43 thoughts on “The Navigator

  1. Birds see things so much faster than we do. Fortunately we have tools to help us out—in this case it’s a camera that can take a picture at 1/2000 of a second and stop the motion of a bird in flight. Even so, it takes skill for the operator of the camera to follow the bird’s flight and press the shutter button at the right moment.

    1. Skill, and luck: more of the latter than the former for this one, I’d say. Beyond that, it’s one of those images I love because of what it reveals about a world our eyes can’t see. Just as a macro lens shows the small world, a telephoto lens at 1/2000 can catch a world moving at the speed of flight.

    1. Now and then I see the pelicans, ospreys, and hawks clearly playing in the updrafts on warming afternoons. There’s no question they’re flying for pure pleasure, so why not flying to test skill? Thanks for the kind words. You’ll have more time to enjoy watching flight now, yourself.

        1. Do you know about kettling? Do your birds do that? Here, the eagles and hawks will do it during migration. The make a great, swirling flight into the sky, circling higher and higher on the updrafts. Then, they begin traveling on those currents, simply gliding along. They’ve been tracked from Houston to Corpus, circling and gliding for miles at a time. It’s wonderful.

          1. the vultures often do that, swirling round and round and round and higher and higher.. it’s so calming to watch their effortless meanderings to the heavens.

            years ago I noted a line of frigates way high in the sky. They were heading north up the coast, and for hours I would look up and they were still migrating up the coast. I wondered if they knew something I did not.

            I’m guessing it was a few weeks later when peru was hit with massive rain/flooding, and all those tourists were airlifted out of macchu picchu.

            About a month ago someone told me about a huge migration of casiques, and I wondered, ‘hmmmmm…’ Peru did get intense rains/ flooding after that, but I think the two events were unrelated.

            1. One of the weather signs I always pay attention to is what we called rain ravens. When they begin to fly and call, we always said rain was on the way. And, most of the time, it was. The last time I saw real rain ravens was in Louisiana. Sure enough, a day after they flew, the rains fell and fell for over two days.

              And, before Ike, the disappearance of the water birds was noticeable. Interesting.

            2. “Rain Ravens” – sounds like an omen in a Stephen King book!

              When an extra=strong burst of energy hits me and stays for half a day or longer, I think, ‘Uh-oh… bad weather’s on its way,’ and almost always it’s intense rain… people have said later, ‘you might have warned us,’ and in Costa Rica I sometimes warned friends…. “ummm, this might sound crazy, but you might want to prepare for some bad weather…” This goes back over 20 years!

  2. The Ancient Egyptian god Thoth was ibis headed. He was said to have invented writing by making footprints in the muddy riverbank. . . Things with wings are magical that way.

    1. I knew there was an ibis-headed god in Egypt, but didn’t know his name. I wonder if this one left a message before taking off? And I wonder who could translate for us?

    1. I think ibis are some of the most handsome birds we have. When a large group of them sets off, they can be humorous as can be: like some avian army marching across the land. They show up now and then in a vacant lot in my neighborhood to eat insects — grubs or grasshoppers, probably. They’re always great fun to watch.

  3. Nicely done, Linda. I agree with Steve…good timing. A fraction of a second either way would have the eye obstructed.
    There seems a bit of a red halo around the top of the ibis. It could be from some processing you did or it might be chromatic aberration.

    1. Well, look at that. I’d not seen that red halo until you pointed it out. So much for my critical eye. Now that’s all I can see.

      I have encountered purple and green chromatic aberration around white flowers. I didn’t know that red was possible. I did crop this, and sharpened it a touch, but didn’t increase the saturation. That would have been my first guess as far as a processing reason for the “halo,” but I’m really cautious about adding any saturation since reading a post by a wonderful bird photographer about over-saturation in nature photography in general. I did manage to get rid of the purple and green once, using Photoshop Elements. It took me forever, but it worked.

      There is one more explanation, of course. The bird could be moving so fast that its heat shield is glowing.

      1. Ah, I think that’s it, Linda. A little friction goes a long way.

        There is a lot of over-saturation seen on the web for sure. Especially with sunrise/sunset shots. One of my frustrations with WordPress is the colors are sometimes over-saturated. I used to make adjustments to compensate but finally gave up. It’s too bad they don’t have color management.

