Blog

What the Jail is a Yellowtail

Recently, while browsing one of the local bookstores here, I came upon a large, hardcover book that was apparently done as a tribute to three special valleys in Trinidad. Eye-catching and rather official-looking, I picked it up and began to leaf through the pages. It's something I do on an on and off basis - peruse local literary products, I like to see how others see what I see. Whether it's a book on birds, cricket or waterfalls, it always leaves me with some special thoughts. This time, though, it was different. I didn't ponder much, in fact I very quickly became angry. And still am to a certain...

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On Eye Contact

Just a loose follow-up from the last article I did - where I spoke about getting eye level with your subject and all that jazz. Now it makes little sense (usually) to lower/raise yourself to the level of your subject, only to miss out on the key ingredient in communicating the message - the eye. Eyes are the window to the soul, as they say - and it's true for all species, humans included. Which is why it's imperative to highlight the link that will allow the viewer to look directly into the life of the subject of your image.                   Working...

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On Being Eye Level

It's one of the cardinal rules of wildlife photography - or any form of photography for that matter - the eye is the most important aspect of a strong image. The eye is the window to the subject's world, where the viewer can somehow by any small stretch of the imagination, put himself/herself in the shoes of the subject. The concept of being "eye level" gets introduced whenever this subject isn't a regular human, at regular human height. Birds, being (usually) much shorter than us, require an adjustment in perspective. For those birds that are not generally found in trees - such as waterbirds...

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Confusion

Life seemed to be so much simpler when I didn't know about Wood-Rails. Specifically, our resident species of Grey-cowled Wood-Rail. I wrote previously on the split that occurred within the Grey-necked Wood-Rail species - into Grey-cowled and Russet-naped Wood-Rail, both species differing in vocalization and plumage to a certain degree. Trouble is, there are multiple official bodies that are involved in the naming of birds - and they still haven't come to a definite agreement it seems. So although some purists (like myself) enjoy using the name "Grey-cowled Wood-Rail"; if you refer to this...

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Underappreciated and Overlooked

Every time I'm out in the field, I see these birds and see them being ignored. Everyone likes the bold, the flashy and the extravagant. I'm also guilty of this, by the way. So many times I've just checked "House Wren" off on a list and moved on with my life. But the aural landscape will miss one of its main ingredients, should "Housey" go missing one day. Many of us would be familiar with its song, as it is a bird that has adapted wonderfully to human encroachment. In fact, I have a family right now in the terminal box for an air conditioning unit.                   Somewhat...

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A Sense of Space

With the recent backlash in the wake of the Trinidad and Tobago edition of "Parts Unknown" - I think we all should be reminded of the bigger picture. Yes, the most important always seems to tie in with our perspective, but that is what it is. Perspective. And that's all it will ever be. Some of it may have some merit, some may not. The funny thing about truth (apart from the fact that it hurts) is that there can be many subtle "truths" - it's all dependent upon one's plane of existence. I'm fortunate to be involved in nature - which brings me in contact with many different people from many different...

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Girls, Girls, Girls

I wish I had a dollar for every time someone made that joke about the kinds of birds I go looking for. It's one of those jokes that probably was funny under a certain circumstance, once, eons ago. It's not offensive or anything (to me at least, I can't speak for any avian glares that may ensue), but it's like that Hispanic buddy named Jesus who's constantly given bottles of water with the expectation that they'd suddenly change chemical composition. Anyway, in writing yesterday's post I realized how many female hummingbirds I ended up photographing. Today I'm still stuck on females - but we're...

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Yerette Highlights

Around seven years ago, when I was just getting into bird photography, I found the work of Dr. Theo Ferguson on Flickr - my preferred medium at the time. Prior to this, I had no idea that anyone locally was involved in this artform. I contacted him, and he very graciously agreed to meet with me to discuss my dreams and aspirations. I remember entering his office, adorned with large-format, exquisite images of birds I had never seen before. He told me the story of photographing a flock of American Flamingos on the west coast a few years earlier. I was in complete awe. He asked about what gear...

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Hitting the Target Part II

In a post some days ago, I spoke about our quest for a rare breeding visitor - a quest that took us into the Northern Range, led us up and down hills frustratingly for a few hours with an eventual out-of-this-world reward shot (see it here). After that mission, we got wind of another exceedingly rare bird - this one isn't even listed in the current edition of the Field Guide. Two years ago, when I finally laid eyes upon the holy grail of local hummingbirds - the Rufous-shafted Woodstar - I enjoyed a period of approximately two weeks having seen all 17 species of hummingbirds within T&T. Why...

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Birding Hacienda Jacana: May/June

This edition of the regular Hacienda Jacana mission found nesting season in full swing. Coinciding with the flowering of many native trees, there was much hurried activity - which funny enough, made the forest quieter than usual. It's almost as if frivolous activities like singing one's life away for no apparent reason were sidelined for the more serious business of securing the next generations. Oh, how this world would be if politicians took that lesson. Hah. Interestingly enough, the mornings were even more devoid of birdsong than the afternoon periods. Even the Orange-winged Parrots were...

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