A Peeking Dove
That is, a peeking mourning dove
Apr. 2003


Any time anyone tries to photograph an animal or bird, odds are that the animal or bird is also watching the photographer. Outdoors, this can become very tricky; indoors (or even in a car), the mutual watching is not as intense.

This particular mourning dove was about 30 or so feet away from me, and it seemed, during that morning walk at Saddle Rock, as good a time as any to test the second-hand telephoto lens I had just bought. And as I maneuvered one direction to have a clearer line of sight, the dove maneuvered in the opposite direction to stay hidden behind pine needles.
peeking mourning dove
As our dancing continued, the mourning dove became more concerned and successfully hid in more and more of the branches. After the second shot, I thought I'd let the dove simply enjoy the warmth of the day.

peeking mourning dove

The two key aspects of the second shot are that I managed to get the dove's red legs into view (which are readily seen on the original before web reduction) and that doves, at least to a limited extent, have binocular vision, since the mourning dove is peeking at me head-on here.

Photography note: Both photos were taken with a Pentax LX and the SMC 400-600mm reflex lens, probably at 400mm. Note that the top photo has the unfortunate "donut" bokeh, which characterizes any reflex lens. However, the second shot is donut-free, and that is one of the outstanding characteristics of the Pentax reflex lens.

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