The Cornell Lab Bird Academy Discussion Groups Bird Photography with Melissa Groo Practice Getting Creative and Telling Stories

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      Bird_Academy
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    • Dotsie
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      skyewise
      And now (of course these 3 posts are in reverse order), the pileated woodpecker digs this way, then that way, until he is finally satisfied that he's worked that hole for all it's worth. And that's my story.Woodpecker_Pileated_20210507-7Woodpecker_Pileated_20210507-8Woodpecker_Pileated_20210507-9
    • Dotsie
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      skyewise
      But the pileated woodpecker isn't satisfied with the pickings on the first log. With what an anthropomorphizing person might call a glare of annoyance, he hops to another. On the buggy warpath, he attacks with a vengeance, pecking straight on, then digging around the edge of his previous hole.Woodpecker_Pileated_20210507-4Woodpecker_Pileated_20210507-5Woodpecker_Pileated_20210507-6
    • Dotsie
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      skyewise
      I was standing near a pond where there was an ancient pile of long logs. Suddenly I hear a pileated woodpecker, and a bright red cap - just the cap - peaks up from behind a log. Then he jumps on a log and surveys his domain. He digs in. (Now, with only 3 photos per reply, it's going to take 3 replies to tell the story.)Woodpecker_Pileated_20210507-1Woodpecker_Pileated_20210507-2Woodpecker_Pileated_20210507-3
    • Sasha
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      birder2004
      nm_1 copy 4 Northern Mockingbird perched on a bush; visible is its preferred scrubby habitat with UCI and the San Gabriel Mountains in the background
    • Kathleen
      Participant
      Chirps: 28
      kathleentitus
      This spring has been special because blue jays built a nest in a tall pine tree that was easily viewed from my kitchen window - and with binoculars, I was able to see the babies as well as the mother! So, I decided to photograph them for this homework assignment of a story in photos. I actually took eight photos for the story, but I'm submitting my favorite three. While photographing, I could see the importance of showing the habitat, rather than cropping closely around the birds. This was important with the first photo of the mother jay alone in her nest and then the second photo of the babies in the nest - safely surrounded by the pine tree. Then, I was very worried that the babies had fledged too early. I saw the empty nest and just one solitary baby bird up against a tree waiting. Later, I saw that the baby was hopping around the back yard and hopped onto a wheelbarrow, trying to fly. I'm including this photo, which is interesting because I had to take it looking into the light and the shape of the baby and pine boughs are silhouetted. I was able to use telephoto and keep a distance. Then, the baby hopped over and flew slightly up the stairs of the neighbor's house. He/she seemed afraid and didn't move for a long time, so I went out looking for the mother. I saw her up above in a tree and took a photo which shows nice backlighting again with the bird and foliage silhouetted against the sky. The last photo is of the mother and the baby on the stairs. The baby seems to be asking to be fed. I took the photo so the baby and the mother seem small compared to the fencing on the stairs. I unfortunately had to leave and when I returned, I searched for the baby and there was no sign. So, I can only HOPE that there was a happy ending to this and the baby was indeed able to fly! So this became MamaJay2BabiesBabyFlying? a bittersweet story - caused me to realize how safe & snug the babies are at first in the nest and to feel with a pang just how big & scary the world may seem to a baby bird. But I was also somewhat reassured because I witnessed great dedication from the mother jay on the nest and she was right there for the baby jay who was out of the nest so young to explore the world......
    • Virginia
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      ginnid
      This morning, June 1, 2021,  I went out to one of my usual spots; Sand Creek in northeast Denver.  I had it in mind to try to practice capturing birds in flight using the tips that Melissa shares in a following lesson.  I was blessed with more than a dozen snowy egret sightings.  I've never had luck capturing a decent flight photo of these graceful birds, but I thought I would give it a try again today.  In particular I kept in mind Melissa's suggestion to have the sun and wind behind me, and try to capture the bird as it was coming towards me.  That's not easy!  I didn't quite do that in this photo but I am happy to have been able to get an image of the egret's wings going downward.  The photo certainly isn't as clear as I would like it to be.  I have work to do on my settings.  At first I was disappointed with the shadow that shows up on the egret's right wing, but then I thought that it was unusual and unique.  So it's a keeper for me! DSC_0107 (8)
    • Danya
      Participant
      Chirps: 20
      dfurda
      April 21 we visted Pickerington Ponds Metro Park and were happy to see a Cooper's Hawk.  It was far away with many branches and in deep shadow, so the few photos my husband got were unremarkable.  Later, he approached a tree with a well lit Song Sparrow he thought perhaps might show a better side.  When the sparrow suddenly flew, the hawk appeared on the branch just above, a few meters away, "ready for her close up." IMG_1702 IMG_1705
    • Scott
      Participant
      Chirps: 22
      ScottA010
      I took this photo from shore and noticed the reflection along with ripples of the water of the Canadian Geese with other species in the background DSC_0443 (2)I
    • Scott
      Participant
      Chirps: 22
      ScottA010
