Hummingbirds-Bird Photography

WP hummingbird 4Every 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

Woodpecker – A Noisy Little Visitor

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. I never get tired of watching them as they make their way up the tree foraging for food.

Comments are always welcome.

Birds – 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

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.