Ride ‘Em, Cowboy!!


This blog is not entirely about birds, but also general photography. I was going through some old photos that I thought you might like to see.

This is an image that I shot a few years ago at a Professional Bull Riders event.  I was sitting in the stands.  I had a Canon EOS 20D at the time, and I was using a 100-400 zoom lens.  I was too far away for my flash to do any good.  To get the shot in available light, I set the ISO to 1600, opened up to f5 and let the camera do the work.  I knew the shutter speed would be low, actually it was 1/160, and I tried to time the action so I would get the cowboy and bull at the top of the jump, that brief instant when the action almost comes to a stop.  The result was a bit grainy, but otherwise I thought it was acceptable.  Click the image to see an enlargement.

Bull Rider

Bull Rider

I done the post processing in Photoshop Elements.  I couldn’t afford Photoshop at the time.  I also was shooting in JPEG, as I hadn’t got into shooting RAW yet.

Pertinent information:

Date of photo:  May 6, 2006

Canon EOS 20D – hand-held

Canon L series 100-400mm zoom lens

Tele setting for shot:  120mm

Shutter:  1/160

Aperture:  f5

ISO:  1600

No Flash

Partial metering

The cute Scaled (Blue) Quail


In going through some more images from the past, I remembered these that are from early summer of 2007.  The Scaled Quail (Callipepla squamata), also known as Blue Quail.  A medium-sized, short-tailed quail with a tufted crest.  Feathers have a scaled appearance.  In my opinion, the numbers of them in west Texas are diminishing, as I haven’t seen them as often as I used to.

I have been fortunate to sell one of my photographs to an advertising agency.  Here I have three more images that you may enjoy.  They were taken about four years ago, when I was still using an old Canon EOS 20D, but still had my Canon 100-400mm lens.  I used Partial metering, at Aperture priority on all these images.

Scaled Quail

1/250 sec. @ f8 – ISO 400

Scaled Quail

1/400 sec. @ f5.6 – ISO 200

Scaled Quail

1/640 sec. @ f5.6 – ISO 200

I hope you enjoyed these images.  Click on any of them to see enlarged photos.

Rock Pigeon (Dove): Hunting Season


Fifth and final in the series about the dove species of west Texas.  Rock Pigeon (Columba livia).  Formerly was named the Rock Dove.  Many people still refer them to as doves.  Stokes Field Guide to North American Birds describes them as heavy-bodied, broad-shouldered, short-tailed pigeons with relatively short necks and short stubby bills.  Dark gray head, irridescent necks, pale gray back.  Two dark wingbars show on lower back.

National Audubon Society‘s Sibley’s guide to Birds still refer to it as the Rock Dove or (Feral Pigeon).   The third or bottom photo below shows the rare Brown adult.

Rock Pigeon

  • Photographed  November 5, 2007
  • Canon EOS 20D
  • Canon 500mm IS lens with 1.4 tele-converter
  • 1/250 sec. @ f6.3 – ISO 400
  • Lens focal distance – 700mm
  • Metering – average
  • Aperture priority

Rock Pigeon

  • Photographed July 5, 2008
  • Canon EOS 40D
  • Canon 100-400mm zoom lens
  • 1/400 sec. @ f7.1 – ISO 400
  • Lens focal distance – 390mm
  • Metering – center weighted average
  • Aperture priority

Rock Pigeon (rare brown adult)

  • Photographed  July 3, 2010
  • Canon EOS 7D
  • Canon 500mm IS lens
  • 1.640 sec. @ f13 – ISO 800
  • Lens focal distance – 500mm
  • Metering – spot
  • Aperture  priority

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds


Happy July4th everybody!!!

On July 1st I posted photos of the Black-chinned Hummingbirds.  Today I will show you some of my images of the Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris).

After publishing that post, Cindy Kilpatrick commented about the sharpness of my photos at such high ISOs.  I use a noise-reduction software called DeNoise, made by Topaz Labs.  It reduces noise without any loss of detail.  It sells for 79.95 and it is some of best money I ever spent.  I also use, in conjunction with that, another software called Focus Magic.  Between the two, I get these great results.

Click on any image to see a beautiful enlargement.  Enjoy.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird
  • Canon EOS 40D
  • Canon 500mm lens with 1.4 teleconverter – tripod mounted
  • 1/500 sec. @ f7.1
  • ISO 800
  • Lens focal distance 700mm
  • Metering – center weighted average
  • Aperture priority
Ruby -throated Hummingbird
  • Canon EOS 20D
  • Canon 100-400mm zoom lens – hand-held
  • 1/60 sec. @ f5.6
  • ISO 400
  • Lens focal distance 400mm
  • Aperture priority
  • Metering – not recorded

    Ruby-throated Hummingbird at feeder

  • Canon EOS 40D
  • Canon 500mm lens with 1.4 tele-converter – tripod mounted
  • 1/200 sec. @ f5.6
  • ISO 800
  • Lens focal distance 700mm
  • Metering – Center weighted average
  • Aperture priority

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

  • Canon EOS 40D
  • Canon 500mm lens with 1.4 tele-conerter – tripod mounted
  • 1/250 @f5.6
  • ISO 800
  • Lens focal distance 700mm
  • Metering – Center weighted average
  • Aperture priority