Learning to fly

Turkey family on a neighborhood fence

I’ll admit it, I sometimes feel frustrated at my failure to capture awesome shots of bald eagles, green kingfishers, kingbirds, hummingbirds, and other beautiful local birds. It’s too easy for me to start thinking that my equipment isn’t good enough or my technique is useless, that I’m doing nothing more than wasting time and money on my photography hobby. I’ve been struggling a bit more since buying my first DSLR; but deep down, I know my problem isn’t the equipment.

Juvenile bald eagles #1 and #2; Lake Natoma, June 30, 2017

I’m impatient! I want to be able to shoot all the things, right now — but success takes a lot of time and practice, a lot of trial and error, and a clear vision regarding the type of subjects I want to shoot and that I’m good at capturing. I’ve shot an awful lot of boring photos over the years, so that’s nothing new; but every once in awhile, in the middle of all those mediocre, blurry, or overly ambitious shots I’ll grab an image that makes it all worthwhile.

Juvenile bald eagle, June 30, 2017

Acorn woodpecker, Lake Natoma; June 2019

When I was growing up, we always had a covey of quail hanging around the flowering quince bush in our front yard. I became so accustomed to seeing these shy little birds that it never occurred to me they wouldn’t always be around. Nowadays, it’s become my challenge to spot — and hopefully to  photograph — some of the many quail in and around Negro Bar. So far, this is my best shot:

I’m not sure what type of bird this is; I interrupted her dust bath as I hiked up the hill near the bluffs. She was so determined to finish her cleaning routine that I stopped and waited. It gave me a chance to catch my breath and take a drink of water, so I didn’t mind too much.

I found this bird along the shore of Lake Natoma in July 2016 (shot with my palm-sized Fujifilm camera); I’m guessing it’s a juvenile scrub jay. The spider web in the top left of the second image was just a small bonus.

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