Laguna Seca Crested Caracara Display Poses. Price Drops « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Laguna Seca Crested Caracara Display Poses. Price Drops

What’s Up?

Sunday was one of those days. The morning photography session was not too good. I did not do any work on the R5 Camera User’s Guide. I did not do any work on the RawDigger Guide (though I did get the information that I needed from Patrick to go forward. I did not do my bursts. And I did not do my swim. I was a couch-bum all day. All of the NFL teams I was rooting for lost.

Today — Monday 28 December — is a new day and I am up and at ’em. I will be working long and hard on both guides today.

This blog past makes eleven days in a row with a new blog post.

Yesterday, I sold the last of my remaining Nikon gear to a single buyer: the 70-200mm f/4 VR and the Sigma f/2.8 150mm Macro Lens for Nikon mount.

The BAA Used Gear Page

The Used Gear page continues to be very active. The BAA Used Gear Page is the place to sell your used photographic equipment. We will help you to get your gear sold quickly for 20 to 60% or more than what the big guys are offering … Doubt me? Check out the Recent Sales list for the past year at the bottom of the page.

Price Drops

Sigma 500mm f/4.5 APO EX HSM lens for Nikon mount

Price Reduced $200.00 on 28 DEC 2020!

William Dummitt is offering a Sigma 500mm f/4.5 APO EX HSM lens for Nikon mount in excellent condition for a very low $699.00 (was $899.00). The sale includes the rear lens cap, the original soft case and padding, the vinyl lens cover, and insured ground shipping via UPS to lower-48 US addresses only. Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact William via e-mail or by phone at 1-314-918-0720 (Eastern time).

I have seen amazingly sharp images made with this lens both on IPTs and on BPN. artie

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-120mm f/4G ED VR Lens

Price Reduced $99.00 on 28 DEC 2020!

William Dummitt is offering a Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-120mm f/4G ED VR lens in excellent condition for a BAA record-low $399.00 (was $498.00). The sale includes the front and rear lens caps, a Tiffen UV/Haze filter, and insured ground shipping via UPS to lower-48 US addresses only.Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact William via e-mail or by phone at 1-314-918-0720 (Eastern time).

I loved my versatile, all purpose, don’t-leave-home-without-it, mid-range 24-120 zoom lens when I used Nikon. I felt it was much sharper than all versions of the Canon 24-105 lenses. And the VR allowed me to create sharp images handheld at silly-low shutter speeds like 1/8 second. This one sells new for $1,096.95 so you can save a very cool $697.95 by purchasing William’s lens. artie

All three images in this Photo Mechanic screen capture were created on 3 November 2020 at the Laguna Seca Ranch in Hidalgo County, TX. I used the Induro GIT 404L/Levered-Clamp FlexShooter Pro-mounted Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS lens, the Sony FE 1.4xteleconverter, and the 61-MP Sony Alpha a7R IV Mirrorless Digital Camera Body. ISO 800. Exposure determined by Zebras with ISO on the rear dial: 1/2000 sec. at f/5.6 in Manual mode. AWB at 7:56am on a sunny morning.

Tracking Flexible Spot (M)/AF-C was active at the moment of exposure and performed to perfection. Click the screen capture to see a larger version.

Crested Caracara displaying

Your Favorite?

Please leave a comment and let us know which of the three poses (and photos) you think is the best. And why. You can identify your favorite as first, second, or third. Let us know also what you did not like about the other two images. I have a clear favorite and will share the optimized image with you here soon (along with my analysis of each image).

The more ambitious among you might wish to rate the images in order by strength, with the strongest image first and the weakest one last. With your reasons of course.

Laguna Seca Ranch

The morning raptor blind on the Laguna Seca Ranch was and is Crested Caracara paradise. We had twenty to fifty caracaras on the set at all time. Owner Gene Gwin and the other guides were creative and helpful, and most importantly for me, quick to respond to suggestions. Laguna Seca is great for the caracaras in the colder months — like now!, and great for songbirds in spring. The morning raptor blind at Santa Clara Ranch is good, and gets better in early spring as far as sun angle is concerned. And it too is great for songbirds in spring. For reasons unknown to me, it is much more difficult to book a visit to Santa Clara than it is to book time at Laguna Seca. Both are great.


In all blog posts and Bulletins, feel free to e-mail or to leave a comment regarding any typos or errors.

Single day Bursts chart

See my response to Jeff’s comment below for an explanation.

