As one of Digital Camera Adventures objects is to share experiences and adventures in nature and photography, I felt that, as a naturalist turned into nature photographer, learning the natural history of wildlife and photographing it could be one of the great challenges of this blog.
That is why I recommend, getting intimately close to your subject, so you can get the pictures that one can miss, without getting the trust of the animal you want to photograph.
I do my wildlife photography on a limited budget, as my equipment is made up by a Canon 40D, a macro 100 mm f/2.8, a 70 to 300 mm zoom f/3.5-4.5 and a 24-105 mm f/4 L mid range zoom. So this places me with a vast number of people, who love to do what I do, and do not have a budget to buy a 600 mm lens and a full frame camera to do nature photography. However, becoming an image hunter, been in tune with your surroundings, studying your subjects behavior, knowing its daily runs can get you good results. And this is what this note is about…breaking the rules!
Rufous Vented Chachalacas belong to the Crassidae family, which includes Guans and Curassows. One could say they are birds that occupy pheasant and turkey niches in Europe and North America in the New World tropics. These birds are well camouflaged, secretive and shy towards humans. However, those that have become urban, as cities encroach their habitat, live in hallways of dry forest close to housing projects and suburban condos. These can be a great subject to learn wildlife and bird photography. My story takes place at my building’s parking lot, as it borders a small island of tropical deciduous forest. My blind was my apartment’s window and the subject, a group of chachalacas, that are so noisy, our neighbors hate them, specially, when they make their dawn and evening territorial calls on weekends or holidays.
Now she has a brood of her own, and they do what mama does. They are tolerated a bit more by the flock but they still remain at the lower tier of the dominance – subordinate hierarchy of their group. It is tough to be born an underdog. However, Droopy has taught her chicks conflict avoidance, timing their visits to the fruiting trees when the main flock is not there, alternative feeding spots and an outright boldness when it comes to visit my apartment’s window and call me two times a day for handouts (breakfast and dinner). They recognize each member of my family and only eat out on my hand when I am home. Other wise, they will take the bread and eat it in their tree away from the rest of the family. So yes, animals can tell one human from the other.