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Old Apr 12, 2005, 12:10 AM   #1
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I was out all day driving around looking for hawks on poles. I returned home at dusk and sitting atop a tree in a small playground in my village sat a Merlin. This is the first time I have ever seen one not in captivity and I had to look twice to see that it wasn't a pigeon or something common like that. The light was extremely low and loads of light and shadow fill these photos. I personally like the effect and decided not to attempt to resolve the shadow areas. In order to do so I would have had to sacrifice the rich colors.

First Look (way up)



I moved around the tree to attempt to gain position



More



Finally a reasonably clear shot



Eventually the Merlin prepared to take flight



I wasn't in the best position to get a shot but here's what I did get



And away it went



So long old friend, and do return again one day...
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Old Apr 12, 2005, 4:55 AM   #2
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Nice shots Norm. Sometimes low angle lighting can give some really nice
effects which you caught here rather nicely, especially with the deep blue
sky in the background.
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Old Apr 12, 2005, 11:20 AM   #3
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Very nice shots normcar. That is a beautiful bird. #4 is my favorite. Doesn't look like it hung around for long. Woody
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Old Apr 12, 2005, 11:21 AM   #4
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So thats what a Merlin looks like. Very pretty bird and you made some nice catches on it. Is it kin to a hawk. Its beak and eyes look like one.

Thanks Norm for mentioning being too close for the flying shots. I think that maybe that was in the back of my mind when shooting but it didn't surface until you mentioned it. I should have been back behind the crowd standing up instead of sitting on the grass with the rest of the crowd. Next time will be better.

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Houston
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Old Apr 12, 2005, 12:45 PM   #5
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Veryvery good [as usual], Norm, the colors are just fantastic, the rich blue contrasting with the lighter colors of the bird and wood,amazing!! Never even heard of a Merlin before [other than the old magician in KingArthur - and of course in the Moody Blues song] It looks like a small falcon/kestrel, and quite pale in color [I presume the pale coloration is to blend in with the snow and ice you experience up there??]

Nice to have our goalposts continually re-defined, thanks Norm, the likes of you are a great encouragement to us [norm]al humans

Regards
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Old Apr 12, 2005, 3:54 PM   #6
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woodmeister wrote:
Quote:
Nice shots Norm. Sometimes low angle lighting can give some really nice
effects which you caught here rather nicely, especially with the deep blue
sky in the background.
Yes, the light can either help or kill a photo. I maybe should have used fill flash on this one but didn't want to scare the bird nor did I want to take the time to put a flash on. Thanks for the comment.
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Old Apr 12, 2005, 3:55 PM   #7
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woodysworld wrote:
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Very nice shots normcar. That is a beautiful bird. #4 is my favorite. Doesn't look like it hung around for long. Woody

Thanks Woody, it hung around longer than I expected, otherwise I probably would have taken some fill flash shots and used a tripod or monopod as well. I just didn't want to take the chance.
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Old Apr 12, 2005, 3:58 PM   #8
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Houston wrote:
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So thats what a Merlin looks like. Very pretty bird and you made some nice catches on it. Is it kin to a hawk. Its beak and eyes look like one.

Thanks Norm for mentioning being too close for the flying shots. I think that maybe that was in the back of my mind when shooting but it didn't surface until you mentioned it. I should have been back behind the crowd standing up instead of sitting on the grass with the rest of the crowd. Next time will be better.

Regards

Houston

Thanks Houston, glad you see that considering the up-close perspective you made some pretty fine flight captures. And I'm sure that next time will be better, and each time following. :-) Practice does make it work. The problem is, the more one practices the more critical one gets about one's work, so I doubt if we will ever be truly happy with our shooting.
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Old Apr 12, 2005, 4:01 PM   #9
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JakeTPegg wrote:
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Veryvery good [as usual], Norm, the colors are just fantastic, the rich blue contrasting with the lighter colors of the bird and wood,amazing!! Never even heard of a Merlin before [other than the old magician in KingArthur - and of course in the Moody Blues song] It looks like a small falcon/kestrel, and quite pale in color [I presume the pale coloration is to blend in with the snow and ice you experience up there??]

Nice to have our goalposts continually re-defined, thanks Norm, the likes of you are a great encouragement to us [norm]al humans

Regards
Thanks Jake, I truly appreciate the kind words. Actually, I believe this to be a Great Plains Merlin (Richardson's) variation of Merlins, thus it's whiteness, as opposed to the other darker varieties in other areas such as the West Coast of Canada. In any event, it was certainly a beautiful bird to see and I hope I see it again soon.
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