As we were driving home this afternoon at about 3:30 pm, I noticed a very large bird sitting in the top of a tree in the middle of a field. I made the left onto the ditch bank and drove back to where I got a clear view of the hawk about 500 yards away. I had my camera with the 70-200mm zoom lens in my bag in the back of the car, so I quietly opened the rear hatch, got out my camera, and got one shot of the bird looking at me before it took off. It flew off quickly and the sequence of shots was as fast as the camera would focus and shoot on the flying hawk in overcast light. The last photo is a panorama of all seven frames I got of the hawk before my autofocus couldn’t distinguish the bird any longer. I added an effect to the 4th photo in the series which is supposed to mimic a gum bromine print. The photo ended up with a softer focus than the other images and the effect brought the most detail out of the softness, and it ended up looking somewhat like a pastel drawing.
Tristan adopted an Eclectus Parrot named Joey which turned out to be a rescue. Joey, who is probably around 9 years old, had been left in a house that one of Tristan’s friends moved into. The bird apparently had not ever had its beak trimmed and there was nothing in its cage for it to chew on to keep its beak trimmed back, so its beak had grown out so long that it was rubbing the feathers off Joey’s chest. Joey’s beak would have punctured his sternum and killed him if it had been left untrimmed much longer. The feathers on his head look good, but the rest of his feathers are scraggly and rough because he couldn’t groom himself with his long beak. He also hadn’t bathed himself or been bathed in who knows how long, so he smelled bad as well. Tristan called the vet on our way back to her house with Joey, and fortunately they had an opening within an hour, so we drove straight over to PetsMart and got Joey a new cage and lots of chew toys before taking him to the vet.
Joey was very well-behaved in the carrier as we drove around. He imitated noises from video games and gave us an occasional squawk. It didn’t take long after we got into PetsMart for people to start noticing him making cute noises. He squawked loudly at the sight of dogs, which really got the attention of the other shoppers. Once we got to the vet, Tristan turned the carrier around so the door was against the back of the bench so Joey wouldn’t react to the dogs in the waiting area. He would peek at me through the holes in the carrier, but when I first tried to photograph him peeking at me, he would back away to the other end of the carrier and then come back up and peak at me again with on eye, back off and peak at me again with the other eye. I finally got some photos of him peeking at me, but it was like a game to him.
His next adventure was his absolute refusal to get in the basket so the Vet-tech could weigh him in the exam room. He got on Tristan’s shoulder, then I got him on my arm, but when we got the basket near him, he ran upon my shoulder, then ran back and forth from one shoulder to the other ducking the Vet-tech. Then he got onto Tristan’s arm and climbed up and took refuse on her shoulder until the Vet came in. The Vet stood there in shock for an instance and then said she had never seen a beak that had grown out that long before. As we gave the Vet as many details as we had learned about Joey in the hour we had him, he sat on Tristan’s shoulder and groomed her until he tore off her pesky glasses that were getting in his way. The Vet got him wrapped in a towel and took him back to trim his beak and draw blood so they could test him for communicable diseases. When the Vet-tech brought him back in to us with his newly trimmed beak, Joey was happily chewing on the towel, something he hadn’t been able to do for most of his life.
He was pretty traumatized, and rode home in total silence, looking tired and worn out from his big adventure. When we got him home, he sat on a roost and posed proudly for me showing off his newly trimmed beak, then he watched me put his new cage together. As he watched Tristan and I fill his new cage up with things to climb on and lots of toys to play with and chew on, he started making cute noises again. When we put him in the cage he first checked out the water dish, and then started messing with the food. At first he turned his head sideways to compensate for a long beak, then he discovered he could pick up the food without cocking his head and started happily rooting around in the mixture of seeds, nuts and bird crackers able to eat normally for the first time in many years.
I went out about 30 minutes before sunset to photograph the Sandias when they turned pink, and ended up getting bird photos along the way. The Sandhill Cranes and Snow Geese where still hanging out in the apple orchard with light streaking across them from the low sun. When I got out to the river, a Great Blue Heron was wading around feeding, until it noticed me and flew off. I figured I wouldn’t see it again, but when I focused on the large bird coming toward me (figuring it would be a Sandhill Crane) it turned out to be the heron. The Heron noticed me about the time I got it in focus and it banked left and started hightailing it south, offering me a shot of it in profile, then it turned eastward to circle back out of range of my lens.
A group of ducks where floating down the Rio Grande, diving under the water and popping their heads up several yards down current from where they dived. When they came up from their third dive, they saw me on the bank and took off, leaving little splashes behind them. Just before the sun went down, a hawk flew over at high speed, but I managed to get a fairly clear shot of it. I got my photos of the dark pink Sandias, and as I was walking back to the house, a large group of geese took flight from the apple orchard, heading to the river — they reminded of bats flying out of a cave at sunset.