      I took this picture of a immature Gold Finch in the late summer; my story is that it was jumping around in a local Arboretum planting catching insects. I noticed how abundance the color surrounding the bird and brought it out in a sharp view making it a pretty bird even if it was in it's drab color.  DSC_0579
    • Thomas
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      Tomvanviegen
      This is a Southern Redbill Hornbill that was being mobbed by an African Paradise Flycatcher as it was raiding the flycatchers nests in the Kruger National Park, South Africa Hornbill_Flycatcher 20 10 2013-2658
    • Harish
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      hdobhal
      Here is another story of a Red-wattled Lapwing mobbing an Oriental Honey-buzzard. I regret the missed photos where both would be clearly focused DSC_2428DSC_2430DSC_2429
    • Harish
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      hdobhal
      Here is a story that I documented in Nov 2019 - Three young of Wire-tailed Swallow begging for food and parent feeding them one by one. That time I did not have a good lens (Tamron 70-300) so photos are grainy and less sharpD72_6755D72_6760aD72_6759c
    • Belinda
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      bb.m50
      The flight patterns and particularly the landings of Sandhill Cranes were particularly interesting. I kept thinking about being on an airplane and experiencing the landing gear going down, then the flaps going up to slow progress before setting down. While not an environmental story, the sequence of these three shots tell a science story that to me explains a little about aerodynamics. I would like to combine them into one image to tell the story. Yes, they need post production but I haven't had that lesson. And I still need a longer lens or closer access.2021 Jan 31 Sandhill Cranes 84R2021 Jan 31 Sandhill Cranes 88R2021 Jan 31 Sandhill Cranes 91R
    • Deborah
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      drdshapiro
      061D45FE-7175-4B47-AF87-E0144C395A8A
      • Deborah
        Participant
        Chirps: 3
        drdshapiro
        The point of this photo is to show a group of photographers encircling a snowy owl in a state park on Long Island, New York. (My shadow is the second one from the right). Even though the bird is in a protected nesting area, it is surrounded every day by photographers and birders, not all of whom keep a respectful distance away. On the other sides of the dune there are more photographers. I’m glad that I was able to see the owl, but I was very uncomfortable being there.
    • Robert Dueweke
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      rdueweke
      I wanted to focus on an environmental issue. After researching the issues in the state of Michigan, I drove a few hours through the Thumb area of the state to see what I would see. For the most part, I did not see many birds, other than a hawk that seized a roadkill as I sped by with no time to grab my camera. I then came upon a wind farm north of Vassar. What surprised me was the absence of birds. Was the absence due to the wind turbines, or the near freezing temperatures? Research indicate that there is an issue with the environmental impact of the wind farms. As I drove down the dirt road, I saw this bird hovering in one spot over the edge of the field. It was too far to manage a description of its species. I took this picture to draw a relationship between the life of birds and energy technology and the move away from fossil fuels. Since my mirrorless Lumix camera is broken (Panasonic says it no longer has parts for the G6, and the camera is not even 10 years old!). At the moment, I rely on my iPhone and a Kodak EasyShare that is extremely limited. bird hovering Vassar Mi
    • Mary
      Participant
      Chirps: 67
      MaryB1
      I spend at least a half hour watching a cactus wren build a nest which I had read is football shaped and opening at its side. At one point the bird went in and not for awhile did it come out, but I wanted to show this bird's home. Here was the photo. I learned to take the time to see the whole picture of a bird's work and now understand better how little we know when we look at any nest.DSC_0795
    • Laura
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      LauramcH
      IMG_6302IMG_6309IMG_6273 I submitted these because of the reflections on the water.  In the female mallard photo, it is hard to tell what branches are above the water and what is reflected.   That made it interesting to me.  I also liked the look of the wavy reflected lines from branches in the photo of the male mallard.  The hooded mergansers were the ducks on the pond I was most interested in this day, so I included the photo of them, even though they were more distant.  These photos were better than a lot of photos I have taken this fall of ducks on ponds, where the distance and lighting at different times of day have resulted in less than satisfactory images.  I am working on it. :)
      • Mary
        Participant
        Chirps: 67
        MaryB1
        I find reflections almost more interesting than the photo I planned to take. Nice reflections caught in your photos.
    • Dennis
      Participant
      Chirps: 20
      JeffersonTW
      DSC_1766DSC_1763This was a nice intimate moment between two Mourning Doves. The wire fence obscures the clear shot, and perhaps, lends the sense of privacy.
      • Mary
        Participant
        Chirps: 67
        MaryB1
        You caught the lovey-dovey action! Nice!
    • Dennis
      Participant
      Chirps: 20
      JeffersonTW
      IMG_4010I enjoy trying to find birds doing unusual things, unlike the everyday. Again, I was lucky to be in the right spot at the right time, mangrove swamp in Mexico, when this heron leapt out from the tops of the trees. Nikon D7200 with 70-300 mm lens
      • Mary
        Participant
        Chirps: 67
        MaryB1
        That's a capture! Cool! Great goal to have!
    • Shea
      Participant
      Chirps: 24
      runnerboy13
