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For The Birds

Updated on March 4, 2015
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Not Another "Cheep" Article

Birds are amazing creatures and can add a delightful splash of color and background music to your yard or walk. They seem to be everywhere and if you take the time to quietly watch them you will be amazed and amused. As a photographer I often find myself pointing my telephoto lens in the direction of a bird. It's always a challenge to try to capture a good bird image.

In this article I will be sharing some of my bird images and bird related information as well as products created by me or some of the amazing Zazzle artists. I hope you enjoy your visit.

You Can Shoot a Bird With a Canon Without Creating a Flap

As a youth growing up on a ranch I was a hunter and shot far too many birds that didn't need shooting. Today I know better and have learned how to shoot a bird with a Canon without harming it. If you haven't guessed, I'm a Canon fan and most of my photography gear is made by Canon.

I love the way a good photograph allows me to see and appreciate the up-close details of wild birds. Sometimes it takes a telephoto photograph to see a bird up close and to hold it still long enough to see the fine details we might miss otherwise. As a result of my interest in birds and photography I have a nice collection of bird images, many of which find their way on to my fine art website. I have also found that birds make great decorative art for my Zazzle products.

If you like to "shoot" birds with your camera, consider putting a bird feeder in your yard. If you build it, they will come. Watch and wait and have fun. Keep a list of birds that visit your yard: notice how the visitors change with the seasons. Use a good book or the What Bird website to identify your birds.

Exercising My Artistic License

Sentinel at Sunset
Sentinel at Sunset | Source

This is an image that has sold many times. It's a California quail that I "shot" in my back yard in Siskiyou County, CA. The sunset background is a separate photograph taken a few hundred yards away on another day. The beautiful sunset color is the result of the setting sun filtering through smoke from a series of forest fires following a lightning storm. The smoke filters out the other colors and creates a beautiful red sky. Of course it would be better not to have a forest fire but the sunset is something like making lemonade when presented with a lemon.

Putting the two photographs together makes a far more interesting image than I would have had with the quail in the location where I photographed it with an uninteresting background. This is not a fake image but it is an exercise of artistic license. It's a real wild quail and a real sunset. I'm not trying to fool people, I'm trying to create art. How many lifetimes would I have to live to find that quail on that post at that time and lighting with the sunset behind it to get this shot? If you click on the image it will take you to my website where you can see that in my description of the image I say something like "Quail and sunset photographed separately in Siskiyou County. I want people to trust me and my art so I let them know when it's not obvious that an image is a composite. It takes a lot of time to create an image like this. You will notice that I cloned some of the sunset color onto the quail and post to make the image as realistic as possible.

I call the image Sentinel at Sunset because the quail is actually on sentinel duty as other quail were feeding nearby. It's common for a quail to take a high lookout position to be on watch for danger while the covey is feeding.

Your Goose is Showing

Canada Goose on The Lake
Canada Goose on The Lake | Source

This is another composite image that has sold well in galleries. The background image is a view from the ranch where I grew up. My book, Life at The End of a Dirt Road is a largely humorous account of growing up in that beautiful location. That's Mount Shasta in the background. The goose on the snag is a real wild goose but I "shot" it at another location about a mile from where the lake and Mount Shasta image was captured. The location where I "shot" the goose had a very uninteresting background so I exercised my artistic license to move the goose to a more aesthetic location.

This image was licensed for the cover of some 130,000 Valley Yellow Page phone directories in three northern California counties.

No Jaywalking

Blue on Blue
Blue on Blue | Source

Even a sassy blue jay can make a good picture with a dramatic background. This is actually a scrub jay but it's a jay and blue. The background view is looking south, down the Sacramento River Canyon from the slopes of Mount Shasta. I "shot" the jay in my back yard where I feed them. In return they sometimes pause for a second or two so I can take their picture. For art's sake, I placed the jay into a more interesting background.

My Zazzle website has lots of bird products.

California Quail
California Quail | Source

Canon Camera Gear For Birders

I shoot the Canon 5D digital SLR you see below and use the lenses you see below including the lens on the 5D. This is just some of the equipment I use for my photography, but especially for birds. I use a fairly high end camera and high end lenses but you can get wonderful results with some of the less expensive Canon cameras and lenses. I included the Canon 60D as an example of a great camera with a versital lens at a lower cost - perhaps a good staring setup. You should also consider a sturdy tripod although many time I shoot birds without a tripod because one must often shoot quickly to capture an image. I shot the Canada Goose on The Lake image above with the 100-400 lens on a tripod....the goose was accomodating..

