David Alaniz Photography

Natures turn…….


I visited the Smith Oaks Rookery in High Island early February of this year but never had a chance to get back.  I missed out on seeing a lot of the babies as they grew and vide for attention.  Well, this past weekend I had a chance to make a quick run out there.  With the front entrance gate now locked I had to enter from a side entrance.  It was hot as in Hot as I made my way on a long walk.  As I walked up on the levy it wasn’t the usual chatter of birds.  Most had all ready raised their young and were gone.  I made my way along the levy stopping at different locations to grab a few pictures.  Even though it was hot it was still pretty nice being all alone with all the remaining birds as all the usual crowds were now gone.  Even with fewer nesting birds it still offered a number of opportunities.  These twin Roseate Spoonbills had just been feed as their parent had flown off.  The parents quickly feed the young and then fly off.  They wouldn’t hang around because the young ones wouldn’t give them any piece just a constant picking, nudging wanting more.  Probably within a few days these will have to leave the nest for the lesson in finding food.  Sooner or later everyone grows up.  Or, that’s the way it’s suppose to be.

Nikon D4, 500mm, f/4, 1/8000, ISO 400  (made adjustment afterwards to bring the shutter down)

Blue Angels

Recently the Blue Angels performed at Wings Over Houston.  My friend Doug Haass invited me to shoot with him from a unique vantage point – the end of the runway.  What an awesome place to be set up as they came so close.  We actually climbed up on a large mound of mulch.  Yes, mulch, we had to tromp down the top where we were to give us a small base for footing.  It was like standing on a water bed as everything seemed to float.  I’d do it again!

The main group of four took off away from us and climbed high.  Shortly after the last two started their run from the opposite of the runway heading our way.  One took off about mid way and this one stayed low to the ground.  As he got the end of the runway he pulled up hard and accelerated straight up.  I wanted to look so bad but stayed focused on him.  I couldn’t even begin to explain the excitement I was feeling as it snapped straight up.  The vibration and roar was just spectacular!

Nikon D4, 500mm, f/5.6, 1/2500, ISO 320


Nikon D4, 500mm, f/5.6, 1/3200, ISO 320


Looking For A Snack

There were about two dozen hummingbirds around a feeder.  They didn’t seem to mind me being close so I set up a Day Lily potted plant about three feet from the feeder.  After setting up my camera I rotated the plant until I liked what I was seeing in the view finder.  I looked at the background and knew it was far enough away to give a pleasant blur.  It wasn’t long before several started checking out the flower giving me several different captures.  They are always fun to watch.

Nikon D300s, 500mm, f/4.0, 1/1000, ISO 200, filler flash


Red-headed Woodpecker

This is a Red-headed Woodpecker recently taken in Huntsville, Texas.  I was looking out the kitchen window and noticed some frequent visits from a couple of these beautiful birds.  Their colors are vibrant and stand out.  Hard to pass up an opportunity for a few captures.  After setting up it didn’t take long before they came back for a visit.  There were other birds in the mix but these were the stand outs that I had been wanting to take for some time.  Between all the rain we have been having here in south Texas it was a good weekend.

Nikon D800, 500mm, f/5.6, 1/800, ISO 800

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Cattle Egret

Stopping by in a local park just to check the activity can be pretty good.  This particular park has a small rookery which I like.  I don’t have to deal with a crowd trying to get a close up view or that keep sake photo.  Especially I don’t have to keep swatting those pesky mosquitoes.

Nikon D800, 500mm + 1.4tc, f/5.6, 1/2000’s, ISO 800

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Happy Easter

Wishing everyone an enjoyable day!


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In Search Of…

While traveling down a long and lonely back road we came upon a side road that beckoned us.  Before I tell you what we did next let’s rewind to the day before.

Finishing our photo driving tour south of San Antonio we headed up to the hill country in search of more bluebonnets.  Arriving early afternoon at Johnson City we gassed up and bought a few ‘I shouldn’t buys’.  We set out to cover as many locations as we could.  It wasn’t about being at the right time, in the right place and getting beautiful lit shots.  We just wanted to see as much as possible.

First order of business was to get off the highways.  Pick a road, any road and that’s what we did.  We drove the famous Willow City Loop.  From there we headed towards the Union Band Cemetery in Pontotox, Tx.  This was our second visit with the first time being early one morning.  This time the sun was lower in the sky and the light was much better for taking photos.  If you have never been and you are in the area take a few minutes to enjoy the cemetery covered in bluebonnets.

