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Welcome to the Pine River Review. Our sight is dedicated to our little homestead located along the Pine River tucked inside the Chippewa Nature Center's 1400 Acres of wild in Michigan's lower penninsula. We love to share our pictures, video, comment, and our own homespun music. Step inside our world as we celebrate this beautiful nook!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

World BIrd Wednesday LXIV

The Luck of the Draw

There is a huge end of season sale on hawk pictures. Better get 'em while you can, these prices will not be available again the rest of the year. The Red-tailed hawk is in clear view these late winter days before the storm tossed heads of the hardwoods thicken again with new green foliage. While it is one thing to photograph a perched RTHawk serenely scanning the roadside fields for the squirrels, mice, and chipmunks, it is quite another to snatch these ruddy raptors on the wing. I have often been amazed how quirky jerky shore birds transform into superbly aerodynamic creatures when they take to the air. It is much the same with these chunky raptors with their Churchillian panache. Once in the air the lines sharpen from a rotund heaftyness to that of a knife edged battleaxe. It is a breathtaking transformation the nuance of which is much to fast for the naked eye to fathom. Digital photography steps into that gap with a tecnological feat known as Auto-focus. Most cameras focus when the shutter button is half pressed forcing the camera to refocus with every shot. On my Dslr camera focusing duties are given over to a seperate button maintaning constant focus on moving objects while I worry about keeping a soaring bird centered in the frame and timing a well lit shot. Alas, even autofocus is easily and often confused when a brown bird flies through a branch filled world and our good friend Luck determines whether there is a prize in the camera or not.

    "Diligence is the mother of good luck." So said Benjamin Franklin and though he wasn't speaking of nature photography his sentiments ring true here too. Diligence is definetly what it takes to bring home the bacon. Problem is, having your eye pasted to a view finder changes the essential experience that brought you to nature in the first place. 
   There seems to be a schism between pure observation and photographing an event. I feel it myself. So much concentration goes into getting a snap that not much of me is left over for the pure emotion of being at the crossroads of time and place. Isn't that why folk are enamoured with the adventuresome nature of wild life photography, that the person taking the picture is as present in the blessed moment as the beast itself? This is perhaps a misconception. I see these encounters as opportunities to get lucky. Bottom line: If I see a beautifully lit bird and I don't have my camera, I curse my luck. Shame on me! 
   The emotional element comes later when I open my files and see if a good picture was managed. A cracking shot gives the moment its special significance. No picture/No fun. This seems rather superficial doesn't it? Does Franklin's "Diligence" have its down side?
   I don't think I was always this way. I used to be able to breathe in nature as a particapent but being behind the camera has changed all that. Nature for me is now experienced in the third person.
   Is this the price one pays for Good Luck?

The country of Qatar joined World Bird Wednesday for the first time last week. Welcome!

This is the home of World Bird Wednesday. A place for bird photographers from around the world to gather and share their photographs and experiences as they pursue Natures most beautiful treasurers, the birds.

You don't have to be a Bird Watcher or expert photographer to join in, just enjoy sharing what you bring back from your explorations and adventures into nature!

World Bird Wednesday will be open for posting at 12 noon Tuesday EST North America through midnight on Wednesday.

#1. Simply copy the above picture onto your W.B.W. blog entry, it contains a link for your readers to share in the fun. Or, you can copy this link on to your blog page to share WBW.

#2. Come to The Pine River Review on Tuesday Noon EST North America through Wednesday midnight and submit your blog entry with InLinkz.

#3. Check back in during the course of the next day and explore these excellent photoblogs!

The idea of a meme is that you will visit each others blogs and perhaps leave a comment to encourage your compatriots!

Come on it's your turn!


  1. ahh. addicted to pixels. i still relish just the sight, whether i capture it w/ cam or not... :)

  2. I think seeing the 'moment' is the greatest thing. If I capture it on camera; a bonus. :-)

  3. I missed an opportunity to capture one of these beauties this weekend. I'll enjoy your photos instead. :)

  4. Oh, yeah! You nailed it in that second photo! That's a tricky scene, indeed. Not only is it sharp, but the catch light is fantastic! Great job on all three, Springman!

  5. I need some better equipment and more birds. :)

  6. Greetings and welcome to WBWLXIV!
    I am at home today watching a flock of Cedar Wax wings chomping down in the fruit trees out front. They have been in and out for three days! More about that next week.
    Today I have a big cup of coffee and plenty of time to get lost in the blogs. Perfect!

  7. Good Morning Springman... hope you enjoy your day at home.
    As usual, your photography skills have captured moments in nature that only I can dream of experiencing in real life!


