Sunday, April 13, 2008

An Excellent Surprise

I spent Saturday a.m. working on wildflower images and testing out some of the techniques that I will be using at my "Wildflowers of the Blue Ridge" workshop which is being held on April 26th at Table Rock State park. I arrived fairly early and had a lot of fun trying out different compositions that might work for my sepia series (see owl on post 'Serendipity). After a period of rain I packed up and left for some shooting at home.

My first good discovery at home was a very large "slimy salamander" (Plethodon glutinosus) which wasn't very interested in having its photo made! So, after a couple of poor attempts I let it return to log that I found it hiding beneath. However, the most exciting discovery was just a couple of feet a way. After I rolled the log back over, I looked up just in time to see a large bird spring from the ground and quickly fly a few feet away only to suddenly disappear in the leaf litter. I knew right away that it was some type of night-jar. I hoped that it was a Chuck-will's widow (Caprimulgus carolinensis) –which I had been dreaming of photographing since moving into our place two years ago– but I couldn't say for certain. I quickly threw on the 300mm lens and 2x teleconverter which were in my bag and slowly moved forward hoping to have a chance at photographing the elusive bird. However, just as I got close to spot it suddenly sprang up again and moved about 10 more feet away. This time, I saw exactly where it landed and was able to make a few nice shots before it moved into some undergrowth. I was also able to confirm its identity as a Chuck-Will's Widow. I cannot tell you how excited I am to have finally made an image of this species. It may not be the most dynamic photograph in my file but it will certainly be one of the most memorable ones for me. What a day!


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