Mourning Dove Memories

August 31, 2012

Tomorrow morning is dove season and every year I try to post a fresh image of a mourning dove right before the opener. I was a little anxious earlier this year as I hadn’t made any new dove images. I finally made this close-up image of a dove while photographing barn swallows in Forest Park. I love to photograph mourning doves as they bring back childhood memories of summer mornings in Schell City, Missouri, where I listened to their lonely calls, having no idea what kind of animal was making the sound. It never occurred to me to ask my mom or anybody else where the call was coming from. I just conjured up a variety of creatures in my mind’s eye, some real and some imaginary. Funny, I can’t remember ever thinking of a bird as one of those possibilities. I’d walk barefoot down dirt roads near my grandma’s place, wondering, “Why is that animal always so sad?” I can’t remember when I finally put two and two together but by then our family had long departed the tiny town of 300 and moved to Richland, a burgeoning Ozark town of 1,500 souls and fewer mourning doves. I’ve always wanted to return to Schell City for a look around, and maybe a listen, but I guess never enough.

As a photographer, I appreciate the nuanced shades of muted color on mourning doves. They are far more than just a gray bird if you look closer. The plumage of the adult male includes lavender and pink with a touch of turquoise. I also love their sky blue eye rings and bubblegum-pink feet. As a matter of fact, mourning doves are so packed with soft colors that the Duotone background theme I use for this blog, which changes color based on the color palette of the image, overreacted a bit and came up with hot pink for the text panel! I almost changed it but then decided, “Who am I to second guess an algorithm?”

Canon 1D Mark IV; Canon 500/4 L IS with Canon 1.4 TC II TC; 1/125 @ f/5.6; ISO 400; RAW Capture; Gitzo GT3530LS Tripod with Wimberley Head; Processed in Canon Digital Photo Professional (DPP)

Thanks for Looking!



4 comments on “Mourning Dove Memories”

  1. This is one bird that we have here, too, and I enjoyed your childish ideas about the “animal”. Here we also call it the Laughing Dove..perhaps a philosophical reminder that happiness and grief are not too far from each other! Thanks for capturing the subtle tones of the feathers so well.

    • You are welcome! Raining here for the weekend. Maybe I can get out during a break between storms in the morning. Fall is soooo close.

  2. Danny this picture is GREAT!!!

    • Thanks Ron. Glad to see you found the blog. I worked at FSA today for Alan and thought I might see you guys. Take care.

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