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Cathartes aura

Cathartes aura
Photo Information
Copyright: Shir Goldberg (shirgold) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 286 W: 105 N: 591] (2748)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2006-07-04
Categories: Birds
Camera: Nikon D70, 18-70 AF-S DX 3.5 - 4.5 Nikkor, SanDisk Ultra-II 1Gb
Exposure: f/6.3, 1/160 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2006-10-18 14:26
Viewed: 5543
Points: 30
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
While trekking in the Isla del Sol on lake Titicaca this guy started following my wife and I. It kept with us for some 15 minutes and got very close. This image is not even 100% crop and was taken with a 70mm lens!
It was amazing to see it so close but I hope it did not follow us for the wrong reasons - we did have a shower that morning.

Some info from Wikipedia:

The Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) is the most common vulture in the Americas.
The typical adult bird is an average 76 cm (30") long with a 185 cm (6 ft) wingspan, and weighing 1.4 kg (2.2 lb). Both sexes appear similar with the female being slightly larger.
These birds soar over open areas, watching for dead animals or other scavengers at work. Unlike most other birds, in addition to eyesight, the Turkey Vulture uses its sense of smell to locate carrion. It will often fly low to the ground to pick up the scent of mercaptan, a gas produced by the beginnings of decay of dead animals.
Feeds primarily on a wide variety of carrion, from small mammals to dead cows, preferring those recently dead (fresh carrion). Can also feed on plant matter, shoreline vegetation, pumpkin, crops, live insects, and other invertebrates. They also prefer the meat of herbivorous animals, avoiding that of dogs and other carnivores.
The Turkey Vulture is found in open and semi-open areas throughout the Americas from southern Canada to Cape Horn.

DNA evidence shows that Turkey Vultures and other New World vultures are more closely related to storks than they are to Old World vultures. The similarities are due to convergent evolution!

SunToucher, thor68, dew77, horia, dkaved, jmp, jrubiocasado, JeanMichel has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Hi Shir,
Love the panning action and the shallow DOF. The part in focus is super sharp. Great note about the reason of following. Lovely colors and a great action photo.

  • Great 
  • shal Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 256 W: 64 N: 481] (2140)
  • [2006-10-18 14:42]

Hi Shir,
lovely POV and motion capture of this large bird,
great composition :)
Vishal Sabharwal

Hi Shir,

Great composition, I felt like he's still flying just in front of me. Image directly implies sense of flying to the viewer. An astonishing POV, sharpness on the body completes the scene.Great work.

Well Done & TFS.

  • Great 
  • dew77 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4432 W: 248 N: 4028] (13270)
  • [2006-10-18 15:47]

Hello Shir,
Wonderful in flight capture.POV,motion effect on wings,catchlight in eyes,DOF,BG and composition are excellent.

  • Great 
  • horia Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2158 W: 224 N: 4749] (16656)
  • [2006-10-18 15:51]

Hello Shir

Splendid in-flight of this impressive vulture!
The sharpness is amazing and the fact that everything else is blurry just makes it all ever greater!
Excellent work with only a 70mm...you really were lucky to have found such a curious one :)) (maybe he liked your shower-gel...lol)
Great POV and DOF, really good exposure, lovely colors and tones. Also very well framed and composed.


  • Great 
  • thor68 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 795 W: 138 N: 1319] (5674)
  • [2006-10-18 17:10]

wow, amazing inflight-shot, shir! :-)
he was really close, cool, excellent capture with great
sharpness on the body and a terrific motion-blur on the wings
and the background.
you may have taken a shower, but perhaps forgot the deoderant. *lol*
wonderful job & best wishes, thorsten.

Hi Shir,
How can it be so close??? I'm really amazed by this POV, wow! I photographed some too but I never was that close and I had to use 400mm. This is just great! I like this sense of speed we feel in the BG and the blurred wings are just wonderful. This is really well done with excellent timing! Thanks,

  • Great 
  • fthsm Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 172 W: 56 N: 512] (3689)
  • [2006-10-19 21:08]

Looks like real and live. Very beatiful. TFS.

  • Great 
  • dkaved Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 259 W: 17 N: 431] (2114)
  • [2006-10-20 17:09]

Hi Shir,
Well man what can I say.Quite amazing how close this dude got.Caught with a 18-70mm lens!!!Great how you tracked the bird.The blurred background giving a good feeling of movement.Good clarity of the subject and great colour.
Regards, David

  • Great 
  • twin Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 244 W: 17 N: 494] (3259)
  • [2006-10-22 14:29]

hi Shir,

I like this pic with action...

nicely captured..

well done :)

Stunning image, very effective panning action and a good explanation of the situation in the note as well. Thanks for posting.

  • Great 
  • hester Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1515 W: 18 N: 3165] (11638)
  • [2006-10-27 14:05]

What a shot, this is excellent. I love the movement it really feels like he is speeding past us. This is helped by the excellent POV



  • Great 
  • budi (296)
  • [2006-10-27 19:26]

wow.. very good panning..
great moment..
sharp.. and beautiful.


  • Great 
  • jmp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1659 W: 95 N: 2273] (8415)
  • [2006-10-29 7:27]

Hola Shir,
Me imagino que debió ser imponente ver de tan cerca un ave tan grande y oir el sonido del vuelo.
Has conseguido una gran sensación de movimiento paralizando el ave y dejando el fondo movido. Excelente luz, color y composición.
Un saludo, José M.

Hola Shir
Un gran barrido de este aura, aunque creo que si le hubieras podido tomar a v 1/200 estaría perfecta. Aún así una gran toma y nada fácil.
Un saludo

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