A Few Fourth of July Images


The Fourth of July holiday dawned cool with a high overcast.  Feeling lazy, I had a great Scrabble game going on with a dear friend in Houston when my iPad’s battery went down.   Alas!  What was I to do with no iPad or no Scrabble?  Well, I forgot my laziness and grabbed my cameras, after putting my iPad on the charger.  With the high overcast, the light was perfect with the sun’s light diffused and no harsh shadows.

This time of year, between the spring and fall migrations, the birding aspects aren’t too great.  I guess they call this the dog-days of summer.  Anyway, the temperature started warming, so we went to the bird blind at the San Angelo State Park.  There the water was trickling into the pond and there were a few birds around.  We sat on the bench and opened the large windows for easier viewing and photography.  Here are three images that I captured there.  Click on any of them to see enlargements.

Northern Cardinal

Northern Cardinal

House Finch

House Finch

Curve-billed Thrasher

Curve-billed Thrasher

After leaving the bird blind, we took a quick drive around to see what else may be hanging around.  I caught this Greater Roadrunner in a tree.

Greater Roadrunner

Greater Roadrunner

Then who can refuse this bird that only a mother could love.  There is a certain beauty to the Turkey Vulture.  It’s not his fault that he appears to be, well, er, ugly.

Turkey Vulture

Turkey Vulture

There’s a new toy in town…..


I got a new toy for my camera bag.  It is a Cam Ranger.  A great tool for remote wildlife photography, being able to use it with new modern devices.

For example, if you would like to set up your camera to get close-ups of a bird nest you can get great results.  With the setup which consists of a small transmitter that attaches to your camera, you can put it on a tripod near the nest, go to another location up to 150 feet away, and control all camera functions including focus, aperture, shutter, movies,etc. by using your iPad, iPhone, or iPod.  There is no chance of spooking the birds this way.

You have to download the FREE Cam Ranger app from Apple’s iTunes App Store.  It provides an ad hoc network between the camera and your device so there is no need for a regular wi-fi connection.  You can use it anywhere.

House Finch - photographed remotely using a Cam Ranger.

House Finch – photographed remotely using a Cam Ranger.

I set my tripod, with my Canon EOS 7d and 100-400 lens inside the patio door.  I aimed it at a hanging bird feeder.  I took my iPad to my office at the other end of the house.  After opening the app and establishing the connection, I sat and watched the live view of the feeder.  I set the aperture and shutter speed and focused through the app, and when this House Finch landed, I snapped the photo.

To control the depth of field, I used f11 in aperture priority.  The shutter speed was 1/320 at 3200 ISO.

I am really excited about the possible applications for this tool.  Unfortunately, right now it is only available for Canon and Nikon DSLRs.  I bought mine from B&H Photo.

Click on that photo to see an enlargement.

Vermilion Flycatcher – That vivacious red bird


One of my favorites of the tiny birds is the Vermilion Flycatcher, (Pyrocephalus rubinus).  At only 6 inches, it is surprisingly feisty.  I was fortunate to find this one at Middle Conco Park, just lazing on a tree branch.  I was also lucky to be able to pull my vehicle within 25 feet of it, so I could comfortably take this series of photos with my Canon 7D and 500mm lens, with a 1.4 teleconverter.  I could have removed the TC, but with leaving it attached, I could nearly fill the frame.

Vermilion Flycatcher

Vermilion Flycatcher

Vermilion Flycatcher

Vermilion Flycatcher

Vermilion Flycatcher

Click on any image to see an enlargement.

If you interested in previewing or purchasing my book, “Birds, Beasts and Buttes”, click on the link on the right side of this page.  Available in hard cover or soft cover, and now available in e-edition for the iPad.