One new photograph, almost every day of the year

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2019—Flamboyant

A flamboyance of flamingos greeted us as we entered the Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison, Wisconsin on Saturday. A “flamboyance” is what a group of flamingos is called. And, indeed, they are quite flamboyant. We’re so used to the tacky pink plastic lawn variety that to see them in the flesh (in the feather?) is quite startling and their brilliant feathers and elegant stature make quite a statement. This Chilean Flamingo is related to the American Flamingo but its coloration is slightly different, a bit paler and the joints on its legs are pink.

Nikon D850, Nikkor 300mm PF


2019—At the Zoo

“Someone told me it’s all happening at the zoo,” Paul Simon wrote more than fifty years ago. I was reminded of those lyrics from “At the Zoo” Saturday when I visited the Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison, Wisconsin. I’m not sure what Paul Simon might have been smoking when he wrote the lyrics. I have always been puzzled by several of the references to the zoo animals in the song and although I did witness a rather skeptical orangutan just before seeing the giraffe, I couldn’t really tell whether or not the zoo’s “giraffes are insincere.” But, the zoo was celebrating World Giraffe Day on Saturday, even though the official day to acknowledge the longest necked animal was the day before on the longest day of the year, Friday.

Nikon D850, Nikkor 300mm PF.


2019–Another Green Jay

The Green Jays in South Texas were raucous and aggressive, dominating the other birds wherever they were and they made their presence known when they arrived on the scene. I have a soft spot for jays of any kind and I enjoyed watching their antics.

Nikon D5, Nikkor 500mm PF.


2019—Pine Siskin

Pine Siskins are tiny finch-like birds. Although they are common throughout California, I had never seen one until my recent visit to Mammoth Lakes.

Nikon D5, Nikkor 500mm PF, Nikon 1.4 Teleconverter.


2019—Cassin’s Finch

Cassin’s Finches live in mountainous pine forests like those around Mammoth Lakes in the Eastern Sierra Nevadas. They are similar to the House Finches that live in suburbs around the USA but they live mostly in the western US. This male Cassin’s Finch posed for me on a perch near a feeder.

Nikon D5, Nikkor 500mm PF, Nikon 1.4 Teleconverter.


2019—Before the Fishemen Arrive

A few days ago. early in the morning, we visited Rock Creek Lake in the Inyo National Forest. The lake is like glass and it reflects the mountains that surround it and the clouds that float above it—that is until the fishermen arrive and the Brown Trout start to jump. We arrived as the sun rose about 5:15AM and stayed about two and a half hours. Then, the glass-like surface of the lake began to ripple as the trout surfaced and the fisherman gathered nearby. Time for breakfast.

Nikon D850, Nikkor 24-70 VR


2019—Mouthful

Mountain Chickadees are nesting and I had an opportunity to photograph them in the Eastern Sierra a few days ago. Here, a male Mountain Chickadee has landed on a perch near the nest box ready to transfer his mouthful of spiders and bugs to his mate to feed to their hungry nestlings.

I used my Nikon D5 and a borrowed Nikkor 180-400 set at 390mm to capture this photograph.


2019—A Thorough Preening

The Yellow Warblers at Magee Marsh were ubiquitous and cooperative and some of the best photographs I got at Magee March this year were of Yellow Warblers. On our last morning there, we watched not one but two Yellow Warblers take their time thoroughly preening their feathers, including the tail and each wing, after they bathed. This one, in particular, spent lots of time in clear view of my lens while it made sure every feather was in its proper place.


2019—Rabbit Ears

A few Eastern Cottontails visited the watering hole near the blinds at Santa Clara Ranch in South Texas every day. Sometimes their presence got in the way of some great bird photographs. Other times, they were so darn cute I couldn’t help but photograph them. The veins in the ears of this demure bunny are quite noticeable while it looks straight into my lens.

Nikon D5, Nikkor 500mm PF


2019—HO Gauge

When I was a little kid, my older brother Artie set up a model train layout on a 4X8 sheet of plywood supported by saw horses in his bedroom. His first train was a big Lionel and later he had an HO Gauge set and I remember being fascinated by the lights, the town he built, and the train chugging along the tracks. At age 5 or so, I was never allowed to touch the controls but I still enjoyed watching the action. And now, 65 years later, Arthur is once again venturing into the model railroad arena and building his own model railroad setup at his home in Bend, OR. I thought of him the other day when I visited the model train display at the California State Railroad Museum in Old Sacramento. One display case features replicas of the same Santa Fe engine in sizes from the tiny Z Gauge up to Large Scale with HO Gauge falling in the middle. I took this shot from the side of the display case so I could see all the models head on. I used my Nikon D850 with my Nikkor 105mm f/1.4 lens at f/1.4 and focused on the HO Gauge engine so that the smaller models in front and the larger models in back are completely blurred out and just the HO Gauge model emerges, appearing to move directly toward the camera.