      I was out early one morning at around seven walking around the lake, as usual, there was a little group of bufflehead ducks that I managed to get pretty good pictures of in the light, they used to hang out in the middle of the lake where it was hard to get pictures of them with a 300 mm lens, but now they come closer to shore, especially the females.20201128104449__MG_762520201128104508__MG_762620201128104541__MG_7627
      • Mary
        Participant
        Chirps: 67
        MaryB1
        I just discovered this bird. They are nice looking.
      • Page
        Participant
        Chirps: 2
        page21
        I find it hard to get the white on their heads to not look blurry , while the rest of the body is sharp ?
    • Aidan
      Participant
      Chirps: 11
      26keata
      IMG_3645 I tried and tried again to get a pan blur out on a lake, but never could. finally, when i was about to go home, I spot a flock of geese landing on the water! I guess it is not exactly a pan blur, but is still what I wanted!
      • Mary
        Participant
        Chirps: 67
        MaryB1
        I have not tried the pan blur yet and somewhat expect it will happen by accident. Catching birds in flight most often can be a blur, but you got them sharp here.
    • Cynthia
      Participant
      Chirps: 16
      Cynthia_Case
      We have Indian Peafowl in our local regional park, and I’ve been observing them throughout their seasons, from mating time when their feathers and displays are flashy and magnificent, to afterward when they molt and aren’t at all attractive.  One of my favorite shots happened during a mating display, and it happened quite by accident.  I was taking photos of a male with his feathers on full display.  He was just standing there, so my shutter was at 1/640.  But suddenly he began vigorously swishing his feathers from back to front, front to back, side to side in this elaborate dance.  I’d never seen anything like it.  I didn’t have time to alter my settings, so I just shot trying to keep my focus on his face while he moved. Sort of a pan blur, I guess!  I really like how this photo turned out as you can see the energy of the movement but the face is still focused.10444C1D-05E2-4695-83CB-DEC7B601CA9A
      • Mary
        Participant
        Chirps: 67
        MaryB1
        Oh that is interesting and creative! Nice work.
    • اليازية
      Participant
      Chirps: 27
      Alyazia
      E76A0FC5-FAE6-43D0-B84A-FC25EAC3293F A crab-plover in the same area just before the sunset.. tried to play with the depth of field and kept the bird in a  silhouette  because I felt the golden light reflected around it will emphasis the importance of the bird..
      • Mary
        Participant
        Chirps: 67
        MaryB1
        I like the golden light and the bird dark in color. I have to check out what a crab-plover is!
    • اليازية
      Participant
      Chirps: 27
      Alyazia
      162EAFE3-5149-4A29-AB41-948AB94878CF I went to a small island to photograph terns.. Got good photos.. but on my way back and just when I reached the shore of the mainland I noticed this Heron fishing.. decided to give it a try and lay down in the middle of the water.. started photographing.. and waited for around 13 minutes till the heron got his fish! 850FB07D-AC71-4AAA-AA3A-406174EC7586
      • Mary
        Participant
        Chirps: 67
        MaryB1
        Nice! Everyone's patience paid off!
    • Susan E.
      Participant
      Chirps: 11
      seferency
      Cormorant drying wings after coming up from a fishing dive.00E65447-8966-48C1-849E-31EF6E986E70
      • Mary
        Participant
        Chirps: 67
        MaryB1
        Isn't that a fascinating display for drying their wings? It is amazing how many people do not know these birds do this...I think you have a story to tell.
    • Susan E.
      Participant
      Chirps: 11
      seferency
      I was watching this black crowned night heron for awhile and was so surprised when he came up with his lunch!544562B3-38A1-4744-B010-321833446382
      • Robin
        Participant
        Chirps: 11
        rosyrobin
        Yum!  Great photo!!
      • Mary
        Participant
        Chirps: 67
        MaryB1
        Wow! And did you capture the rest of the story of him eating it?
    • Todd
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      tpaige1211
      Herons seem to be popular recently.  This morning I was photographing this Heron in Connecticut while it was standing on a small bridge over the dam for a fishing pond. I took several photos trying to get a reflection of the heron in the still water.  I was also playing with the settings to learn the results.  I was looking down to set the aperture to full open for my lens (F5.6, Shutter 1/1000, ISO 800) when the bird flew across the pond.  I had nothing to lose so I took the shot, to my surprise it came out with a nice symmetrical reflection in the water. The settings of the prior photo of the heron on the bridge were F9.0, Shutter 1/400, ISO 800. Heron Bridge Heron Flight
      • Robin
        Participant
        Chirps: 11
        rosyrobin
        wow great photo!
      • Mary
        Participant
        Chirps: 67
        MaryB1
        Yes that flyer was closer to the water to then more easily see the reflection. Aren't these herons great!
    • Marcia
      Participant
      Chirps: 15
      CaroneMA
      The final chapter in the story of the Heron is how it moves into the tall grass of the pond to camouflage itself as it continues it's fishing expedition. What I like about these pictures is that, when I go out searching for the heron I always make it a point to stop in these areas of tall grass. If you are careful and very quiet you can see them as they are hidden in the tall grass and they are quiet, themselves, and so concentrating on their goal, that you can actually camouflage yourself and spend a long time observing the Heron's actions. The area of Presque State Park and this pond is a high pedestrian area, so although the Heron is aware of and use to people being around as he fishes, and although initially out in the open, the heron eventually migrates to these tall grass areas for some privacy and then the heron is able to relax and work on the task at hand - fishing for dinner. I did not stay long enough to see him make his catch because when he went into the grass, I knew he needed his privacy and it was more important for him to get his dinner than for me to get a photo.I didn't want him to fly away because I was a distraction to him, or making him nervous. The Great Blue Heron is a fascinating bird to watch!0M8A1794a0M8A1814a0M8A1840a
