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Friday, May 26, 2017

Never satisfied

Back in town after my one day trip to CMO to photograph the Broad-billed Hummingbird. I'm very dissatisfied with my photos of the bird. Sure hope it's still around when I get back down there so I can try again.

Coming to town, I couldn't resist snapping a couple Burrowing Owl shots as  I went by their nesting area.

Meanwhile, stuck in town I photographed some of the Mexican Hat flowers here. It intrigues me to see the varieties of color they exhibit, all in the same patch.

Forecast looks good for a chance of rain. Got my fingers crossed. But just cooling off will be an improvement. It was 104° at CMO yesterday.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Continuing Broad-billed Hummingbird

Got shots of the Broad-billed Hummingbird early this morning and it stayed around all day. Of course my shots aren't as good as Mac's but here are a couple of them.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Broad-billed Hummingbird

Saw a Lucifer Hummingbird female with a tangle of cobwebs on her bill and head. Lots of nesting and courting activity going on these days.

UPDATE: After I got to town I got a text from Mac that he photographed a male Broad-billed Hummingbird at the oasis so I headed back down tonight. Hoping to locate it tomorrow, but meanwhile, here is one of Mac's shots. So envious!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Caught by surprise

I never ever just sit and watch birds. I'm always watering or something. But yesterday we got a lovely half inch of rain so I decided to just chill and watch birds. After about two minutes of doing that, I decided to try for Lucifer display shots. So I set my camera on a faster speed and auto focus in hopes of better catching the action. Then I saw that the displaying was occurring constantly near the feeder under the pecan tree. So I proceeded to go sit back there. No sooner did I sit down and start tinkering with the camera settings again than I noticed a female hummingbird perch in a tree near me. I rather unconsciously noted the color of the back was a sort of blue-ish green, but didn't take real notice until it flew toward the feeder. That's when my brain kicked into gear... the sound... the back color. Instantly I realized it was a Broad-billed Hummingbird!

And knowing that any second another hummer dominating that feeder might chase it away for good, I had to document it as best I could, with no clue what my camera settings were at that second. Only an hour later did I discover I had set it on auto-focus. Because I shoot in manual 99% of the time, I struggled against the auto, trying unsuccessfully to focus manually. Manual would have been better probably, but since it was on auto, it would have been best to let the camera do its thing. And the ISO was way too high for that deep shade. Also the camera was accidentally bumped to one shot, so I was trying desperately to make it shoot continuously. What a comedy!

The bird never returned but I did at least document it. Barely. So it could have been worse.

I located a Turquiose-tipped Darner today at the back water feature. Mac's photo is so much better than mine that I'll forego posting mine and use his. He's so sweet to share his pics with me and I'm so envious that his are so much better.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Out of my comfort zone

For years I've been complaining about the quality of my photos and people have been telling me I should shoot in RAW instead of JPEG, so finally I decided to do it. That involved me having to download software that came with my camera. So, henceforth, my photos will be in RAW, unless I determine it makes no difference. After I shoot in RAW, I convert them to JPEG so I don't see why I shouldn't just shoot in JPEG to begin with, but apparently it makes a difference. Here's my first shots with RAW. I stopped by the Burrowing Owl place on my way to CMO late this afternoon.

I don't think one shoot will tell me much, but in time, I should be able to determine if I'm making progress.

It was wonderful to have rain today. CMO got a little over half an inch. None ran into the tanks, but I don't have to water for a few days. I was getting really tired of everything seeming hopelessly dry no matter how much I watered.

Mac got a picture of some baby Scaled Quail today. I love precocial chicks that are not helpless when they hatch. Mac said there were about eleven chicks in this brood, but I only see eight in this photo. So cute. Maybe I'll get photo opportunities of them tomorrow since I won't have to water.

My gratitude to Mac for allowing me to share his photos.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Alpine funeral

Today we attended the graveside service of a good friend and neighbor. His wife passed away in November and he didn't last long after. Here's what a funeral looks like for an old cowboy and roper. He was a good musician too. Rest in peace, Sam Allen Mather. (Click on video to see.)