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.

Lantern Lights

After trying two times and being stymied due to unforeseen circumstances, we finally attended the Chinese Lantern Festival at Fair Park in Dallas on the night before it closed.  Thanks to Groupon, five of us made it in for half price.  I was surprised by the mass of humanity waiting in line before the opening and also the number of people inside once the exhibit opened.

We arrived at the opening time of 5:00 so I could capture some images before, during and after sunset.  The lantern exhibit was not lit up when we arrived so we were able to see the various lanterns before and after.  Once the sun went down and the sky took on that dark blue shade, the lanterns were lit.  It was quite a sight.  There were more cameras per square foot (most smart-phone cameras) than I had seen in some time.  There were also a fair number of “more serious” photographers like me that toted around their tripods with their favorite flavor of camera on top.  It was really the only way to capture good images once the sky darkened.

From a dragon created from 10,000 dinner plates and eating utensils, to a lantern that looked like the Statue of Liberty to the various ants, pandas, longhorns and other plants and animals I looked for interesting angles and views to shoot.  There was ample opportunity to capture reflections in the lagoon, but hard to get shots without people somewhere in the image.  I found it to be very creative and interesting and hopefully the photos I included here provide a look inside for those that were not able to attend.