I'd Love to Hear From You

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    • senditondown profile image

      Senditondown 5 years ago from US

      Fantastic photographs!

    • CNelson01 profile image
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      Chuck Nelson 5 years ago from California

      @senditondown: Thank you senditondown. I "liked" your handyman lens...good advice there.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Beautiful bird photos, they look great on the product items.

    • AshwinSajith LM profile image

      AshwinSajith LM 5 years ago

      Beautiful pics :) thanks for the share

    • CNelson01 profile image
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      Chuck Nelson 5 years ago from California

      @anonymous: Thank you Tipi....your advice and encouragement is appreciated. I really "liked" your veterans lens.

    • CNelson01 profile image
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      Chuck Nelson 5 years ago from California

      @SteveKaye: Thank you Steve. You have some excellent photographs that I "liked" and it's always good to meet another person for the birds.

    • CNelson01 profile image
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      Chuck Nelson 5 years ago from California

      @AshwinSajith LM: Thank you Ashwin.

    • profile image

      miles3311 5 years ago

      awesome pics.tnx 4 posting it!

    • CNelson01 profile image
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      Chuck Nelson 5 years ago from California

      @miles3311: Thank you miles3311.

    • jadehorseshoe profile image

      jadehorseshoe 5 years ago

      Attractive Lens.

    • CNelson01 profile image
      Author

      Chuck Nelson 5 years ago from California

      @jadehorseshoe: Thank you JHS

    • annieangel1 profile image

      Ann 5 years ago from Yorkshire, England

      you don't have a contact button so forgive me for mentioning this here - you can make you zazzle products look better if you align them more centrally on the page - to do that add in front of the code - cheers

    • CNelson01 profile image
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      Chuck Nelson 5 years ago from California

      @annieangel1: Thank you annmackiemiller.

    • CNelson01 profile image
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      Chuck Nelson 5 years ago from California

      @annieangel1: You are forgiven and thanked. I've been trying to figure out how to do that.

    • alexandradouglas profile image

      Alexandra Douglas 5 years ago from Florida

      Great Lens!

    • CNelson01 profile image
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      Chuck Nelson 5 years ago from California

      @alexandradouglas: Thank you Stellar....as is yours.

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 5 years ago from Arkansas USA

      Amazing bird pictures and products. Gorgeous!

    • CNelson01 profile image
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      Chuck Nelson 5 years ago from California

      @SusanDeppner: Thank you Susan52...and for your generous likes and blessing.

    • domain19 profile image

      domain19 5 years ago

      nice lens, same likes susan, i like the pictures and products... thanks for share.

    • CNelson01 profile image
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      Chuck Nelson 5 years ago from California

      @domain19: Thanks a lot d19

    • fotolady49 lm profile image

      fotolady49 lm 5 years ago

      Your Sentinel Quail is awesome! Your certainly are allowed to have artistic license, that is what Fine Art Photography is all about. I admire your integrity and I feel exactly the same. I like to tell my viewers how I created an image that is edited. It makes for an interesting insight into the creative process and soul of the photographer as artist! This is a beautiful lens and I am bookmarking it so I can return often:)

    • CNelson01 profile image
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      Chuck Nelson 5 years ago from California

      @fotolady49 lm: Thank you Terri...that image has sold a number of times in the small galleries where I place it. I can enlarge it to 16x20 but it sells best at 8x10 on metallic paper in a dark frame with a hint of red. Always good to hear from a fellow photographer/artist.

    • kathysart profile image

      kathysart 5 years ago

      Ever since I got my little lovebird about 10 years ago now, I see birds so differently. They have HUGE personalities. I love watching outside birds and relating to their little antics that my little Iki does too. Ahh so dear. Angel blessed lens.

    • CNelson01 profile image
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      Chuck Nelson 5 years ago from California

      @kathysart: Thank you Kathy...agreed

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      AlleyCatLane 5 years ago

      Absolutely stunning images! I have birdbath on my patio and also throw seed out everyday. I can watch all the birds and squirrels that visit from my computer desk. It is so much fun to watch their antics. Great lens. Blessed!

