Saturday Evening Post #170 :Bedazzled

Been a bit quiet over at birdsaspoetry land this week.
Weather has been less than ideal: hot/cold/wet/windy.

Enough to make the average Doona Hermit snuggle up.

So I did a little internet browsing.  Had a chance to catch up with Thom Hogan’s site and his discussion on New Year’s resolutions, about planning Not To Switch Camera Brands.

Not that I’m brand switching, but sometimes it’s easy to fall into the “If I just had that one piece my photos would be so much better”.  I do admit to guilt on changing processing software however.  I’ve harddrives full of them.  Funnily enough, my photo work hasn’t improved using one or the other. Nor has my library ever become better organised or searchable.

Speaking of useful pieces of software, have you ever wanted—for a specific reason—to extract the JPEG from your raw camera files.
Yeah, I know just output a JPEG from the processing software. However Iliah Borg, he of the best raw viewer ever made, “FastRawViewer” has produced a little utility to extract the JPEG preview,  the one that you see on the back of the camera when you review.
Can’t say its a ‘must have’ piece.  However from time to time for a quickie result….  The size of the file will be dependant on camera settings but even with raw only set in camera the JPEG will be full size and with a moderate compression.

Have a look here. RawPreviewExtractor  In Beta and it’s Free.

There is something spine-tingling to stand up close to a raptor.

Many will have had the experience at a zoo, or a wildlife refugee or sanctuary.  A few lucky foks may have been able to have the bird perch on their forearm. To gaze into those eyes and ponder the amazing  intellect behind them is truly bedazzling.

But in the wild, it’s quite different.  The birds are, by nature, true social distancers.
I’ve mentioned on the blog about several times when I’ve had a very close contact with a raptor.  Not an aggressive flypast (I’ve had a few of those too!), but a bird that comes into my territory. One year I photographed a Kestrel (search for Jane Austin’s character Elizabeth here to see some of those times). She would land in the grass where I was laying and hunt around my feet.  Amazing to see the feathers move as she breathed.
One of her daughters, the following year, would come and sit on the fence post next to me while other people moved about.   Now next to me is not over there a bit, but we shared the same fencepost. Kinda like a dog at heel.
She would sweep out to hunt, and if a walker, or vehicle or bike rider came down the path, she’d swing around and land within touching distance till they had moved on.  Hard not to talk to such a bird, and the occasional head-cock might have meant something. Or not. 🙂

We’ve also had quite a number of close connections with Black-shouldered Kites, but hardly ever with Hobbys.

You might know that most mornings, I leave home very early around sunup and walk my local river park.  I have a small pondage with a flat area, that I make part of my morning Tai Chi routine.

This morning as I settled in, I heard, in the distance, the cries of hunting Hobbys. Sharp, short and piercing.  Looking about, I finally spotted two small fast moving shapes about 500-600m along the creek.  They both took off toward the local football oval, and I lost sight, so continued with my routine.
Then, as they say, out of now-where, one came wing flicking along the riverline. Looking no doubt for dragonflies, or perhaps something a bit more substantial.  After making a lap or two, it turned, and dropped right down on the reeds and headed in my direction.  I had by this stage paused and was enthralled at watching this awesome aviator.
Then it turned even tighter and made its way toward the end of my ‘special place pool’—which is not much bigger than a couple of car spaces.

It suddenly dawned on me as I stood frozen to the spot, that the bird would come over the reeds about knee-height and directly toward me.  Amazingly, and I suspect it was planned, it flicked ever-so lightly just a metre or so in front of me, and passed by my right knee with little more than a handbreadth between the bird and I.
It was easy to look down and see all the feathers raked-in as it ran fast by me. It even turned its head at the last moment to acknowledge I was there. The other thing worth noting was it was silent in the air. No “Whoosh” as it powered by.

I stood bedazzled watching it climb out of the reeds behind me and continue along the upper creekline.  Then. a few definite wing flicks and it was gone.

Of course the camera was home safely in the cupboard. (The weather gurus had predicted rain).
Still I hunted through the photobase, to see what I had the would help bring the moment to life for you dear reader.















