The Koret Animal Resource Center in San Francisco not only provides programs to educate children about wild animals, but also offers visitors an up close view of injured and rehabilitated birds-of-prey. This allows the photographer to shoot intimate portraits of birds almost never encountered in the wild at this distance. Because the eyes of birds-of-prey are set side by side (giving them depth perception), I wanted to get a shot of one looking directly into the lens. This peregrine falcon was was happy to oblige, as he seemed fascinated by the sound of the camera.
Usually, capturing dynamic interesting light requires getting up very early in the morning. Luckily, this is also the time of day where birds tend to be very active. This week’s photo was taken near my house, in a slough extending from the San Francisco Bay. The calm water of the early morning was perfect for great reflections, and I was rewarded with lots of feeding and preening activity.
This week’s photo was taken this spring at the San Francisco Zoo. Many zoos across the country allow peacocks to roam free amongst the visitors and animal exhibits. On this day I was lucky enough to witness 15 separate plumage displays, as the males were trying to catch the attention of the hens.
Although people “ohh” and “ahh” over the beautiful colors of the feathers when displayed from the front side, it is actually the tail and backside of the feathers that is meant to attract potential mates. When in full display, peacocks will often slowly turn in a circle, in order to show off its backside in as many directions as possible.
We see these birds all the time, throughout most of North America. They invade our parking lots and strip malls, and their calls are ubiquitous. However, when I happened upon this ring-billed gull standing alone at the end of a pier overlooking the San Francisco Bay, I saw an opportunity to turn the commonplace into an interesting shot. The sun was setting behind me, illuminating the bird with a soft glow. That, combined with the fact that this particular bird was clean and quite nice looking, gave me the ingredients needed to create a pleasing portrait.