trip.  Goal #1 was to just get the heck out of the house with a camera in my hand.  Goal #2 was to check out the improved photographer’s window in the newer of their two bird blinds.

And I’d say I did very well with both goals.  I made it into the park just before 9AM and the clouds were still pretty thick.  I had some drizzle on the way up to the park so the fact things had not cleared there did not surprise me.  But lighting in the blind was good.  Initial numbers of birds in the blind…well, not so much.  But with some patience, and some food, the birds certainly came out in abundance.  Species diversity was not particularly great–only 14 counted on the day.  But the overall quantity of numbers were good enough for the purpose at hand.

And as to the new photographer’s window.  Wow.  Just wow.  The birds for the most part were tolerant of the new opening.  It was big enough to work magic through without feeling cramped.  And the angles, especially in the morning, were very positive in relation to the direction of the light.  Is it perfect?  No, but awful close.  I’d make one minor addition, but I’ll save that conversation for another time.  In short, great job Pedernales Falls SP–you got it right again!

Variegated Fritillary

© jmillerphoto.com – Variegated Fritillary butterfly

On the way out of the blind area I stopped by the remnants of the butterfly garden.  I say “remnants” because the volunteers at this park do an incredible job of keeping up the butterfly garden.  And as plants finish their life cycle (as they have with our recent freezing temperatures), the volunteers are out to remove the old and make the best with those that are still living.  There was a surprisingly diverse group of butterflies to include an unexpected Monarch in the mix.  But the wind was playing havoc with the wings and I only made a few shots before I figured it was time to pack it up and head home.

I considered, ever so briefly, going to grab some lunch and then returning for an afternoon session.  But I knew I had a list of things to do at the house so I put it off for another time.

It was a great day in the blind and I was glad I made the trip.  Shortly after I got home, however, I realized that it was also a milestone trip.  I rolled the odometer again on the camera.  I passed 40K images shot with my 60D and it continues to roll strong.  Yes, I’d love to have the 70D, but for now the 60D is doing just fine, thanks.

About the Images:
Three winners from this morning’s shooting.  Actually, I got a dozen more but I’ll move those to Flickr as I get an opportunity.
To start with, all images were made off the Standard Gear.  No flash, but on the tripod.  The lead image is male Ladder-backed Woodpecker (Picoides scalaris).  This and his girl friend were the first 2 birds I saw in the blind.  This was shot later when the light improved.  And my favorite image of him doesn’t fit well with the format I use here so it is over at Flickr.  Tech data was ISO 400, 1/400 sec at  f/8.
Middle shot is one of the multitude of Northern Cardinals (Cardinalis cardinalis) that were in the blind area today, and they were thick.  ISO 400,  1/250 sec at f/8.
And the final shot is a Variegated Fritillary butterfly (Euptoieta claudia).  I would have preferred to shot a little slower to close down the f-stop, but the wind was gusting as much as 20 mph (9 m/s) and I was losing light quickly.  So quicker speed, but a more wide open lens and I didn’t get everything in focus.  ISO 400, 1/125 sec at f/8.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 17, 2013 9:28 am

    Wonderful shots. Beautiful.

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