Birds

Three Birds – SPRING! (Three Photographs)

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Today, April 22, is the first day it feels like spring outside. These were taken on that day, such a long time coming. A Chickadee, a  Gull and a Downy Woodpecker. Looking forward to more. Soon it will be warbler season and the herons will return, the nests will be built and the young birds will appear. Just what the doctor ordered.


One of a Murder (Three Photographs)

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The expression for a group of crows is a murder of crows. It was as you can see a chilly day. Three things about crows: 1) they have two eyelids, one is a transparent inner lid (transparent to the bird) to us it looks white or blue. And as a result the eye is not quite as nice as it is with all the eyelids raised; 2) these birds are jet black, I find either spot metering or increasing shadow and some contrast, brings out the detail; 3) they hate owls, and one way of finding owls is to listen for the cawing of a murder of crows trying to harass an owl away from their turf. These are very intelligent animals and they remember faces and protect their nest with real vigour. Where I live people have been attacked for getting too close to a nest on a main street.


A Crow (Three Photographs)

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I have taken many shots of crows but only a rare handful have been successful. Exposing for the bird blows out the background and often gives you a blue, as opposed to a black crow. So for every crow shot I take I usually need to fix the background and the color. In this case the background for once cooperated, the blue was easily fixed and in addition I got a shot that also looked good in black and white.


Pileated Woodpecker (Three Photographs)

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A very hard bird to miss, their hammering can be heard from quite a distance. Their howling (that sounds like the monkeys in the Tarzan films) is even louder. Here a male is building a nest and in one of the shots you can see some of the wood chips flying. In another you can see him making his howling call. The red crest has not been altered, the photos were taken with camera preset (flat) that excludes any processing and I have left the color alone. An impressive bird on one of the few times it was warm enough to go to the reserve this year (April 9th). The lake was still frozen and there was still some snow on the ground.


Great Blue Heron and a Word on Light (Two Photographs)

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The photos were taken about twenty minutes apart. The lighting has changed dramatically, but given that it was the middle of the day, I think the bird’s position and the position from which I took the shots have more to do with the lighting and intensity of colour than anything else. The point being that if you get the chance try another perspective, move and try again, you can never be sure that sort of change will not result in a better photograph. These photographs were taken in 2015 with a 200mm lens and have not been published before.


A Sparrow (Two Photographs)

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I’m writing this in the first week of April, working a few weeks in advance on posts. Outside we have freezing rain and snow, which explains my being inside and in front of a computer. Adobe has just released Lightroom 7.3, the major addition are the very accessible profiles. You can use in camera profiles or choose the change in Lightroom. They are quite a few profiles, colour and black and white. Having looked I will stick to my two favourite profiles, Adobe Standard and Nikon Flat. They enable me to make my own corrections on a per photo basis and add my new touches. By all means try them but I prefer the “handmade approach.” As for the common sparrow photographed here, all the profilesincluding flat and standard, leaned heavily toward magenta and needed fixing by hand.


Chickadees (Two Photographs)

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Lovely friendly birds that never perch for long. So if you want a challenge to test your small bird technique don’t forget the common chickadee. They beg for food but with so many feeding them I have held off, only occasionally leaving seeds on the path when the weather was bad.