Fine Feathered Friends – May 27th

A fantastic new visitor today, out of the blue! But first, a lesson.

I’ve often watched professional photographers at weddings or other social events. Many of them will habitually take a quick glance at the image on the back of the camera every dozen or so shots, particularly after they’ve changed a lens, a camera body, or some setting on the camera. Today I learned why that’s an excellent habit to start training myself in. Because if you’re doing astrophotography (for example, for no particular reason) and you have the camera on full manual mode with the exposure set at 1/100 second because you were taking pictures of the nearly full moon through a high-powered telescope (for example, for no particular reason) and then something happens outside and you grab the camera and start taking pictures without realizing that you’re still on full manual mode while in bright, daylight conditions where you really should be shooting at about 1/2000 second, you’ll get this:

Noting wrong with your computer, phone, or tablet – there’s an image there, click on it. It’s 100% white, overexposed by a factor of twenty.

Fortunately, I realized the error in time and this particular fine feathered friend hadn’t flown off yet, so I got at least a couple of images. And they’re pretty cool!

I was just going to take the trash cans out and this guy was above the neighbor’s sidewalk, directly across the street. He stood out.

I remember seeing him or one of his close relatives in our back yard, once, shortly after we moved in three years ago. The Cornell Labs bird ID app confirmed what I suspected from that first encounter.

This is a yellow-headed blackbird. Their permanent range is along the Colorado River from the US/Mexico border into Nevada, around Las Vegas, but they’re occasionally seen here and there in Southern California. It’s possible to see them sometimes pretty much anywhere west of the Mississippi and east of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, but they’re not terribly common in the LA Metro area.

A most pleasant surprise and beautiful visitor, as well as a lesson learned (I hope) in my photography practices!

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