Nighthawk and a Roadrunner


102° today, the eleventh day of 100° or hotter.  The average here in San Angelo is 18 days per year of 100° days.  The record was in 2011 when we had 100, yes, that’s right, 100 days of 100° or more.  I hope we don’t break that record.

Anyway, we can’t stay in forever.  We do venture out sometimes earlier in the day, which was the case today.  We decided to take a drive through San Angelo State Park.  We saw the usual summer residents of sparrows, mockingbirds, etc.  Also, several quail scurrying through the deep grassy areas.  Of course, I was on the eye out for photo ops.

Driving out to the Isabel Harte section of the park, we spotted this Common Nighthawk.  On top of that, as I was taking this photo, Ann spotted another one on another tree branch about 20 yards away.  Of course, it flew before I had a chance at it.  I am always amazed at the camouflage of these birds.  It is so easy to miss them.

Common Nighthawk

Common Nighthawk

There wasn’t too much action after that.  The temp started climbing and most of the small birds that we saw, were looking stressed.  But as we decided to leave we spotted this Great Roadrunner in a tree.  It had just given chase, unsuccessfuly, to a Cactus Wren.  While it was resting and catching it’s wind from that, I was able to get this photo.

Greater Roadrunner

Greater Roadrunner

So that is it for this post.  I’ll probably try to make to the local city parks sometime during the upcoming week.  We’ll see what has been happening there.

Of course, it behooves me to also give you this update:

My new “World of Bob Zeller – Outdoor Photographer” DVDs are here. Outstanding collection with great sound track. 100 of my best images; birds, landscapes, and others.   Better than my book. Produced by DSTappan Productions of Knoxville, Tennessee. Price is 25.00 that includes Texas tax and shipping. Local residents only 20.00 if I can deliver it to you. I do business the old-fashioned way, just a handshake. You mail me a check to: Bob Zeller, 4401 White Ash Ln., San Angelo, TX 76904-4528, and I will get one shipped to you. Also, my phone is 325-944-1839 or e-mail me at bobzeller@pobox.com.  I have many references if you need.

It has gotten great reviews from the people that have purchased them.  If you purchase one and don’t like it, (highly unlikely, I think), I will return your money.

Thank you and happy birding!!

Photos and a DVD update.


Still pretty warm (hot) here and we are not getting out much.  The birds are laying pretty low, so I am getting caught up, going through old images, and resurrecting some.  Here is one that I came across that I captured in February and never before published to this blog.  Probably one of my favorites of a Northern Bobwhite.

Northern Bobwhite

Northern Bobwhite

Another February photo of a Black-crested Titmouse.

Black-crested Titmouse

Black-crested Titmouse

From April, an Osprey.

Osprey

Osprey

Recently, driving in the heat through Mary Lee Park here in San Angelo, I discovered that the Prairie Dogs are expanding there range away from the nature center there.  This little guy was eyeing me carefully as I drove by.

Black-tailed Prairie Dog

Black-tailed Prairie Dog

Click any image to see some great enlargements.

DVD UPDATE:

My new “World of Bob Zeller – Outdoor Photographer” DVDs are here. Outstanding collection with great sound track. 100 of my best images. Better than my book. Produced by DSTappan Productions of Knoxville, Tennessee. Price is 25.00 that includes Texas tax and shipping. Local San Angelo residents only 20.00 if I can deliver it to you. I do business the old-fashioned way, just a handshake. You mail me a check to: Bob Zeller, 4401 White Ash Ln., San Angelo, TX 76904-4528, and I will get one shipped to you. Also, my phone is 325-944-1839 and my e-mail is bobzeller@pobox.com.  I have many references as to my honesty if you are interested.

That’s all for now.  Happy Birding!!

 

Info on my DVD


IMG_3271-vol2dvd

I have been informed that first the shipment of my DVDs “The World of Bob Zeller – Outdoor Photographer”, will arrive by Monday or Tuesday.  I have seen the ‘proof’ copy.  I am amazed and I know that all of you will think it is awesome after you see it.  It is actually better than my book, as it contains 100 of my best photographic images, both birds, animals, landscapes and water lilies from the past few years.  Includes also, my bio and published credits.  BTW, the sound track is worth the price of admission.