    • CNelson01 profile image
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      Chuck Nelson 5 years ago from California

      @AlleyCatLane: Thank you ACL we are a bird and squirrel fast food station as well. They are fun to watch and often offer photo ops.

    • chezchazz profile image

      Chazz 5 years ago from New York

      Awesome photos and a well written lens. Off to look at your website next.

    • CNelson01 profile image
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      Chuck Nelson 5 years ago from California

      @chezchazz: Thank you Chazz

    • TheGourmetCoffe profile image

      TheGourmetCoffe 5 years ago

      Birds indeed are amazing, see that first hand in how they impact the environment and vice versa. Very interesting lens, liked it a lot! Thank you for sharing your insights.

    • CNelson01 profile image
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      Chuck Nelson 5 years ago from California

      @TheGourmetCoffe: Thanks for stopping in GCG.

    • PNWtravels profile image

      Vicki Green 5 years ago from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA

      Gorgeous bird photos. I've been watching birds for as long as I can remember but haven't got many good photos to show for it!

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 5 years ago from Canada

      I so do wish that many more people would realize the value of sport shooting with a camera rather than a gun. Beautiful images that I am so glad you have shared.

    • CNelson01 profile image
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      Chuck Nelson 5 years ago from California

      @PNWtravels: Thank you Vicki

    • CNelson01 profile image
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      Chuck Nelson 5 years ago from California

      @Lady Lorelei: Thank you

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I do enjoy seeing and reading all about birds, enjoyed your article.

    • CNelson01 profile image
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      Chuck Nelson 5 years ago from California

      @anonymous: Thank you

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Nice lens.

    • CNelson01 profile image
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      Chuck Nelson 5 years ago from California

      @anonymous: Thank you

    • imolaK profile image

      imolaK 5 years ago

      Thank you for sharing these beautiful photos with us. Blessed!

    • CNelson01 profile image
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      Chuck Nelson 5 years ago from California

      @imolaK: Thank you imolaK

    • Elyn MacInnis profile image

      Elyn MacInnis 5 years ago from Shanghai, China

      You have a great sense of humor - I love the buzzard shirts. What a riot.

    • CNelson01 profile image
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      Chuck Nelson 5 years ago from California

      @Elyn MacInnis: Thank youelynmac. I find a lot of uses for buzzard pictures.

    • nickirc lm profile image

      nickirc lm 5 years ago

      What a fun lens, thank you!

    • CNelson01 profile image
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      Chuck Nelson 5 years ago from California

      @nickirc lm: And thank you as well

    • jlshernandez profile image

      jlshernandez 5 years ago

      I stumbled upon this lens by accident and just absolutely loved it. Thank you for the fun and fascinating photographs. Favorited and blessed.

    • CNelson01 profile image
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      Chuck Nelson 5 years ago from California

      @jlshernandez: Thank you and thank you!

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      We seem to have the same taste in cameras. You are clearly a very talented photographer. I wish you much success

    • CNelson01 profile image
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      Chuck Nelson 5 years ago from California

      @anonymous: Thank you Sqidoo Chick and same back to you!

    • orange3 lm profile image

      orange3 lm 5 years ago

      Great lens about birds. Love the 'get well soon vulture'

    • CNelson01 profile image
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      Chuck Nelson 5 years ago from California

      @orange3 lm: Thank you...I get a lot of mileage out of my buzzards.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      good lens with beautiful pic

    • CNelson01 profile image
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      Chuck Nelson 5 years ago from California

      @anonymous: Thank you

    • cajkovska lm profile image

      cajkovska lm 5 years ago

      Beautiful photos and articles in your store.

    • MillBucks profile image

      MillBucks 5 years ago

      Wow, you have featured such beautiful pictures of birds. I love the "Your Goose Is Showing" photo. Very well done!

    • CNelson01 profile image
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      Chuck Nelson 5 years ago from California

      @MillBucks: Thank you!

    • CNelson01 profile image
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      Chuck Nelson 5 years ago from California

      @cajkovska lm: Thank you!

    • Einar A profile image

      Einar A 5 years ago

      Very enjoyable article! Your "No Jaywalking" image is a true work of art!

    • CNelson01 profile image
      Author

      Chuck Nelson 5 years ago from California

      @Einar A: Thank you for the kind words

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Now our camera "5d Markll" is outdated. What kind of excuse can we find to buy the new one?

