Wednesday, September 13, 2006
The Spirit Soars
It was getting to be a ho-hum day of birding. The ponds at San Jacinto are still dry, parched by the still lingering summer. The excitement of seeing a barn owl in flight as we drove in slowly ebbed as the sun inched its way in the morning sky. 10 am and I told Cynthia that it was time to leave the wildlife reserve. On the way back I noticed something white glimmering in the air. "White-tailed Kites!", I yelled. I eased the jeep on the side of the road and immediately set-up my camera and tripod. Before us were three (!) kites doing their thing. Kites are hawklike birds that like to hover as they search for some unfortunate rodent in the grassy plain below. The challenge here was trying to focus on the bird while it was in its "hover" mode. It was not easy. I spent close to an hour and a hundred or so shots photographing the white aerialists.
Back home, out of those hundred or so shots I took, only one, it seemed to me, was in proper focus. I posted the picture in the Nature Photographers website soliciting their comments and critiques. Bob Steele (see my blog titled "Man of Steele"), one of the foremost bird photgraphers in the U.S. called it a "killer shot!" And that he was jealous of this photograph. Needless to say, it made my day. Heck, it made my month! Probably even my year!