Photographer's Note


I am a scientist and artist, but my knowledge of science outside physics is quite limited — very little botany, even less ornithology. Nonetheless, when it comes to appreciating beauty in nature it does not take too much incentive for me to grab a camera. So it was one year ago, when I was sitting at my MacIntosh, enjoying new photos arriving at TrekEarth. Then suddenly, when I looked out from my study window, alas! A site to behold — a gorgeous cardinal, perched on a branch of a peeling birch tree just outside the window — nature showing off its colors. This is a second portrait of the same bird that I had posted last spring.

The little I knew about ornithology included the fact that in the world of birds, it is the male of the species that displays the most colorful plumage, exemplified most dramatically in the male peacock, but also seen here in the cardinal. According to the information I could muster, Cardinals, or Cardinalidae, are members of “passerine birds” — perching songbird — living in North and South America, its name inspired by the vestments worn by Catholic cardinals. Other defining traits of the species include their mating in early spring, their nesting in loosely woven tall bushes, and their diets comprised of seeds and small berries. Herein lies a remarkable connection: it is the berry of the holly bush, rich in beta carotene and lycopenes, that is responsible for the brilliant coloring of the male. For some odd reason, the female does not gorge on this berry, and accordingly does not display the vivid coloration. Nor does it get intoxicated as does the male of the species, as sometimes fermented berries make them drunk. Males!

I was happy that the bird did not fly away during the 15-20 seconds it took me to retrieve my camera, mount a 70-210 lens, and fire a few shots between the slats of the Venetian blinds. The focus is a bit soft, I was shooting through a double-insulated glass, I believe, filled with Argon gas. When I opened the deck door to photograph the bird directly in clear air, rather than through glass and gas, the motion frightened the bird off.

In framing my photos, I've settled on a different formula over the past year, still creating frames/masks, still using colors from the image itself, but reducing their widths. I would be grateful to have your suggestions about what others feel about frames. Accordingly, I posted last year's version to ws. Thank you to dear fellow Trekies.

Photo Information
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Additional Photos by Bulent Atalay (batalay) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6774 W: 470 N: 12149] (41261)
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