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Posts Tagged ‘Zenaida macroura’

When I first spotted these Mourning Doves (Zenaida macroura) perched closely together on a branch yesterday morning, I immediately assumed that they were a couple. Are these really doves in love?

I have trouble figuring out the relationships among birds, because I have to judge solely on the basis of outward appearances. Come to think of it, I have the same problem with humans.

Friends or lovers? Who knows?

mourning doves

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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I read the newspaper this morning before I looked at the photos I took yesterday. This image of a Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge seems to reflect my innermost feelings at this moment about the senseless slaughter of innocents in Pittsburgh.

My heart goes out to all of those mourning their losses.

Mourning Dove

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Early yesterday morning it was frigid at Huntley Meadows Park and this Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) appeared to have fluffed up its feathers in an attempt to retain its body heat. Normally Mourning Doves are very skittish, but this one remained on the branch for quite a while as I slowly moved into position to take a series of shots.

Mourning Dove

Mourning Dove

Mourning Dove

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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As I walked through my neighborhood yesterday, I was struck by the large number of Mourning Doves. In most cases, I heard the distinctive whistling sound that their wings make when the doves take off and didn’t actually get a good look at the birds.

One Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura), however, was cooperative enough to sit still for a moment and I was able to get this shot. I love the peaceful look and subdued beauty of these birds, whose soft call reminded someone of a lament, which accounts for their name

Mourning Dove

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Do you ever sit by a window and daydream as you look out into the world with unfocused eyes? Somehow that was what came to mind when I spotted this Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) perched on a branch, framed by the trees. The dove seemed gentle and pensive, unlike so many of the birds (and people) in this area that are so driven, always intense and tense.

There is a real value in slowing down and daydreaming more in order to recharge my creative batteries. Sometimes I need a gentle reminder.

dove_framed_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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This morning I went out exploring a bit in Augusta, GA, where I am attending a family wedding, and came across this Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura). The morning rays helped to highlight the beautiful details of its feathers, so I can live with the fact that the wire on which the dove is perched is not exactly a natural setting.

dove1_blog© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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Using a borrowed Nikon D300 camera with an 80-400mm lens, I was able to get a lot closer to birds than I am used to, permitting me to  to get shots like these ones of a Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura).

Yesterday was a mostly sunny, spring-like day and Cindy Dyer, my photography mentor, and I made a brief visit to a local nature center to shoot some photos. She was excited to photograph the purple crocuses (or is that croci) that were in bloom. (Be sure to check out her blog regularly as we move into spring for lots of gorgeous flower images.)

I, on the other hand, was eager to play around with the camera that she had lent me. Most often I shoot with a Canon Rebel XT and a 55-250mm zoom lens. It is a lightweight combination that has served me well, but it has some limitations. Cindy shoots with Nikon gear and is a self-professed “gadget girl,” so she had more than enough gear to share.

It took a while to get used to the settings on the Nikon, but the real challenge was learning to shoot with the large lens. My hands and arms were not used to the weight of such a lens and I definitely would need a lot more practice to take fuller advantage of its capabilities (and I probably should have put aside my male ego and followed Cindy’s recommendation to put the camera on a tripod).

Here are two images of a Mourning Dove that I photographed. Cindy tweaked the first one in Photoshop and it is striking to see how she was able to bring out the details in the dove. I produced the second image, working in Photoshop Elements. The starting images may have been of equal quality, but it is clear to me that Cindy’s greater experience in Photoshop helped her produce a superior final image in a shorter period of time.

What did I learn? Well, I think that the most important lesson to me is the value of constant practice, whether it be in using camera equipment or in using photo software. There are always new things to learn—and that helps to keep me energized about my photography.

Mourning Dove lorezmourning_blog© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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I love the way this Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) turned its head to look back at me yesterday and how the soft background complements and enhances its beauty.

dove1_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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One frosty morning this past weekend as I was was walking on a bike path, searching for a subject to photograph, I spotted a Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) sitting on a bush. The bird’s small head and long tail made it pretty easy for me to identify. I snapped off a couple of shots before the dove flew away. Following the bird in its flight, I watched as it gently took a spot on some powerlines, where several small, noisy birds already were perched.

I like the contrasts in the photo I took at that moment. The two small birds are shadowy and full of sharp edges, suggesting a kind of nervous, frenetic energy. The dove is larger, softer, and brighter and radiates a sense of gentleness and peace, undisturbed by the outside world. The parallel lines of the wires provide a man-made geometric structure for the natural elements and the sky provides a gradient-like backdrop to the entire scene.

Morning Mourning Dove

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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