Landscape with A Twist

Wright Flyer replica, Kitty Hawk Memorial captured by Z 8 / Z24-70f2.8

Had an excellent morning photographing flight! First, a nesting pair of Osprey building their nest and then at the Wright Brother Memorial in Kitty Hawk, NC. The location where first powered flight occurred is where the brothers proved their “wing warping” principle actually worked for sustained flight. Wing Warping is something the Wright Brothers received a patented for in 1906. What is wing warping you ask? That’s where the wing tip are “warped” or perhaps better understood as “twisted” to change the direction of flight. With few folks around today, I was able to shoot through the Wright Flyer to the Memorial erected on the dune they used for their glider experiments prior to powered flight (though the wind moved the dune to where it is today) in the background. Looking through the wings that they “warped”, it occurred to me that I was taking a landscape with a twist!

Not So Nice!

Sanderlings captured by Z 9 / Z600f4TC @840mm

Sanderlings are the sweet little shorebirds that most know for chasing the waves back into the sea. They dart about following out going waves looking for food deposited by the wave. While on migration, some establish a small, temporary territory, much like grouse and prairie chickens and defend any intrusion by other Sanderlings. I have seen these “fights” for decades and have tried and tried to get the conflict on film. It’s a challenge as they happen and end so fast. I finally did lying on the sand of Bolivar Flats so now I have images that show that they are not so nice. (be sure to look at the series below)

The Valley is Calling!

Upper Yosemite Falls captured by D3x / 70-200f2.8

The Sierra has a good snow pack, the spring rains are bringing green and the sun is kissing it all creating a gorgeous May in Yosemite. May tends to have the greatest amount of water in the falls, one of Yosemite’s magical elements and it’s calling all photographers. May is the last month before summer when the park swells with people coming to soak in its beauty as well. Now is the time to plan your trip. You want to hit the falls of course, but there are lots of trails in The Valley and upper reaches of the park with great treasures. Hitting the trail is a great way to leave the public behind and have the park all to yourself. Focus in on the trails along any water way will reward you with critters, high sierra wildflowers and the creeks themselves. As Muir would say over and over again, The Valley is calling!

The Weekend is Here

Willet captured by Z 9 / Z600f4 TC @840mm

The Willet along with the other birds of Bolivar Flats seem to know it’s time again to share their quiet stretch of beach. With the overcast skies. the activity level right now is at epic levels with spring here. Squabbles, courtship, feeding and everything else covers the sand with the cool air. Then when the sun peaks out, calm comes across the beach. The birds seem to all take a break, take a bath, preen and simply enjoy the warmth. They seem to know it’s the calm before the storm, the weekend is here.

Bolivar Flats Doesn’t Disappoint

Bolivar Flats captured by Z 8 / Z24-120

The Ferry ride means you never reach the beach the same time each day. At the same time the morning cloud cover we want for our shorebird photography might always cooperate. In those cases, we do or don’t get a sunrise. On this morning, we reached our spot a little after sunrise and after getting the Z 9 / Z600f4 TC ready to go, I took a moment to make a simple click of our greeting. And while brilliant for a heartbeat, I was happy to see the sun tuck itself back behind a cloud for what turned out to be a killer day of shorebird photography!

The Tody is Anything but Common

Common Tody Flycatcher captured by Z 9 / Z600f4 TC w/Z2.x & 1.4 engaged @1680mm

The blinders were off when I was in Costa Rica. While I had my mind on photographing just the Snowcap, all the color bouncing about reminded me there was a lot more than just hummingbirds and this is one of those colors. The Common Tody Flycatcher is a unique bird that I found to be anything, but common. About the size of your thumb, the first thing you note about the Tody is, it does its flycatching within bushes. Most flycatchers catch their prey on the wing, launching from a branch and snatching their prey out of the air. The Tody does the same thing but within the confines of a shrub. You see this dash of brilliant yellow and then see it dart in an opposing direction and then back again. It’s quite something. Then there is that bill, the Tody’s is anything but your typical flycatcher bill. Not small or pointed, I thought of it more like that of a platypus’ and when it looked at me, it gave the Tody quite the gesture. It required all the horsepower I had and the speed of the Z 9 to make a still of this greased ball of lightning. I ‘m really into this little cutie! I only saw it in two locations in Costa Rica and able to photograph it at one so to me, the Today is anything but common!

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