Birds

Hairy Woodpecker and Choices (Two Photographs)

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If you follow me you will know I pay close attention to eyes, posture and impact in my nature photographs. I usually take many photographs of the same subject both to overcome errors, and to have a choice of shots (not too many and no motor driven machine gunning shoot, just a few). In this case seven. These two shots were the best.

 


Hummingbird (Two Photographs)

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Assuming a good shutter speed and focus, there is a good chance of a great hummingbird shot every time you see one in the frame. Therein lies the catch. Finding a small object with a telephoto lens is always a challenge. After practicing you can get it right more often than not, but it’s a learned skill.


Posture or Eyes?

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I always choose a subject’s eyes over posture if I can. This chickadee’s eyes were almost invisible and efforts with Photoshop to improve them were virtually imperceptible. When this happens your image depends on the posture of the bird, or some other story.


Your Position Matters (Two Photographs)

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Your position matters and not just in politics. The difference in these two photographs is where I was standing. In the first and better shot, the reflection of the tree adds to the composition rather than becoming a distraction.


Daffy Duck (Three Photographs)

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Every so often you come across a natural actor. As a photographer I am always looking for the unusual, or a story. But definitely something unexpected. At first I thought the duck was in difficulty but my next shots disproved that.


Not As Shy As She Looks

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This duck was preening close to shore. It was that time of year when ducks know people will throw food to them. So even though she had things to do she was not going miss lunch. While I don’t like the idea of feeding ducks, I am an opportunistic photographer.


The Look (Two Photographs)

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In previous posts I showed how light can make a big difference in animal photography as it does with people. I talked about catching interesting expressions and eyes. This time I wanted to make the point that these are not unique approaches or opportunities, but in my view the best ways to approach composition.


Duck Shot ( Two Photographs)

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I am fond of headshots of people and animals. With animals I will often try a few shots. With little control over light and subject it’s the photographic equivalent of Russian roulette. Very few have the impact I like. In my view, these shots worked.


Common in Colour (Three Photographs)

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I dislike hearing photographers say they have shot everything, are looking for something new, and they won’t shoot common things. It tells me that as a photographer there is something missing in their imagination. One of the best ways to improve your work is to try something difficult, and that does not mean having to fly to Venice.


Welcome (Two Photographs)

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I like to think that when ducks do this they are being welcoming or at least playing. But in reality they are just making sure the water runs off their backs. Still it can be spectacular show if the duck does the full dance.


Getting Closer (Two Photographs)

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Getting closer is not always about long and expensive lenses. It can also be the result of up-sizing, grouping and formatting in post production. The latest in photography software is all about upsizing photographs and it may affect the way we think about the size of our camera’s sensors.


Standing its Ground (Two Photographs)

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Canada Geese can be quite confrontational and run after you down a path, hiss or generally make threatening movements. They can also take a stand as if to say stay away (even if they are hip deep in water and you are standing on dry land). 

 


Above it All (Two Photographs)

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You know those photographs of politicians where they tilt their chin up, and try to appear like the captain of a ship (e.g.Mussolini). Well it doesn’t look any better on a bird. I see too many shots from this angle, including one from a politician yet to be elected.


Hairy Woodpecker (Two Photographs)

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Technology today is amazing, we have long lenses that are very sharp and software that permits upscaling shots with little if any noticeable problems. In this case we get some great detail of a wonderful little bird.


A Grumpy Hummingbird (Three Photographs)

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I am not sure if all hummingbirds glare like this grump, but this one certainly did. I took this in a small garden and I suspect the bird wanted the place all to itself. A friend pointed the bird out to me. It was coming and going at irregular intervals to different spots which made it a bit challenging to find.

 


A Wigeon in Fall (Three Photographs)

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I cannot resist these ducks. They are fairly rare here, and arrive in fall when the colour is great. Wigeons are hard to disturb and can come quite close to shore unlike most of the mergansers and other rare ducks in our area.


Female Goldfinch (Three Photographs)

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Having shown a male goldfinch earlier this week, it’s time for the ladies. In this case I thought the light was very flattering. It reminded me of the days when we would shoot portraits through glass smeared with vaseline or through a thin piece of cloth, to add texture and bend the light a bit.

 


Male Goldfinch (Three Photographs)

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You cannot help but smile watching goldfinches search for food in the bushes. There is an intensity to their movement. I found this bird late in the summer before its migration south for the winter.


It’s All About the Light (Two Photographs)

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An important component of photography is the capturing of light. It’s also about framing, subject, texture, colour etc. I think it’s important to avoid catch phrases like, it’s all about the light and focus on bringing together the technology, the subject and your own sense of the art. Here light plays a bigger role and makes for a better picture.


Bird with an Attitude (Two Photographs)

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I am guilty of anthropomorphism, applying human emotions to animals. It makes things a touch more fun. If photography wasn’t fun you would not find me behind a camera. I am hoping some opportunities for photography open up this summer, but I am not holding my breath.


Stalker (Two Photographs)

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As the season progresses the ducks get used to people in the reserve. It’s not uncommon to be followed by a duck or a duck to come closer without much fear (especially if you yourself are slow and silent). In this case the balustrade of a bridge served as passageway for this great duck.

 


Two Errors and a GoldFinch (Two Photographs)

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I am always looking in my collection for photos that illustrate an important point in photography. In this case we have a great bird shot with lousy eyes and an imperfect shot of a bird with great eyes. Yes its possible to “fix” this. But it would immeasurably better if it were not needed and the originals worked as one would wish.


Almost Ethereal (Two Photographs)

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Sometimes when shooting with what we think should be the best settings (e.g. shutter speed and aperture), something wonderful happens – our subject is in focus but the background isn’t and the subject has enough of “je ne sais quo” to make it look unreal. And for once I don’t care if the eyes are not perfect.

 


The Wayward Osprey (Three Photographs)

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In this edition of young Osprey; the only juvenile to fly, came back for lunch. An impressive effort considering its sibling was not yet flying. My jaw dropped when it looked like the bird braked in mid air before landing (see second photo in the series).