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Thief of Grand Canyon

Updated: May 2, 2022

I was standing near the Grand Canyon South Rim (Pima Point) early one morning (I was the only person around for miles) and it was so peaceful and quiet.

Suddenly, a racket broke the silence and a squirrel popped up over the edge of the rim. Then I saw that a pesky bird was dive-bombing a squirrel everywhere he went and squawking the whole time. I am guessing the squirrel was trying to rob her nest and she caught the thief, red-handed.

I got this shot because I was willing to get up early, leave my warm and soft bed, and go to the rim of America's largest "hole" when no other person was there. Often, I have found, good wildlife opportunities depend on being in the right place at the right time. And, as often as not, that right time is early in the morning.

When photographing animals in Africa, I found the same thing to be true. Normally, humans shy away from early hours (a good thing) and animals seem to be everywhere.

I took this photo with a telephoto lens. Most non-phone cameras have a telephoto and I recommend that you learn how to use it. In this case, without a telephoto at the up-and-ready, I would have missed the shot. A telephoto lens "reaches out and grabs a piece of action" you would not even be able to see with a regular lens.

One other important consideration is shutter speed. I took this picture at 1/500 second shutter speed. Even with that, the bird's wings are blurred. The photo required an even faster shutter speed. The picture would have been better if the wings, like the bird itself, were tack sharp. A seasoned wildlife photographer would instinctively have known that and quickly made the manual adjustment.

Even so, I like the picture because of the interaction between animals and the backstory.

To the "Thief of Grand Canyon" and his feathered antagonist, I thank you for the photo-op.

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