Carolina Wild Photo (the blog)

Summer Birds Syndrome

by on Jul.24, 2015, under Rants, Raves & Ramblings

Yeah, it’s been way too hot to go out and do any serious bird photography, so I’ve been busy with other things – indoor things. I’ve put some long hours into writing more of the third book of my fantasy adventure trilogy. I also found the gumption to finally set up an e-commerce online web site to sell photo prints of my North Carolina wild horses photos. And, I’ve been photographing birds in the yard all during the summer, as has the wife.

Yellow-rumped Warbler

The Bluebirds from my previous post got me started. Then the wife wanted to get in on the action, so I set up some prop feeders so we could get natural looking perches, and it grew from there. Shooting out a downstairs window that looks out on our feeder set-up has worked out well.

Red-eyed Vireo

Both of us have actually gotten some pretty good images out of it, and a few “firsts” along the way – first and only Red-eyed Vireo, first Brown-headed Nuthatch, first Great Crested Flycatcher and first Brown Creeper to name a few. It’s given the wife a great chance to hone her skills before we get out in the fall and winter for the “big game” (ducks, egrets, eagles, etc.)

Pileated Woodpecker - male

A pair of Pileated Woodpeckers took a shine to a cedar stump out behind the feeders one day, and I happened to spot them. Luckily, they hung around just long enough for me to run for the camera, get it set up in the window and get off a few shots before they flew. That wasn’t a first, but it worked out much better than the first time I saw a pair in nearly the same spot two or three years ago. This time they were situated with a far better line of sight for getting some shots.

Great Crested Flycatcher

The green leaves behind the feeders and perches are off at a distance, and mostly shaded, though some filtered sunlight hits them in spots. This has provided some very nice backgrounds for our photos – completely uncluttered with a soft abstract appearance. It has certainly added to the appeal of many of our images. It ought to get interesting when the leaves change color in the fall. The feeders are in shade most of the time, which makes for slow shutter speeds, but otherwise provides a nice, even, soft lighting. So long as the birds are still, the shots turn out quite nice.

Brown-headed Nuthatch

My wife is relatively new to this serious photography, and she has jumped in with both feet with a difficult subject – birds. She has gained a lot of confidence in a short time, and her images have improved exponentially over a short four or five month period. She’s already been getting images of a quality that took me several years to reach, but she has the advantage of better equipment than I started with. I think this fall will be a fun time for both of us once the bird migrations get rolling.

For the time being though, there is still another six to eight weeks of excessive summer heat to keep us in our present mode of working from the indoors, and settling for birds at the feeders. I hadn’t been that keen on song birds for some time, but this summer has proven to be interesting. At least between the birds, my writing, and working on web site maintenance, I’ve been bored very little.

Male Northern Cardinal

I’ll close out this post with one more image – a male cardinal against a green background that sets off his red feathers very nicely.

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