Hooked on Birds

Many of you who follow my photos and blogs know that I love taking pictures of birds. That was not always the case though. Up until about five years ago, I did not really think about bird photos. So what changed for me? On one of my many trips to visit my mom in south Florida, I seriously began watching the behavior of the wading birds in the Everglades, and since that time, I have been smitten with these elusive creatures. From the Pileated Woodpecker near our house which I have yet to capture a decent photo of, to the hummingbirds at our feeder and

Snowy Egret I

Snowy Egret I

the Snowy Egrets of Chincoteague which are more abundant this year than in past years, I am shooting birds every chance I get.

 

During my first few years of photographing birds, I shot everything and did not focus on technique. I was getting used to the different bird behaviors. In the past couple of years I trained myself to be patient and wait for the action shot.

More recently my shots have centered on the birds’ environment and the light surrounding the bird.

Snowy Egret IV

Snowy Egret IV

I have also tried to make the depth of field shallow. This really focuses the eye on the bird because the background is soft and sometimes even blurry. Snowy Egret #1 really shows off this technique. In Snowy Egret #4, I used a little vignetting(purposely blurring the edges) to draw the eye to the bird.

In Snowy Egret #2, the background is more in focus but the bird’s pose and feathers

Snowy Egret II

Snowy Egret II

enticed me to shoot this shot.  It seemed to be begging me to photograph its beautiful plumage.

 

 

 

Another area I try to work on with lighting is capturing reflections. I know reflections can be overdone. I take lots of reflections of nature. But for me, at least, taking bird reflections is more difficult. I want the perfect one. Full bodied, clear features, highlighting the bird only. I don’t always manage to do

Snowy Egret III

Snowy Egret III

this so my work goes on in trying to improve my techniques. In Snowy Egret #2 I hope I have succeeded.

Let me know what you think of this series of Snowy Egret photos. Your comments are much appreciated and help me improve my craft.

 

I hope you enjoy these photos and take a look at the Gulls under the tab “Recent Photos.”

About kathiissermanphotos

I have been taking photos for the last 40 years and sharing them with friends and family. Recently I took the plunge to share them with a wider audience. You can view my photos on Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/kathiandkim, my purchase site-http://kathi-isserman.artistwebsites.com or here. I hope you enjoy viewing them, and please let me know what you think.
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4 Responses to Hooked on Birds

  1. oregon expat says:

    I’ve often wanted to photograph birds as well, but was a) never happy with the results from a 200mm zoom and b) unwilling and unable to spend the $$$$ on a 500mm zoom, not to mention the PITA of carrying one of those around. But you’ve taken some lovely shots with what appears to be a shorter lens. My favorite is IV, with the beautiful focus and vignetting. In addition, the tones of the mud and water give the photo a warmth that the others lack. Very nicely done!

    ~ Fletcher DeLancey

    Like

    • Fletcher, thank you for taking the time to write such a thoughtful critique. It really helps me to improve my craft besides giving me valuable feedback. You are spot on with regards to a shorter lens. I have an 18-300,BUT, and this is a big one. I have a D7100 Nikon so I can push it to 600mm. Because the sensor is 24.1, this crop factor does not really change the pixel size comparably to other DSLRs which are normally 16-18 mega pixels. In fact the extra crop factor equals an 18.1 mp camera.
      In the case of these Egret shots, I was also fairly close, maybe 30-40 feet. That helps a lot. I don’t often do vignetting during post processing but the photo lent itself to that. I also usually set my white balance outside to cloudy rather than auto. If it is too warm when I view it on the puter, I then adjust it. A cloudy white balance with landscapes and wildlife adds dimension IMHO.

      I really appreciate the detailed feedback. Never to be shy to offer it up.

      Like

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