Raptors

_DSC8990  Blackland Prairie Raptor Center Photo Day May 2013-Edit-3 _DSC9087  Blackland Prairie Raptor Center Photo Day May 2013-Edit _DSC9177  Blackland Prairie Raptor Center Photo Day May 2013-Edit _DSC9262  Blackland Prairie Raptor Center Photo Day May 2013 _DSC9257  Blackland Prairie Raptor Center Photo Day May 2013 _DSC9149  Blackland Prairie Raptor Center Photo Day May 2013 _DSC8832  Blackland Prairie Raptor Center Photo Day May 2013 _DSC8717  Blackland Prairie Raptor Center Photo Day May 2013

On the last Saturday in May, I had the opportunity to take photos at the Blackland Prairie Raptor Center Photo Day.  The Blackland Prairie Raptor Center is dedicated to environmental preservation through public education and the conservation of birds of prey and wildlife in their natural habitat.  Blackland Prairie Raptor Center’s birds of prey have many years of experience introducing children and adults to the world of raptors.  These hawks, owls and falcons are well trained, and with the assistance of BPRC education specialists, show people what makes them an important part of our environment. Unfortunately, these birds cannot go back into the wild due to previous injury, human imprinting or both.  You can see more about the center at http://www.bpraptorcenter.org/.

The Photo Day was held at Brockdale Park in Lucas Texas where the center is currently building a new facility.  The park is northeast of Dallas on Lake Lavon.  Other than a few chiggers and other biting insects that were in the park that day, it was an enjoyable experience.   The center had most of its birds available to show at the event and we (the group of photographers at the event) learned many things about each bird as they were brought out for photographs.  I want to thank the center staff and volunteers that gave up their morning and helped out during the event.

The center showed its birds in three areas of the park so that photographers could take images of different birds in different locations with different backgrounds.    The birds were beautiful and majestic, regardless of their size.  We were able to get relatively close to the birds in order to get portrait type photos and also were able to take photos of them in more natural habitat.  It was a challenge to get the eyes sharp and the details in the feathers along with a pleasant background.  Unfortunately, it was a gray sky morning, so the images of the birds when held aloft had an uninteresting background.  But I tried to make the best of it by adding some texture, including feathers of the birds themselves to make the background a little more interesting.

4 thoughts on “Raptors

  1. Great shots, Mark. Love the textures you added. That’s something I need to learn to do. We had the opportunity to photograph raptors last year when we were out in Arizona….quite amazing. Hope you didn’t bring home too many chiggers.

    Thanks for sharing with us.

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  2. Mark, thank you so much for this article. It had never sounded that interesting to me before seeing the shots you got and reading about your experience there.

    I was wondering if you use a tripod, because the clarity of the eyes is so good. Also what lens did you use?

    And where you used a texture, it’s amazing, as your texture work always is.

    Lana

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  3. Thanks Lynne and Lana. Lana…I was using a monopod throughout the day to take photos. It was wet out there and just one leg was a mess, and I did not want to mess with three. Some were using tripods, which was OK for certain situations when the birds were not moving. I went back and forth between my 150 mm f2.8 macro lens and the Nikon 70-300 f4.5-6.3. Although it would have been heavy, the 70-200 2.8 would have been nice for this. Maybe the new 70-200 f4 would be perfect for this since it is lighter than the 2.8.

    Also you did not see the many shots where the eyes were just out of focus.

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