      • Robin
        Participant
        Chirps: 11
        rosyrobin
        so beautiful!
      • Mary
        Participant
        Chirps: 67
        MaryB1
        Nice photos. Love these birds!
    • Marcia
      Participant
      Chirps: 15
      CaroneMA
      In continuing my story, I forgot to mention that Presque Isle State Park is on the shores of Lake Erie, in Erie, Pennsylvania. In the next set of photos, I played with the light as the Heron continued exploring the shoreline. It was late in the afternoon and at first the Heron was facing into the sun, so the images shows that sun on the heron, then as the Heron mades it's turns in the water the Heron moved away from facing the sun and I moved with him. There is a gradual shifting of the sun and and my position and the Heron's position in relation to the sun, and in the final shot the Heron was in between the sun and my self and you can see the highlights of the sun from that position. 0M8A1700a0M8A1703a0M8A1724a
    • Marcia
      Participant
      Chirps: 15
      CaroneMA
      One of my favorite birds is the Great Blue Heron and I follow these Herons when they come into our area, from Spring to late Fall. Sometimes during a mild winter, we see them throughout the year. In this discussion I will be explaining the actions of a Great Blue Heron as he studied the shoreline of a pond on Presque Isle State Park. This Heron's story is of his fishing of this dinner as he explored the pond and the shallow areas of the water. The first set of pictures shows his movement as he walks around the pond shoreline. What I noticed in the Heron's movements was his intent and the determined direction of his hunt. In the photos you will see that the Heron and the water around him, point out his direction. The motion of the Heron and the water are very much connected. Initially the Heron is in a pool of water that surrounds it's legs, then as it moves the water creates an arrow showing the intended direction of the heron's moments. The Heron is very methodical in it's movements and the water supports and illustrates that methodical movement!0M8A1681a0M8A1690a0M8A1691a
    • Scott
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      jscrist
      I had the opportunity to spend time in Kearney, Nebraska on the Platte river where hundreds of thousands Sandhill Cranes rest during their annual migration to observe and photograph this amazing event. I tried to capture the movement of these beautiful birds in flight by using a blurred motion pan. 2015-Sandhill-Cranes-NE-12-2
      • Marcia
        Participant
        Chirps: 15
        CaroneMA
        That is a beautiful photo! It just catches your eye immediately. You just see and feel the motion of the birds.
      • Isabelle
        Participant
        Chirps: 59
        oiseaulune
        You succeeded! It is a beautiful photo!
      • Siddhesh
        Participant
        Chirps: 5
        virimmune210393
        This is an amazing click! Mesmerizing photo...particularly great example of what happens when you are patient and explorative with breaking the rules :)
      • Paula
        Participant
        Chirps: 2
        faerphoto
        Absolutely beautiful image. I love ICM photos,especially with wildlife, and this is a great example. It looks like a painting and is so peaceful. :) Well done.
      • Doug
        Participant
        Chirps: 13
        Tate45
        Remarkable photo... the blue tint adds such an atmosphere to the blur you were attempting ..well done.
      • Mary
        Participant
        Chirps: 67
        MaryB1
        That photo is absolutely art...love it!
      • Virginia
        Participant
        Chirps: 2
        ginnid
        Very unique! I love it!
    • Linda
      Participant
      Chirps: 15
      lindacunico
      During a photography day shoot  at Lake Pueblo State Park, I was thrilled to see a Great Blue Heron near a fishing lake.  After a few shots, I realized he was in serious trouble!  Broke my heart to see fishing line and a metal weight  entangled in his beak!!!  I immediately phoned the state park office of his dire situation.While I was waiting for the Colorado Parks & Wildlife officers to arrive, I watched as he kept walking close to the lake's shoreline, wanting to eat but couldn't open his beak wide enough to catch his food.  The whole time I observed him, he hopelessly  walked back and forth to the tall grasses, then back to the shoreline. I took some photos of him until  three officers  rounded the walking path forty minutes later.  One was carrying  a blanket.  Of course as soon as they walked towards him, he flew off!  I showed them my pictures, and they told me they'd keep tracking him, until they found him.   I couldn't get him off my mind, so I returned two days later.   My friend Les, who  takes walks every morning with a 33 gallon trash sack, collects garbage lazy, thoughtless slobs leave EVERYWHERE, endangering wildlife & people!   Les saw the GB Heron two days later, immediately got into his truck to the Wildlife office a few minutes away to report his sighting.    This time the rangers had a fishing net they'd  borrowed from the Pueblo State Fish Hatchery, and were able to free the GB Heron!   Les says he sees him, & he looks healthy now too! _E8A9282_GB Heron walking Up Hill_E8A9239_E8A9208_GBHeron flying over Anticline LakeI love stories with a happy ending!
      • Isabelle
        Participant
        Chirps: 59
        oiseaulune
        What a story Linda! So glad that you took it upon yourself to save this magnificent bird. Thank you fir sharing this story and photos with us.
      • Linda
        Participant
        Chirps: 15
        lindacunico

