March 02, 2008

A Fair Day

There's nothing like a bit of jousting to make a Sunday afternoon feel complete. Sonja and I spent the day near Phoenix enjoying the beautiful weather at the Renaissance Festival. As always, the jousting was the melodramatic highlight of the festival.

I must admit I kind of spaced out a bit during the show and sort of lost interest in everything but playing with my camera. This was really the first time I really tried to see what it could do on subjects that weren't feathered. The results were pretty darn impressive, considering how far away we were sitting from the action.

I think this is the knight who actually won. And, if I remember right, this guy won last year's joust, too. Not that I really care, but you'd think they'd let someone else win once in a while. Although, I suppose letting Sting get his way is probably for the best.

We also spent a little time birding at the Gilbert Water Ranch on the way to the festival. We weren't really sure what to expect with this place, but were both very surprised with how cool it was. The birds were everywhere, and both of us came away with some lifers. The highlight of the water ranch were definitely the Black-necked Stilts pictured below.

But the American Avocets were also very cool. Both of these were lifers for Sonja (only the stilt was for me).

The Anna's Hummingbirds were also numerous and cooperative.

This Black-throated Sparrow was actually from Montezuma Well the day before. But I liked how it turned out so I decided to post it, too. It's nice to see these beautiful little sparrows returning to the Well.

Makes it feel like spring is finally here (if the 75 degree temps and my sunburned face weren't enough).


Sandra said...

Always wanted to see the Ren fair in Phoenix. The shots are all great. Over at Blue Frog Hollow ( we are still debating the camera purchase but I think we are narrowing it down.

Those were some amazing birds!

Patrick Belardo said...

I've been to the Ren fair in Tuxedo, NY. I got my car dented there by the door of the guy parked next to me. He did it right in front of me and thought nothing of it. Those darn turkey legs make me thirsty. Mead washes away that thirst. Mmm... mead... Nice birds too! I've heard good things about Gilbert Water Ranch. What exactly is a Water Ranch?

P. Ollig said...

Sandra, I'm very happy with my Canon XTi. Although I'm definitely looking forward to getting a better telephoto lens.

Patrick, I still have no idea what exactly a water ranch is. I think it's a desert thing. Or maybe just a Phoenix thing. Suffice to say, the riparian preserve that AZG&F has set up there is really spectacular.

chaindropz said...

You take great pictures and your camera is nice. I take a cheeper route with a Sony Cyber-Shot H-9. I have bought a 1.7x lens for this camera. You should see my Moon picture. I have just started playing with this new lens. I hope to get better. I have to use auto focus because I have problems with my right eye. some times I lock a high shutter speed to help keep the picture sharp.