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I often mention how much of a role good fortune plays in nature photography. Sometimes all of the skill and acumen in the world gets trumped by being in the right place at the right moment.
Recently, I spotted a Curve-billed Thrasher perching on a mesquite. Curved Bills are among my favorite species to photograph. I find their uniquely curved beaks and their brilliant orange eyes to be appealing.
This bird posed quite nicely for me and I began to photograph it.
I liked how the bird was in brilliant sunshine but also side lit, creating a fairly dramatic lighting effect.
The thrasher suddenly took off and I had the good luck of depressing my shutter just as it did.
There is some motion blur in this image, even at a shutter speed of 1/2000th of a second, but the thrasher’s head and beak are reasonably sharp. I think that the motion blur actually enhances the image, creating a dynamic effect. The mesquite leaves suspended in air that the bird kicked off the branch as it took flight also make this image dynamic.
It’s possible to anticipate when certain species of birds are about to take off. With buteos, such as Red-tailed Hawks, and with some falcon species, I’ve learned the body language that they assume moments before they take flight. Consequently, I can often successfully capture these birds’ liftoff. That’s not the case with smaller species like this thrasher. They almost never give away their intent to fly and their liftoffs are so fast that one can never catch up to the action. So, to get a shot like this last one, one has to be lucky. Luck plainly was with me on this occasion.
Images made with a Canon R5, Canon RF 100-500mm f4.5-7.1 IS L zoom lens+Canon RF 1.4x telextender, M setting (auto ISO), ISO 1000, f10 @ 1/2000, +1 1/3 stops exposure compensation.