        @Isabelle _E8A9257

      • Linda
        Participant
        Chirps: 15
        lindacunico

        @Isabelle Thank you Isabelle, happy you enjoyed it!

      • Marcia
        Participant
        Chirps: 15
        CaroneMA
        Wow! So happy to hear that they were able to get the Heron free from the fishing line. Your story helps everyone to understand the need to leave no trace of their activities in areas where wildlife can be harmed.
      • Linda
        Participant
        Chirps: 15
        lindacunico

        @Marcia _E8A9259_FORLON GBHERON _V

      • Linda
        Participant
        Chirps: 15
        lindacunico

        @Linda It really is heart breaking, as you can see how hopeless and forlorn he looks in the photo above.  I was in the right place at the right time.  I don't really know how long he suffered.  The fisherman threw him a fish,  (in the reply photo I sent  to Isabelle, but he couldn't eat it.). Thank goodness for the  perseverance of the wildlife officers!  Hopefully those who were there that day at the lake who witnessed  this pitiful scene learned a lesson.

      • Robin
        Participant
        Chirps: 11
        rosyrobin
        Your photos are great, and even better knowing the story.  It makes me so upset that people leave their garbage & lines with hooks all over the place around lakes.  Last spring I found a robin dangling by one leg caught in a fishing line with the hook still attached.  I was able to free the bird eventually, after a neighbor walked by and happened to have clippers with him.  Thankfully the robin was fine and flew away.  No photos to share, unfortunately.
      • Mary
        Participant
        Chirps: 67
        MaryB1
        Fantastic help provided to the heron for the mistakes others had caused the heron. Kudos to the folks who helped the bird too, along with your help. Great story.DSC_0262I saw this recycling bin for fishline just last week and hope to use it in a future story of mine.
    • Linda
      Participant
      Chirps: 15
      lindacunico
      Colorado breeding season for Scaled Quail begins in February.  I observed unmated males  perching on top of the highest point they could find, like my mailbox post, readily seen, calling out to attract a mate in a hoarse, single note.  He also does this to defend his territory.  As of today, July 22, there is still one bachelor who mournfully belts out his call a few times a day, especially at sunrise and sunset. In this photo I took last week,  a torrential rain storm had just washed the atmosphere clean; ( a fire had been burning west of me for three days, polluting the atmosphere) .  So I grabbed my camera to take advantage of beautiful, clear light, finally!  Luckily the sun peaked out from the clouds for a few minutes, as I snapped this portrait of Mr. Lonely, perched on my patio swing. The background is weedy green scrubs and yellow tumbleweeds but this composition is an enigma; the sad bachelor with a happy background.  I could have posted a shot where his head is hanging, eyes downcast;  I SAW & FELT his mournful sigh in this moment.  But I decided to share this one, showing an important element to wildlife photography, pinpointing my focus on the eye/ eyes as the focal point.  Another reason I am showing a happy background is because it is attracting to viewers.  So the viewer feels happy hopefully at first glance, but then X4A0965-1.CR2__Lonely Bachelor Scaled Quail__2020.07.15reads the story and feels sad.  (Mother Nature shown brightly from the west, an hour before sunset, in this series, so the opportunity for a  gloomy shot didn't happen.)
      • Mary
        Participant
        Chirps: 67
        MaryB1
        The color of this entire photograph I love!
    • Cynthia
      Participant
      Chirps: 9
      CynthiaDI
      Sunday morning I set out to photograph in Bayou le Batre, Alabama. You might remember this place from Forrest Gump. Bubba’s hometown and the start of the famous  Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. I see the shrimp boats from B.l.Batre every morning from my back porch, so I went in search of the likes of the St. John Joseph and the Blue Thunder. Interestingly, many of the boats are run by Vietnamese fisherman. This is a bit ironic considering that in Forrest Gump, he found in the Vietnam war. Back to birding and photography. I tried to make the background important in all of these pictures and tell a bit of a story as well of this little fishing village. The first pic to me shows the laughing gulls standing at attention, first thing in the morning for the pledge of allegiance. I also tried to make it 3-dimensional with the gull on the post in the front. 907C1F73-9B2E-43C3-B93C-2F04615AF8FE Much to my surprise, at the very end of the road, on the last inlet to the gulf, I found this old Casino Ship - the Argosy 5. Looks like its for sale if anyone is interested. I believe it is 5 million and change. I practiced with my lighting to F8/1000 shutter speed to get the gull in focus and the ship blurry. 64282BE6-A5A8-409E-8E92-EB73F826895D Lastly, I found the house that was supposed to be the home of Forrest’s mother for the movie. Turns out they filmed in one of the Carolina’s instead. For this picture, the barn swallows were moving so fast, I couldn’t get them and the house in the same shot. So, I focused on the shrub in the foreground and took a pic everytime I saw a swallow go by. This was the winner as I managed to get two in the same shot and they were in positions where in positions where they were clearly (if a bit out of focus) in view. DF4C254F-5E5F-4C5C-B024-DDDEFCEA57C0 On my way to B.l.Batre, I got the craziest shots of black vultures feeding. If you are a bit squeamish, don’t look. I attached the pictures as a reply to Isabelle’s previous post. Take a look at the crazy vulture tug of war.
    • Isabelle
      Participant
      Chirps: 59
      oiseaulune
      I like to take photos of birds eating, feeding their young, preening, moving, I like when there is some kind of action because the story is telling itself through the photos. But sometimes a particular expressing in the bird's eyes is also telling a lot. In the three shots below their is one red-shouldered hawk who has found a squirrel and is eating it. In the second one he is spreading its wings to cover its prey from another red-shouldered hawk who is screaming at him and wants to steal the food from him. He is perched just above him. (that's the third photo).DSCF2142DSCF2181DSCF2092
      • Cynthia
        Participant
        Chirps: 9
        CynthiaDI
        While I went out yesterday to go on an adventure birding from my car, using it as a “blind”   I had your post about photographing birds while eating on my mind. I was on my way to Bayou La Batre, where Bubba, from Forrest Gump, was from and had his shrimp boat. I was going to try to photograph birds at all the tons of shrimp boats. Yes, it really exists and is a truly shrimping village. I was sure to get good feeding shots. On my way, I came upon these two black vultures in the middle of the road. I watched then as they fed, then were forced off the road as cars whizzed by. I never expected to see what I saw, much less get a picture of it! The 30 minutes were definitely worth every minute! As you can see in this first photo, one of the vultures was feeding while the other looked on from the side. I guess the one  on the left was tired of being run off  by cars and decided to try to drag the kill off the road. As I watched, the kill was successfully moved off, but some remained. That is when the struggle began. The first  bird went back out into the road to retrieve the “innards” while the bird on the right  took this opportunity to suddenly try to get away with the kill all for himself... F7340DAE-D5E4-477C-860F-1BFDC04734F3 That is when the intestinal tug of war began - yes those are the intestines - you can barely see the bird on the right holding onto the kill and trying to back away with it and have it all for himself.  It was quite a struggle and quite an amazing site. Unexpected for sure, a one in a million shot. I only wish it was better composed. C8FF4711-5B9C-40B6-AE8E-D913EE1A7007
      • Isabelle
        Participant
        Chirps: 59
        oiseaulune

