Jan 312010

Hello Kestral

American Kestral

Identification Tips:

  • Length: 8.5 inches Wingspan: 21 inches
  • Short, dark, hooked beak
  • Small, long-tailed hawk
  • Long, narrow, pointed wings
  • Gray crown
  • White cheeks
  • Two black mustache marks
  • Black spot at rear of crown on both sides
  • Seen from below, flight feathers are pale with dark barring
  • Juveniles and immature females like adult female

Close Kestral

Adult male:

  • Rust patch on crown
  • Rust nape, breast, back and tail
  • Rust tail has a broad black subterminal band and a narrow white terminal band
  • Pale belly
  • Blue-gray wing coverts
  • Dark flight feathers with pale subterminal spots creating a “string of pearls”
  • Black spots on scapulars, wing coverts and flanks

Adult female:

  • Pale buff breast streaked with brown
  • Rust-brown nape, back and wing coverts
  • Back and wing coverts barred heavily with black
  • Rust-brown tail with numerous dark bars of even width and a narrow white terminal band

Immature male:

  • Barred rust-brown back barred heavily with black
  • Streaked breast

Cold Kestral

I love this Bird – The American Kestral

 Posted by at 8:27 PM
Jan 292010


Sometimes the subject you seek is unavailable.  What to do when the light is incredible?  Look to any subject.  In the end it may be the light that is the subject.  In my opinion this is indicative of this photograph.  Again tonight with only a few minutes of sunlight I sought out eagles, hawks, herons, etc.  The light was so dramatic the seagull was the fall back for a subject.  Not often am I treated with the contrast and direction of light like I was tonight.

 Posted by at 9:17 PM
Jan 282010

looking at you

Yes it’s a wolf!  And yes it’s looking at me!  And yes that’s blood on his  face!  Shot last year near Canyon Village in Yellowstone.  Like Moose Peterson has been experiencing the past few weeks…what a thrill to be there with the wolves.

 Posted by at 9:59 PM
Jan 262010

kitchen sink

Back in Arizona tonight.  This photo is another HDR image from an old abandoned home.   I love how the process allows this outcome.  I hope to get out tomorrow and shoot a little more HDR images here in Prescott Valley, Az.  Time permitting the camera will be firing and I will be grinning (ear to ear).

 Posted by at 11:56 PM
Jan 252010

Kestral Lodging

Cute little guy huh?  The Kestral is a pretty small bird.  Not much bigger than a Robin.  Maybe the same size.  What a fighter.  This predator dives and kills fast.  Not too many rodents get past this one.  At Farmington Bay they are prevalent.  The only chance  to shoot them is when they rest.  And you better have a very long lens.  They are extremely shy.  This was shot with the D3 and the 200-400 mm lens with a 1.7 teleconverter.  Effectively at 640mm.  Shot at 1/1000 at f/6.7 and ISO 200.  Every shot I have of the Kestral was shot from the car.  Just opening the door will prompt a very quick exit by this efficient hunter.

 Posted by at 10:07 PM
Jan 242010


I love my wife!   She works hard for my family and is my best friend.  And she knows me very well.  Tonight after church she knew I had few opportunities this week to shoot.  So guess where I went?  My favorite spot minutes from my home.  It’s a good thing because church gets out late.  With only a little time to shoot I was very fortunate to get a couple of shots.  The photograph above is my proof that the sun came out just before it set.  The late day light is reflecting off the water.  No adjustments or filters.  Right out of the camera – beautiful.


This shot of the Great Blue Heron was just as the sun set.  I shot this through my 600mm lens and the D200.  The low light required an ISO of 1000.  You may ask why I did not use the D3 and it’s incredible resolution at high ISO?   The D200 sensor creates a crop that makes the 600mm effectively 840mm.  The birds were way out there tonight and I needed the reach.  I can only imagine the resolution of this shot if it had been done with the D3.

Dancing Heron

There is no question that I wish the light was better and this shot was taken with the D3.  I love the position of the Heron.  Just landing his feathers look really in disarray.  Both shots of the Herons were ran though Nik color Efex pro filter.  I used the brush tool to fill the whole shot then erased back the Heron at 30% opacity.

 Posted by at 9:58 PM
Jan 222010


I have attracted one of the sinus colds that people talk about.  The one no one wants to get.  Quarantined in my own house and room.   No camera.  No outdoors.  Tonight the sneaking was to my computer.  To play!   Back to eagle shots taken on the 5th of Jan.  at Farmington Bay.  My hope and dream is to someday go to Alaska and shoot the large congregation fishing and fighting for food.


These two photo’s are from the same original.  The one above is the actual shot taken through Topaz – “buzsim” filter.   The photograph below is cropped, one click in NIK Silver Efex pro and erasing back the eye and beak.  Too much time at the computer.  I need to get out BAD!!!!


 Posted by at 7:08 PM
Jan 182010


I get really thrilled when it comes to challenges.  Especially when it is photographic.  The photograph of this chair was a real challenge.  A few years ago the same photo could not have had the same results if taken on film.  Yes the zone system could maximize the wide exposure range.   But it would not have the details in the shadows.  Or the highlights would completely blow out.  We are so fortunate to live when digital photography allows us to be even more creative.  And possibly better replicate photographic scenes.  This shot had a 10 stop range in exposure.  The ultimate opportunity for HDR.  It worked well here.  To have the tools to get these kind of photographic results is amazing.  Lucky..we are!!

 Posted by at 9:37 PM
Jan 172010


Last summer we toured Yellowstone.  One of the few times I was not alone.  With my daughter and the grand-boys in tow Yellowstone was our playground.  The upper falls are beautiful.  As I have noted in the past I wish I had the talent to paint scenes like this.  The closest I can get is my photography skills and Topaz software in post production.

 Posted by at 6:59 PM