Kirsten Tucker: Blog en-us (C) Kirsten Tucker (Kirsten Tucker) Tue, 12 Dec 2017 02:58:00 GMT Tue, 12 Dec 2017 02:58:00 GMT Kirsten Tucker: Blog 120 80 Let it Snow! This past Friday, it snowed! If you reside in a northern climate, you're now thinking, "So, what?" But I've lived in Houston over 20 years now, and this is only the third snowfall I've seen here.

Alas, our magical winter wonderland was very short-lived.

]]> (Kirsten Tucker) houston kirsten tucker photography snow texas Mon, 11 Dec 2017 21:28:13 GMT
Chihuly Garden in Seattle I've always loved art glass. I cherish my grandmother's red glass pieces that were given to me when she passed away.

As a child, I fondly remember watching glass blowers create shiny beautiful paperweights at the Corning Museum. As a young adult, I bought my first piece of art glass at Corning's store - a cattail and dragonfly piece by Victor Meyer.

So when I was recently in Seattle, I made time to visit the Chihuly Garden. I could have spent all day there. It's so beautiful. You should visit.


]]> (Kirsten Tucker) chihuly glass kirsten tucker photography seattle travel Tue, 31 Oct 2017 19:15:35 GMT
BioBlitz at Kleb Woods Tucked away in Tomball, TX is my birding home away from home - Kleb Woods.

Yesterday, there was a BioBlitz, a day devoted to biological surveying in an attempt to record all the living species within the area. We still birded but we also ran around photographing plants, insects, fungus and everything that would stay still long enough. I can't wait to find out the results of the effort!

]]> (Kirsten Tucker) bioblitz kirsten tucker photography kleb woods texas tomball Thu, 05 Oct 2017 19:55:51 GMT
Choo-Choo!! We took a ride on the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad last weekend. Most of the day was quite rainy but it was still a lovely ride with the aspen trees beginning to change colors in the mountains.

I was also reminded how difficult it is to photograph on a bumpy moving steam train!


]]> (Kirsten Tucker) autumn colorado cumbres & toltec kirsten tucker photography new mexico train travel Wed, 27 Sep 2017 17:26:18 GMT
2017 Solar Eclipse In spite of abundant clouds and not being able to travel to the totality zone, I captured my first solar eclipse photos. I can't wait for the next eclipse in 2024!


"Totality" - 67% in Houston




]]> (Kirsten Tucker) eclipse houston kirsten tucker photography solar eclipse texas Tue, 22 Aug 2017 21:48:23 GMT
Point Reyes National Seashore I am a big fan of our nation's national parks. When I spent a day and half last month at Point Reyes National Seashore in northern California, I became an even bigger fan! It's chock full of wildlife and photo ops. I definitely will be returning!

If you'd like a guide to maximize your time and photo targets, contact Daniel Dietrich at Point Reyes Safaris. You will not be dissapointed.

California Quail

American Badger



Western Gull

Tule Elk




]]> (Kirsten Tucker) american badger bobcat california california quail jackrabbit kirsten tucker photography point reyes point reyes safaris travel tule elk western gull Thu, 10 Aug 2017 15:44:13 GMT
Baltic Cruise I've been off on adventures and am about to leave on another. But, before I do, I wanted to share a few photos from a recent cruise around the Baltic Sea.

Fancy chess pieces in the Rosenborg Castle museum in Copenhagen, Denmark

Iris Blooms in Copenhagen, Denmark A look up within the Spilled Blood Church in Saint Petersburg, Russia. It's all mosaics!


]]> (Kirsten Tucker) Baltic Denmark Houston Kirsten Tucker Photography Saint Petersburg Mon, 26 Jun 2017 20:10:04 GMT
Spring Babies There have been many many baby and fledgling birds to enjoy the last couple of weeks!

Loggerhead Shrike

Blue Jay

Carolina Chickadee

]]> (Kirsten Tucker) Blue Jay Caroline Chickadee Kirsten Tucker Photography Loggerhead Shrike Texas bird Wed, 03 May 2017 15:30:00 GMT
Great Horned Owlets, 2017 Edition, Part III Owlets doing some bug-watching. One week later, one owlet "branched", climbed from the nest, and explored a tree limb. The second owlet was not so sure this branching thing was a good idea. What walks out on a limb must walk back down the limb; it's a delicate balancing act!

