Painted Bunting Heaven Part I « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Painted Bunting Heaven Part I

I first visited Johnny Cozad’s ranch in Linn, TX about four years ago and enjoyed some fine raptor photography: Harris’s Hawk and Crested Caracara.  Not sure of the month but it was more winter than summer.  Johhny and Jane Cozad are out of town so I stayed in a Super 8 in Edingburg, TX and drove the 25 mintues up to Linn each day. Jesus, their ranchhand, was a huge help as always.  And the Cozad’s recently put in an amazing swimmming pool and a jacuzzi.  Each day after lunch I took a three mile walk in the searing heat with the two dogs, Lorna and Bull.   Everytime that they saw a cattle trough, they bolted to it and jumped in. I was not so luck but as soon as we got back to the house I jumped right into the pool.  

Chris Dodds and I worked hard on our feeder set-ups and they got better each day.  I dropped Chris off at the McAllen, TX airport at 4:02 am this morning.  I am planning on photographing at the ranch one last morning and then starting the long trip to the north and east. Here I come Ontario!  I hope to visit Warbler Woods just north and east of San Antonio tomorrow afternoon.

Below are some of my favorite images from the Cozad ranch.  If you would like to arange a visit, click here:  As always, you can click on an image to see a larger version.

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This male Painted Bunting was photographed with the Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens, the 1.4X II TC, and the EOS-1D MIII. ISO 500. Evaluative metering at zero: 1/400 sec. at f/13. Fill flash at -3 stops with the Better Beamer.

I am usually not a huge fan of over-the-shoulder poses but could not pass this one up as these birds have such beautiful colors when you get the dorsal view.  The very best head angle for these poses is perfectly square to the camera.  Note that I used lots of extra depth of field to ensure covering the whole bird.

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Same gear as above. ISO 500. Evauative metering +2/3 stop: 1/80 sec. at f/13. Fill flash at -3 stops with the Better Beamer.

This bird sat still long enough for me to be able to lock down the Mongoose Head.  That allowed me to make a sharp image at 1/80 sec.  This bird was resting in the shade in a mesquite tree just to the left of our set-up. It pays to keep your eyes moving whenever you are photographing birds or nature….

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Same rig again. ISO 400. Evaluative metering -1/3 stop: 1/800 sec. at f/9. Fill flash with the Better Beamer at -2 2/3 stops.

At times, we had more than a dozen beautiful male Northern Cardinals in view at one time.   Well, I have got to do some packing now so it will be good night for now.  More images from the Cozad ranch as soon as possible.

1 comment to Painted Bunting Heaven Part I

  • Jim Heupel

    Glad you got to Cozad’s. They certainly have more than hawks and Caricara! I love their dogs–they are super. Hoperfully, you didn’t see any of the rattlesnakes in the neighborhood.