Archive for the 'New Mexico' Category


12/20/2010: Cranes and mountains

I find myself without a mammal for Monday, so it will have to be “mountains for Monday”…and we will throw in the Cranes for free! One of the wonders of Bosque del Apache is that the thousands of Sandhill Cranes and Snow Geese are set against the backdrop of desert mountains on all sides. When the shadows get long in the afternoon, and the sun low to light the underside of the birds, it can be breath-taking. Photos do not do it justice. Still…

Canon SX20IS, 560mm equivalent, f5.7 @ 1/800th @ ISO 400. Sports mode.

Processed for intensity and clarity in Lightroom.


12/13/2010: wading deer (mammals on Monday)

Deer in the water wading among the ducks  is a slightly incongruous sight. As usual at Bosque del Apache, at least during the Festival of the Cranes in November, someone was already stopped and taking pictures of this group of Mule Deer crossing one of the irrigation channels. I pulled up behind and grabbed these shots with the Canon SX20IS out the window. As the deer came up on the dyke between enpondments, they showed so little concern for the gathering crowd on the road (for, of course, two stopped cars attracts a third, and three a forth, etc.) that I got out and digiscoped them (see Mule Deer).

Canon SX20IS at 560mm equivalent, f5.7 @ 1/200th and 1/400th @ ISO 200. Programmed auto.

Processed for intensity and clarity in Lightroom (see page link above). Both are cropped form the full frame.


12/11/2010: Bosque sky (Scenery for Saturday)

One of those dominating New Mexico, Bosque del Apache skies, and my Scenery for Saturday offering.

Canon SX20IS @ 28mm equivalent. 3 exposure HDR, auto bracketed around –2/3 EV, assembled and tonemapped in Photomatix, processed in Lightroom.

And, just to the left.

Another HDR treatment.


12/10/2010: Merlin!

I was finished for the morning and on my way out of the refuge when this bird caught my eye in the very tip top of a tree just back from the road. I parked and climbed out gingerly, hoping against hope that it would sit long enough to get the digiscolping rig set up. I have never known if the character is named after the bird or the bird after the character, or both after something else, but, what with the Arthur associations, and the elegance of the bird itself, the Merlin is among my favorite birds…and I see it rarely, let along get a chance to digiscope it. It did not spook as I set up, and I took a bunch of shots, though at the limits of what the scope and camera could do. Over the next 15 minutes I worked my way closer until I was right across the road from it, and at a much better distance for digiscoping. Still, these shots are at full zoom on the Canon SD4000IS and about 25x on the scope, for the equivalent field of view of a 2600mm lens (it was a tall tree…big old dead cottonwood). The light was strongly from behind and I had to adjust Exposure Compensation to the plus side to maintain detail in the breast featers.

1/320th @ ISO 125. Programmed auto, plus 2/3EV Exposure compensation.

Processed for intensity and clarity in Lightroom.

And, of course, since the bird was so cooperative, here is the video.

Merlin: Bosque del Apache NWR

Like I say, Merlins are always a treat!


12/9/2010: more GBH

I like Great Blue Herons. They are big. They are everywhere. They are attractive, with interesting plumage details and a range of subtle color (not to mention that bright yellow eye). The predominent grays offer no exposure challenges (unlike, say, an Anhinga or Great Egret). And they pose (sometimes for hours). As a photographer, that makes them just about the ideal bird to photograph.

Of course they are interesting from a birder/naturalist aspect to…

This is one of the resident Bosque del Apache GHBs, digiscoped, early afternoon, in the full light of a high desert, Rio Grande Valley, New Mexico day. If I am not mistaken, I photographed this same bird, in just about this same spot, two years ago at Bosque, and probably the year before too…or another very like it. (But then they all look alike to me.) Who could resist?

Canon SD4000IS behind the 15-56x Vario eyepiece on the ZEISS DiaScope 65FL. The first one is at about 1200mm, ISO 125 and 1/1250th second. The second is more like 5000mm, ISO 125 again (great light!) and 1/800th of a second. The two shots show, by the way, the range available with a good digiscoping rig.

Both processed in Lightroom for intensity and clarity.


12/8/2010: Sandhills in Flight (Wings on Wednesday)

Okay, I know I said I was done with Sandhill Cranes last week…and I did break the series, but to be honest I have a lot more Sandhill pics from my trip to Bosque del Apache. And…since it is wings on Wednesday, and a I have little video to share, I could not resist. Forgive me. 🙂

The shot is not perfectly framed but I love the light on the wings! It was late afternoon in the last moments before the sun touched the horizon.

Canon SX20IS at 560mm equivalent. F5.7 @ 1/640th @ ISO 640. Sports mode.

Processed in Lightroom for intensity and clarity.

And now the video. Also SX20IS work.

Sandhill Cranes in Flight: Bosque del Apache NWR, November 2010

12/7/2010: Great Blue in a tree

Though I have seen it many times now, it is always still somewhat a shock to see a Great Blue Heron in a tree.

This is one of those cases when it pays to stop and see what the other guy is looking at. During the Festival of the Cranes at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, or most any weekend in November, the photographers outnumber most species except for Cranes and Geese. Or so it seems. They litter the road-sides, cluster where the corn has been freshly knocked down, and the sound of DSLR motor drives is as prevalent as the calls of the geese at sunup and sun down, though not nearly as loud. So this photographer was pulled off where there was no obvious crane or goose concentration…so I stopped to…and there, up this old snag, was this Great Blue Heron.

What makes this shot interesting, besides the bird, is the bokeh…it looks a lot like a Japanese screen of some sort  behind the bird.

Canon SD4000IS behind the 15-56x Vario eyepiece on the ZEISS DiaScope 65FL for something in the 2000mm equivalent range. 1/1000th second @ ISO 160. And I think I still had it on Kids and Pets mode.

Processed for intensity in Lightroom (see page link above).