Although my favorite bird is the one I'm photographing, I do have a soft spot for the Say's Phoebe (Sayornis saya), which is a passerine bird in the tyrant flycatcher family. Named for Thomas Say, an American naturalist, I find this bird striking in it's gray-brown back, black square tail, and buffy cinnamon below. The colors blend in very well in the dry brown fields it frequents. These birds breed in the west from Alaska to New Mexico and build their nests under bridges, on canyon walls, wells, and abandoned mine shafts. However, they are very rare starting mid April to the early September in Santa Cruz Co., CA and there are no records of any breeding pairs in the county. I captured this juvenile at Terrace Point on the west side of Santa Cruz near the UCSC Marine Center in the middle of May making for a rare sighting. One of the advantages of the full frame camera is the bokeh that can be achieved. In this case the brown-green background is all blurred, which was achieve by setting the aperture to full open or f/2.8. This effect can be achieved with smaller sensors but it is more difficult. You need to shoot wide open, use a long lens, and compose the image so the background is deep within the field of view. More on this in another post.
The next 2 photos were taken in September 2015 when the Say's began to return to the area. I caught the first image just after sunrise and what I like about it is how fluffed out the guy was trying to stay warm in the cool early morning. The second image was a one shot capture. I saw the Say's on a dried plant and I liked the composition but as I took the first shot the bird took flight. This image was as much luck as being ready for the opportunity. It was mid-morning and throughout the morning I was increasing my shutter speed so I would be ready for capturing birds in flight.
Finally, for now, late last October I was walking around Baldwin Creek, which is a few miles up the coast from Santa Cruz. This is an agricultural area and early into the walk I came across a storage area with sprinklers. A Say's was in the area and had landed on the sprinkler heads. I liked how the colors of the Say's was similar to the bronze sprinkler heads and with the golden light of the morning it just added to overall warmth of the image. As I was writing this I had noticed that the brand of the sprinkler was "Rain Bird". Kind of a fitting title for the photo.
Your comments are welcomed and if you have any questions about the photo or any other questions leave me a message.