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.
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
ALERT: Anytime you visit deep south Texas, you may come across some of these green characters! I saw plenty of them today while guiding photographers on the Laguna Seca Ranch in Hidalgo County.
This morning I made photographs of two of the three Green Jays on this little perch with my Canon 7D Mark II, 300mm f/2.8 lens and 1.4x extender. If I hadn’t had the extender on, or if I had been using my 70-200mm f/2.8 lens, I may have been able to capture the image my eyes saw, of the three of them in a tic-tac-toe formation.
You may notice the birds have wet tails. It rained yesterday and during the night, so everything was very wet when we began photographing. The skies were heavily overcast most of the morning and, except for me, the photographers all used fill flash.
Tomorrow we plan to work on some flight shots early, then move to the raptor blind to see what kind of action we can find!
Green Jays (Cyanocorax yncas)