I’ve just come in from the cold – isn’t that a spy thing? But I’m being literal. It’s winter here and I live near the Mississippi River – prime time and place to photograph Bald Eagles.
I’m not much of a wildlife photographer, but even I’ll bundle up for a bit of bird watching – if the birds are upwards of 10 pounds and I can easily spot them without too much effort.
This week, the challenge is to go out and…
Photograph our Feathered Friends
You don’t have to go find eagles. Any flying feathered object will do – it can even be unidentified (a UFFO). If I’m uncertain on the type of bird I’ve photographed, I just post a photo on FB and one of my eagle-eyed 🙂 photography friends will tell me what type of bird it is.
I’m sure I learned how to identify birds in school, but somehow it just didn’t stick. I know there’s something about color and shape of wings and beaks and claws and I’m sure there’s something about wind span and size. I can pretty much tell the difference between an eagle and a starling, but don’t ask me to do any more refined identification. And definitely don’t ask me what type of starling!
Over the years, I’ve photographed a number of birds, but only because they’ve sat still long enough for me to get myself organized.
I swear this Great Horned Owl (I know this because I crowdsourced the mug shot) patiently waited while I put my telephoto lens on and got into position. He (or she – I can’t even identify most birds, don’t ask me to tell if they’re wearing lip gloss or not!) just looked at me. And then he looked some more.
At one point I became suspicious and thought maybe one of us maybe should be scared of the other one. The owl didn’t look scared of me so I took the hint and hot footed it out of there!
Birds can be aggressive. Have you met the seagulls in Cornwall? They’ll take your lunch right off your plate. Technically, it was my friend’s lunch and she’d just gone off to get napkins. But the point is, don’t feed the birds! Even if you didn’t intend to.
I even managed to photograph a rare bird or at least rare to our area. We had a visiting Mandarin Duck in town for a while in the autumn. I guess it was on holiday in the U.S. from Asia. Actually there were two in the States, one in New York City and one in St. Louis. Our bird probably had fewer paparazzi.
When I told my husband I was going to photograph the Mandarin Duck he thought I was talking about a new Chinese restaurant. I had a photo of the duck in last week’s challenge, but I like this one better.
Ok – it was worth the trip. He was cute.
But since I don’t do a lot of wildlife photography, I don’t have all the fancy lenses that my friends have. So my birds are generally pretty far away and small in the frame. Maybe I should start by photographing pigeons in the parking lot or ducks in the lake rather than trying to photograph eagles on the river.
I do like that Sony 100-400mm lens – Sony let me try it out for a couple of weeks – and I have a birthday at some point this year. I’m sure my husband will get the hint if he’s reading my blog. Though it may have to be a birthday/Christmas/Hanukkah/Halloween/Valentines Day gift.
I try sneaking up on the birds as stealthy as a cat – but I think the birds know about cats and they fly away. Why do they always seem to fly away from me? Do they know I’m taking their picture?
You don’t need to try for exotic this week, stick your head out the window and see what’s chirping. If you catch the bird with interesting light on it’s feathers or doing something birdy than I’m sure the photo will be great!