When I last visited, only one owlet remained. The other had fledged and flown off. Owlets tend to remain in the nest area for a while, so there's a chance I may get another photo or two.

What a thrill it's been to watch them grow!


]]> (Kirsten Tucker) Great Horned Owl Kirsten Tucker Photography Texas bird owl Tue, 25 Apr 2017 23:27:16 GMT
Featherfest 2017 The first weekend of April I attended Featherfest, an annual birding and nature festival in Galveston, TX.

I'd signed up for few photo sessions and given myself plenty of time on my own to push myself "out of the box" photographically.

I think I had some success!

What do you do to shake things up for yourself?

]]> (Kirsten Tucker) Featherfest Galveston Kirsten Tucker Photography Texas Tue, 18 Apr 2017 16:55:32 GMT
Great Horned Owlets, 2017 Edition, Part II Spent a couple more hours with the Great Horned owlets. They are simultaneously shy and curious. And, they are growing so fast! They actually have a few real feathers now.

Some Bluejays came by to squawk at them; they didn't like that very much. I wouldn't like it either.

]]> (Kirsten Tucker) Great Horned Owl Kirsten Tucker Photography Texas bird owl Thu, 06 Apr 2017 01:00:00 GMT
Great Horned Owlets, 2017 Edition I am fortunate again this year to be able to watch a Great Horned Owl nest. Got my first views of the owlets yesterday.

I named the female owl "Minnie", so I guess you can call these guys Mini Minnies!



]]> (Kirsten Tucker) Great Horned Owl Kirsten Tucker Photography Texas bird owl Wed, 29 Mar 2017 00:52:56 GMT
Valley Specialties There are a number of birds that, if you'd like to see them in the U.S., you generally need to venture to south Texas into the Rio Grande Valley. Spring and fall are the best times of year to do this as migrants may also be moving through and the temperatures are still tolerable.

Some of my favorites spots are:

Some of the "Valley Specialties" you may see:

Common Pauraque Curve-billed Thrasher

Olive Sparrow Plain Chachalaca

Great Kiskadee Long-billed Thrasher

White-tipped Dove Green Kingfisher

What specialty birds have you seen in Texas?


]]> (Kirsten Tucker) Kirsten Tucker Photography Rio Grande Texas bird travel valley Sat, 25 Mar 2017 21:11:59 GMT
Maps and Mummies The Houston Museum of Natural Science held one of their fabulous Pixel Parties on Sunday night. I love these events! They give a chance to shoot in a very different environment (subjects don't generally fly or run away in museums!) and to shoot things that many people are not permitted to photograph.

We had access to a small but impressive collection of maps, covering 400 years of Texas history.

And, there was the "Mummies of the World" exhibit. Wow, just wow!

Egyptian objects A baron who must've really loved his boots! This Peruvian mummy - I was captivated by how the mummy seemed to be smiling but the reflection was entirely terrifying. Honored ancestors A family of mummies - I won't give the story away! And, after all that, I strolled through Wildlife Photographer of the Year and was impressed and humbled.

Hope I'm in town for the next Pixel Party !

]]> (Kirsten Tucker) HMNS Kirsten Tucker Photography Mummies of the World Pixel Party Texas Wildlife Photographer of the Year map mummy museum Mon, 27 Feb 2017 19:09:00 GMT
Happy Valentine's Day 2017 Smile and do something joyful today!

~ Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, October 2016

]]> (Kirsten Tucker) Kirsten Tucker Photography New Mexico balloon heart love travel Tue, 14 Feb 2017 13:26:26 GMT
The Merlin You get up really early, drive an hour and three-quarters to find some lovely birds at Anahuac NWR, and it's foggy. And, it stays foggy for hours.

Your photos are all grain because of the moisture in the air. The Burrowing Owl you went to find is not there. You've seen photos/heard tales of a Merlin that likes to perch on a post, but with the luck you're having... You are seriously bummed out.

