Saturday, November 23, 2013

Practice Bird

Northeast winds relentless at 10+ knots this morning; dark clouds dominated the sky and no birds on the bay. Or at least, no birds to photograph this morning, despite the low tide around 7:30 am. So I paddled around for a couple hours, through the creek and into the canal and back to the launch site by 9:30 am. Never once getting the camera out while on the water.

Back at the launch site, I walked my camera equipment back to the car which was in a parking lot half covered in rain water (Matheson Hammock). This is where a group of about 20 white ibises were hanging out. Sun out, the lighting on the birds was quite nice. I couldn't resist.

There are several reasons for photographing these birds at that moment. First, I haven't photographed a bird in a few weeks, so I needed a fix. Second, I really like white ibises, they are fun and can provide beautiful poses. Third, they were in undisturbed water which added a reflection, always irresistible to the camera lens. Fourth, no matter the conditions (noisy background, man-made structures, harsh light, etc), I can always use the opportunity to practice.

And so I practiced photographing wading birds for about 15 minutes. Getting low to the ground at eye level with the birds would not work today with the background (pavement and other man-made structures). So I broke a cardinal rule and stood up, pointing downward toward the birds and their reflections. From that perspective, I could isolate the bird from everything else, leaving only the water in the frame.

I have one goal and one goal only when I photograph birds and that is to highlight the bird's best features. I do this by attempting to capture them in a variety of poses, I look for clean surroundings so the bird is the main subject, I try to catch light in the eye, and always attempt to highlight the beautiful feathers.

Thanks to the common, urban white ibis for hanging out in a parking lot. Not exactly the Florida Birding Trail, but it will do.

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