        @Cynthia Cynthia, I love your stories in the previous post and this one. Your photo with the intestinal tug of war is quite exceptional! I am very glad you stopped to watch the scene and share it with us.

      • Doug
        Participant
        Chirps: 13
        Tate45

        @Isabelle Great shot..but yuckkie... it is what i like the most in photography is freezing the moment. You sure did.

      • Mary
        Participant
        Chirps: 67
        MaryB1

        @Cynthia Now that is a unique photo and I would be so amazed while taking the photo at the same time! Nice capture!

    • gnu_photographer
      Participant
      Chirps: 13
      lawadam
      For storytelling, I like to photograph birds feeding. This is a Swallow-tailed gull feeding its chick with regurgitated squid. It was taken in the Galapagos at 420mm focal length. The Galapagos have strict rules in approaching birds, and restrict movement near bird nesting sites, as well as timing and number of visitors. This is good, as it allows us a window to the lives of the birds, as a reward for protecting their habitat and nesting grounds. 52016738-4802-4007-B47F-F71EC689C817
      • Isabelle
        Participant
        Chirps: 59
        oiseaulune
        Wow! It is an amazing photo and story. The squid looks as big as the chick, was the chick able to eat it? Was it given to it whole or in little pieces?
      • gnu_photographer
        Participant
        Chirps: 13
        lawadam

        @Isabelle What happened was that the chick grabbed the tip of the squid in a “tug of war” action and was able to extract a small piece, then the adult bird swallowed the squid back! This happened repeatedly and through co-operation, the chick ingested small pieces. I’ve been reading the Cornell Bird Biology Course and I found 2 facts that helped offer context to the behaviours of these gulls: a) birds have no teeth b) from Bird Anatomy Chapter 6 “some gulls are capable of holding one end of a large fish  in the esophagus whilst digesting the other end in the stomach.” If you are interested, I’ll do up the next couple of frames and share this with you :)

      • Isabelle
        Participant
        Chirps: 59
        oiseaulune

        @gnu_photographer That is super interesting. Thank you for the info. I'd love to see the other photos showing this behavior. Thank you!

    • Julia
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      jclas2
      FD0B11C8-C99A-4779-AAF3-C6C81D63D23C_1_105_c8679C0C0-0D68-42F6-BDBD-B9CA89A03C09_1_105_c71E58947-257D-4843-A423-B7CB2008221C_1_105_c I visited these Sandhill cranes at Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge about an hour away from me. I took all these photos from my car so as to not disturb them. The first photo was a bit of a disappointment to me as it wasn't as focused as I hoped. However, it shows their habitat and them calling out to others. Their call is distinctive and it was what always alerts me to when I am nearby them. The second I also was a bit disappointed by because of only catching the rump of one of the cranes. Then I thought, what the heck, it shows how close these two are. Finally, the last one was when I isolated the bird and made sure my focus was on the eye with the aperture wide open. It still shows the grasses surrounding it which makes it a bit messy, but it does convey the habitat of grasses and wetlands that are common to the Sandhill cranes.
      • gnu_photographer
        Participant
        Chirps: 13
        lawadam
        I like the first photo too, it is the most interesting to me - makes me want to research what their call sounded like and why they are calling :) To me, the story of the photo overcomes the need for tack sharp focus.
    • Elizabeth
      Participant
      Chirps: 21
      Burtnerl
      Tell a Sotry BY Hummer-2Tell a Sotry BY Hummer-3Tell a Sotry BY HummerTell a story:  I have a male black-chinned hummer which fiercely protects "his" feeder. I knew the second an intruder was in the area by his wide-flying arcs and deep dives.
      • Julia
        Participant
        Chirps: 7
        jclas2
        Great story!
    • Elizabeth
      Participant
      Chirps: 21
      Burtnerl
      Albatross Hike-52This one also show the hills but a close up on the bird. It needs more room to fly into. :-)
    • Elizabeth
      Participant
      Chirps: 21
      Burtnerl
      AlbatrosHabitat: This photo of an Albatros in Hawaii, show the pretty, lush hills near  their nesting site. It is a protected area with a huge fence around it.
      • Fred
        Participant
        Chirps: 10
        fred721
        Great detail of the bird in the first photo but I prefer the bird in its environment as it gives me a better sense of scale and the bird's wings are beautifully detailed.
      • Elizabeth
        Participant
        Chirps: 21
        Burtnerl

