Open To Everything And Attached To Nothing

Female Acorn Woodpecker With Captured Crane Fly As Another Flys By

Be Open To Everything and Attached To Nothing

I went to Arastradero Preserve in Palo Alto on my way back home, after I had visited my photographer friend who was selling his prints at the Saratoga Art Festival. Last year, another friend got wonderful shots of White-tailed Kites on some dead oak tree branch at this preserve. At the time, she describes the path and location of this particular dead oak trees. Yet, I couldn’t find it. Also, Arastradero is known for having a lot of Lazuli Buntings; I have seen countless images of this species taken there. These were my target species. However, all though, I did see White-tailed kites flying around, and the same for Lazuli Buntings. I could never find a good place to photograph them. Also, I never found the particular location from last year where my friend got those excellent White-tailed Kite images.

However, I wasn’t dismayed or discouraged. I just took what was there, and what I did find. I used my powers of observations as a naturalist, and check all the dead oak trees that I came upon. I brought my carrying cart and pushed my 600 mm lens and tripod around. If I found something, I need to be sure that the situation was going to be productive. It becomes extremely tiring very quickly, if I have to take my lens, tripod, and camera body out of my cart, repeatedly taking them out and putting them back.

Male Acorn Woodpecker Watches The Countryside From A Favorite Perch

Observing from a distance, I saw one dead oak tree with some birds flying around and on it. At this point, I didn’t know what species they were. As I got closer, I saw that they were Acorn Woodpeckers. They were sallying back and forth between this tree and one farther down the hill. As I got set-up I noticed that if I moved around to the other side of this dead tree; I would be able to put the coast ridge of mountains in the background, at least for most of this perch. The sky was an ugly gray color, and the clouds covered most of the sky. Rather than having the sky as a background, I preferred the tree-covered hills in the distance.

Then, I waited patiently for the Acorn Woodpeckers to come back to this dead old oak tree, a truly a landmark sentinel of the past. It had some orange lichen on its bark, which also excited me. I just had to wait and see if the Acorn Woodpeckers would come back with my presence 40 feet away.

Being spring now, the grasses were tall, still green, plenty of food to go around. I did notice the crane flies hovering and flying around this dead oak limb perch. However, I did expect that when the female woodpecker came back she would have a captured crane fly in her beak. As I composed and pressed the shutter button, I noticed a few crane fly buzzing around the woodpecker. However, there was a little serendipity and luck that I got a live crane fly flying around in my image.

The moral of the story is that don’t be rigid and at strictly follow your shot list or goals. Be flexible, nature will open up its wonder and glory, if you have an open mind and heart. I didn’t sulk, nor abandon my efforts, nor close myself off from what was possible. I went with natures’ flow, kept an open mind, taking what she gave me.

In the end, I am ecstatic over the images I did create, and the White-tail Kites and Lazuli Buntings with have to wait for another visit.

Male Anna's Hummingbird Shows Off Brilliant Gorget While Stretching
Male Anna’s Hummingbird Shows Off Brilliant Gorget While Stretching

Other Technical Considerations for the Lead Image: Female Acorn Woodpecker With a Crane Fly.

Equipment / Source:   Canon EOS 7D Mark II camera body, plus 1.4x Canon Tele-converter, at 840 mm focal length, 1/320 of second shutter speed, at f8 aperture, ISO 2000, Aperture priority, Evaluative Metering

Technique:  Camera Body and 600 mm lens, plus 1.4x teleconverter on a Gitzo Tripod with a Wimberely Gimbal Type Tripod Head

Processing:   I cropped the image. Although, I am sure someone will say that I need to crop more, especially from the left side. However, I like the offset subject and the diagonal line of the perch leading into the image from the left, allowing the mind to flow to the subject. I also increased the overall mid-tone contrast. Used Viveza to lighten the crane fly that was flying. Define noise targeted noise reduction on the background and raw sharpening on the woodpecker itself.

*The Male Anna’s Hummingbird Images Taken On The Same Trip To Arastradero Preserve.

Frontal View Of A Male Anna’s Hummingbird With A Wing Out
Male Anna’s Hummingbird With Wings Back While Stretching
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Author: Dream Catcher Images

Nature, Bird, and Wildlife Photographer

7 thoughts on “Open To Everything And Attached To Nothing”

  1. AS USUAL…. …very FINE “work”…..you are masterful at what you do… How did you do at the show and sale in HMB, ‘recently’…?? CARRY ON, Bruce !! Christopher

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  2. Bruce, great shots, and of course you are right, plans are just road maps, I now live in Turlock, ever heard of it? From San Mateo and the coast where there are lots of photo ops, to here where there are NONE! It’s like Kansas, but without Dorothy and Toto – and nut tree orchards as far, literally, as the eye can see in every direction – Aaaagh! I love your bird pics –

    On Tue, May 29, 2018 at 8:32 PM, Dream Catcher Images by Bruce Finocchio wrote:

    > Dream Catcher Images posted: ” Be Open To Everything and Attached To > Nothing I went to Arastradero Preserve in Palo Alto on my way back home, > after I had visited my photographer friend who was selling his prints at > the Saratoga Art Festival. Last year, another friend got wonderful s” >

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    1. Hi Mike. Thanks for the compliments on the bird images. Yes, I do know where is Turlock. I know also the summers are very, very hot! My sister lived in Elk Grove for many years so I have some experience with the Central Valley. There is San Luis National Wildlife Refuge that’s close by. In the winter the migrating birds fill the valley, so don’t lose hope. Just it’s tough when it gets so hot over the summer, but there are opportunities at other times of a year. You always can come to the coast for a short respite from the heat. Good to hear from you. All the best, Bruce

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  3. Bruce,

    you are an inspiration!

    I have had e-mail issues and just got into mail for the first time today.. Thank you for sharing the beautiful photos.

    I received the information on back-button focusing and will practice  with that. Thank you for  sending that.

    I took a few good shoots at Santa Rosa. Those taken with the extender were almost all soft, except for one. I must have taken them hand held. The sharp one would be better if all body parts were represented!!!

    I have been to Milpitas, only for 3 hrs,.,  to see if I can catch a Bald Eagle by Curtner Elementary School. Amazingly, the birds are back and have 2 chicks!! I did not come home with anything stellar, just an interesting position of the female. Never saw the male.

    I don’t have any photos on my laptop, and will see if I can access my desktop computer.

    I am glad we were able go to Santa Rosa. When you have your ranch up and running, please let me know. In the interim, I have to take a look at the Arastardero Preserve.

    Thanks for keeping in touch.

    Cheers,

    Renate

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  4. Thank you so much, Bruce, for sharing your images and especially for your thoughts on capturing them. I agree with you that you have to be ready to take whatever nature’s dishing out! & it’s always such a surprise what you get to see (or don’t see). Sincerely, Anne Conlon

    >

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    1. Hi Anne, Thanks for the kind words. That’s what I love about nature, if you are humble and open the wonders and mysterious are always delightful. They also reach into your soul and your very being, and have a way of making time stand still.

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