Weekly Photo Challenge: Ornate

Years ago, I lived for a year and a half in the UK, and spent a lot of time on my weekends touring properties listed under the National Trust.  If I had been asked to come up with photos to describe my impression of ornate at that time, I would have drawn on references such as rococo furniture, tapestries, paintings with gilded frames, the fencing surrounding Buckingham Palace and the gardens of Hampton Court.  All are still valid today, and I could go back in my archives and find dozens of examples… but my brain seems to work differently now.

Now, when I think of ornate, I think of birds.  The beautiful detail of feathers when seen up close.  The dizzying array of patterns, colours and textures.  The mating performances.  Even the patterns of their flight.

When you look at the birds below quickly, they seem to be dusty creatures in tones of beige, brown and grey.  So take a closer look at a few ornately decorated birds I found in Botswana and South Africa.

A pair of namaqua sandgrouse. Who says you can't pair stripes and polka dots together? Kalahari Desert, April 2015 1/1600sec, f5.6, ISO 400
A pair of namaqua sandgrouse. Who says you can’t pair stripes and polka dots together?
Kalahari Desert, April 2015
1/1600sec, f5.6, ISO 400
An orange river francolin, also in the Kalahari Desert. This one had been digging in the dirt. At least the coating of mud on his front feathers doesn't obscure the wide variety of patterns and colours on display. April 2015 1/1000sec, f8.0, ISO 400
An orange river francolin, also in the Kalahari Desert.
This one had been digging in the dirt. At least the coating of mud on his front feathers doesn’t obscure the wide variety of patterns and colours on display.
April 2015
1/1000sec, f8.0, ISO 400
A swainson's spurfowl (I believe our ranger referred to it is a slit-neck francolin as well, or something like that). I was lucky that bird stayed still for such a long time, usually these scurry off into the bushes site quickly, but this one posed perfectly so we can see not only the intricate feathers, but the texture on his legs and around his eyes. Seen in the Okavango Delta April 2015 1/800sec, f11, ISO640
A swainson’s spurfowl (I believe our ranger referred to it is a slit-neck francolin as well, or something like that).
I was lucky that bird stayed still for such a long time, as usually these scurry off into the bushes site quickly.  This one posed perfectly so we can see not only the intricate feathers, but the texture on his legs and around his eyes.
Seen in the Okavango Delta April 2015
1/800sec, f11, ISO640
A crested francolin at the roadside in the TImbavati. May, 2015 1/640sec, f5.6, ISO 200
A crested francolin at the roadside in the TImbavati.
May, 2015
1/640sec, f5.6, ISO 200

Ornate

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