From this point we headed back east.  We stopped a few more times to take some photos but I wanted to get back to Marble Falls before it got dark.  It was a long day and I just wanted to relax and plan the next one. 

It was just about dark when we saw a hotel.  A quick review showed it to be rated a four out of five.  Not sure what was going on but the three hotels were booked up.  Except this one, how lucky could we be?  The clerk said all the rooms were taken, however, she had one left.  The honeymoon suite, but it would cost ten dollars more.  If you could have only seen my face.  What the heck, for ten dollars more, I was game. 

The hotel’s jammed pack parking wasn’t giving me a warm and fussy feeling.  I was the first one to open the door.  I gave out an OMG you’ve got to see this!  It was a cracker box room with a king sized bed.  Wait, there is more.  Next to the bed was a king sized Jacuzzi.  Wait, there is more.  The walls were covered in mirrors.  Yes, a little more….mirrors on the ceiling.  I love humor, we had a good night’s sleep.

This brings us to the morning of the photo.  Starting off with a good breakfast is a priority for Lila.  Me, not so much, but I won’t turn it down.  If you’re ever in Marble Falls check out the Bluebonnet Café.  I had two scramble eggs, hash browns, toast, sausage, bacon with a large glass of orange juice.  Mighty Good!

As we started out for our search of bluebonnets I told Lila my stomach was doing a little rumbling.  Perhaps we should check out some back roads not too far from town.  We picked one and started down that long lonely road with a few more gurgles of my stomach.  That was some breakfast.

We stopped a few times for pictures and moved on.  Gurgle, gurgle.  That’s when we came upon this side road where I couldn’t help but stop.  Just pass the cattle guard looked to be a road not to miss.  We decided to continue and come back to it later.  Gurgle, gurgle.  Stopped and photographed a few more places and moved on.

Past the point of no return.  I told Lila there wasn’t any more gurgle.  It had progressed to gurrrgling.  I stopped to check my iPhone map for any close place I could point the car.  You ever have this sinking feeling?  No way, it was way past the point of no return.  I was now traveling fairly fast down this dirt road in search of where a bear in the woods would go.  I was starting to get cold and clammy with a few beads of sweat on my forehead.  And Lila laughing her head off didn’t help the situation. 

Thanks goodness, there was a vehicle trail leading to nowhere.  I pulled in and quickly got out.  There wasn’t any fresh tracks so that was a good sign.  Let me say right here I never complain what Lila packs.  I like to kid with her about packing the kitchen sink.  She told me where the magic roll of Charmin was located.  I’m sure she was having a good laugh as I walked up the trail and around the bend, quickly.  There it was, the perfect spot.  Kind of below a tree and in the midst of cow paddies.  Just me and the birds.  Along with a nice breeze and the fresh smell of manure.

Lila was smiling as I rounded the corner skipping back to the car.  I never felt so good.  If Lila had been outside the car she would have been ROGLOL.

We headed back to the side road and started down what turned out to be a great drive.  Just beautiful along the road.  Just us enjoying a little of what nature has to offer. 

Nikon D4, 70-200mm, f/5.6, ISO 640


All Mine

Sometimes you’re just too close or you chop off some toes.  Before I delete any pic I try to look at it several times just in case I see something different.  Just a few nip and tucks.  Hope you like it.

Nikon D4, 500mm, 1/3200s, f/5.6, ISO 200

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Neotropic Cormorant

Neotropic Cormorant – High Island, Texas.  Not one of the most photographed birds but I still think with the right amount of light you can get a few good captures.  This years season at Smith Oaks Rookery in High Island has arrived early.  The birds are in full swing staking out their nesting site.  Early on there are a lot of opportunities to catch in flight shots as they bring in nesting material.  We have had a few cool days but for the most part I’d say so far winter has passed us by.
Nikon D4, 500mm, f/5.6, 1/3200s, ISO 200

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Nikon D4, 500mm, f/5.6, 1/3200s, ISO 200

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This one caught me off guard. I didn’t like what I seeing but after all it’s nature right?  I saw the male egret coming in low and fast. He pulled up and into the nest mounting the female almost before you could blink.  She started squawking loudly but wasn’t able to get up.  Her mate must have been close by as he flew in to make an attempt to rescue her.  He tried but it was difficult.  He jumped on top of the other male clawing at times.  I just wanted him to take his powerful beak and stab him in the back.  After a short period the intruder left.  A little while later another similar incident happen at another nest but this time with a different outcome.  Wondering if it was the same intruder because he got more of what he deserved.
Nikon D4, 500mm, f/5.6, 1/6400, ISO 200
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