Bird Photography: Light

12 x 18 Crowned CraneThe word “photography” means “writing with light,” and the right lighting can make the difference between a ho-hum snapshot and an award-winning photograph. But what is the “right” lighting? And how do you take advantage of it?

In general, photographers think of light as coming from one of four directions—from the front, side, back, or overhead. Each of these has pros and cons, with widely varying results. Then there are different qualities of light, such as bright or soft. Different combinations of these conditions will greatly affect your results.

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Bird Photography: Keep It Simple, Sweetie

Mountain Chickadee_StForestStPark-CO_Mountain Chickadee_StForestStPark-CO_LAH_0278You’re out birding and you see an adorable Mountain Chickadee, busily working over the scrub oak branch looking for a snack. Happily, you’ve got your camera, so you grab a few quick shots. But when you get home and enlarge them on your computer screen, you’re disappointed. The bird is cute, but it’s surrounded by brushy twigs and dead leaves.

As I scroll through photo after photo on my various Facebook photography sites, I’m struck by the stark disparity between the experienced photographers and the obvious beginners. There’s nothing wrong with being a beginner—we all had to start there—but there is a problem if you stay a beginner year after year.

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Bird Photography: Use your birding skills!

Long-billed Curlew_WaddellBeach-BigBasinSP-CA_LAH_0768As birders, we have an advantage over other photographers wishing to photograph birds. We know our subjects. All those skills we’ve garnered in our years of stalking lifers and observing birdy behavior are about to pay off—big time!.

Finding birds is easier for us birders. We know where the hotspots are. (If in doubt, check out the field trip destinations from any birding club website.) For example, Colorado birders know that Mt. Evans and Guanella Pass are often productive places to search for ptarmigan, while Clark’s Nutcrackers and Gray Jays can almost always be found at the Rainbow Curve pull-out in Rocky Mountain National Park.

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Come See My Photos!

Lake Agnes_COStateForestSP_LAH_8222 p_filt 24 x 36 gallery wrapI am ridiculously excited. Mission Coffee Roasters and Cafe, offering the best coffee in Colorado Springs (and maybe the world), is hosting my photographs from now through the end of April. There are over a dozen prints of all sizes, from an 8-inch square framed portrait of a Flamingo to huge, 2 by 3-foot gallery wraps of some of my favorite landscapes. They’re all on display, and they’re all for sale.

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