Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Pic of the Day

   Loggerhead Shrike – Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico:  I was at Bosque to photograph Snow Geese and Sandhill Cranes, birds that winter at the refuge by the tens of thousands and make Bosque so famous. 
   While making an early morning run to photograph geese and cranes I came across this Loggerhead Shrike hunting along the roadside.   Shrikes, also known as “Butcher Birds,” catch insects and mice and often impale them on thorns and barbed wire before tearing them apart with their hooked bill.  
   I approached this bird using my van as a blind.   With my window down and camera on a window mount I turned the engine off, and coasted to the shrike.  It was lit from the side and facing into the sun, defiantly not flattering light. The side of the shrike facing the camera was in the shadows and virtually a silhouette.  However, the background was perfect.  It was clean and did not competing with the subject.    But good fortune turned in my favor.  Instead of leaping into flight, the bird turned its head and looked over its back.   The strong side lighting illuminated the front of the shrike and ignited a catch light in its eye, creating a strong dynamic image of this “Butcher bird.”

Nikon F5, Nikkor 500mm f4 with 1.4 teleconverter, Kodachrome 64

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