11 thoughts on “Saturday Evening Post #170 :Bedazzled

  1. What an amazing encounter, David! A very special moment for you! And I am thinking that even if you had some photographic apparatus with you, you still wouldn’t have wanted to break the spell of the moment to get the shot(s).
    A quick glance at the preview extractor looks interesting, I will investigate further.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. G’day,
      Yep, I would have had to have been sure of its movements to even get a look see through the viewfinder.

      The preview extractor is quite simple, sort of like the screwdriver you use when the chisel is at home 🙂


  2. You deserve every close encounter you get….you have worked hard to gain the trust of the raptors and other birds you observe regularly. I really believe they are curious about the camera clicks. I often see a raptor on a post turn its head towards the sound of the camera.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Nina, we do have a bit of luck sometimes as well.
      Interesting about their curiosity. I really believe that Swamp Harriers can see the motion of DSLR mirrors going up and down and will turn away rather than investigate.
      I haven’t photographed them with MIrrorless, but it will be an interesting experience.


  3. A wonderful moment David, you were meant to just savour and marvel as a gift. I have had similar having been caught without my camera. A mindful moment to appreciate and give thanks for. Your long association with raptors close up is moving to another level 😊


    1. Thanks Eleanor, it must have been impressive enough for me to tell the story.
      Been back down the the past couple of mornings and the bird has still been present, although nowhere close by. Still impressive to see the speed a few wing flaps can produce.


  4. Another impressive story from you, David, and the images are breathtaking. I was so impressed that I could not comment after my first visit and I preferred to ponder. Today I remembered there were also some very practical remarks from you at the beginning of your post. Obviously they had escaped my mind obscured by the strong impact of the words and images that followed.
    So I returned today and perused #170 trying not to be bedazzled again by the raptors (story & photos); I was, so I started from the beginning and stopped at that horizontal line dividing the two parts.
    I really like Thom Hogan’s take on switching camera brands. It confirmed my belief in sticking to Nikon although I fully respect people I know being the dedicated Canon users. I was even celebrating when one of my Braeside friends finally got his new Pentax K-1!
    When I go back in time, trying to remember why I bought my first Nikon instead of Canon, I think the main reason was the name – my dislike to guns increased after serving my time in the military.
    I must admit that you almost ‘influenced me’ into a mirrorless Nikon but, thankfully, the D500 arrived just in time when I was about to retire; I won’t be influenced again, especially as my D810 is still fully functional, not to mention the wonderful 500 PF. Still, that subject recognition autofocus… If I only had some spare cash.

    I downloaded and had a look at RawPreviewExtractor, thanks. It is a nice small app, but I’m not sure how useful it will be for me because I use FastStone Image Viewer (also free) for RAWs preview and after deleting unwanted stuff I proceed with DxO.
    The weather is improving, if one doesn’t pay too much attention to the forecasts, so I wish you more of those fascinating close encounters.

    P.S. My second attempt to post the above.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Adam,
      Sorry about the posting difficulties. I have no idea why some times it works and others not so good. On some sites I change to Firefox and jig with the security settings and it seems to be ok. Then other times…

      I’d personally be hard pressed to go mirrorless all the way. The D500 just sits up and works and the 500PF is in a league of its own. And not to mention the super expense of changing and as Mr An Onymous is oft reminding me “Would you see a 10% improvement in results!?”
      Why we went down the Nikon path is pretty simple. Came from using Nikon F(ilm) cameras over the years, had a stack of lenses and didn’t think it would be feasible to refinance the whole group and I’d use the older lenses on the D series. As it turns out over the years I’ve traded or sold most of those lenses anyway, (Exception being a 105 f/4 Macro), so the argument didn’t really hold. 🙂

      I use FastRawViewer on Mac for much the same work you use FastStone. Which if I recall from my Windows days was a pretty efficient piece of code.
      The extractor has more a passing interest than a suitable way to work, but I do occasionally go through a JPEG only phase and this can give best of both worlds.

      Keep takin pictures, we do


  5. Hello Ashley, not an uncommon thing it seems. I have no idea how WordPress works on postings, but I do have problems on some sites and from some browsers.

    Glad to hear you had a fine family outing with the birds.


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