I almost drove past him. I had about 30 seconds before he flew off.

Day redeemed. All is right with the world.

]]> (Kirsten Tucker) Anahuac NWR Kirsten Tucker Photography Merlin Texas bird falcon Sun, 15 Jan 2017 16:24:30 GMT
Winter Birds With today's high temperature predicted to be 79 degrees, it's hard to imagine just how cold it was here in Texas this past weekend. It snowed in Dallas. There were flurries in Houston.

There was ice in Port Aransas, TX (near Corpus Christi) on Saturday morning; I had to give up on one birding spot due to heavy wind plus freezing temps.

Sunday morning was 10 degrees warmer. I was headed out on a boat in search of Whooping Cranes. It was a clear, beautiful morning, albeit a bit windy still. The light was amazing. And, two cranes foraged quite close to the Skimmer. It was worth the windburn.

Whooping Cranes

American Bittern

Green Heron


]]> (Kirsten Tucker) American Bittern Aransas National Wildlife Refuge Green Heron Kirsten Tucker Photography Port Port Aransas Rockport Texas Whooping Crane travel winter Thu, 12 Jan 2017 14:54:20 GMT
2016 Sixteen It's that time of year when photographers post "my favorites from 2016" so here's my take on that - Kirsten's 2016 Sixteen! - 2016 photos that make me happy, in no particular order.

Here's to another year of adventure, memories and pixels!

]]> (Kirsten Tucker) Kirsten Tucker Kirsten Tucker Photography adventure travel Tue, 03 Jan 2017 18:29:01 GMT
Chase Bird It started when someone posted a photo on a Facebook bird group. "Wow, that's a NICE bird," I thought. Two and a half hours away. Hmm...

More photos the next day. Hmm...

More photos a couple of days after that with a note that, "it shows up nearly like clockwork on the hour." Hmm...

I wake up at 5:30 am, toss the binocs and camera equipment into the car and set off west. Destination - Crescent Bend Nature Park in Schertz, TX.

It was dark. "This is a long drive for a bird," my mind tells me.

It gets lighter and at some point the sun rises behind me in my side view mirror. Vultures rise and swirl. Crested Caracara chase each other. My mood improves.

I arrive at the park around 9:15 am and the birder folk tell me the bird is around. Excellent!

15-20 minutes later - there he is!! This is one of the most stunning woodpeckers I've seen. It's a hybrid cross between a Red-naped Sapsucker and a Red-breasted Sapsucker. Camera drives are clicking furiously. The bird stays maybe a minute. We "ooh" and "ahh", congratulate each other on the sighting and show off some shots.

A couple of people must leave and a seat opens up in a good position for when the bird comes back. I sit. It's a chilly day and very windy. The north wind is blowing in my face and I'm only wearing a light sweatshirt over my shirt. I'm cold. But I am not giving up this seat. The bird will return.

Other birds visit the water and seed occasionally. Two hours pass and I'm mentally questioning if the bird is coming back.

"There he is!" I hear. And I realize I'd been hearing him for a few seconds not knowing it was him. Cute sound, almost kitten-like. This bird is pretty AND adorable. More clicking of shutters. For a second he stops on a horizontal branch. Perfectly. My brain is screaming, "Oh, please. Please, let me get this shot."

I walked around the park for a bit then visited a second nearby birding location before heading home.

It got darker and at some point the sun set behind me in my side view mirror. Vultures settled. Crested Caracara chased each other.

What an amazing day!


]]> (Kirsten Tucker) Kirsten Tucker Photography Texas bird sapsucker woodpecker Fri, 30 Dec 2016 15:40:19 GMT
2016 Birds It's that time of year again. Grab a cup o' your favored beverage and sit for a spell to enjoy a video of 2016's birds. I logged 750 species this year! 

Don't worry, the video is only a sample of what I saw, not all of them! ;) Just two songs worth.

Can't wait to see what birds reveal themselves in 2017!




]]> (Kirsten Tucker) Kirsten Tucker Kirsten Tucker Photography bird birding travel Mon, 19 Dec 2016 19:28:36 GMT