Thursday, December 25, 2014
The images were made at the Wilds back in November. The vulture was quite cooperative, but I was using the car as a blind and shooting out the window. Had I been on foot, the vulture would not have let me get near this close. I like the "bokeh" effect of the shots. Bokeh is modified from the Japanese word boke, which basically means blur, and refers to the quality of an image's background.
In the case of these images, the pleasing (to me, at least) gray-green background is the aggregate of fields of browning fescue grasses, interspersed with occasional autumn-olive shrubs. The images were made with Canon's 500mm f/4 II, with 1.4 teleconverter, which makes for a focal length of 700mm. The depth of field with this setup is quite shallow, hence the pleasing bokeh.
Note the massive nostril. Vultures find their food by sense of smell, and they're quite accomplished in the olfactory department. Even malodorous carcasses that are hidden from view are unerringly keyed in on.
All or nearly all vultures in my central Ohio neck of the woods have fled south for the winter. But it won't be long and they'll be returning in force. The Turkey Vulture is an early harbinger-of-spring, riding back into town on the first mild winds of late February, their appearance a precursor of an ever-increasing cascade of vernal migrants.