Barn swallow Hirundo rustica (probably H. r. erythogaster) See this beauty in a larger size here.
This is a shorter than normal post for me, but at least it's themed.
I've noted before how difficult it is to get a decent shot of birds. They seem at times to live in a parallel universe in how they move—in a way that their sense of time and space doesn't mesh with ours. Occasionally, out of the hundreds (maybe thousands) of shots I take of these fleeting slices of avian time, I get lucky.
The swallow above is such a bright gem. They don't stay put for long, and their movements are lightening fast. This was pure luck on my part, though I did have my camera ready. I was driving by in a golf cart after a round in the Wasatch Mountain Golf Course in a recent trip to meet friends in Utah and play for a few days. I played well that day, but getting this shot was the highlight of the day.
Northern mockingbird Mimus polyglottos The state bird of Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas. See a larger version of this beauty here.
I was stuck at a traffic light for the mockingbird shot. My son, the third of three, was with me in the car. I had my cam ready in its usual perch in my car—atop a folded towel on the floorboard between the two front seats. I rolled down the window and took a series of shots not taking the time to make any adjustment settings. Luckily it had a narrow depth of field already set at f/2.0 which rendered the background and foreground colorfully muted and out of focus.
I had picked up my son from school late and we were navigating our way home, getting off the freeway because it was clogged shut. We came upon the mockingbird at a traffic light. I took the shot and the 3rd of 3 said "What a geek." He meant it as a mocking bad thing, but I took it as a compliment and laughed, much to his consternation.
Turkey vulture Cathartes aura If you look at the original size here you can see his neck folds and even look right through his nostril holes.
I often see these guys on my solo photo road trips as I hate driving on the Interstates when I travel. I saw the flock of them on the ground by the side of the road as I crested a hill and got my window down and cam in hand. As I drove up, they all took off and this guy was the last to leave. It's not perfectly framed but I love the wing spread and I'm happy enough with the shot.
They are mixture of ugly and grace. You can't deny the simple beauty of how they move in the air, rarely flapping their wings, conserving their energy as they soar on thermals and drafts. But they are startling in their appearance when viewed close up. Make sure you look at the larger version for the neck and head details.
What is the collective noun for a flock of vultures? A colony of vultures? A buzzing of buzzards? A committee? A congress? A wake?
That's it! Have a great weekend friends. And always have your cam at hand and ready.
all images copyright © 2009 by barry b. doyle • all rights reserved