My photo treasures: Ray Wilson

I have recently watched the movie The Big Yearwhich is a comedy about three men, played by Jack BlackSteve Martin and Owen Wilson, who try to see as many bird species as possible within one year and within the United States. For somebody at least remotely interested in birding, the movie is not entirely convincing, but it perfectly portrays the passion for birds.
Today's photographer is very passionate about birds too; in particular about photographing birds. Unlike the other photographers that I have introduced so far, Ray Wilson is mainly a bird and wildlife photographer (and a research scientist, who is currently working at the University of Nottingham). He travels the world on his quest of capturing the feathered creatures that roam our planet. From Ray's diary you can learn that he ended the year 2012 and started the year 2013 with a trip to Ecuador, where he saw 348 species of bird! He presents the treasures from these trips in slideshows and his photographs have appeared in many books. However, Ray says that he is also becoming more and more interested in macro photography; in particular in insects. This clearly documents his ambition: There are only about 10'000 species of birds, while there are over 1 million species of insects!
The virtual galleries on Ray Wilson's homepage are systematically arranged according to taxonomic groups. The bird photographs are divided in passerines (perching birds, also called songbirds) and non-passerines and further into the many different families. For example, if I would like to look at photographs of the House sparrow, I surf from the passerines to the Passeridae (the bird family the house sparrow belongs to) and there I will find the well-known Passer domesticus (and four other species of sparrow). On my recent visit on Ray Wilson Bird & Wildlife Photography I was particularly impressed by the hummingbirds from Ecuador. The photograph below is a particularly well-accomplished capture of a Booted Racquet-tail. If you want to delve further into hummingbirds, there are 18 additional species (under Non-passerine Birds and in the family called Trochilidae). 
The Ray Wilson photo treasure is more personal than the previous ones, because we have worked at the same place more than 10 years ago (at the University of Maryland in College Park). I still remember our regular sandwich-lunches together. In addition, I also have an affinity for birds and bird photography. As a young boy I read and collected everything about birds that I could find and at one point I dreamt of becoming a bird photographer myself. However, my photography interests are not really compatible with serious bird photography and I prefer to admire the dedication and perseverance of twitchers and bird photographers like Ray.

I hope you will have a look and enjoy his photographs!
Booted Racket-tail (Ocreatus underwoodii), Tandayaa, Ecuador © Ray Wilson

2013/03/08 by Florian Freimoser
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