        @Fred Thanks, Fred. It's my favorite, too.

      • Isabelle
        Participant
        Chirps: 59
        oiseaulune
        I really like the composition of this second photo, the horizontal line of the mountain and bird's body and the vertical line of its wings. Great photo!
    • Carole
      Participant
      Chirps: 39
      Carole Poustie
      I've just spent far too long browsing my 'bloopers'! This last lesson from Melissa has really expanded my thinking on the storytelling aspect of bird photography. I was already aware of that aspect but even more so now. I was out walking along the Queenscliff (south coast of Victoria Australia) pier that houses an old dilapidated boat shed at the end of it. On several occasions I've noticed a few galahs hanging around here later in the day. I watched one displaying some unusual behaviour — alighting on the side of the building and continuously poking its head into a hole, then looking around. Then it became apparent what was going on! Hope the photos tell the story.DSC_5528DSC_5498DSC_5499
      • Julia
        Participant
        Chirps: 7
        jclas2
        Absolutely it tells the story! Really wonderful.  I too have had my thinking and assumptions changed by this course, particularly the bloopers I have taken. I may need to change my editing of my photo collection.
      • Elizabeth
        Participant
        Chirps: 21
        Burtnerl

        @Julia Nice series and cool bird

    • Lucy
      Participant
      Chirps: 24
      Laspade
      The Crested Caracara is what made me pull over for this shot. After that I noticed the mockingbird that was relentlessly harassing the caracara. Mockingbirds are know for their fierce protection of their territory and nesting area, often taking on much larger birds, animals and even humans. In the end the mockingbird won and the caracara flew away. These were taken during harsh Texas afternoon sun so I did work with shadows and highlights to soften up some.DSC_3358eDSC_3367eDSC_3335e
      • Carole
        Participant
        Chirps: 39
        Carole Poustie
        Wow! Great shots that really tell the story!
      • Lucy
        Participant
        Chirps: 24
        Laspade

        @Carole Thanks!

