Balearica regulorum gibbericeps
The name, East African Crowned Crane, is very on the nose. As one can imagine, the bird is primarily from East Africa, and the yellow plumage on its head does resemble a crown quite well.
The East African Crowned Crane is native to Africa and can be found between Northern Uganda and Kenya to Southern Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Namibia.
As with most craned type birds, the East African Crowned Crane prefers to live near water. The water habitats it prefers includes wetlands, rivers and lakes. This bird enjoys stomping through wetlands, which causes the insects and other small prey to splash up making them easy to catch and devour. They also like to move in herds to scare insects and small prey into revealing their locations so that they can eat.
Though these birds tend to move in large flocks, they can vocalize loud enough to be heard three miles away. There are many different types of calls that cranes make to communicate with one another, and one of those methods is called the "Unison Call". East African Crowned Cranes mate for life, and once they have picked their life partner, they come up with their own unison call that is unique to them. Typically the male will have a series of low calls, with the female responding with a series of high pitched calls. This helps each couple mark their territories. As you can imagine, there are several pairs of cranes in each herd, and the multiple unison calls creates a chorus of sounds that can sound quite pretty to anyone within those three miles to hear it.
If you would like to see an Eastern African Crowned Crane and you're in my hometown area, they have an exhibit at the Denver Zoo and at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo!
Those that know me personally know that I no longer market my business for photography sessions. I am more-so focused on the wall decor aspect of my business, however, if a client reaches out to me wanting a shoot, of course I'm on board!
Shalon's mother contacted me via the Nextdoor app requesting information on a maternity shoot. A few days later, i was giving a free consultation to Shalon and her sister, whom I met at Milly's Community Cafe, one of my favorite locally owned coffee shops. We got along well, and her session was booked for April 10, 2022 at Chautauqua Park.
Shalon, her mother, and her son showed up at Chautauqua Park with Shalon looking like a freaking Goddess.
Now, let me tell you a bit about the weather that day. We had had a series of warm days leading up to April 10th, but on the day of her photoshoot the temperature dropped to 45 degrees. The 45 degrees was already chilly enough, as you can imagine, but it was also incredibly windy.
She was very cold, but she handled it like a boss! I mentioned to her that while the wind was making her suffer a bit, the photographs were absolutely not suffering. The wind was the cherry on top of an already beautiful session.
I was so impressed with her confidence in herself. She absolutely nailed the poses and was quite literally picture perfect.
Her son popped in for a few pictures which was absolutely magical. He looked positively like a royal enjoying a leisure day.
Setting Your ISO
This post will discuss how to utilize the ISO settings on your camera. ISO refers to the light sensitivity of your camera in digital cameras, or the sensitivity of the film if using film cameras.
The ISO is one of three parts to controlling the exposure of photographs you take.
1. Aperture, also known as f/stop (Read about Aperture here)
2. Shutter Speed
ISO has a unique quality to it that Aperture and Shutter speed does not, it controls the grain, or noise, in your image. The image below is a cheat sheet for ISO settings to noise/grain level in an image, but please note that this is not an exact cheat sheet and that sensitivity differs between cameras.
Grain/noise mean the same thing and refer to the speckles/dots you see in images. Grain is a term typically used with film photography, whereas noise is typically used referring to digital images.
Grain/noise is typically unwanted in professional photography services, but sometimes you can't help but to have some ISO in darker conditions. It is also good to note that if you only adjust ISO to increase your exposure, you will also lose detail due to the grain/noise.
So how do you increase your exposure without risking losing detail and without adding grain/noise? You adjust your aperture and shutter speeds! Open up your aperture (make the f/stop number smaller) and slow down your shutter speed. You can also utilize a flash, of course, just make sure to have a soft box over the flash, or another way to diffuse the light to avoid harsh shadows.
Grain/noise can be used purposefully in photography, for example, to make an image look more vintage.
I would highly recommend not avoiding grain/noise at all costs. I would recommend playing with your ISO settings on your camera and see at which setting you find the ISO to be acceptable or too much, and then think of the grain/noise with a creative mindset.
Photography is a science in ways, and in others, it's an art! Don't be afraid to experiment with camera settings.
REPOST: This trip to the The Butterfly Pavilion took place in 2016.
It was time for an adventure to the Butterfly Pavilion!
When I arrived there were a bunch of parents with tiny humans walking into the building. I laughed, and I hoped there would be enough interesting stuff for "big kids". There was.
I walked in, and this friendly elderly lady admitted me in, and told me there would be a release of new butterflies in about 5 minutes, so off I went to the part of the building with the butterflies. Don't let the name fool you, by the way. The Butterfly Pavilion has way more than butterflies. They have a plethora of bugs, arachnids, small sea creatures, and plants.
When you first walk in the door, there is this case that holds a bunch of cocoons, some of which were hatching.
The first type of butterfly I saw was the Owl Butterfly. It is super cool, and of course, looks like an owl. If you had two owl butterflies together, you could almost get a whole owl face made out of the butterfly's wings. How does nature come up with these designs? I'm incredibly fascinated.
After the initial tree where I saw this Owl Butterfly, there was a canopied tunnel that included all sorts of beautiful flowers. Namely these Angel's Trumpets:
There were a lot of butterflies flying way above me, and I only brought my standard lens so I had to stick to photographing the butterflies that landed somewhat near me. I have several other photographs on my external drive from this trip of butterflies from further away, but per usual, I will just be sharing the best ones here ;).
While the two butterfly friends were bigger bugs, there were little guys flying around too. By the time I made it to this little butterfly, I was over half-way around the loop. Check out this adorable Zebra Longwing Butterfly and it's little purple flower:
This bromeliad was one of the last things I took a photograph of before leaving the butterfly room. I was attracted to it because of its bright colors, and I love the bead of water it holds in the center.
Using Aperture Settings
How to adjust aperture using an automatic lens (Note: Automatic lens, not automatic shoot settings): Find the button on the body of your camera that has the aperture symbol. It will usually look a lot like the f/11 image on the first cheat sheet to the left. My aperture button is up by my shutter button, as it is a setting that is adjusted often. To adjust my aperture, I have to push the aperture button down, and click the adjustment dial (see images to the left).
To adjust your aperture on a manual lens, there is a dial close to where your lens meets your camera. The dial should have f/numbers on it, and all you have to do is spin the dial to the aperture number you wish to use.
Photographer, visual artist, mother to five fur-babies, and travel enthusiast.