16 comments to Laguna Seca Crested Caracara Display Poses. Price Drops

  • avatar Jeff Walters

    1 1st for it’s unique look/pose. 2 2nd like the birds posture. 3 3rd Actually like the way the birds head is turned so far like an owls. Looks like you and Anita had a great time there. What do you do for Bursts?

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks, Jeff. First I take my pulse for 15 seconds, multiply it by four, and enter it in a spreadsheet. Then I run hard in place pumping my arms while raising just my heels (to protect my very lousy left knee) for one minute. Then I take my pulse as above three more times at 30 second intervals and enter the data. Then I repeat the whole thing twice. If you are in decent shape, starting with one minute bursts is fine. When I started years ago I did only 30-second bursts. If you are in excellent shape you might consider 90-second or two minute bursts. IAC, you get some decent cardio work done in ten minutes or less.

      I tried to post a screen capture of the chart in my response but it it did not work. I will place the image at the bottom of the blog post.

      Note: if my resting pulse is 72 or greater, I take that day off. And if the pulse rate in the buff-colored column increases by eight or more beats, then you quit for that day.

      with love, artie

  • avatar Anthony Ardito

    Middle one

    • avatar Anthony Ardito

      I’m not sure which is sharpest, but middle one is iconic. left most is interesting to bird photographers only. To others it looks weird. Right most is a good portrait. Middle at least shows some movement.

  • avatar Adam

    No yellow cast here when I click on the smaller image and it’s displayed on a calibrated aRGB monitor. I see where that perception could occur with the smaller embedded .jpg and is probably attributable to the surrounding goldenrod border and chartreuse background. In terms of poses, it’s a tough call for me. While I like the grandeur of the over the shoulder look, the Caracara is looking out of the frame rather than engaging with the viewer. I like the head throw for its uniqueness, but would have to give the nod to the rooster pose (2) followed by the back shoulder (3), and lastly (1). BTW, I would ask who would clone out the urates on the branch?

  • avatar Matt M

    I like the third pose best. It gives the bird a regal look, and the slight head angle towards the lens makes for a stronger composition than the perpendicular head angles of the other two. The first shot is my second favorite b/c the dramatic (unusual?) pose gives the me a sense of witnessing something interesting. The framing of the second image doesn’t give the bird as much room in the direction that is looking in comparison to the other two.

  • Ken may be right as when I look at the numbers for the white feathers in each image, red is always the highest number. When for a true white the numbers for RGB should be about equal.
    However, maybe the bird’s feathers really are a yellowish white.

    If the bird always starts the display with head normal, up, and then thrown back, I would do #1,2,3 in reverse (#3,2,1) as a series, even though the photographed order was the opposite.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Elinor, You too have forgotten that these depict the raw files, and that the RGB values for the WHITEs reflect the warm, early morning light. The photographer controls the color balance during the conversion. A lot of that depends on taste. I would never want perfectly neutral WHITEs for images made in rich, early morning light.

      with love, artie

  • avatar James Saxon

    Image #1 is my favorite due to the unusual pose and the way my eye moves through the image. One of my favorite birds to photograph. FYI, I am also getting a yellow cast on my screen and I don’t know why.

  • Hi Ken,


    Hi Artie
    The Crested Caracara displaying, I find not to my taste, the Images look like they have a yellow cast on my Mac.

    You are missing two important points:

    #1: the screen captures depict the RAW files.
    #2: the brightest WHITEs on the birds neck show these RGB values: 252, 240, 214. This are about perfect for rich, warm, early morning light. The processed image files will surely have a somewhat color white balance.

    The Caracara is not the most photogenic bird I have ever seen, it is what it is not for me.

    As I always say, there is no accounting for taste. This species is a big favorite with most every photographer I know. I am not sure of this plumage, but this individual is not a cracking specimen for sure. That said, I did ask about the poses.

    Best and love


  • avatar Joel Eade

    I like the look back pose of #3 the best, always been a favorite bird pose for me personally.

    All three are technically very well done so it comes down to the poses.

    So I would rank them 3, 1, 2 …. the head throw back of #1 makes it more unusual and interesting than #2

    Laguna Seca I think is more well known about compared to Santa Clara and has been on my list for a long time. I have a reservation the 2nd week of April.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Joel,,

      Thanks for answering the posed question 🙂

      From where I sit, Santa Clara is much more well known than Laguna Seca. Both are great.

      with love, artie

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