Dave LaBelle likes to give me a hard time about when we first met. I was in high school and thinking of coming to WKU for the photojournalism program. I handed him a copy of Bird Talk Magazine and inside was a photo of a white dove that I had taken (I raised doves and pigeons as a kid). Of course I was proud, especially since I was paid $25 for that photo. I made a copy of the check and put it in a photo album which I still have 25 years later. Little did I realize that Mr. LaBelle had his own passion for pigeons as a child.
Now as an adult I raise and race homers in my back yard. I’ve been taking photos of them during training tosses and as they fly around the house, but I’ve never been able to get anything as clean and sharp as I’d like. After a visit to a fellow club member’s loft this week, I realized he had a better space and many more white pigeons. So this morning I went over to his loft with a piece of black felt, a Canon Mark IV, two strobes on clamps and spent an hour photographing his birds. I love all the different shapes they make when flying – it’s just not something you can discern when they are moving so fast. Maybe I can get Bird Talk to publish one . . .
Mr. LaBelle, this post is for you. You ready to get racing again??
(BTW, let me make an important distinction for those of you who may watch or photograph those “white dove” releases at weddings or funerals: The birds being released are white homers just like you see in the photos above. They are NOT doves. The release business knows darn well that no one would hire them to release pigeons, so they call them doves. The white pigeons go home and can therefore be available again for the next release. Domesticated doves would just go off into the wild and likely die. I remember getting into an argument with a copy desk about a caption I wrote and they wouldn’t believe me that they weren’t doves. **end rant**)
Below is a collection of other photos of my birds and friends birds: