alanpeterson
alanpeterson

Into the Wind



With a wind blowing from the southwest off of Humboldt Bay, this kite turns to face the setting winter sun while looking for voles in Arcata Marsh....
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With a wind blowing from the southwest off of Humboldt Bay, this kite turns to face the setting winter sun while looking for voles in Arcata Marsh.
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Awards

People's Choice in kites Photo Challenge
Winner in Fantastic Wings Photo Challenge
Peer Award
Skykink rushewallace Doncila KiminWNC barbaraclark_7443 KoralC thatblackandwhitelabby +25
Superb Composition
SueColman J.C.Celmer hiyahercfarm Sunshine100 azamhusain jackos67 harshapvpd +10
Top Choice
Snooky carol_bradshaw_4069 Tshepiso lisabonham PennySlacke mle555 eelcovanroden +6
Absolute Masterpiece
lonniemagistad Jocko_71 RUGladstone MaggieMays davidlipsy vwykg laurensricci +6
Magnificent Capture
tanjabeutler sburn01 linmadi Rustybucket8472 Burkholder michellehansenburgess Mish55 +2
Superior Skill
rachelhelenhudson glendagriffith Alizka_13 melsteinberg andrewyates
All Star
toddkwood bradnel tmtburke
Outstanding Creativity
Spiderzzwebzz shraddhanigam bridgetrendall
Virtuoso
mcampi
Genius
Cathleen_Shea

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5 Comments | Report
laurensricci
 
laurensricci May 18, 2016
Magnificent capture!
JDLifeshots
 
JDLifeshots July 25, 2016
Beautiful shot! Congrats.
eelcovanroden PRO+
 
eelcovanroden July 25, 2016
Congratulations on your Challenge Win!
davidlipsy
 
davidlipsy August 24, 2016
Spectacular image!!!
KiminWNC
 
KiminWNC March 05, 2018
simply wow!
See all

Behind The Lens

Location
This photo was taken at "Mount Trashmore" at the Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary, a wild area that was able to be restored from a condemned landfill. It is now a grassy plateau overlooking freshwater ponds and Humboldt Bay, and this kite has been returning there to hunt every so often since it was a juvenile.
Time
I shot this photo just after 4PM. During the shorter winter days, that is around when the California vole becomes active for its evening foraging session, and when the White-tailed Kites begin to search the grasslands for a meal.
Lighting
Only natural light is at play here. There was broken cloud cover at the time, and the sun was shining through a gap in the clouds to directly illuminate the kite.
Equipment
This was taken on a Nikon D800 with a Sigma 300-800mm zoom, handheld.
Inspiration
On my first visit to the Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary, I was captivated by an aerial battle between two White-tailed Kites that were having a territorial dispute. When I began pursuing wildlife filmmaking, I kept returning to watch them hunt and get into scuffles with other raptors, and I ended up following a population of them for a year to make a documentary short. This kite is one of two children raised by the pair that nested in the pines at the marsh three years ago, and it still returns to its old hunting grounds occasionally.
Editing
I made basic adjustments to the color balance and contrast curve, then cropped the image for composition.
In my camera bag
For photographing birds, I almost exclusively use the Sigma 300-800mm zoom mounted on a Nikon D800. Unless I'm going to be shooting a stationary or slow-moving subject, I find that shooting handheld allows me to track fast/erratic subjects better than when using a tripod.
Feedback
Learning about prey activity helps a lot with photographing predators. By watching the raptors around Humboldt Bay hunt, I've become familiar enough with the voles' activity that I can often predict when and where I'll be able to get a good view of the kites, harriers and owls that hunt them. As long as there is plentiful prey, White-tailed Kites will often return to the same areas to hunt, and are usually willing to come much closer to a photographer that's already waiting quietly nearby when they arrive at their hunting grounds.

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