The Challenge

One of the core aspects of photography I enjoy are the diversity of challenges different genres & subjects provide.  Wildlife, & particularly bird photographers, capture amazing images. Not only are they knowledgeable about their subjects habits & habitats but they must have an extraordinary amount of patience.  Many of these dedicated photogs use a 400mm as a go-to lens.  With these 4 shots I was on the long end of my kit 18-135 lens that came with my 7D.

Belize Pelican 006

I got this shot off the coast of Belize.  We were celebrating my birthday kayaking along the worlds 2nd longest barrier reef.  The sky & water were a sapphire blue during the day. This particular evening, as Pelicans were feeding, the sun was setting & the water had lost the azure reflection.  The color & the ripples on the sea seem to be an extension of the hue & texture of the birds feathers.

Roseate Spoonbill

 This Roseate Spoonbill  was captured at Merritt Island Sanctuary in FL.  Some might say this type of location is the best place to go to get pics of birds.  However, I saw a display of shots from an amateur photog this past Spring at the Roger Tory Peterson Institution.  I was amazed at her depth of  knowledge of the species & their migratory patterns she had.  Even more amazing were some of the shots an “amateur” could get  .Her subject knowledge gave her an asset that transcended the fact that she did this as a hobby not for profit.  She did use a 400 mm lens which wasn’t a surprise.  What hit me in the head is when she shared some of her shots were taken in a graveyard.  The stillness apparently relaxed the birds giving her a few more moments to snap the shutter.  Sometimes it is that simple…find a quiet place where the subject is relaxed. is a link you will enjoy especially if bird photography is an inspiring challenge.

Bird on Golden Rod

I have no idea what type of bird this lil tweet is.  I do know I got lucky & I cropped.  After watching the flight pattern of this sparrow-like bird, I picked an area with great light.   I noticed it was a landing areas of his/hers.  I kept checking my AF at various points in the scene & waited for a landing.  I estimate that the time of the bird on the branch was less than 3 seconds.  Luck occurs when preparation meets opportunity. Merritt Island FL

  Of all of the advantages of digital photography I do believe the cropping tool is my favorite.  It gives me an opportunity to refine the image I capture.  I lack the experience of color correction and compositing that many skilled post-production artists have so the simple re-crop is my “comfort club” in my digital bag.  That being said I did tweak the green & red curves of Bird on Golden Rod just a smidgen. After exporting at 908 x 626 I think it looks OK on my computer.  I have serious doubts as to the quality of print repro any larger than 12 x 8.  I will do a post sometime about the challenge of  full frame perfection.

White Ibis 005

How you define the quality of your own work is a subjective perspective that evolves.  I like to keep raising the bar & explore new subjects.  Doing bird photography, if I can ID the bird from the photo that’s a good shot.  Good light w/ soft clouds in the bg & a graceful wing-span.  Yea,  for me…after cropping…was the shot of the day.  It is a White Ibis which is a wadding bird.  I prefer locations for birds around water so Herons and Ducks are often the species that challenge me.  Merritt Island FL


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