Bird Photography-Blue Herons

Fishing for Lunch

Spent a long time watching this blue heron hunt for fish on the shores of Delavan Lake in Wisconsin. Their process of catching fish is very interesting. The heron will stand very still in the water upright, but as it moves to a new location it cocks its head and neck to one side to scan the water surrounding it. When fish are spotted, it crouches its body down very close to the surface of the water and tucks its neck in close to its body. And then it waits – when the time is right with extreme force and precision it dives for the fish.

Gaining Speed.jpg

Taking Flight.jpg

Ready to Launch.jpg

Two Cranes.jpg

Photography – There is hope that warm weather is coming!

Visitor at the Feeder

As you have probably guessed by now, I love hummingbirds. They are one of my favorite birds to photograph. They are quite the little challenge.

Today I am very excited. Given the weather this spring in Chicagoland, I have been waiting for them to come back. They usually are spotted in mid-April. Today was a blessing! The first one arrived at my feeder. Spring has sprung!!

Photography – Hummingbirds

Hummingbird - at the feederEvery year I set up a couple of hummingbird feeders in my backyard. In northern Illinois, the Ruby Throated Hummingbird is primarily the only species that migrates to our area. This little bird averages 3″ to 4″ in size and can beat its wings 53 times per second. They are very fun to watch. The males are extremely territorial. They will dive bomb and give chase to an intruder to send him on his way.

This male hummingbird below would sit at the feeder for hours into the night to guard its territory.

Hummingbird 5WP-Hummingbird2WP-HummingbirdHummingbird 4

Photography – A Noisy Little Woodpecker

Woodpecker

f/8; 1/500; ISO-125; 300mm

During the winter months in the Midwest, it is very quite outside. Except for the occasional dog barking or the howl of the wind, there is not a lot of noise during the day. At night we have a couple of great horned owls that break the silence with their hooting back and forth to mark their territory. I have yet to capture one in camera. Still hoping.

Yesterday, I heard the familiar sound of a red headed woodpecker who was making its way up the tree foraging for food.

Comments are always welcome.

Bird Photography – Sometimes You Just Get Lucky!

Bird & dragonfly.jpg

I was testing a camera lens for distance. So I decided to shoot this bird that was perched on a branch near the top of the tree. When I got home to view the shots I took that day, it was an unexpected surprise to see the dragonfly on the tip of the top tree branch. 

f/14; ISO 400; 1/1600; 250mm

Photography – The Journey Begins With One Subject

Seagull gray“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step” — Lao Tzu…..In the case of a photographer, the journey of a thousand photographs begins with one subject.

My photography journey seriously started in 2014 using an inexpensive Canon DSLR and one 18-55mm lens. Although I enjoyed learning about the camera features, at that time my photography was less about the actual photo taking and more about the photo processing. It didn’t take too long to realize that mastering all the photo editing tools and effects provided in software and apps won’t turn a poorly composed photo into a photo that “wows”. An average photo, is an average photo no matter how you dress it up!

Anyone who is new to photography knows how overwhelming the whole process can be. Just understanding how to take photos outside of the automatic setting on your camera is a feat in itself. Who has time to think about composition? We like something we see, we aim our camera then shoot. Many times after a photo shoot, my excitement quickly faded when I discovered there wasn’t a decent photo in the 200 plus photos I took. What was I thinking? The point is, I wasn’t thinking!

So where do you begin to sharpen your photo composition skills. What helped me the most was to zero in on one subject. It narrowed my focus, allowed me to experiment with my camera settings, and think about placement of the subject in the photo. One of the biggest learnings for me was that sometimes stepping back two feet, lowering the camera, or shooting at a different angle can make a huge difference in the end result.

The photograph above was taken on a very foggy day along Lake Michigan with a 55-250mm lens. The fog actually enhances the seagull’s dreamy expression.

Tip: When photographing a subject with movement, leave more space in the direction the subject is moving.