Archive for August, 2008

Hawk’s “Distraction Display”

Posted in Photo Outings on August 26, 2008 by John Peralta

My daughter and I had an interesting experience on a recent nature outing with our Canon DSLR’s. While hiking we saw a large brown bird fly by and land about 40 feet from us. We continued our hike and on the return trip decided to investigate the area where the bird had landed. Here is what we found:

 

We discovered a hawk (Red-Tailed Hawk?) that appeared to be injured. However we knew she wasn’t hurt because we both saw her fly to this location. We then heard what might have been the cries of her offspring coming from a 20 foot cliff nearby.

I guessed that what we were witnessing was a “distraction display” – where a mother bird fakes an injury to lure potential predators away from her nest. I later did some research on hawks but could not find this behavior associated with any bird of prey.

As we moved in for some close-up shots the bird limped away and eventually rolled over onto her back – exposing her belly to us. We took some pics then retreated. About 20 minutes later we returned to the scene but the hawk was nowhere to be found.

Here are some more images:

UPDATE – I contacted a University of Texas biologist who specializes in the birds of Texas concerning this event. He said that birds of prey, with their formidable weaponry and flying skills, generally do not need to resort to distraction displays to protect their young. He said that what my daughter and I experienced was either a young hawk who was just learning to fly, or a bird that was actually injured. Fascinating nonetheless.

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Canon 500D

Posted in Equipment on August 17, 2008 by John Peralta
Dragonfly Eyes

Dragonfly Eyes

Blue Flower

Blue Flower

Just purchased a Canon 500D close-up lense. Here are my first efforts with macro photography.

The Surfer’s Conundrum – Riding Yesterday’s Wave

Posted in Musings on August 14, 2008 by John Peralta
Bicycle in Motion

Bicycle in Motion

Ever wonder how your frail little DSLR can catch something moving at 670 million miles per hour? Exactly what is your camera capturing? The enigma of light has been explained variously as a stream of photons, and as a wave in the fabric of space-time. Is your DIGIC III image processor collecting photons moving at 186,000 miles per second – like some sci-fi flypaper? Or, more poetically, are we photographers “catching a wave” on the ocean we call the universe? And since the light we observe takes time to travel through our viewfinders, are we actually hanging ten on a wave that no longer exists, that has already washed up on the shores of time?

New Canon!!!

Posted in Equipment on August 11, 2008 by John Peralta

 

Received my new Canon Digital Rebel Xsi over the weekend. Came with an 18-55 IS Zoom and I added a 55-250 IS Telephoto Zoom. I haven’t had a chance to take it for a test run yet, but at first blush there are three major improvements over my Xt:

1. Megapixals (12.2 versus 8.0) – nuff said.

2. The huge LCD – the images, histograms and menus are now easily readable.

3. The DIGIC III sensor – which, according to a photo magazine review I read, allows the ISO to be set at 800 with hardly any loss in image quality. For now I’m going to set mine at 400.

I’ll post some images after my first outing.

Just a Taste

Posted in Connor on August 8, 2008 by John Peralta

Here are just a few of my daughter Connor’s manga drawings. She’s a precocious 13 years old. Enjoy.

New Monitor – Woo Hoo!

Posted in Equipment on August 8, 2008 by John Peralta

My new monitor was delivered yesterday and WOW – viva le differance!

24-001-273-S01

It’s a 22″ Samsung T220. I have it set up right next to my Dell laptop and when both monitors are running you can really see the difference. My laptop’s monitor looks like it’s submerged in murky water compared to the Samsung. The Samsung is easily twice as big, twice as bright and has twice as clear an image. Gives me a whole new appreciation for my work!  I still need to calibrate it with my colorometer and create a profile for printing.

Photographer’s Forum

Posted in Competitions on August 6, 2008 by John Peralta

 

Clown in Window

Clown in Window

Earlier this week I was notified that one of my entries had been selected as a finalist in the Photographer’s Forum’s 28th Annual Spring Photography Contest. “Clown in Window” was taken during my 2006 trip to Amsterdam. It was originally a color image – of which I made several versions, varying cropping, saturation, etc. One of the versions was a desaturated black and white image that highlighted the markings on the window.

I think the allure of this image is twofold. First is the sad expression on the clown’s face – always a poignant contradiction. Second is the markings on the window and the reflected city scene – with the clown staring sadly out the window. Is he sad because of what he is observing, because he cannot join the bustling crowd, or because he has no one to play with?

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