Night-Hawk Take Off, Northern Colorado Plains, 2023 Showcase First Runner-up, Birds © Angela McCain
First Runner-Up: Birds
Why is this photo special?
I love it when someone asks “how long did it take to get that shot?” and then see the surprised expression on their face when I say 13 years. It’s true. Every photo is part of the long journey to “the one”. This exact one was slightly shorter-maybe only five days of cruising the gravel back roads of the Northern Colorado plains. NOCO. Being mildly discontented with seeing birds primarily perched on broken sticks, dying plants or fence posts, you spring into action with your finger poised on the shutter button and suddenly they fly. Well, I can’t say I dreamed exactly of this photo, but I did dream of a night-hawk in flight.
Eye Contact. Bird portraits require it. We all want it. The glint of light reflecting back at you. This is particularly serendipitous here, since typically a nighthawk’s eyes are either closed or at best a small rectangular slit. They don’t tend to cooperate. So you wait. And wait. You might whisper under your breath, open your eyes, open your eyes. And then, it happened—and more.
The technical stuff
ISO 1600, f/4, 1/800 second exposure compensation -0.3.
Photo organizing and workflow from Photo Mechanic by Camera Bits.
Processed with Photoshop RAW.
I think that was my 3rd Nikon. I now shoot a Z9. And I love PF lenses for weight and maneuverability. I have a 300mm, 500mm and my newest acquisition, an 800mm PF/6.2!
I am a rheumatologist an enthusiastic hobbyist in avian photography in Sugar Land, Texas, near the Upper Texas Coast. No place could be better than Galveston during transmigration across the Gulf of Mexico in April every year.
I dabbled first in photography in 2009 when given a camera and I moved from subject to subject, but a northern cardinal in a frosted bush captured me, the splash of red against the ice. I observed and tried to imitate other’s images for a few years and then engaged in a workshop in 2012 that sealed the deal. I am so fortunate to have Alan Murphy as my (first) mentor and friend; joined later by Brian E. Small and Hector Astorga.
I have been a NANPA member for 2 years, but have not served in any capacity within the organization.
The first time I saw a painted bunting. Nothing more needs to be said here.
Instagram : @angelamccainphotography
See all of the Top 26 winning images from NANPA’s 2023 Showcase nature photography competition.