Condor Takes Flight

     2009 - "Fuji Masterpiece Award", Professional Photographers of America, New Mexico

This photograph of an Andean Condor was shot on September 19, 2007 at the edge of Colca Canyon in Peru. Colca Canyon is twice as deep as the Grand Canyon in the United States. The setting is magnificent, as described in my journal entry for this day...

Early morning. Sun shining, warming the cool air. Before us are high, snow-capped peaks, with the last remnants of glaciers in a high valley. Not long from now, these glaciers will be gone. Below us, a deep canyon... In many places, you can’t see all the way to the bottom. The condors nest on side walls of the canyon, and as the early morning sun warms the walls and surrounding air, the condors jump from their nests to ride the updrafts of warm morning air. They soar, back and forth, riding the warm air currents up the sun-drenched side of the canyon, and as they reach the upper edge of canyon, they come into sight. Again from my journal entry this day...

Engaging, watching, experiencing these birds through the lens of my camera was a fantastic experience. You spot one in the distance, tracking it through the telephoto. Watching the details of its movements as it makes the finest shifts of its feathers in response to changing air currents. Closer and closer, arching my back, tracking straight up and around. Capturing tiny slices of time... images of grace.

“Condor Takes Flight” was taken when a pair of adolescents landed on a rock at the edge of the canyon about 200 feet from where I stood. They rested, and played with each other. And then, at the moment the closer bird took flight, I captured the image.

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