I spent several days guiding photographers this week, two days on the Jones Alta Vista Ranch and two at the Laguna Seca Ranch. I’ll be sharing what I think are unusual photos from both places, but today I’m starting with two photos I took of a Green Jay at the Laguna Seca.
I clipped and set up a native vegetation perch I thought would attract Green Jays and other local birds. As the sun sank lower into the sky, the grassy field in the far background behind the perch glowed shades of light gold and green.
The bird appeared out of the brush and jumped down onto the perch, facing away from us. Excited about the photo opportunity but not thrilled with the bird facing away, I made a few images. Suddenly, the jay seemed to notice the sound of the shutters and it cast a glance our way. The magic happened and the composition came to life.
My only real challenge is deciding which photos I liked best. Here are my two favorites; let me know which you like best and why. Remember to click on the images to see the full version of the photos!
A Green Jay looks back over its shoulder toward the photographers.
A Green Jay faces away from the photographers, showing the color of its head.
If you know any youths looking for something fun to do this summer, suggest Ruth’s Nature Photo Camp for Kids! The camp is conducted every summer at the Valley Nature Center in Weslaco, Texas! See the attached photo and contact the VNC at (956) 969-2475 to register. Cameras and experience are not necessary! This camp is fun for youngsters interested in learning about nature and photography. Be sure to click on the image below to see the entire photo.
Valley Nature Center’s 2015 nature photo camp flyer
It’s late, the evening of June 15th, National Nature Photography Day! I went out awhile ago with my iPhone 6+ and was delighted to discover one of the first Night-blooming Cactus of the season. It was only 8:45pm, but it was in full bloom! I’m attaching a photo I took of it, hand-held, with my phone camera. It’s somewhat noisy and I could probably do a better job with my DSLR, but I wanted to enjoy the moment of discovery more than I wanted another photograph of a night-bloomer. I’ve got a yard full of these cacti and look forward to seeing them bloom the next several weeks!
NOTE: Be sure to click on the image to see the full-sized view of the photo.
Night-blooming Cactus Blossom
A friend and neighbor of mine allows me access for photography. A few years ago I heard the tooting of a Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl there but didn’t find it. I knew then that the bird was on the Endangered Species List and that I would return and find them there eventually, but it took me time to study their habits and learn more about them.
Last night I brought Tracie Martin, a non-photographer friend, to visit the property. Within a couple of minutes after our arrival, we heard the little guy tooting away and eagle-eyed Tracie spotted him. I was able to get some nice photographs, including one on a dead-snag perch with a blue-sky background.
This morning I returned with my long-time friend and photo buddy, Debbie Thomas, and we both photographed the bird successfully. At one point the little bird flew to a tree just a few feet in front of us, but neither of us moved. It was more enjoyable to observe him without having to look through binoculars or a camera lens.
There are at least two birds on the property and I’ll be returning often to see, study and photograph them in close proximity. Let me know if you’d like to join me.
I’ve posted my favorite photo from this morning below. Be sure to click on the image to reveal the entire photo.
Male Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl Calling
Last week I shared flowers on Mother’s Day, taken on homestead property owned by friends in Hill Country, Texas. They also took me to another tract of property they own outside Harper, Texas, about a 30-minute drive from their homestead.
The 120-acre property has been lovingly maintained with conservation in mind. We hiked around the property in various parts, looking for a very special bird, the Black-capped Vireo. This rare bird is on the Endangered Species List, but uses habitat like what is on the property as its breeding grounds every spring.
We were very fortunate to get glimpses of several of the birds, but they mostly stayed in the densest brush onsite. Toward the end of our visit were rewarded with a photo opportunity for me and the first photos that document the Black-capped Vireo on their property. We were thrilled, to say the least!
Please remember to click on the photo to reveal the entire image.
Black-capped Vireo in Song