      • Julia
        Participant
        Chirps: 7
        jclas2
        Wonderful storytelling! Some days I feel like the Crested Caracara and someday the mockingbird!
      • helen
        Participant
        Chirps: 7
        neilhelenjoe
        Great pictures and story!
      • Isabelle
        Participant
        Chirps: 59
        oiseaulune
        Wonderful story and photos! I have seen a mockingbird harassing a red-shouldered hawk in the same way relentlessly. They are fearless.
      • Fred
        Participant
        Chirps: 9
        freddyd48
        Great series! Love the caracaras! What part of Texas was this taken?
      • Mary
        Participant
        Chirps: 67
        MaryB1
        I love the series of photos you have here and about a bird I saw for the first time in just a few weeks ago.
    • Lynsey
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      Lynsey van Foreest
      I had one of those moments that Melissa mentioned in her video - I shot this young common kestrel flying away from me rather than towards me and was a little disappointed. The funny thing is he was on his way to inspect a red squirrel on the ground (unfortunately I didn't get a good photo of that!). But when I was looking through the photos it jumped out at me as being intriguing. The bird is flying into the darkness (which looks almost like a cave) with its bright yellow legs dangling below it.IMG_20200617_222915_427
      • Lucy
        Participant
        Chirps: 24
        Laspade
        Great shot! I personally like to get a pic from the back every now and then. So many people take photos from the front of a bird forgetting photos from the back show the amazing colors and patterns birds feathers have.
      • Carole
        Participant
        Chirps: 39
        Carole Poustie
        And because you've captured the back of the bird I feel that the legs have been emphasised — so good! This wouldn't have been the case from the front where the viewer's eyes would have been drawn first perhaps to the face.
    • Mark
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      hallmarkf
      8A3B16E3-6ABD-46B1-BB98-0A0D49B54DED6B10B07F-23CB-4958-9099-AD9073C251F0Two photos, both of which capture habitat rather than just the bird, and one of which has unusual lighting. The first, a Killdeer at South Cape May Meadows, leaves the bird in a smaller area of the picture (but still using rule of thirds) to show more of the wetlands habitat. The second, a backlit juvenile Bald Eagle, was actually just a quick iPhone snapshot to show the location (near Belle Haven Marina on the Potomac River), but the symmetry of the trees and the silhouette of the Eagle made for an interesting picture.
    • Dika
      Participant
      Chirps: 13
      dikang
      For the last 4 evenings I have gone to a location where I can sit and observe the birds fly in, forage, and engage in interesting behavior.  Between 7 and 8 pm I have found at least 5 Snowy Egrets, 2 Black-necked Stilts, 2 Black-crowned Night Herons, and on the first evening 5 Black Skimmers skimming.  Also a couple of Black Phoebes that fly in and perch on a close snag.  Grackles abound, also a Mallard with chicks, and Red-winged Blackbirds.  This is a marshy area that I drive to and then walk about 500 yards to a viewing platform. This is a well-known birding location in Santa Barbara -   Andree Clark Bird Refuge. I'm using a Canon 7D Mark 2 with a very old 100-300 lens ( from film days) with a 1.4 adapter.  I've just completed the lesson on "telling a story", so I shoot a lot - (RAW) in burst mode (AI Servo).  This is the first time I've tried shooting in Manual mode, setting my aperture to F8 (the widest available to me).  The light is coming from behind me and the side as the sun is setting.  Since I am not usually able to adjust my settings rapidly enough I get many photos (of the white egrets) that are very overexposed, and as the light fails my shots of the Black-crowned Nights Herons that suddenly flew out of the reeds where they were hiding these shots were quite underexposed. There is one series of shots in which 2 Snowy Egrets were actively engage with one another.  This occurred suddenly and at first I though this was dominance behavior, but is has occurred to me rather that it is mating behavior, something I've never observed before. I have used the editing software provided with my Canon camera to edit the photos.  I don't have Lightroom and my Photoshop is very old.  All in all this has been a very interesting and challenging learning experience.  I have posted a large group of my selected  images on Flickr - where I have a PRO account.  https://www.flickr.com/photos/digolov/.  Scroll down until you find the Skimmer, always an exciting find for me. Would love to have feedback.  Dika Golovatchoff, Santa Barbara, CA.  July 8, 2020.
      • Carole
        Participant
        Chirps: 39
        Carole Poustie
        Wow! Some great action shots! I love the one of the egret that looks as if it is running across the water.
    • nicolette
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      nichristie
      I spotted a pair of Carolina wrens gathering nesting material. They were on the top of a link fence and were building the nest, next to a light, on top of a speaker on the porch, which I thought was odd, given the amount of alternative natural sites on the property. I have since learned they are quite prone to nesting in domesticated areas. I thought the contrast of the habitat opposed to nature was interesting. I also chose to take a shot from behind one of them for a change from the norm.E9520356-EBF1-47B7-92D5-15117634B4B16E2ABF6D-81B1-4CD7-996D-89091AAD15874E715D2E-3394-431E-8BD6-84E0B26BDA97
      • Carole
        Participant
        Chirps: 39
        Carole Poustie
        Goodness! Does that light work?! Will they be in for a surprise one night? Oh!
      • Isabelle
        Participant
        Chirps: 59
        oiseaulune
        Those are great photos they really bring us into the intimacy of the nest building of this pair!
    • Krispen
      Participant
      Chirps: 6
      Krispenhartung
      I went to a nearby reservoir and bird Reserve yesterday evening to catch waterfowl and shore birds in the sunset, but ended up spending over an hour with a family of Rock Wrens. They were quite friendly and let me hang out with them until sunset.  I have several classically composed takes from the session but I pulled aside a few that I thought were interesting. The first shows the wren nestled next to a rock and has some unusual shadowing.  The second is of one wren in immediate flight off of a rock. 4E132852-BED0-467D-AE0E-F0BD48C662538F1D5191-18B8-4B30-8FFB-1D04A8E71147
      • Carole
        Participant
        Chirps: 39
        Carole Poustie
        Lovely shots!
      • Isabelle
        Participant
        Chirps: 59
        oiseaulune
        I like the action of the second one and also to see it jump on a rock!
    • Fred
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      fred721
      I have come to be extremely fond of environmental photos of birds as opposed to bird portraits and try to capture as much of the environment as possible while still keeping the bird or birds sharply defined, even if small in the frame. Two examples are the backlit Whimbrei and the Pied Avocets with their distinctive black and white patches and curved bills. I also like capturing stories as this one  in a series depicting Nazca Boobys courting and nest building. _DSC7099 _DSC6781 _DSC2448
      • Lucy
        Participant
        Chirps: 24
        Laspade
        I love this photo! It makes me feel the bond between these birds.
      • Carole
        Participant
        Chirps: 39
        Carole Poustie
        Yes — that third photo really tells the story of their bond. You can feel it. Great shot.
      • Elizabeth
        Participant
        Chirps: 21
        Burtnerl
        All great, but that last one is really special. Not just the bond, but the black and white of the birds and rocks make for a nice "feel". Great work!
      • Isabelle
        Participant
        Chirps: 59
        oiseaulune
        All of those photos are beautiful, they really take us where the birds live, it is as if we were walking with you along the shore and seeing the scene in front of our eyes. Wonderful!
      • Doug
        Participant
        Chirps: 13
        Tate45
        Super shots...sharp and storytelling in perfect harmony.
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