Friday, December 28, 2007

White on white

Today while taking a break from processing photos taken months ago, I glanced out the office window and saw this Willow Ptarmigan feeding on the grasses sticking through the snow. The office is situated on a south facing slope surrounded by a boreal forest, with plenty of habitat protection for birds and animals. I decided to grab a few photos with the new Canon 1Ds Mark III, which offers amazing 21 Mega pixel files. Ptarmigan are members of the grouse family, and turn completely white in the winter, save for a few black highlights on the tail feathers visible only when in flight. This "cryptic" arctic camouflage is critical to their survival from predators. Over the years I've photographed many of these birds from different regions of Alaska. They favor the dense vegetation found at tree line. See those ptarmigan photos here

Willow ptarmigan in winter plumage, Fairbanks, Alaska
Canon 1Ds Mark III, 500mm f4.0L, 1/50 sec @ f4.0, ISO 400

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