    • CNelson01 profile image
      Author

      Chuck Nelson 4 years ago from California

      @anonymous: Now Anne...a camera like that is never outdated. All its wonderful features are intact.

    • artbyrodriguez profile image

      Beverly Rodriguez 4 years ago from Albany New York

      Great photos. I always enjoy your articles.

    • ramonabeckbritman profile image

      ramonabeckbritman 4 years ago

      I love all animals. I own a Quaker Parrot she is very spoiled. My Husband created a small Oasis for me in my back yard. We sit out there often watching the birds drink and bathe from the pond which have several Koi swimming around it. Thank you for sharing your bird pictures.

    • CNelson01 profile image
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      Chuck Nelson 4 years ago from California

      @artbyrodriguez: Thank you....likewise I'm sure

    • CNelson01 profile image
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      Chuck Nelson 4 years ago from California

      @ramonabeckbritman: Thank you....watching wild animals and birds is always interesting.

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 4 years ago from Canada

      I so wish that my pictures could come out with even half of the artistic value that yours do. You live in a very beautiful area of the world.

    • CNelson01 profile image
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      Chuck Nelson 4 years ago from California

      @Lady Lorelei: Thank you Ladymermaid....photography is part art and part science and a tad of luck.

    • profile image

      nifwlseirff 4 years ago

      Such gorgeous photos! I haven't thought to combine images to make interesting composites - food for thought and future experimentation!

    • CNelson01 profile image
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      Chuck Nelson 4 years ago from California

      @nifwlseirff: Thank you....it can be more than photography, it can be art.

    • gamecheathub profile image

      gamecheathub 4 years ago

      Your photography skills are awesome. Those reds you managed to capture in that sunset pic are the bomb. Would love to see more. Do you have a website?

    • CNelson01 profile image
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      Chuck Nelson 4 years ago from California

      @gamecheathub: Thank you Joe...my fine art website is www.chucknelsonphotography.com and many of my images show up on products in my Zazzle website http://www.zazzle.com/cnelson01. I love the birds and many of God's critters and creation.

    • CNelson01 profile image
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      Chuck Nelson 4 years ago from California

      @gamecheathub: The reds in that sunset were the result of the setting sun shining through dense smoke from a distant forest fire. A beautiful result from an unfortunate circumstance.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Your photos are so amazing, its lovely to stop by here once again. - I posted this on G+ and FaceBook to share with some friends. :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Oh, just wanted to let you know that if you edit the intro module and go into Related Lenses, you can add the last part of your own lens' URLs and add up to 6 of them. Its prime real-estate on a lens and will help your featured lenses. - God Bless!

    • ColorPetGifts profile image

      ColorPetGifts 4 years ago

      Your bird photography is amazing and the intro made me laugh :)

    • CNelson01 profile image
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      Chuck Nelson 4 years ago from California

      @anonymous: Thank you Tipi, always the encourager. I confess I needed it with time and life constraints.

    • CNelson01 profile image
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      Chuck Nelson 4 years ago from California

      @anonymous: Thank you Tipi....I'm going to have to check that out.

    • CNelson01 profile image
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      Chuck Nelson 4 years ago from California

      @ColorPetGifts: Thank you!

    • mylittleeden profile image

      mylittleeden 4 years ago

      Wonderful photography

    • CNelson01 profile image
      Author

      Chuck Nelson 4 years ago from California

      @mylittleeden: Thank you!!!

    • jlshernandez profile image

      jlshernandez 3 years ago

      You have a way of capturing birds at their best. This was a wonderful read.

    • CNelson01 profile image
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      Chuck Nelson 3 years ago from California

      @jlshernandez: Thank you for the kind words.

    • mel-kav profile image

      mel-kav 3 years ago

      These are such beautiful photos of birds!

    • mel-kav profile image

      mel-kav 3 years ago

      By the way - I checked out your gallery - beautiful - what a great talent you have!

    • CNelson01 profile image
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      Chuck Nelson 3 years ago from California

      @mel-kav: Thank you

    • CNelson01 profile image
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      Chuck Nelson 3 years ago from California

      @mel-kav: Thank you very much!

    • flycatcherrr profile image

      flycatcherrr 3 years ago

      I enjoyed your bird photos, and also your sense of humour. :)

    • CNelson01 profile image
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      Chuck Nelson 3 years ago from California

      @flycatcherrr: Thank you flycatcher.

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