Monday, December 14, 2009

Lots of birds or subjects and good images

Early on when I first started to see and photograph large flocks of birds I realized it is not as easy as you might hope to capture the large groups of subjects...

I remember shooting red-winged black birds and coming close to something I liked here:
A few Red-Winged Blackbirds! @ Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, Maryland

And then getting this and feeling like the results were a grade higher:
Red-Winged Black Birds!

I'm still trying for an even better one of the RWBBs.

Read on for more.

I was thinking about this topic in relation to the Snow Geese photo I just posted.

Snow Geese @ Sunrise

The above has light going for it. Light is something that can be its own element for sure. I took 3 trips this fall to places where I stayed over. Getting to wake up and be at the spot 5 minutes later means sunrise and sunset are easy to shoot. And that made me even more than before realize that it is not just about the quality of light, but the time of day and color. Color can be a tough thing to control for wildlife photography I think. Unless you only shoot at sunrise and sunset, because if you did that, then the day would be like 1 or 2 hours worth of shooting time. That might be more true than I'm ready to concede.

Here's another snow geese sunrise photo from about a year ago:
Sunrise in Gooseville

The huge number of birds and sunrise light coming in from so low, that really helps. With white birds too, the softer lower and colored light is a real effective way to make white birds photograph well.

The below was not sunrise but the clouds and stormy look helped this one (taken with Fuji S5):
The Birds!

What I'm getting at is related to what you have to do to make new images once you get something like this:
(A ton of) Snow Geese @ Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, Maryland (3 pix)

That's a TON of Snow Geese! But, once I got that and some similar images, I was like, uh, now what? I've been trying to get some slower shutter speed stuff to work, and have made progress and improved but I am not ready to post something from this year and that goal of an image. I got this in January of this year and need to improve on it.


This past weekend when I shot the Snow Geese for an hour or so, I mixed things up. I shot some with slow shutter speed and very stopped down. And some more wide open (f.stop) and faster shutter speeds. And lastly I shot some video with my D300s. This mixing it up can be frustrating to do, because when setup for blur, you might need to get a sharp flight shot (it could be a quick appearance of a new subject) or with a setup for video, and wider field of view, it might be time to shoot blur long lens stuff. I did ok this past weekend. What I would consider to be a failure is not to get any good stuff from at least one of those categories of shooting styles. I got some decent sharp shots, a handful of so so to ok video clips (need to work on that more, and better sound), and the blur shots came out improved I think....

Go Go Goose!

Happy shootin'