The exotic can be next door

Umbrella Cockatoo [X-E3, XF18-55mm ƒ/2.8-4 R LM OIS, ISO 1000, ƒ/4, 1/200]
For these photos of the Umbrella Cockatoo I didn’t travel to Indonesia where they originated. I walked down the street to my neighbors house.

Peggy Hewitt and her Green-Winged Macaws Parrot [X-E3, XF18-55mm ƒ/2.8-4 R LM OIS, ISO 1250, ƒ/2.8, 1/200]
Peggy Hewitt, my neighbor, has 14 exotic birds she has rescued and is trying to find bird lovers to buy them from her.

Someone wanting to adopt a parrot needs to know they live a very long time as far as pets. The umbrella  cockatoo is a long-term commitment for an owner — this species can live up to 70 years with proper care and attention.

Green-winged macaw parrot [X-E3, XF18-55mm ƒ/2.8-4 R LM OIS, ISO 2500, ƒ/4, 1/200]
Often photographers think that they must go somewhere exotic to find the exotic.

Well my mentor Don Rutledge always said that the best stories are often in your backyard, or in my case next door.

Conures Parrott [X-E3, XF18-55mm ƒ/2.8-4 R LM OIS, ISO 1600, ƒ/3.6, 1/200]
I have lived at my house for the past nine years and this is the very first time I have been to Peggy’s house and seen her birds.

When we first moved to our home my daughter, Chelle, talked to her and got to see all of her birds.

When teaching photography one-on-one to a student at my house I was trying to come up with some things we could photograph around the neighborhood. We ran into her and asked when we were out photographing the fall colors.

Peggy Hewitt holding her Umbrella Cockatoo [X-E3, XF18-55mm ƒ/2.8-4 R LM OIS, ISO 800, ƒ/3.6, 1/200]
I think the one thing that keeps most photographers from ever getting better is the fear of talking to people.

Fall in our yard [X-E3, XF55-200mm ƒ/3.5-4.8 R LM OIS, ISO 400, ƒ/4.5, 1/100]
It is much easier to walk outside and look for nature shots than it is to walk next door and say hello to your neighbor.

While nature photos can be stunning, I don’t think any of my photos from my yard were as exciting to look at until I talked to my neighbor. By taking the time to get to know my neighbor I discovered something much more exotic that I would expect to find when I travel the world, but it was just next door.

Have you met your neighbors and found out what their hobbies are or what they do for work? Maybe your best pictures have been in your neighborhood all this time and you were too scared to talk to people to find out.

This is Bull Dog, an Amazon parrot. He got his name after Peggy got him from his previous owner who died. They figured out that the guy must loved watching university of Georgia football, because when football games were on TV the bird yelled GO BULL DOGS!! [X-E3, XF18-55mm ƒ/2.8-4 R LM OIS, ISO 1250, ƒ/2.8, 1/200]