Small Birds of the Slough.

The Peat fire continues to burn; I have learned today it’s been burning for just over 2 months. They are from what I hear impossible to put out they burn underground. I understand the marsh must be flooded to contain it, the fire fighters are facing a tough task. The smoke was especially bad last night after the wind shifted. It smelled like a mixture of an electrical, tire and boat fire the smell was strong. It remained until morning when Mrs. Lebec opened the door to be greeted by the odors; needless to say I had to stay in all day. On a related note I believe the smoke is keeping the critters away, hence the unoccupied slough.

I am doing everything except what I should be, my goal while waiting for stuff to be repaired was to catalog all of my photos. I ended up so busy last night I didn’t write my blog due to searching for a picture to enter in a contest. Between me and Lightroom Classic we lose and misplace a lot of photos. I found it and entered it just before the deadline, will it win or place well? I don’t want to say no but that is the answer; I’m confident it won’t come in last of over 20,000 entries; I’m thinking it will end up mid field. I always aim for the top 50% and celebrate if it is in the top 10% which is very common for my photos; one day I will win the top prize; this one is 10 grand plus a bunch of stuff.

I decided to write about small birds today after searching for the lost photo last night. I’m not going to pretend to know the names of them all; 98% of the time I am wrong, the other 2% I’m not sure about. I don’t have a lot of small birds in flight I am posting 1 in this blog. I plan on vetting them and writing a blog about them too. To achieve the detail I got on the image above is quite hard to get. The most important issue is as always track, focus and shoot; tracking is the challenge. Once my camera locks onto the focus as long as I keep the shutter depressed 1/2 way it will retain. One of my camera’s is able to take 7 shots per second the other will take 10, that helps a lot.

Whoops! I am mistaken I set up two birds in flight for this blog. This is an interesting shot the (cowbirds?) were active all morning with this guy buzzing the birds on the pylon. I took the opportunity to focus on the pylon and depress the shutter when the bird closed in. It’s a fairly dynamic picture but not quite telling a story, it wants to but falls short; however it’s great for a blog.

I took some images of Hummingbirds which I do not count as small birds in flight unless they are free flying with no plant, feeder or trees in the shot. It’s not that they are easy to capture (exactly the opposite truthfully) but I have found a viewer will often assume it’s easier because the bird is not zipping around.

The photo of the Hummingbird above was taken at a slow shutter speed to blur the wing motion to show action. It is just as I planned which itself is quite the accomplishment, I take 100 pictures of them with 10 maybe keepers. This image I am happy with because of both the wing action and I caught the vibrant green on the Hummers back.

I like taking pictures of small birds in a perch using the branches or in this case the Tules to frame the bird. I feel this image is relatively successful but it doesn’t have that “wow” factor and I’m not sure what I could have done to get it.

The Red Caped Sparrow in the photo above works as a snap shot but there again the pow is missing. I’m not sure what may have helped it turn the corner and achieve at least a hint of art. It surely has plenty of color, the composition is OK but it falls flat on the artistic front.

In my opinion the image above is close to what I am aiming for although the white wall with the “Hog Wire” in front of it is a major distraction. It’s one of those issues that is un-noticeable while aiming and focusing. But all in all the small bird looks good enough for a blue ribbon at the fair.

Taking photos of small birds is actually quite a bit of fun, taking pictures of flying birds adds another layer to it. It is contagious, when I begin to take them I have a difficult time stopping. It compares from my perspective to a shooting gallery with me missing many more times than not. I find the best time for me is when the wind is blowing about 15 mph or higher. The birds take off against the wind and will hover while working their wings allowing the photographer if he’s locked onto it to depress the shutter taking advantage of the 10 shots per second.

If it’s not smoky tomorrow I plan on riding my scooter the 1 mile to the Ranch gate hopefully getting some unique shots, hopefully a good one of the illusive female Red Tailed Hawk. Then I will start the cataloging.

Jacque Lebec Natural Self Reliance

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