Finding my groove while photographing birds

Anhinga-landing-1I had one of those ahh-ha moments during practice photographing bif’s this past week. The stress I’d felt when I first began this exercise wasn’t there, the mechanics were making sense and I felt relaxed for the first time. After watching some birds fish it dawned on me that they don’t get their target catch every time they just kept trying. And, that was the ahh-ha moment for me, I didn’t have to get every shot perfect I just have to keep at it.

I took time to observe their behaviors and anticipate their next move and I chose the moments I felt would be good for a photograph. I was in a zen place, I’d found my groove and it felt good, I was enjoying being outdoors immersed in nature not stressed over getting the shot. The purpose of the day became about the experience not getting the shot 😄 Were all the shots winners? Most certainly not but it doesn’t matter.

This is the final post on my bif quest for now, once the gimbal head arrives and I test it out I’ll post an update so until then…

Thanks for listening now GO TAKE MORE PHOTO’S!!

Do You See What I See…

© PC PHOTO 2015 All rights reserved

Stickin’ to my story…

I’ve heard it takes 21 days to make or break a habit. With that in mind 8 of the past 10 days I’ve been photographing birds in flight. Hundreds of frames have been shot and I certainly have a better grasp of the mechanics needed for the task. There is a noticeable difference in the quality of the images to me. I know, you’re thinking “well there should be…”. 

Each outing I tried different combos of bodies and lenses, trying hand held and using a tripod, seeking a combination to obtain the best results. So far the 610 in dx mode with the 80-400mm has the fastest focus responses and makes the sharpest image. Manual focus isn’t an option with these eyes and hand holding this combo it would be the bomb but alas a tripod is needed. 

Moving from aperture priority to manual with Auto ISO was by far the best camera setting choice I’ve made during this process.  There’s actually less thinking involved when you are in the middle of all that movement, go figure, lol.

As mentioned in my last post I believe that a Wimberley Gimbal tripod head will improve my ability to capture spectacular bird in flight photos and I still believe that to be true so, that’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.

Here’s a couple examples of this weeks practice. Can you tell which is a try from early in the exercise and which is from today? Should I continue getting up early or do you think I grasp the concept of photographing birds in flight and I can sleep in in the mornings?

_0009295Anhinga in flightSnowy-Egret-in-flight-sooc-0009816-2Snowy Egret in flight

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Tricolor Heron in flight

And just so you know my head wasn’t always in the clouds here are a couple of my favorite bird shots from this week that were closer to the ground.

Black-Crown-Night-Heron-0009833

Black Crowned Night Heron

Least-Bittern:dodge-0009564-2

Least Bittern

Thanks for listening now GO TAKE MORE PHOTO’S!!

Do You See What I See…

© PC PHOTO 2015 All rights reserved

I NEED A NEW HEAD

Birds in flight… I stink at photographing them. There, I’ve made a public proclamation. I’ve made this statement to friends when we have been out shooting. I’ve said that I need to practice I just never made the effort until recently. Yesterday I shot 400 frames of flying birds. About 200 frames were deleted in the field and another 150 frames while viewing the days results on the computer. 

Bif-/-good-#5-5149

The photo’s in this post are ok but I want spectacular. Now since I have shared my dirty little secret with the inter-web I will be compelled to put effort into nailing this part of wildlife photography, where I can come home at the end of a shoot and be wowed by my own stuff having captured sharp eyes, good exposures and fine details in well composed frames.

Bif-/-good-#2-juvie-and-adult-4974-2

I have decent equipment, Nikon bodies with good sensors and Nikon glass, no kit lenses. My Manfratto CF tripod is ok but the ball head just doesn’t feel right when I’m using the 80-400. Panning drags and is jerky and no matter how tight I lock the head it drops so I’m fighting the equipment rather than flowing with the process. A gimble head will rectify those issues. I’ve researched and I know what I want it’s just the investment that has held me back. Which is silly because I am weary of being frustrated and fatigued from fighting with equipment that just isn’t designed to get the job done. Don’t get me wrong that ball head head is fine for smaller lighter lenses that I use for landscape and macro work it’s just the wrong tool for the job I’m trying to do.

Bif-/-good-4871-2

Will a Wimberley Gimbal tripod head solve all my issues with bif’s? No, but surely it will assist me in achieving my personal goal of shooting spectacular bifs, then I can focus on other aspects of bird photography like my timing and camera settings.

Thanks for listening now GO TAKE MORE PHOTO’S!!

Do You See What I See…

© PC PHOTO 2015 All rights reserved

Sandhill Crane Colt grows up

single-sandhill-crane-colt--8244A quick update on my post from March 22 Sandhill Cranes and their colts. It’s one month later and the colt that was knee high to the adults has legs as long as the adults. It’s outgrowing the rusty colored down feathers and growing its adult plumage and is foraging fore its own food while staying close to parents just in case a hand out is offered.

sandhill-crane-family-single-colt---8247 Do You See What I See…

© PC PHOTO 2015 All rights reserved