Here is how to get your copy.  I do business the west Texas way.  With a handshake, in this case an e-handshake.  I can no longer afford the outrageous fees needed, so I do not accept credit cards, so please mail a check for 25.00, including shipping and applicable taxes, to me:  Bob Zeller, 4401 White Ash Ln., San Angelo, TX  76904-4528.  I will immediately ship you a copy by Priority Mail.  San Angelo residents the price is only 20.00 if I don’t need to ship.  I can deliver.

Give me your contact info: e-mail, mailing address, phone, etc..  If you prefer watching on a computer please specific a Windows PC edition.

If you don’t like it (and I highly doubt that) I will return your money.

I have been doing business this way for several years.  I have many loyal, trusting customers.

Thank you for your time.

Bob Zeller

Ph.  325-944-1839

E-mail:  bobzeller@pobox.com

The Dog Days of Summer


The temperatures around here in San Angelo have been hovering around the 100 degree mark or a little higher.  That means that it is best to stay in out of the heat.  That is what the birds and wildlife seem to be doing.  Ann and I have not been getting out too much, either.  But a couple of days ago we decided to stop binge-watching the seven seasons of “The Andy Griffith Show” and get out, if only to get some fresh air and stretch our legs.

At San Angelo State Park, this Northern Bobwhite presented a problem when trying to photograph it.  It’s was partially hidden, except when he was calling.  When he called he stretched his head up, and I could focus on his entire head.  So I patiently waited for the right moment, as the head was up for only a few seconds each time.

Northern Bobwhite sing to his mate.

Northern Bobwhite

Greater Roadrunner

Greater Roadrunner

Ash-throated Flycatcher

Ash-throated Flycatcher

At the ‘mudhole’ near Twin Buttes Reservoir there was a little more activity.

Northern Mockingbird

Northern Mockingbird

Killdeer

Killdeer

Blue Grosbeak - female

Blue Grosbeak – female

That’s it for now, until we decide to get out again.  By the way, another reason for not getting out is that I am in the act of getting a DVD produced.  It contains 100 of my best photographs, not only birds, but landscapes, flowers, etc.  The images are selected from the past few years, plus a great music tract.  It will be available in about two weeks.  I must say, I have seen the preview, and it is awesome.  I am very proud of it.

Well, time to see what that rascal kid, Opie, is up to now.  Season 2, episode 14. :-)

Photography as Art – A Rant


I woke up this morning with a bug up my rear.  Something happened yesterday that really rankled me.  I decided I would use my blog as a platform to tell you about it.

The San Angelo Art Club is currently having an art show that, for the second time this year, photographers are welcome to participate.  A friend of mine, Mr. Bill Yeates, entered some of his very excellent photographs.  His work is as good, if not better, as mine on any day.  Well, the powers that be, in this club, decided that they had to place his images in the “computer-generated” photographs category instead of the proper photography.  The reason?  He post-processed his photographs.  Gad!  What an asinine decision on the part of those judges.

I consider this a slap in the face to Bill, and to me in association.  He and I shoot the same type of nature and wild life photographs.  Neither one of takes our photographs using a computer.  We use what is commonly called a (wait for it)……a camera.  Our photographs are camera-generated, not computer-generated.

Plain and simple, the individual or individuals, that decided this are plainly ignorant of the workings of photography, and need to get themselves educated.  First off, post-processing has been part of photography since the first photo was taken a couple of hundred years ago.  In the days of film, the negataive that the camera produced was developed in pans of chemicals.  We then had to print the photos, using dodging and burning techniques, to the get the light, contrast and sometimes the color right.  To anyone that believes the camera doesn’t lie, I would like to sell some ocean-front property out here in west Texas.  Most photographs directly from the camera don’t represent exactly what we saw.  It is all about the light.  If we expose for a certain part of a picture, another part of it suffers from being too dark or too light.  If the camera tries to strike a medium, the photo looks flat.  So we have to post-process to make any corrections.

To any of you that took your film to a photo lab, or to Wally World to get your photos developed and printed, they did the post-processing.  Yes, that’s right.  Their machinery looked over your negatives and decided how to best print your little 4x6s to your satisfaction. Sometime they didn’t get it right, and you had to take the negs back and ask for reprints.  Or you could do it yourself in your own darkroom.  That my friends, is post-processing.

