Snow Came and Went

Black and white of snow under dawn’s dark light turns to snow black and white under a dark street light.

Cranes fly into darkness in the sun’s waning light.

Clouds break up over the Rio Grande and the snow-covered Sandias.

Mama Owl and Daddy Owl perched in a different tree.

Crows fly in the final light of dusk.

The pTerodactyl reflects in the darkness.

Under A Freezing Midday Sun

We got about an inch of snow last night, and while the sun tried to peek through the clouds, the temperature never got about 25ºF (-3.9ºC). A couple of walks in the bosque and out on the beaches along the Rio Grande resulted in new birds and some exciting owl news.

Sandias and the Rio Grande from North Beach.

Canadian Geese.

Five Thrushes.

These Thrushes looked really iridescent in the snow on the riverbank under the cold, filtered sun.

Red-Tailed Hawk way off in the distance.

Sparrow up north scavaging in the snow and pebbles.

Red-Tailed Hawk in profile.

This poor calf has lost its herd. It’s all alone and has been sadly mooing for someone to keep it company.

Can you spot the northern mama owl sitting on her eggs?

She didn’t use this nest last year because the raccoons had ransacked it. She is in it again this year. The year before, 2018, she had Virginia in this nest: https://wp.me/p1yQyy-4dG

Thrush

Blondy the blonde porcupine sleeping way up in a cottonwood.

Thrush getting a drink.

The acequia madre

Robin

Snowy Bosque

Mama Owl and Daddy Owl in their usual spot with snow all around.

¡Nada!

Yesterday we had clouds running amok through the skies with our painter scrambling to keep her colors from blowing away with the winds. Today ¡Nada! Not a cloud in the sky. However, our ever clever painter brushed the Sandias with pink, then she threw a spray of ocher that turned into lavender, purples, and blues as it spread from the horizon into the sky.

Our painter picks her colors from sunbursts.

Mama Owl watches as our painter makes her magic.

Quick Change Skies

Looking west @ 5:31 pm February 10, 2021

Mama Owl @ 4:23 pm February 10, 2021

Looking south @ 5:42 pm February 10, 2021

Cranes @ 5:44 pm February 10, 2021

Looking east @ 5:45 pm February 10, 2021

pTerodactyl with ducks doing vespers prayers. 5:53 pm February 10, 2021

Looking west @ 6:01 pm February 10, 2021

First Full Moon of 2021

The clouds were still hanging low behind the Sandias when the first full moon of 2021 rose cost to 6:00 pm tonight. Between the brightness of the full moon and the clouds, my lenses had trouble finding a sharp edge to get a sharp focus. I miss the old days when I could dial a lens to infinity and the moon would be in focus. I didn’t have to deal with finding edges in bright objects to focus on.

Mama Owl sunny side up

Uncropped photo taken from the irrigation ditch bank right under the owls just before sunset.

Cropped photo of Owls taken after sunset from the levee near the Tangle Heart tree.

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