Birds Ascendant

It’s challenging and rewarding. You trip the shutter lots and lots of times to no avail. Birds move a lot, even when they stay in one place. They perch in the thickest vegetation. And when you try to get closer, they take off and fly away. Getting hooked on bird photography is a surefire route to frustration.

But then… the moments of success are exhilarating. Wow! Look at that!

Angel of Death (Osprey)

My encounter with the “Angel of Death” osprey is a perfect example. I followed the bird from telephone pole to telephone pole for a couple miles at least, getting as close as possible, carefully getting out of my car, shooting a few frames until the bird flew, then following again. Of all the clicks–probably 20-30 frames–this one.

In fact, I didn’t know I had it until the camera had been uploaded to the computer and I could determine that, yes, it was in focus! And the depth of field was just right. And it was possible to crop it to straighten and use “golden ratio” proportions.

And it has won me a nice prize! This image was accepted into a national juried show at Dallas Metro Arts Contemporary, a gallery in Anna, TX. This was a multi-media show, so there were several “Best…” awards. Angel of Death (Osprey) was honored with “Best Photograph.” Truly gratifying!

And that’s not all! Within 24 hours of receiving news of the award, I received news that two more of my bird images have been accepted into an “all birds” online show called “Bird is the Word.” This show is also a national juried show, hosted by the Flagler County Art League of Palm Coast, Florida. I’ll post a link to it on my Facebook page when it opens May 23.

Call of the Wild (Anhinga)

Anhingas fascinate me. They are diving, fish eating birds that move through the water completely submerged except for the head held out of the water by that long neck. Swimming, they look more like a snake than a bird! When they come out of the water, they perch and spread their black wings with dramatic white markings to dry. And to make their gutteral cry, they extend and kink their neck at the same time and a pink dewlap appears.

Anhingas are pretty plentiful in Louisiana and I have many shots, but only once have I managed to capture one in the act of calling–with all the essential “raw material” of a promising image intact: focus, depth of field, framing, exposure, etc.

This one is special in another way: It’s the first bird I snuck up on in my kayak and successfully juggled paddle and boat movement, along with all the other bird photography challenges, to get the shot!

BTW, don’t forget that I have an exhibit called “Birdland” in my Ruston Artisans Co-op space in the back room at Ruston Artisans Gallery on W. Alabama in Ruston. Now that Angel of Death (Osprey) is back home from it’s run in Dallas, I will take it over to Ruston Artisans later this week and add it to that exhibit.

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