STITCH LINES...... Ramblings on life as a quilter, stitcher, traveler, photographer, gardener and lover of books, cats and fine chocolate....

Saturday, July 13, 2013

A Personal Photo Challenge - July - Birds

This is my first time taking part in Donna's Personal Photo Challenge. This is a monthly meme, and topics are chosen ahead of time - this month's focus was Birds and next month's is Water. The idea, of course, is to challenge yourself with the topic and post three good photos.
Well, I'm not really a birder (although I'd like to be... does that count?) but I do know that bird photography has its challenges! Number one - you need a LOT of patience!! Birds do not usually co-operate by "posing prettily," and frequently fly away before you can get close enough to get a good shot or two... I guess they are

shy! Yesterday I was for a walk along the St. John River and there was a lovely meadow alongside the trail... Bobolinks were fluttering about and I was excited by the possibility of a shot or two of this bird I had never photographed before. Well.... this is the best I could get! Hardly close enough to even positively identify him! They were "flighty" and were not about to let us get the least bit close to them...
So it's not easy! I do not own a massive telephoto lens - wish I did. I use a 70-300mm Zoom lens - pretty standard among amateurs like myself. I do own a tripod and it certainly makes using a longer lens easier as it eliminates or significantly reduces the "shake" factor for sharper images. That being said, I don't often take it with me. (I know, I know, it doesn't do me any good when I'm out and it's at home. Please don't lecture...) I must confess and tell you that none of the photos you see here were taken with the use of a tripod.
As well as patience, you need good timing! By that I mean "being ready".. Here is another shot taken yesterday while on the riverside trail.. by the time we spotted the eagle in a tree and I got my camera up to my eye, he was already flying away. Again - not quite good enough... In my haste to try and
chase his tail end (no pun intended) he's not even in good focus!

So - along with patience, and being ready with equipment and a watchful eye, you need perseverance. Digital cameras allow us to take many more images than when we were using film cameras. This photo  IS one I'm happy with. It was taken last August in the Ingraham Garden at Kings Landing Historical Settlement in Prince William, N.B. - one of my most favourite gardens to visit with my camera. There are often hummers zooming around the many blooms and I took a number of shots that day, in hopes that one or two might be decent. Although I have a few which are closer, this one where she is sitting still (not for long!) is my favourite. It's far from "perfect" - my composition could have been better, with her not dead centre, but to catch these little dynamos that are in constant motion, still for even a few seconds.. and in fairly good focus... well, I'm happy!

This shot was taken recently- just a few weeks ago in the "Lupin patch". This Song Sparrow was singing happily as I clicked away in the lupins. Once I turned my attention to him, he wasn't long moving on, so I'm pleased I caught him on his perch on the dried weedstalks from last summer. I love the "soft focus" feel of this shot - the lupins are in soft focus and the background is blurred enough that you likely didn't recognize it as a Tim Hortons.

Again, hand held, with telephoto zoom lens... My camera is a Pentax K 20 D.

Lastly, another one from my archives. This eagle was enjoying the winter sunshine in an old tree just feet from my driveway. When my husband came in and told me he was there, I hastily put on coat and boots and grabbed my camera, fully expecting him to be gone by the time I got out there. But there he sat. The meaning of  the expression "eagle eye" became very clear as he glared down at me. I actually felt nervous and wondered if he could lift me and fly away with me! I was quite sure he couldn't , but still his glare unnerved me... He didn't sit for long - maybe two minutes at most; with a swoop of his giant wings he was gone, headed back to the river. But it was a magical few moments.. Again not the perfect shot but I was trying to work around a lot of small branches. I would have liked the sun to be on this side of his face so his eye would be clearer... Shots from further left, to get the sun on his face were obstructed by more branches...  So you have to work with what you've got!
All comments and suggestions welcomed (please don't be too harsh in your critique!) Please note: I have not used any means to "enhance" my photos- they are as I took them, other than a little cropping on the eagle.
I hope you'll visit Donna's blog here to see what others have done with the Personal Photo Challenge this month. And maybe next month you'll join in the fun?


“The reason birds can fly and we can't is simply because they have perfect faith, for to have faith is to have wings.” ~ J.M. Barrie,  The Little White Bird


Nancy Vance said...

What a great start to the photo challenge! Your commentary is good, too! All the frustrations you mentioned are the ones I deal with as well. One tip: you can take good photos through the window! A large percentage of my best bird shots were taken from inside the house on cold winter days. Your hummingbird is especially nice!

Donna said...

Thank you for joining in this month, and I'm glad that you plan to participate again! These are terrific. The little hummingbird looks like he is sharp as a tack. And I really like that eagle shot with the side-lighting. Whoa, he is giving you a glare, LOL. You obviously know how to work a camera because you are very careful with your depth of field. I had to laugh about the Tim Horton's remark. You're right - I would have never known that it was in back of that one shot! Don't feel bad about your attempt to catch a bird in mid-flight. I've only been successful at it a couple of time, and that was mostly dumb luck. Bird photography is one tough specialty!

Vee said...

I very much enjoyed the commentary as well as the photography. After reading the articles Donna provided, I realized that this really was an "assignment." I'm going to start much earlier with the water one. I'd give you high marks for patience and the hummingbird resting is my favorite, too. I even like the composition. And, really, only geeks carry their tripods with them! LOL! (Donna won't hear that will she?)

ClickNCamera said...

Welcome to APPC, your post is wonderful and with photos to match!
I especially love the hummingbird shot. Enjoy your day!

Jeanne said...

Welcome to the fun. I especially like your hummer shot. Not often you can catch one sitting still.

Lavender Cottage said...

The shot of the eagle is awesome and I'd be nervous too with something that big glaring down at me.
The hummingbird turned out well and I hope one day to catch one at rest myself.
I seldom take my tripod with me but darned if I don't get all excited when I see an unusual bird and start shaking. My best hawk opportunity was blurred for this reason - stopped the car on the side of the road and the adrenaline kicked in! :-)

Kathie said...

This is my first time joining the challenge too - in fact I only read about it this morning so all my photos were from my archives. I'm looking forward to next month as I'm from PEI - and we're surrounded by water!

Your eagle shot is amazing - I've never been that close to one before. And I love the song sparrow with the lupins - very soft and pretty.

I don't much about the technical details in photography - looking forward to picking up some tips.

happy Saturday!

Pamela Gordon said...

Linda, you got some really nice bird photos. I love the hummingbird one and the eagle is quite majestic as he glares at you. Birds are so difficult to capture and most of mine have been through the windows.

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

Your photos are amazing and you gave some good tips. My husband bought a tripod that is easy to carry and use. We take it to the Gulf coast sometimes when we are visiting State Parks. I don't have as much patience.
I'm glad you joined in! Sweet hugs!

Crafty Gardener said...

Lovely photos, so glad you joined the personal photo challenge where I'm visiting from

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