Cleve Nash and Bob Isenberg
Photo by Heather O’Connor
Bob and I had been talking together about how to introduce to you our friend, the fine photographer, Cleve Nash. So that we would have examples with which to educate everyone, he has been generously donating his photographs. They cover all examples of the life cycle of our peregrine falcons along with other visiting birds. After a couple requests to Cleve, I received an email with the following. ~Heather
“Heather has asked me write a bit about why and how I came to take so many photos of peregrines.
It all began about ten years ago when my decades of photography and videography had distilled to a passion for capturing video of the Pacific and its mammalian inhabitants, particularly southern sea otters. One spring day I was at Morro Rock wrestling with a cumbersome but effective setup that mated a large professional camcorder to an even larger astronomical telescope when one of the local watchers suggested I go around to the south side and try my gear on the nesting peregrines. Just for the heck of it, I did and managed through sheer luck to grab some action that I thought was pretty cool. So was launched a mild obsession.
Photographing peregrines at Morro Rock is challenging. Except for a couple of days when the young first fledge, the birds stay very high. It is rare to get a shot of less than 100 yards. A chick in the diving board nest? With a decent angle, you’re talking 150-160 yards. A good camera with a big lens will get reasonably good results. But if you want the feather and fuzz detail of that nestling, you are faced with the trials and (few) tribulations of digiscoping. You no longer have the luxury of automatic focusing, and that 150 yards is filled with heavy, moist moving air that distorts the image entering your camera like heat waves rising off a desert highway. Add the Rock’s nearly constant winds that rattle your gear — at very high magnification, the smallest vibrations are highly magnified too — and getting a sharp, well exposed image becomes the holy grail and the great white whale for even the mildly obsessive-compulsive. Can’t wait for those babies to appear. Hope I can get some good shots for you.”
By Cleve Nash