Desert Photo Retreat Happenings

Ron Niebrugge Arizona, Photos, Travel, Tucson Leave a Comment

Black-headed grosbeak Yesterday at the Desert Photo Retreat, near Tucson, Arizona.

Black-headed grosbeak Yesterday at the Desert Photo Retreat, near Tucson, Arizona.

We are down to our last few weeks in Arizona at the Desert Photo Retreat and it sure has been busy!  The migrating birds are in full swing; we are seeing black-headed grosbeaks, lazuli buntings, fly-catchers and orioles!  The regular birds are all busy.  Our nesting cactus wren and thrashers have fledged, but are still begging for food.  As are the house finches.  There is lots of noise coming from the cactus holes of  woodpeckers and gilded flickers who nest on the property.  Yesterday we hiked up and checked on the red-tailed hawk nest and it looks like they have two or three small chicks.  I’m sure the same is true for the great horned owl.  My logs tell me we should be seeing quail chicks any day now.

The other wildlife is also active thanks in part to a wet winter.  Lots of cotton tails and jack rabbits around.  Last night our gray fox pair made 12 visits to the water hole, and at least once appeared together playing on a log.  Joining them last night was a bobcat, and two skunks.  Javelina took the night off.

The wonderful wildflowers are beginning to fade, but now we are seeing cactus in bloom.  We even have a handful of saguaros in bloom, with lots of buds showing.

We have also been busy with photographers for nearly a month straight – the first one used the new morning blind yesterday and really liked it!  It is going to be a welcome addition.

Surprisingly, we have a few days available between now and our departure if you are interested in coming out for a night, take a look at the on-line calendar.  And if not, I will certainly be taking advantage of this exciting time of year!

Great Horned Owl

Ron Niebrugge Arizona, Photos, Travel, Tucson 2 Comments

Great Horned Owl, Desert Photo Retreat, near Tucson, Arizona.

Great Horned Owl, Desert Photo Retreat, near Tucson, Arizona.

A pair of Great Horned Owls nest on our property – we enjoy listening to them at night. On occasion, they will bath in the water hole. Last night, I was set up with my remote camera trap when one came in for a bath!  He actually climbed into the water and splashed around, but unfortunately those images were inside my focus point.  I never know for sure where to focus and usually chose the waters edge.  When you are just 2 feet from the subject, I have very little depth of field.  Here I went with f/8, which gives me about a foot of depth of field, but I lose a lot of stars at this aperture.   I could pick up a lot more stars at f/2.4 or wider, but then I have even less DOF.

This was with a Canon 5d III (don’t want to risk my newest camera!), 24 Rokinon manual focus lens set at f/8, iso 1600, 20 second exposure and two off camera Nikon SB-28 flashes manually set to 1/32 power.  Triggered this time with a Camtraption trigger.  I also use Camtraption wireless triggers for the flashes.