It dives from the sky in a daring plunge, snagging other airborne birds in mid-flight with its deadly talons.
Its body is the epitome of aerodynamic design, allowing it to reach—and survive—speeds that would kill other animals.
As it reaches its terminal velocity of over 200 mph, baffles in its nostrils prevent the force of the air from exploding its lungs—a feature that has been incorporated into jet engine design—and nictitating membranes on its eyes protect them from debris.
It snags its hapless victims in its talons, ending their terror with a killing blow from its deadly-sharp beak.
With its combination of royal-blue plumage on its upperparts contrasting with orange on its underparts, the Azure Kingfisher is one of the smallest and most dazzling kingfishers in Australia.
This diminutive species inhabits the vegetation beside waterways and other wetlands, where it often perches on low, overhanging branches, searching for its prey of fish, crustaceans and aquatic insects, captured by shallow plunging into the water.
Anglers on lonely rivers are sometimes surprised to find an Azure Kingfisher perched quietly on their fishing rods instead of a branch.
Grey Crowned Cranes – Each crowned crane was photographed on an acacia tree near Richards Camp in Masai Mara, Kenya. Mount Kenya was photographed from a Cessna.
Before attempting to explain what’s going on in these images, the artist, Cheryl Medow, might appreciate you taking a similar approach to experiencing her photography as she does to making it.
“I don’t think my pictures through,” she says, “I feel them.”
Roseate Spoonbills Each bird was photographed at St. Augustine’s Farm in Florida. This is where they nest in the spring. The waves were shot in Hanalei Bay, Kauai.
She described this incident to me: Visitors at one of her gallery shows were asking questions about how she creates her work, and she was answering. But then a guest approached her and said, “No, no, no, don’t say a thing. I just want to enjoy these pictures.”
It was then that she realized that she was looking for an emotional reaction, for people to enjoy looking at the work without having all the answers.
So please: Look. Enjoy. Feel.
Saddle-Billed Storks This mother and baby were photographed in the Masai Mara Game Reserve. The landscape was shot by plane in the same area, traveling from Sirikoi Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in Laikipia to Richards Camp in Masai Mara.