Of all the birds I've photographed, it is the ones that I consider the most unattractive—turkeys and grouse—that resemble their ancestors, the dinosaurs, the most. There is something about those large, reptilian-like eyes and those short, scale-like feathers. In fact, some of the most recent television animations depict dinosaurs with feathers, which brings the mental image even closer!
You'd think that dogs are a detriment to photographing wildlife, and that is often the case, indeed. This time around, however, they found me this male grouse (presumably) doing a mating dance. I've managed to capture several worthwhile images: this one is his portrait.
He proceeded to hop into thick brush where he scared and began chasing a rather reluctant female. How the story ended I don't know: a massive thunderstorm forced me to return home.
Having spent last weekend in the mountains, I stepped onto the balcony to get some fresh air only to find this grouse perched on an aspen right next to it. In fact, it allowed me to stand right by the railing so that I did not even have to use a telephoto lens to photograph it. But, just as I decided to attach one after all (wouldn't a super closeup of those eyes be wonderful?), a certain nosy canine ran out to join me scaring the bird away.
I'm supposed to be packing for a trip to Canada and finishing edits for a (someone else's) book, and here I am posting a blog. I'm going to justify this indiscretion by the necessity of having an extended coffee session (then tea, then coffee, then...).
I may have mentioned on a number of occasions that much of the wildlife photography I do specifically around town occurs, gasp!, on dog walks! These are some of the typical non-predatory representatives we encounter:
The latter is, of course, not the greatest idea. For our canine friends, this kind of wildlife is akin to dangling a dark Czech beer in front of a man on a hot summer day. In other words, it makes standing still with a giant telephoto lens somewhat tricky, but sometimes multitasking is necessary. (It's a woman thing.)
You may have noticed that I've been posting a considerable amount of images shot in the rain or under active water.
This is a relatively new area for me, and for good reason. A few years ago, I visited Germany, Austria, and Italy, photographing standard tourist imagery--and my friends along the way--with a digital point-and-shoot. I ended up getting caught in the rain at the Coliseum, of all places, losing the entire contents of the memory card in the process to irreversible damage.
As a result, I've been quite reluctant to shoot under wet conditions, even though many digital SLRs claim to be weather-resistant.
I am quite fascinated by the variety of abstraction--not to mention an evocative atmosphere--one gets from water obscuring parts of an image.
The above, for instance, is a grouse standing on a stone bench and enjoying a bit of a shower on a local mountain.
Oh, and this might be a good place to mention that I did lose a smartphone to a similar kind of irreparable damage a few weeks ago despite wearing a serious raincoat!