Spunk Approves

Murder over the bosque

Lavinia asked if I had used a telescope to photograph the moon last night. Lavinia never lets me down on being observant and asking questions when something seems different like a whole lot of detail in the moon photo. As I answered her, I did not use a telescope, I used a 400mm lens that is equivalent to a 640mm lens on my Canon 7D Mark II body. I have been considering getting a long telephoto lens for quite some time.

I was originally looking at the Canon 100-400mm lens, which is one of Canon’s best telephoto zoom lenses for mere mortal photographers, such as myself. However, the 100-400mm lens is ƒ/4.5 to ƒ/5.6, which is a little slow for as much low light photography as I do. I really needed a faster telephoto lens. I seriously considered both the Canon 400mm ƒ/2.8 and the Canon 300mm ƒ/2.8 lenses. The problem with those lenses for me is their weight. The Canon 400mm ƒ/2.8 weighs in at 12 pounds, and the 300mm ƒ/2.8 weighs 6 pounds, 1/2 the weight of the 400mm ƒ/2.8, but still a heavy lens.

I ended up compromising on speed for lighter weight and bought a 400mm ƒ/4.0 DO lens with Refractive Optics, which enables Canon to put a 400mm ƒ/4.0 lens in the same body as the 300mm ƒ/2.8 lens, shaving 2 pounds off the weight in the process. At 4 pounds, the 400mm ƒ/4.0 DO is easy to handle, and fast enough to get decent images hand held in low light. In the photos of the owls below, we could only see outlines of the owls with our bare eyes like in the first photo, but not nearly as close up. The new lens is able to focus on the owls in relative darkness, through the branches and get an amazing amount of detail.

Spunk loves my new lens

Preening

Spunk’s a lens hugger

Intermission photographed using a Fuji XE-1 with 27mm ƒ/2.8 lens

“Who are you calling a ‘lens hugger?’ Stupid Paparazzo!”

RAW image of the owls before I cropped the image and adjusted the exposure, contrast, color balance, etc.

“Oh my! The paparazzo found us again.”

Mirroring

The streak photographed using a Canon 5Ds with a Canon 70-200mm ƒ/4.0 lens

A little over half a moon on 01/21/21

 

Yesterday’s Birds

Moon in Tangle Heart Tree at sunset

We have cloud cover tonight with snow predicted by early morning. Therefore, I’m posting the birds I photographed yesterday.

Flicker at the tiptop of Susan’s Tree at dawn.

Actually, there were two flickers at the tiptop of Susan’s Tree at dawn.

The other flicker.

Owls’ Backs

The Canadian Geese complained that I have not been giving them enough attention.

The Pter in a tangle.

Downy Woodpecker

Grazing

Cooper’s Hawk in the top of a cottonwood between the clearwater ditch and the irrigation ditch.

 

Crane Dance

Sunset on the Sandias with cranes in the foreground from Southbend.

Just after sunrise one of the cranes made quite a show of dancing for another crane. There are 21 photos in the sequence with three intermissions. At the end of the post, I included an animated GIF that shows the crane dance in motion.

Quarter moon at sunset.

Daddy Owl slept through the show.

Landings

“How do you like my impersonation of a Crane?” Oh, Spunk! I think you look more like Chupacabra. “What do you know stupid Paparazzo?”

“We think Spunk looks a lot like a Crane.” Who asked you Daddy and Mama Owls?

Sandhill Cranes landing at sunset. Another colorful sunset. The sliver moon was just above the trees after sunset.

 

Frosty Morning

Frosted backlit leaves.

We had a light dusting of snow combined with frost this morning. The sky cleared in the early morning hours and the temperature dropped to 20ºF (-6.66ºC).

Cranes and geese in a frosty mist.

Frosted links.

Marina’s Incognito Pear tree all cold and frosty.

Snow and frost on the black bamboo.

 

Reyes in the Snow

Gwendolyn: “You woke me up to tell me about some dumb celebration in the cold and snow?”

The first year we celebrated Reyes in Madrid, Spain it snowed. Not common for Madrid, and apparently Madrid got a lot of snow today. We stood outside in the cold and snow and watched a parade where the three Reyes Magos rode into town on Camels. Then we ate Spanish Chocolate. We have continued the tradition of eating Spanish Chocolate for Epiphany ever since. Today we celebrated outside in the cold and snow with a space heater, chimenea, fire pit, and a camp stove all burning to keep us warm. Since January 6th was on Wednesday, we waited until tonight, January 9th, to celebrate. However, instead of having our normal party with friends and neighbors coming to join in, we had family only. This was the first Reyes in the last 20 years that we didn’t invite everyone to partake in Spanish Chocolate.

The fires.

Silver napping.

Enjoying the heat when the temperature was 35ºF outside.

Spunk napping.

The end of the party before I turned the torches and lantern out.

Glenda: “You are dumb enough to be outside in the cold. I’m staying in my cozy cubby.”

My New Ax

Surprise! I’ll bet you thought my new Ax was going to be a new guitar? As you can see below it’s a real Ax for chopping down trees. Laurie asked me why I got a chopping ax instead of a splitting ax? It’s pretty simple: like a Lumberjack, I chop down trees.

My new ax is made by Husqvarna, and it’s a solid, heavy-duty ax.

Mama Owl and Daddy Owl are still hanging in the tree across the irrigation ditch from where they have nested for the past four years.

Like a Lumberjack, I felled two elm trees in a matter of minutes with my new ax.

Crane looking for a morsel before going to bed.

Remember Monty Python’s The Lumberjack Song?

Kittens, Cranes, Kitties, Crows

Gwendolyn  gargoyling

Glenda and Gwendolyn have full run of the house, catio, and deck now. Teagan had cast them as flying monkeys in a kitty fantasy, and she was right. The kittens are like a couple of flying monkeys. They have become very difficult to photograph because they won’t hold still if they are out of the dark kitten caves they have made for themselves in the laundry room. The big kitties have finally accepted the kittens and everyone is getting along reasonably well. The big kitties have become much more playful under the influence of the kittens. Of course, the big cats are also teaching the kittens many of their bad habits.

Cranes coming in for landing with crows in the background.

Marble

Gwendolyn

We’re just dropping in the see what condition all the conditions are in.

Spunk in the fuzzy hammock I replaced the last burlap hammock with.

The murder of Crows continues.

“You didn’t include me in the title?” Nope! You’re the intermission.

Cranes cavorting

Glenda in the dark.

Cranes at sunset

Gwendolyn: “What cream?”

Glenda

Gwendolyn: “La Llorona? What were you saying about La Llorona drowning kittens?” Children. She drowns children.

Glenda: “Kittens are children too!”

EEK!

“EEK! A mouse!” “Nice jump Dude!”

“That was close.”

“I’m not impressed.”

Intermission

“Did someone say ‘Mouse’?”

“Meh!”

“False Alarm!”

The excitement in the Rio Grande and bosque this evening. Cranes and owls. Spunk and Sasha had to comment.