Brian's Photo Blog — Article 339
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A Unique Trader Joe's Special
Saturday 21 June 2014   —   Category: Shooting
Happy summer solstice! We've turned the corner and now the days will be getting shorter! Even though we have been having June Gloom weather instead of summer weather, we are already starting our slide back towards winter!

I saw a strange and unusual sight as I was coming out of Trader Joe’s in Corvallis the other day. Apparently, a fellow shopper had left his huge macaw on the shopping carts outside while he was inside making his purchases! And when I say huge, I mean HUGE! As you can see from the photo to the right, its foot and toes are about the same size as my hand and fingers! Yikes!

Knowing a unique photo op when I see one, I ran with my shopping bags back to my truck, quickly grabbed my pocket camera, and ran back to the macaw, around which a small crowd had already gathered, with the same photographic goal as me.

Now, you may be thinking that, in this age of smartphones with their multi-megapixel cameras, why would anyone need or want to carry around a separate, dedicated camera. Well, since you are on my photographic Web site and reading this story, I think I can safely assume that you are serious enough about photography that there is no way you would settle for a smartphone camera.

For me, a smartphone camera just doesn’t cut it. No RAW image capability. Limited or no zoom capability. Limited or no manual-exposure control. I am serious enough about my photography that I absolutely cannot live with those major limitations. Why force myself to use a substandard camera, when I can have a highly-capable pocket camera with me at all times (usually in my backpack, which I always take with me when I go out)?

Anyway, back to the bird. He was squawking loudly and pacing back and forth across the tops of the rows of shopping carts. I fired off as many shots as I could under the quite difficult lighting conditions. Sometimes the bird was in the shadows, which seemed quite dark compared to the bright sunshine. At other times he was out in the full sun — which caused his white feathers to positively glow — but all around him was still the dark, shadowy background. Plus, he was constantly moving, requiring the exposure and focus settings to be changed constantly as well.

Also, I didn’t really want to join the crowd, so I stayed a fair distance away in the parking lot, relying on my camera’s 20x, 500mm (equivalent) zoom to take me close to the action. Given all of these photographic challenges, I’m really pleased with how these pictures turned out. Of course, they required some adjustments in Adobe Lightroom, but isn’t that what RAW images and Lightroom are for?

After only 60 seconds of photo-taking, the macaw’s owner came out to collect his bird. It flew up to the man’s shoulder, as you can see in the last photo. Then off they strolled together down the sidewalk! You can see all six of the macaw photos in the Wildlife 2014 album starting here.
Brian's Photo Blog — Article 339
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