        I am not familiar with PS Elements, but in Camera Raw in PS Bridge, there are camera/lens combination presets that do some correction for CA as well as some other issues. If you are using the clone tool to remove the fringing, or sharpening halos, that sure is time consuming.

    1. The wings of these big birds fascinate me. Not only are they beautiful, they are marvels of engineering. Every time I see one curl up the last inch or so of those feathers, I have to laugh. It’s just so improbable that they can do that.

      1. Maybe it’s the shock from wading in cold water that makes the ends curl up, it affects my toes that way. A lot of modern airplane wings are imitating that little curl on the tips, they call them “winglets”

        1. No kidding? I didn’t know that. But I have seen one small plane around here that has something like that. The very tips actually are at a ninety degree angle rather than curled, but the principle’s probably the same.

          1. Well, you’re right, they’re 90 degrees really, not curled. The first time I saw the winglets, I thought the pilot had had trouble backing out of a small hangar, like me clipping the side mirror getting out of the garage.

    1. Soaring in open air is one thing. Even if we can’t do it, it’s understandable. But those birds that can deal with undergrowth are amazing. The raptors come to mind, too. They not only fly, they spot breakfast on the hoof and pluck it out of the bushes as neat as you please.

      1. Do you ever dream of flying, Linda. I do on occasion and always love the experience. As for the raptors, add to it that they are often dive bombing at tremendous speeds. –Curt

        1. I never have dreamed of flying. The closest I’ve ever come was a recent dream where I was the page-turner for a violinist who was performing a sonata — we were on a trapeze, with diamond chains. Who knows that that was about?

          I love to watch the pelicans diving while I’m at work. Sometimes the fish will move into the marinas, and the birds will fish in the fairways. It’s great entertainment.

          1. Neither has Peggy. It is a wonderful feeling. But being a page turner for a violinist while on a trapeze… that’s pretty wild! I, too, love to watch pelicans dive. Endlessly entertaining! –Curt

    1. Like a swimmer, yes — or perhaps even a sculler. They’re so fast and graceful, even with that funny beak. It certainly doesn’t slow them down. A couple of weeks ago I saw hundreds of what I think were glossy ibis in a field. They were too far away to photograph, but when they began lifting up and flying, it was something to see.

    1. Thanks, Jeanie. Every time I see an ibis in flight like this, I think of the sweet video about the kiwi bird that wanted to fly. I suppose it’s the resemblance between the beaks. If you haven’t seen this, it’s right up your alley.

      Don’t you wish we could pass through life’s thickets this easily?

  4. Lovely capture Linda… Whether luck or skill, all that matters is being there with the camera. The biggest boon to photographers in our part of the world was digital cameras. No longer do you have to worry about film going bad in a hot car…

    1. You’ve reminded me of the Woody Allen quotation: “Showing up is 80 percent of life.” When he was asked if he had said that, he rephrased it by substituting “success” for “life,” but the meaning’s pretty much the same. Of course, being there doesn’t guarantee a thing, but it certainly increases our chances.

      I’m still pretty cautious about leaving my camera in the car in the heat. From what I’ve read, high temperatures can affect the sensors, and the heat certainly can’t be good for the batteries. i know one person who keeps his camera and lenses in a Yeti, but those coolers are as expensive as many cameras.

    1. In other words — our ibis is eagle-eyed! They do seem to be serving him well, don’t they? You’d have to have fantastic vision to pull off some of those maneuvers.

    1. It is amazing, isn’t it? Even my pigeons can get a move on when the hawks are in the neighborhood. I’m hoping to be able to get a nice photo of a glossy ibis this year. They can be glorious in flight, too — iridescent when the sun is shining.

    1. As I mentioned, email’s my solution. Without those emails sitting in my inbox, I’m sure I’d miss a good bit. I know many people depend on the Reader, but I only check it now to be sure that my own posts show up there.

      Glad you enjoyed the ibis. They’re such funny birds on the ground, and so graceful in flight.

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