  8. Many times I tell myself to stop and enjoy the moment. :)
    You bring up some very good points.
    I hope we all at some point put the camera down and take in what draws us to begin with. . At the moment a flicker is dancing among the branches of a walnut tree outside my window. A little far for me to capture but I'm enjoying the moment. :)

  9. Springman, Stunning shots! I agree with you 100%! I always used to say that a lot of people while on holidays have to wait until they get home before they know what they saw! I think I'm the same now. But I do like the thrill of opening that file and seeing that I nailed the shot! I guess we have to live with the trade off..

  10. Whatever price you have paid - the in-flight photos of the hawk are magnificent.

  11. Hi Springman! What fun it is reading your posts always. "From a rotund heaftyness to that of a knife edged battleaxe" puts us right in the picture with you.

    Can't help but agree about "a prize in the camera" that just makes it double the fun.

    The real bottom line from our hearts is, that we own a passion for nature's bounty (that's all good), deep within our soul. We just want to observe ... and preserve it, as best we can. That more often than not means, within our hard-drive as well.

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  13. Are those images ever beautiful! That final shot is too perfect for words.

  14. Wonderful thoughts...
    I have even considered going for walks without my camera so I can just enjoy my local countryside and wildlife just like I used to..
    Blogging my life may have to take a step back.

  15. Hi Springman, your hawk photos are awesome. I hope you are enjoying your time at home. Thanks for hosting another week of WBW!

  16. Oh how I love, love, love capturing Raptors in flight...something so wonderful about every aspect of it! Your images are truly grand...great captures~

  17. Churchillian panache..... made the hairs stand proud on my neck!
    As usual sir a top post with lovely images set against a wonderfully written topic

    enjoy that coffee

  18. Springman, I often feel that conflict too and so sometimes I rebel and leave my camera home, then I go for a walk and come home and write about what I felt. I do my best writing this way, but the problem is, people like to see pictures on your blog. So, I take pictures, but I try not to let the photography take over. I am not so focused on becoming a good photographer as I am on being a good story teller!

  19. Excellent captures and an excellent tale as always Dave! I must say that I won't go anywhere without my camera but I never go without my bins either. My only dilemma comes with deciding which tool I use first. If I think the experience won't last very long, I simply watch nature unfold with my binoculars and soak it all in. If I think the bird or animal will be with me for awhile, I take photos first and pick up the bins to observe the behavior after the photo op.

  20. How true....well more and more IM Not behind the camera--although I do love photography its not the entire focus of my experience..its like in addition to--
    Meanwhile YOU have made some wonderful experiences come to life for all of us to share!!

  21. These are wonderful captures, Springman!

  22. Hi there - very interesting post. On a couple of occasions people have asked me to act as an informal photographer at weddings and such like - in the end I started to say 'no' - it shifted me from participant to observer. This is the same thing you are talking about here I think.

    Stewart M - Australia

  23. Hello again everyone!
    My waxwing invasion is continuing.
    I decided to change the header and share what I'm seeing. Oh my God gorgeous!

  24. Back again, after seeing your new header. What a wonderful shot! They are the most beautiful birds.

  25. You have done it yet again Hawk!
    Happy WBW indeed.

  26. I discovered your blog and great link party from Island Rambles. I'm joining in for the first time this week. Looking forward to seeing some awesome bird photos.
    Love the wonderful photos you are sharing in this post.

  27. wowziers....i would have wet my pants!!

    and that header shot, took my breath away!!

    thanks so much for hosting this, it's a wonderful group of people!!

  28. Amazing captures as usual, Springman! I love those flight shots.
    I have yet to capture flight with decent clarity. I do agree with the surprise in the camera - I usually can't wait to get home to download and convert to JPG and discover what I managed to capture.
    Thanks again for hosting one of my all time favourite link ups :)

  29. just shortly: awesome header photo!!!

  30. Springman, the hawk header was wonderful, but this Waxwing is unbelievable! What a wonderful shot! The Waxwing is a nemesis for me. Having trouble getting a really good shot. But you nailed this one!

  31. wonderful shots ...we seem to have an abundance of Red Tails here...thanks for this bird meme...I am just returning to blogging and could not find the birders you all are!

  32. Hi there again. I thought I would answer your question here re the iPhone bird locator app.
    Bec doesn't have that app (she uses my iTunes account) and as far as I knew it was really expensive?? My Mum has an Australian bird identifier and I am sure she said it was $30.
    The only cheaper ones I could find with a quick search were for British birds... If you know of any others, I would love to know as it would be extremely helpful while out.

  33. I try real hard to remember when I was happy just to SEE a beautiful bird, whether new or familiar. But I have lots more opportunties for telling myself that b/c my pictures NEVER turn out as beautifully as yours. I hope you keep taking them forever!