ImageSpotlight: Black-bellied Whistling Duck

Black-bellied Whistling Duck.

Black-bellied Whistling Duck.

I’ve been so busy packing up the house in anticipation of my move to the southeast that I haven’t had any real time to do photography. I spent about 30 minutes at Estero Llano Grande State Park a couple of weeks ago. Why 30 minutes? Well, I thought I’d stop by  and see if there was any activity worth coming back for on a more serious photo outing in the summer. There wasn’t! If you’ve kept up with my “where to photograph” series of articles, then you know I really like this park. However, on this particular day, the action was null and void with respect to birds so I saw no point in staying any longer. Before leaving though, I did manage this one image of a black-bellied whistling duck.

Until next time, stay hydrated this summer and keep shooting. — KEVIN

ImageSpotlight: Painted Bunting

Painted Bunting (Male). Canon 7D | 500/4.5

Painted Bunting (Male). Canon 7D | 500/4.5

Last week, I had the opportunity to guide two photographers from Scandinavia on a private ranch in South Texas. Recent rains in the brush country left lots of standing water on the roads and due to showers earlier in the month, the brush was bursting with berries and other natural vegetation. These two factors combined to make the blinds at the ponds very slow. Quite simply, the wildlife just didn’t have the need to drink at the ponds or eat the seed in the feeders. However, even on a slow day, one never knows what photographic opportunities may arise.

On this particular afternoon, I could hear the familiar call of a painted bunting but visually, I could not locate it.  After about 15 minutes of hearing the calls and not seeing the bird, I played the song of the painted bunting on my iphone. Within minutes, this beautiful male appeared to challenge its rival and exert its dominance of the territory. Immediately, each of the photographers (myself included) laid down a barrage of rapid fire shutter activations and the result is the image you see here.

The app I used to call the bunting in is iBird Pro. To project the sound, I connected an external speaker to the iphone. I do not do a lot of this type of calling but used sparingly, it is an effective technique to call birds into your area and hopefully, onto your perch.

Until next time, good light and keep shooting. –KEVIN