No wives were bothered in the making of the photos of this dress rehearsal (see Inspirations).
The moon had a really nice ring around it when we got home last night. The fast moving, thin cloud cover formed ripples and streaks under the influence of my 1/3 second exposure and 17mm lens at ƒ/4. You can still see a few stars twinkling behind the clouds and Jupiter next to the moon at about 1 o’clock.
I helped out in three of the five services at Central United Methodist Church yesterday: I played accompaniment for Silent Night at the 1:00 pm service and discovered the fuses were missing from the spotlights when they wouldn’t come on for Jerri before the service. One of the maintenance men called around and found fuses, and ran out and purchased them, so the spotlights were working for the evening services. I ran one of the spotlights and took photos for the 8:00 pm service, and then ended up running both spotlights at the 11:00 pm service. Jerri got the idea to add guitar and castanets for a Spanish song the men’s ensemble performed at the 11:00 pm service, so I also played guitar and Laurie played castanets with the piano on “From a Distant Home”.
A different couple played Mary and Joseph for each service, and Jerri or someone else who knew how to dress the couple got them in costume for the first 4 services. I was in the chancel area when Ronzel, the sound tech, came up to me looking quite desperate and asked if I had photographed Mary and Joseph in costume in an earlier service, because he was trying to get the couple playing Joseph and Mary for the 11:00 pm service dressed and he didn’t remember what all they had on. Fortunately, I had photographed one of the couples in costume, so I ran back to the dressing room with Ronzel, and we were quite a pair looking at the screen on my camera, finding all the pieces of the costumes and getting the couple properly costumed.
We got them ready about 4 minutes before the start of the service, then the couple asked me when they were supposed to start walking up the aisle with the elements for communion — since I didn’t know (all the services were different) I ran up and asked the pastor, ran back told the couple, then dashed up the stairs to the balcony to run the spotlights for the candlelight portion of the service. After the lights came back on, I walked around to the front of the church and slipped in with the choir, and acted like I was singing on a couple of the hymns before playing on “From a Distant Home”. Then I slipped back out, helped Mary and Joseph out of their costumes, and then hung up the costumes and accessories. Laurie’s brother and parents commented after the service how they thought it was funny how I kept appearing and disappearing during the service.
Since we never got a new set of tiny lights for the bonsai, Laurie made an arrangement with candles and the candy she will be using in cookies for some decoration, lights and color. Tristan thought it looked like an altar to candy. Be that as it may, Laurie has baked some fantastic cookie,s so if her decorations please the gods of confectionary and the spirits of cookies, that makes it all the better.
Kat sang in the choir this morning, and asked me to photograph her in the choir robe. She looked great in the robe and the colors are very appropriate for the season.
Jerri made almost 100 copies of the recording of Handel’s Messiah performed on December 9th by the Chancel Choir with the NM Philharmonic Orchestra. I designed labels for the CDs and inserts for the jewel cases, and spent yesterday afternoon printing labels, stamping them on CDs, cutting inserts and stuffing the whole lot into jewel cases so Jerri could give them to the Chancel Choir before Christmas. Laurie and I listened to the recording this afternoon while cooking and working on photos, and it’s fantastic. The recording is raw, exactly as it was performed with no post-production editing, and it is really well balanced. the choir, soloists and orchestra sound animated and full of life. This was the first time Laurie had heard the choir outside of singing in it, and she was quite surprised, and thought the recording sounded better than the “professional” version we currently have (I had been telling her how good they sounded for weeks before the performance, and she just thought I was being nice. Me be nice? Like right!). After listening to the CDs I was really happy I took the time to put them together yesterday so the choir members could have this wonderful gift of music for Christmas, especially after all the hours and work they put in preparing for the performances. The quality of the performance also speaks for what a great director Jerri is. She takes anyone who wants to sing in the choir and gets amazing results out them.
We went to fabulous performance of Stella Nuova by Música Antigua de Albuquerque tonight.
Tristan and David had their annual Solstice party tonight where we all sat around waiting for the end of the world and then reflected on it — it didn’t happen — AGAIN! The end of the world and all that is getting to be a bit of a bore — Firefox, Cat’s yellow kitty, was mad about it, Gia thought she saw it, but was mistaken, and Firefox gave me an appropriate “Blah!” Cat celebrated, Gia consoled the kitty, then she peeked around the corner and gave me a nice smile. After having a lot of fun we all finally had to go on our merry ways until the end of the world comes again.