Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Falconry: Day 3

On Friday the 14th, the girls didn't catch anything for two hours. Al moved to a different place after I left and they caught a couple squirrels. These are edited still frames from video I shot. So far, over three days, I've devoted a single day for photo, audio and video, respectively. As the season continues I will likely pick and choose a little more to get a solid base for a piece then improve everything as time goes on.

I really love the top two. Even though the birds don't have any affection for Al like a pet dog would and the girls are still wild, that doesn't keep them from growing on Al. He truly loves and cares for his birds. 

Some of the other photos are better quality for sure but they lack the emotional and connection that I was searching for when I began this story. It's great to not have the pressure of doing this for a class. I've gotten most of what goes on in one form or another it's just a matter of focusing the story and using the right media format for the right moments. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Poaching in Greece

Out working on the falconry story I nearly stumbled into this carcass. It was in a weird place behind some old trucks abandoned behind a church- not likely near enough to the road to have been hit but I presumed no hunter would have left the meat. 

When Al walked by and saw it he said, "What a waste." He told me a lot of poaching still occurs and pointed out where the antlers had been cut off. It had been culled for its horns and the meat left for the animals- largely wasted. 

In October, National Geographic featured the poaching of elephants for their ivory in Botswana but this is an issue that also occurs in our area. There are a lot of people who would gladly have taken that meat. When my dad was in college, he and his roommates would dress dear that had been hit by cars near their house. This deer was likely shot so some hunters could add another rack to their wall. True, it could have been hit and discovered but we also came across a hunter on posted private property who skulked away when we gave him a wave. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Falconry: Day 2

Last Saturday I went out with Al Jordan and another falconer from the area, Hank Minor. Hank's bird Mocha is still young and in training. While she didn't catch anything, Jordan's girls caught four squirrels again. 

I focused on capturing audio for the hunt with Jordan's hawks to accompany the previous hunt. 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Falconry: Day 1

Falconry is one of the oldest forms of hunting known to man dating back to somewhere between 3000-5000 B.C. It is a partnership between a man and a wild falcon or hawk that is mutually beneficial. The hawk has a greater chance of survival than it would in the wild and the man (or woman) has the chance to hunt with a bird of prey. 

Al Jordan, the falconer who has allowed me to begin the story, has three birds named Kit (6 months), Tess (about 18 months), and Z (24 months). A bird can be trained in 17 days from being wild to hunting with a falconer. They could read a newspaper across a football field. Jordan's hawks were bred in captivity with the purpose of hunting but when released, as he will some day do, they will be perfectly capable of transitioning. His Harris hawks are not indigenous to the northeast but are found in the deep mid-south in and around Texas. They are one of the only breed of hawk than hunts together.

Both days I've gone, his hawks have caught four squirrels in about an hour. Jordan takes his hawks out every day during the season and has one of the highest kill rates in the country.