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WIldlife Photography

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Posted

I have about 60 thousand wildlife shots archived. I'm going to post all of them right here and now!

No?

Well, maybe not... :)

Wildlife photography is a specialized skill, but it's foremost requirement is NOT skill in photography (although of course that's necessary) but a skill in both locating and getting in range of the subject. While you cannot expect to get good results at this without a lens with a minimum of 300mm range (That would be roughly a six times magnification). Many people who start out in this field use cheap zoom digicams to start out with.

And the opportunity to learn about the lives of wild creatures will stay with a person for a life time.

And another interesting aspect of this, is that most urban areas have parks or undeveloped locations that swarm with wildlife. Take my city, New York. I've traveled all over the country in search of good subject material, and found that the best place to shoot is in the undeveloped parks of Brooklyn.

The following are not spectacular shots, but they are shots of a bird whose subtle color changes makes it for me, the prettiest bird in the US.

This is the Cedar Waxwing, one of two species of this family in North America.

WAXWING10.JPG

WAXWING11.JPG

WAXWING14.JPG

WAXWING2.JPG

Dave

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Posted

Gorgeous photos, Chato.

John Shade, whose parents were both ornithologists, wrote:

"I was the shadow of the waxwing slain

by the false azure of the windowpane;

I was the smudge of ashen fluff -- and I

Lived on, flew on, in the reflected sky.

And from the inside, too, I'd duplicate

Myself, my lamp, an apple on a plate:

Uncurtaining the night, I'd let dark glass

Hang all the furniture above the grass,

And how delightful when a fall of snow

Covered my glimpse of lawn and reached up so

As to make chair and bed exactly stand

Upon that snow, out in that crystal land!"

From Pale Fire, edited by Charles Kinbote. Here are some of Kinbote's notes to these lines.

"Lines 1-4: I was the shadow of the waxwing slain, etc.

"The image in these opening lines evidently refers to a bird knocking itself out, in full flight, against the outer surface of a glass pane in which a mirrored sky, with its slightly darker tint and slightly slower cloud, presents the illusion of continued pace. We can visualize John Shade in his early boyhood, a physically unattractive but otherwise beautifully developed lad, experiencing his first eschatological shock, as with indredulous fingers he picks up from the turf that compact ovoid body and gazes at the wax-red streaks ornamenting those gray-brown wings and at the graceful tail feathers tipped with yellow as bright as fresh paint. When in the last year of Shade's life I had the fortune of being his neighbor in the idyllic hills of New Wye (see Foreword), I often saw those particular birds most convivially feeding on the chalk-blue berries of junipers growing at the corner of his house. (See also lines 181-182.)"

Kinbote also suggests that the line about "that crystal land" may be a reference to the kingdom of Zembla.

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Posted (edited)

Gorgeous photos, Chato.

John Shade, whose parents were both ornithologists, wrote:

"I was the shadow of the waxwing slain

by the false azure of the windowpane;

I was the smudge of ashen fluff -- and I

Lived on, flew on, in the reflected sky.

And from the inside, too, I'd duplicate

Myself, my lamp, an apple on a plate:

Uncurtaining the night, I'd let dark glass

Hang all the furniture above the grass,

And how delightful when a fall of snow

Covered my glimpse of lawn and reached up so

As to make chair and bed exactly stand

Upon that snow, out in that crystal land!"

From Pale Fire, edited by Charles Kinbote. Here are some of Kinbote's notes to these lines.

"Lines 1-4: I was the shadow of the waxwing slain, etc.

"The image in these opening lines evidently refers to a bird knocking itself out, in full flight, against the outer surface of a glass pane in which a mirrored sky, with its slightly darker tint and slightly slower cloud, presents the illusion of continued pace. We can visualize John Shade in his early boyhood, a physically unattractive but otherwise beautifully developed lad, experiencing his first eschatological shock, as with indredulous fingers he picks up from the turf that compact ovoid body and gazes at the wax-red streaks ornamenting those gray-brown wings and at the graceful tail feathers tipped with yellow as bright as fresh paint. When in the last year of Shade's life I had the fortune of being his neighbor in the idyllic hills of New Wye (see Foreword), I often saw those particular birds most convivially feeding on the chalk-blue berries of junipers growing at the corner of his house. (See also lines 181-182.)"

Kinbote also suggests that the line about "that crystal land" may be a reference to the kingdom of Zembla.

Having once walked into the full height window of a 7/11 in Louisville, I sympathize with both the birds and the poet... :D

The hysterical laughter of the patrons inside the store was discouraging. Fortunately I didn't have a gun, and pretended to share the laughter. But to be fair, I think they would be more sympathetic to a Waxwing.

Beauty is a matter of taste, and there are many birds far more spectaculerly colored then the Waxwing, even so, I regard them as the most beautiful of all.

They are amongst those birds in which both the males and females look the same.

Dave

Edited by Chato

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Posted

Dave,

This is a nice choice of images. I particularly like the last one. Even though the bird is only partly visible there, the combination of bird and foliage produces a coherent image.

The thing that struck me about the John Shade poem BDS quoted was the latter part where he describes the mindgames with window reflections. When I was a boy, I used to do that. And as a matter of fact, I still do.

p

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