Turkey Vulture

• Series: Photo of the Week • Tags: photographytelephotonatureEastern Pennsylvania

This is part of a new series of posts describing photos I've taken. They should be less long-winded than some of the other content.

A majestic turkey vulture, perched on a rock.
A majestic turkey vulture, perched on a rock.

Often times, when I photograph animals I end up following some real great processes, like:

  1. Oh shit! Is it in the frame.
  2. Oh, maybe I should zoom in.
  3. Hang on... is this in focus?
  4. Oh hey, I can probably take a nice picture.

Most of the time the time I can't even get to step one before the animal has scurried away. And, I mean I don't blame the animals for being afraid of humans. I'm afraid of humans.

But, sometimes it feels like I can't catch a break.

On Wednesday, I saw a humongous groundhog, I managed to startle it and it ran away from me before I could get a picture. If a groundhog can outrun me, I have no hope. I will never shoot National Geographic covers.

When I'm out in the woods, I've taken to keeping my 45-150mm lens on the camera most of the time. (Since I am using a camera with a smaller sensor, this is equivalent to a 90-300mm lens on full frame or 35mm.)

It's light-weight and easy to use, though I do struggle sometimes to find distant birds in the field of view, especially when they're flying around at rapid speed. Hence, the four steps above.

Fortunately, on Tuesday I encountered a couple of low-flying birds. I spooked them repeatedly, and yet still reached step four.

First attempt at a photograph, way too washed out.

Less fortunately, the sun was low in the sky, and the turkey vulture was positioned so that I couldn't look at it without also looking into direct sunlight. This is especially bad considering that I have no lens filters, and my sunglasses are waiting to be picked up in a shop that shuttered due to COVID.

But, I spooked the turkey vulture. And flew a little bit and landed in a marginally better position.

Low flying turkey vulture.

I spooked him again, and he flew out of my sight, but also to a position where I could finally capture a good picture.

Photo of the Week: EXIF DATA
Image EXIF data describes
Time StampTuesday, June 16 2020
Camera MakePanasonic
Camera ModelDMC-GX85
Focal Length150.0mm
Exposure Time0.0025s

From there, he flew to a high treetop, where he could keep a good eye on things, including the damn papparazi down below.

High in the treetops, my turkey vulture friend looks down.

A companion joined him.

A turkey vulture lands in the treetops, next to another.

All the while, I was in awe of this creature.

Sure, vultures aren't traditionally beautiful, but I was really impressed at the width of their wingspans, and I was thrilled to see them so up close.

They are majestic creatures in their own way, and I hope that I succeeded in capturing some of that majesty.

And I bid them a bittersweet goodbye and headed home.

Goodbye, Friends!
Goodbye, Friends!

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