Now here in the late 20th and early 21st centuries we have digital cameras.  We use our cameras to take photographs the same as before, but instead of using film, the images are captured on memory cards.  Again, we can take those cards to a photo lab, or back to Walmart, and have them produce our prints.  Again, they have to use their machinery to get the photos right, and depending on the operator, you might get prints to your liking or you take them back and get them to do it right.  Again, what is this called?  You got it.  Post-processing.

Now we can also do this at home as before, using our darkroom…..except it is now called the digital darkroom.  We can again, do our dodging, burning, adjusting color with the computer.  Except now, voila! we don’t get our hands dirty.

This photograph of the Mule Ears Peak in Big Bend National Park presented a problem for me.  As I looked at the scene I loved the different hues that the different ranges of mountains presented.  But the original image looked flat and so I had add contrast so to distinguish the different layers.  Aha!  Post-processing.

Mule Ears at Dusk

Mule Ears at Dusk

I captured this next photo early one morning down at the ghost town in Terlingua, Texas.  The sun was shining on the distant mountains.  I wanted to photograph those distant cliffs and have the adobe ruins in the foreground.  However, the structure was in deep shadow and the camera couldn’t react and get exposure I wanted for each of the elements.  So I did what photographers have done for ages, including the great Ansel Adams, I adjusted the lighting during, yes, you have already guessed……..post-processing.

Ghost Town Sunrise

Ghost Town Sunrise

So nowhere did I carry a computer on my back into the wilderness to capture my photos.  I carried a camera and a tripod.  Sometime I visited a scene a few times prior to getting the shot so I could decide when would be the best time to get the best lighting.

So, to the San Angelo Art Club, I say to re-think your judgement in deciding what categories to place photos.  This is the 21st century.  For the record, my photographs, and Bill Yeates’, are “camera-generated”.

Incidentally, computer-generated photographs, to me, are not photographs at all, and sometimes a camera isn’t even  involved.  They are just pictures of non-existent scenes made by using special effects graphics software.

New DVD Available


This is a special post for my readers.  I have great news.  I, along with my friend in Tennessee, Dstappan Productions, have produced a very nice DVD of 100 of my best images, accompanied with music.  It is currently for Windows only.  If Interested, please mail me a check for 25.00 to: Bob Zeller, 4401 White Ash Ln., San Angelo, Texas, 76904-4528.  That amount will cover any taxes and shipping by Priority Mail.  I don’t take credit cards anymore….too expensive.  But we in west Texas are used to doing business with an e-handshake.

The DVD contains 100 images, assorted birds, animals, landscapes.

Be sure to give me your address and contact info, e-mail or phone, etc.

As I said, it is for Windows operating systems only at the current time.  We are working on producing one for TV viewing and that should be available soon.

Hope to hear from many of you.  Thank you.

Post Independence Day Photos


I hope everyone had a great Fourth of July Holiday!!

For the past week or so, Ann and I have been trying to work in some birding, between doing household chores and visits to the vet with our Shih Tzu, Suzie.  She has eye problems that we are trying to clear up.  Anyway, here are a few miscellaneous photos that I managed to grab during that time.

This Scissor-tailed Flycatcher I got lucky with at San Angelo State Park.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

This Canyon Towhee, also at San Angelo State Park, was partially shaded with leaves from the mesquite, but I think the image still looks pretty good.

Canyon Towhee

Canyon Towhee

Ordinarily I mostly ignore House Finches because they are here in great numbers and I guess I take them for granted, but I thought that this little female was pretty.

House Finch - female

House Finch – female

The next three image also from San Angelo State Park.  I can’t resist these gorgeous blue birds.

Blue Grosbeak

Blue Grosbeak

Western Kingbirds are in abundance here during the summer.

Western Kingbird

Western Kingbird

We are experiencing a large increase of Northern Bobwhites this year.  When driving through the park we were always within earshot of their calls.  This one scampered across the road in front of us.

Northern Bobwhite

Northern Bobwhite

The following two photos are from our previous trip to South Llano River State Park.

Northern Cardinal - juvenile

Northern Cardinal – juvenile

How about a squirrel thrown into this collection.  At one of the blinds at SLRSP.

Squirrel

Squirrel

I hope you enjoyed these photos.  Click on any of them to see some pretty nice enlargements.