For The Birds
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
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
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.
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.
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..