Hi, my name is Tom and I am a birder.
I am not the crazy, over-the-top birder that you might have seen in movies or on TV. But when there is an opportunity to see a bird that I haven’t seen or photographed before, I get a little bit itchy.
When the report came in a week ago that a Lawrence’s Goldfinch was spotted in the Reserve, I thought “Great, that is wonderful that you saw this bird, my chance of seeing it is nil”. Before that moment I had never heard of a Lawrence’s Goldfinch. I knew the American and Lesser Goldfinch and had seen both in the Reserve, but this was a new one for me. I figured it was a migrant and would be on its way shortly, and far too shortly for me drag the camera out.
Then came a second report and a third. Now the itch is strong, time to scratch. I go out to see what I can see. House finches and American Goldfinches, no Lawrence’s. Just what I suspected, it was here and moved on. Then a fourth report, with photos. Ok, It is a mission now and I will both spot the bird and get a photo.
Friday morning, I went out to Granite Point and circled the point three times. The first circle spotted and confirmed the goldfinch was there, The second circle grabbed a shot, the third circle nailed the shot.
So now I have a new bird on my life list and a new photo in my Monterey Birds set.
That’s my submission to the Carmel Art Institute’s “The Magic of Point Lobos” competition and exhibition. All five were accepted and will be on display from September 28 to October 18.
Let’s start with the birds. They are similar shots, a Black-crowned Night Heron and a Snowy Egret, both are tense and searching for food.
The primary difference is that the night heron is on a rock and the egret is on floating kelp. That and the egret is a striking white.
The wave shots capture the magnitude of a big wave day at the Reserve. These are days when you feel and smell the waves as you drive in. The first stop is Sea Lion Point, where a few young sea lions missed the memo about getting off the rocks.
Down at Bird Island the waves can get so big that they climb up to join the clouds and generate water falls where they don’t exist.
And we finish with the cat. A bobcat in Mound Meadow to be exact, looking very regal like his cousins in Kenya.
Zack Wheeler – 2011
I shot my first baseball game of the season the other night. It was the California/Carolina League All Star Game. The best Single A advanced kids from both coasts.
Shooting a night game is always a challenge. Once the sun goes down, you never have enough light to shoot at speeds that capture the action. So you up the ISO and hope that the images don’t get too grainy. Even then you are stuck shooting at 1/100th of a second.
So you try to work with what you can. Capture the pitchers face and let the arm be a blur. Shoot batters as they’re set for a pitch and don’t try to catch the swing.
You can play with the images a bit afterwards. But there is only so much noise that you can remove before the image is blurry. And do you tinker with the white balance because of the lights, or just live with that yellow tinge?
After a while, you realize that it is best just to put the camera down and enjoy the game.