Jul 102010

I have been trying to capture the perfect Quail photo for months. You know why I can’t? MOVEMENT! These have got to be the most skittish birds in the desert!

ISO 80; f/8; 1/200; 100mm (June 28, 2010; 7:44am)

This is one of my better ones.  Good for the theme because you can see the movement in the leg.


ISO 80; f/5.8; 1/250; 28.5mm (Canon SD950IS) (May 15, 2010; 8:01am)

In our local restaurant, called The Mountain Quail, they have photos, statues and all things quail. My favorite is a foot long ceramic piece of  Quail family all in a line Dad, 5 kids and the Mom. So, that’s what I’ve been trying to photograph. This was taken with the little Canon… back before I owned the new one.  I discovered as the season has gone on, that the babies are growing up and getting harder to distinguish from the parents.  Anyway, you get the idea of just how cute it is to see these little babies running as fast as the parents.


ISO 200; f/5.7; 1/1000; 100mm (July 1, 2010; 7:27am)

You’ll note in this photo I did something I rarely do and that is used a slower ISO… this helped me get a faster shutter speed and thus less blur.  Amazing when you discover that these little tricks do work! (Now, if I can just keep my wits about me and remember to do this in the future.)

Actually I have learned the rule of quail is this:

1) When you finally find them, they will try to force you to shoot into the sun… doesn’t matter if it is a rising or setting sun… that is the direction they’ll be.

2) And if not shooting in the sun, then the  Quail will run to the only patch of shadow and thus for a quick shot your camera won’t know what to do (nor will you before the Quail run off).

3) No matter what you do, the Quail only stop and pose if you are without a camera or if the camera is in the bag.  Otherwise, they are running and you are in a panic to get the shot.

4) Quail will make a fool of you.  I now have a much clearer understanding how it is that Dick Cheney shot his friend while Quail hunting.


ISO 80; f/5.7; 1/320; 100mm (June 25, 2010; 7:19am)

The photo was taken at the model airfield… the fencing is what keeps us civilians off the runway and out of  harms way. (I didn’t want you to think that I was taking a photo of Quail in a chicken coop… that would be too easy.)   Anyway, I had been walking through the Celia’s Gardens for my morning photowalk while Carl was flying.  I had just come back and sat down when Carl says, “Quick, get your camera out (as if I put it away). Quail!”  “Where, where?”  As usual I could hear them… but finding them… ah..Mr. & Mrs. Quail were there to tease me, yet again. I think it is called Quail Madness.

I got a few decent shots; I like the above one the best because you can see the difference in the male and female… and they are both equally in the shot.


ISO 80; f/5.7; 1/125; 100mm (June 25, 2010; 6:37am)

It was a lucky day for Quail, as I did manage to catch this one first.  No movement… so I wasn’t going to include him, but look how pretty he’s sitting.


ISO 80; f/5.7; 1/200; 100mm (June 29, 2010; 7:12am)

My best close-up baby quail shot to date. This was taken at Celia’s Garden.


ISO 80; f/5.7; 1/160; 100mm (July 2, 2010; 7:19am)

I just showed Carl this page I’m putting together and he doesn’t like the ones where I just focus on the Quail and don’t show their natural environment.  Like this one.  If you look really close, you’ll see that there are a bunch of Quail to the left.

I’ve noticed that the male Quail will stand watch and wait for the perfect opportunity to run.  One day I watched the male stand guard by the side of the road.  He had his family in the shade and would signal that it was time, they would all file behind the father Quail… and start to cross/run. But then I must have startled them (trying to take a photo) and he herds them back up into the shade.  This went on several times, before they crossed.  I never got a good photo, though I took many. At least I have a great memory of the morning.

  10 Responses to “THEME: Movement”

  1. Oops, maybe if I looked further I would see the babies!!! Super capture of the family!

  2. I love quail and was raised on a ranch where we had them all the time. They can move so fast!!! Nice capture and sense of movement with yours. Have you seen the chicks? They are the cutest things ever!!!

  3. I like the 1st and 3rd. 3rd photo looks like a protest rally!!!!!

  4. My mother often gives me her Arizona quail reports when she calls, telling me of the quail antics. The one on the post is my favorite too.

  5. All of these are terrific – love that little tuft of feather on top of the quail’s head! My favorite is the first one…

  6. Great shots every one of them but I too like the one on the fence as it brings your focus right to the bird and you get to see his magnificent colors. Keep up the great work Judi!

  7. I love the shot of the quail on the post because it shows his colors so well. That is just beautifully composed with the green background and the diagonal lines of the wires leading your eyes to the subject. I’m glad you included the shot with both male and female together so we can see the difference.

    So I take it that it’s lucky for Carl that you were shooting with a camera and not a gun a la Dick Cheney? 😉

  8. Great shots, all! Skittish is one thing, at least these birds are mostly ground based. If you want a challenge – come to Australia, get out in the Simpson Desert, and try and photograph Budgerigars, I mean it is easy to snap around a thousand zooming past, but you try to get a shot of ONE, Dang near impossible. BTW Budgerigar is an Australian Aborigine name meaning Native Companion, because if they are around, there is water within a half day walk. The trick is to follow them to it!

    • I would love to take up that challenge! Australia is one of those places that I’ve not traveled to but have always wanted to. One of the reasons I love visiting your site is for the virtual visit. I guess I better step it up and start to try to get a Roadrunner pic. That might be good practice for the Budgerigar ( you do have some strange names for things!).

  9. Those are really hard to get, I have tried and still haven’t got a pic worth posting. I like the bottom image too, but my favorite is the one w/ all those babies running across the road, perfect! :)

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