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Bulletins and Notes Archive

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BIRDS AS ART ON-LINE Bulletin #75 April 5, 2002




Black-crested (Mexican) Titmouse,  Roma, TX
Canon D-30, 500mm f/4L IS Lens, 1.4X teleconverter


A student who has been photographing birds seriously for less than two years joined us in Texas and had her first real chance to try her hand at digital photography with the Canon EOS D- 30.  She has owned the Canon 500mm f/4 L IS lens for about a year and used that lens only on our journey to the Rio Grande Valley.  As my photos are not back from the lab yet--I am expecting them today--and many folks asked to see some of her D-30 photos, it is her images that grace this bulletin.  All of the images here were darkened by adjusting levels in photo shop and sharpened using unsharp mask.  All of the files with perfect histograms looked washed out (on my monitor).

Long-billed Thrasher,  Roma, TX
Canon D-30, 500mm f/4L IS Lens, 1.4X teleconverter


Subscriber Nigel Atherton asked, "Could you please tell me roughly what percentage of good photos you get out of a year's photography?

I responded: On average, I label about half of the images that I make.  That means that I consider them saleable.  As for the images that truly thrill me, that percentage is far smaller.  I would say that on average I manage to make one "family jewel" quality image about every five or ten rolls.  On average, I select (only) one out of every five or ten of those to be duped to 70mm format.   Do realize that all of the above are rough estimates that may vary considerably over the course of time.  Most folks would be amazed at how really bad many of my throw-aways are... 


Photographers visiting the Rio Grande Valley this spring or next season (fall thru spring) may wish to spend a day or two photographing at the two spectacular photo blinds on Roel Ramirez' ranch in Roma, Texas.  April should find Green Jay, White-tipped Dove, Long-billed Thrasher, Olive Sparrow, Golden-fronted Woodpecker, Black-crested (Mexican) Titmouse, Audubon's Oriole, Orange-Crowned Warbler, Phyrrhuloxia, Northern Cardinal and fair numbers of migrants coming to the food and water.  We had a spectacular Nashville this March and last April Painted Bunting visited on several occasions.  Additional species photographed on March's IPTs included Hooded and Altamira Orioles, Vermillion Flycatcher, Couch's Kingbird, Northern Mockingbird, Mourning Dove (including a pair that posed side-by-side on a perch for ten minutes and stole all our hearts), and dozens of White-crowned, Chipping, and Lincoln's Sparrows.  

 The perches at the morning blind have been carefully set up by yours truly so that each provides a beautiful, soft background from virtually every photography port (of which there are five). During the IPTs that I ran in March--the afternoon blind--which was built only this February, provided opportunities for photographing birds bathing and drinking; few birds used the perches, but this should change as this feeding station becomes more established.  Bathing and drinking species included Olive, White-crowned, Chipping Sparrow, and Lincoln's, Green-tailed Towhee, Long-billed Thrasher, Northern Cardinal, and even a Greater Kiskadee.  On most afternoons, a small group of Chachalacas visited the afternoon blind. 

Here are the rates:

One photographer:       $125.00 per day.

Two photographers:      $200.00 per day.

Three photographers:    $250.00 per day

Four photographers:      $300.00 per day

Visiting photographers will be asked to sign a release (rattlesnakes are seen occasionally), and to bring a small bag of oranges and a small jar of peanut butter.  Roel provides several variety of seeds.  The halved oranges are placed on the perches and the peanut butter is spread sparingly on the back of selected logs and perches. Seed is placed in crevices in various logs. It is best not to spread seed on the ground.   Visiting photographers are asked not to fiddle with the perches at the morning blind, but may do so at the afternoon blind. Roel reserves the right to place up to four photographers in the blinds on any given day; rate adjustment refunds will be made accordingly.  Photographers wishing to ensure that they have the blind to themselves will be required to pay the four person rate.

Interested photographers may contact Roel Ramirez as follows:


work: 956-487-2582

cell: 956-607-0050

home/evenings: 956-849-1777


Roel Ramirez

PO Box 157

5353 E. Highway 83

Rio Grande City, TX  78582

The Roma Inn (956-849-3755) is less than 20 minutes from Roel's ranch.



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