Each of today’s images are old. Not film sort of old, but old digitals.
Action wildlife photography has never been easy, and hopefully will never be such. We appreciate the things that are difficult. Not so much the easy stuff.
Close up action shots are often quick, instinctively made images. I just had gotten my manual focus on the eyeballs (when in doubt shoot for the eyes) when this female Red-tail Hawk burst into flight. The fact that it turned a bit to one side, and that I was able to ‘follow focus” the subject, allowed for a sharp image even at f4 for an aperture. I was way too close to capture the entire bird so I clipped the top wing badly and the tip of the bottom wing. At home I cropped a little further in order to have a more balanced image and I dare say, a higher impact photo.
Often photographers other than fulltime avian natural history photographers, will avoid immature birds. I always photographed everything and anything. Not in a “shotgun” style of hoping that something might turn out, but in an “everything in nature is interesting” sense. Below we find an immature Bald Eagle. I was driving on a rural marsh road and spotted this mottled but beautiful immature bird in a tree. I would have preferred a less busy background but they make the decisions on where to perch, and we make the photos.
Of course when you know where they will be….well, then you’ve got it made.
This is a mom and dad Osprey with babies at a man built nesting site. Just set up and wait, and the pictures will come to you.
Group action bird shots are fairly easy when you can pan with them be it left to right or vice versa. When they turn head on at you, you’d better have some good auto focus if you want to keep up with the speed of birds closing in on you. Focusing in manual focus takes practice when they are coming at you, but you will begin to get a feel for it. Practice may not make you perfect but it can make you successful.
These are shorebirds called Sanderlings.
Of course the good Lord has provided us with many winged critters. This Widow Dragonfly posed cleanly and beautifully above a small pond. A good camera and lens, a tripod, and click, click. Insects, small frogs, lizards, and such were among my favorite subjects. Dragonflies tend to come back over and over again to the same hunting perch giving photographers several opportunities for an image. Stay focused on the perch and you will likely get some great pictures.
I used a 300mm lens and a sturdy tripod.
I love the shapes of nature and leafless trees are among my favorites. Normally I show off these craggy lines and designs in front of a sunrise or sunset, but variety is the spice of life. Some morning clouds with a blue-ish sky made a pretty background for these branches.
Rocks are another favorite subject of photographers. Usually the sandstone rock of the west is the most sought after, but they are not the only rocks “with character“.
Rocks in the midst of trees bring us color, texture, and shape contrasts. As many of you know, I love working with contrasts. Of course, rocks come in many unique shapes.
Neither of these images are going to win any awards but they both contain something I love in photography. That is, texture. They were made in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
Of course, there is nothing (for me anyway) like western rock forms bathed in the setting sun, just before a storm.
Of course, rocks can be mere featureless shapes as well. A dark and mysterious balance to a sunset sky. Notice the three dimensional quality of the dark and mysterious rock form against the colorful clouds which are ladled with both light and shadows.
In the mixed up and often evil world we live in, hobbies or even jobs like photography, can be the diversion needed to help us carry on. Remember the song by the group Kansas when they sang, “carry on my wayward son, there’ll be peace when you are done“?
True peace is only available through God, but I suspect He is okay with unselfish and harmless diversions like outdoor photography. It will also help you share a little bit of yourself, with the world.