“Hot” Photo Action at the Laguna Seca Ranch

Two weeks since I shot with two clients at the Laguna Seca (Photography) Ranch, part of the historic Laguna Seca Ranch north of Edinburg, Texas.  As expected for late May and early June, the weather was hot…. I mean really hot!  These photographers wanted very much to capture images of painted buntings and other south Texas birds in good plumage and, they got what they came for.  The action was fantastic!  We were visited by blue grosbeak, lesser goldfinch, Bullock’s oriole, painted bunting, scissor-tailed flycatcher, great kiskadee, summer tanager, green jay, pyrrhuloxia, northern cardinal, bronzed cowbird and more.

As is often the case with bird photography, it took patience and endurance to get what they came for, but these clients were up for the challenge.  Each day, we loaded the cooler with ice, drinks and snacks and dressed as coolly as possible.  By sunset, we were panting for some air conditioning and dry clothes, but all those beautiful birds made the sacrifice worth while.

Here are some sample shot from the www.PhotographySouthTexas.com outing:

Click on the upper right portion of any photo to move forward or backward with the slide show.  The photos will open in a larger, sharper format for improved viewing.


Male Bronzed Cowbird displaying for a female.


Great Kiskadee calling from a perch atop some sedges near our photo blind.


Great Kiskadee landing by the pond.


Northern Cardinal male enjoying a "tail" wind.


Damselflies mating at the photography pond.


When the photography gets slow during mid-morning, I like to put a teleconverter and extension tube on the 500 mm lens and shoot dragonflies/damselflies.  If they perch close enough, I prefer the 300 mm lens with 1.4 teleconverter.  The above and below shots were taken from a beanbag at near ground level.


Damselflies will perch on almost anything.


Painted buntings were coming to water in a never-ending stream during the warm south Texas afternoons.


Bullock's Oriole female in the background joins a female painted bunting for a cool bath.


Once a bird gets into the pond, others gain confidence and join them.


Bathing birds like this male painted bunting keep a sharp lookout for predators.


Summer tanager female ready to try the water when this painted bunting finishes.


Even on hot days, wild birds approach the water with caution.


Male scissor-tailed flycatcher landing on perch near photo pond.


Wild turkey hen with two poults coming to a ranch pond for water at mid-afternoon.


Male summer tanager splashing in the photo blind pond.


Painted Bunting male catches a spot of sunlight while feeding in a granjeno bush.


These photographs were made with the Canon 7d Camera and 500 mm IS Canon lens mounted on Wimberley head and Gitzo cf tripod.  Most were shot with minimum depth of field.  Where wings were moving or flight and bathing was involved, I tried to hold for 1/2000 second shutter speed.  Most of the action shots were done at ISO 400.

Next week, I will show you a few more shots from the Block Creek Natural Area shoot in late May.  I hope to do a workshop there in late April of 2013.