White-tailed Kite

Copyright © 2013 Deborah M Zajac. All Rights Reserved.

A photo I took of a White-tailed Kite recently while trying out a friend’s lens.

White Tail KiteI wanted to see what 500mm looked like and how much closer I could get the birds, and test the weight of it.
It’s a pretty light lens actually. I got a lot closer view of this Kite!
This Kite is  calling its mate or parent, I’m not sure which.  Just a short time later a second Kite flew below this one. Together they flew off to another nearby perch. My friend and I moved our position to continue photographing them and discovered the second one brought a Vole for dinner. The  Vole is in the talons of the second Kite which unfortunately is hidden behind the branch, but it’s the best shot of the Vole I got before they started to consume it.
Kites with Vole_3576
Thanks Dali for letting me try your lens! I definitely want a longer lens for birding. I have to keep saving.

Nikon D300s| Tamron 200-500mm @ 500mm| f11| 1/1250s| ISO400| Manual Priority| Tripod


Red-Tailed Hawk: light morph

Copyright © 2012 Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved.

Several friends and I went out to Central CA to a National Wildlife Refuge to see if any Sandhill Cranes or Snow Geese had arrived and photograph them.

While on the auto-tour we spotted this Red-tailed Hawk on a post. We had a good vantage point to photograph it so we all started framing and firing our cameras which spooked him.

It was just what we hoped for. We all got some really nice shots of him taking off, and flying low in the marsh grass.

Lift off!


Wings up…


Downward flap

I needed  help identifying this Red-tail. My National Geographic bird book isn’t very clear on the Light and Dark Morphs. Thanks to my friend Dali for I.D.ing it for me. Since then I’ve purchased a new bird guide-book:  Stokes Field Guide to the Birds of North America. Between the two books I hope to be able to ID birds more easily.

Nikon D300s| Nikkor 80-200@ 200mm + Tamron 1.4x Teleconverter| f7.1| 1/2000sec| ISO 640| Manual Priority| Hand-held

American Kestrel- Female

American Kestrel- Female, originally uploaded by dmzajac2004-.

Via Flickr:
Copyright © 2012 Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved.

“Not on a wire, not on a pole, it’s a tree for me!” This is the little mantra I said today as I saw a Kestrel on a wire. Later in the morning while we were driving through an Auto-tour in San Luis National Wildlife Refuge I spotted this kestrel in a tree! I was so excited, and thrilled when I uploaded this photo. It’s the first Kestrel I’ve shot that wasn’t on a pole or wire, and the first I’ve posted I believe.
We (Rainy, Dali, Judi, and I) saw so many neat birds and photographed quite a few of them.
We saw, this Kestrel, Red-tailed Hawks, Northern Harriers, Black Phoebe’s, Sparrow’s a new one for me I need to ID, my first Merlin!, Ross Geese, Coots, Blue Herons, Egrets: mostly Great Egrets, a Kingfisher, an American Bluebird, a Burrowing Owl, Mallards, Northern Pintails, Shrike, Meadow Larks, Plovers, Ibis, Sandhill Cranes, White fronted Geese, Red-winged Blackbirds, Shovelers, and White-tail Kites. In addition we saw a Coyote,  I saw a raccoon, and  we saw a dear friend Judi. It was an amazing, fantastic, sunny, everything going our way, very good day!

Nikon D300s| Nikkor 80-200 @200mm + Tamron 1.4TC|f7.1| 1/800 sec| ISO 640| Manual Priority| Hand-held

Get a Grip!

Get a Grip!, originally uploaded by dmzajac2004-.

Via Flickr:
Copyright © 2012 Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved.

Here’s another shot of the Peregrine landing after an unsuccessful sortie.

Nikon D300s| Nikkor80-200@200mm+ Tamron 1.4T f5.6| 1/1600sec| ISO 640| Manual Priority| Hand-held


Annular Solar Eclipse May 20, 2012

Copyright © 2012 Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved.

Several friends and I went to the Nevada desert to view and photograph the Annular Solar Eclipse from the centerline.
After weeks of calculations to determine the best spot to be on the centerline, and be doable in a day we had a couple of choices and nailed down our final choice Sat. Thanks to Rico’s, Phil’s, and Andy’s awesome calculations we were spot on the centerline.
As the afternoon wore on more photographers, and Eclipse viewers gathered around us to view the celestial show. One guy hiked up with a huge telescope. Kids big and small liked looking though that.

Here’s where we were based. That guy down there with the hat is setting up his Spotting Scope. There were cameras, lenses, and telescopes of all sizes. Some folks came out just to view it.

Wearing the right eye gear!

It was work for me. I don’t own a motorized tracker so I had to manually track the sun, making adjustments every 1-2 minutes for the entire 2.5 hours of the Eclipse.
It was worth the effort.  This is also the first time I’ve photographed an Eclipse from start to finish then process the phases in Photoshop. It may be a bit uneven…forgive me! I couldn’t get my guides to work in my workspace so I eyeballed it.  I am pleased I was able to do this at all. I need to give a shout out to PJ for reminding that copy/paste works to do a step I needed too. Thank you!

Looking at my Poster are the phases of the Eclipse. Starting on the left is the beginning of the Eclipse with the “Ring of Fire” in the middle followed by the final pass of the Moon as it made its way across the sun. If you look close you can see the Sun Spots! It was the neatest thing to see from start to finish.

Our little group setting up and getting ready to shoot the Eclipse. I’m off to the right in the hat.  Although that man behind me wasn’t part of our group. He was a spectator who said he’s traveled all over to view Eclipses.  Thank you Rico for the Photo!

And to my traveling and planning companions THANK YOU, Anne, Dali, Phil, Steven, Andy, and Rico for a great day!

Nikon D300s| Nikkor 80-200mm + Tamron 1.4x TC| Manual Priority| Tripod| various shutter speeds, ISO 400| f11

more to come…

Sun May 17, 2012

Copyright © 2012 Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved.

Still practicing for the upcoming Annular Solar Eclipse.

I’m working on getting the exposure right using Live View, and reading lots and lots of articles written by other photographers about how to go about photographing it.

This is a bit blurry you’ll notice. I think this is due to all the atmosphere between me and the sun;wind, dust, clouds, etc. This morning we have clouds in the sky.

Here’s an article I liked that has  handy settings charts for a good starting base. Here’s my friend Steven’s advice on Solar Filters. Don’t try to watch or photograph this event without proper protection for your eyes and camera! I use this Solar Filter.

I’ll be driving with friends 4-5hours away from home to view this event. Will you be traveling to view the Annular Solar Eclipse?

Nikon D300s| Nikkor 80-200@200mm+ Tamron 1.4x TC=420mm|f11| 1/200s| ISO 200| Manual Priority| Tripod| Orion Solar Filter