Word and Image

Birds in Flight

These are the bird in flight images that I can recall from recent years. I keep a database. In response to Galen Leed’s excellent work/blog, I will admit that this is about all I have on the subject. The last photo is of humans, my daughter and myself, who wish we could fly. (Shhh… my daughter shouldn’t know that I posted her picture here – camera shy.) I’ll post a story about the African photos. Bear Mountain and Nyack New York are on my other blog (Imaged Event – see sidebar). My knowledge of birds is limited. We were at a surprise birthday party in Ashburnham, Massachusetts. The guests of honor have a home on the lake and a pontoon boat. At the end of the afternoon, I climbed aboard for a spin around the lake. As we rounded a small island on the lake, a heron was startled. I happened to have my camera in hand. Serendipity. I got about four frames and hoped that the exposure and focus were sufficient.

See sidebar blogroll for Imaged Event.

Gallery, slideshow, technical tips:

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Technical: Once again shooting moving subjects is challenging. And it is more so if you are not prepared as in this case. Mostly my camera settings are setup for the random surprises in life. When they were younger my kids would always do something cute. By the time I was setup the moment passed and they would never allow me to recreate the moment. I use programmed mode. Yes I know it’s not for purists, but hey? I setup the autofocus at nearest subject. With the heron in flight against the background, the bird is the closest subject. The camera will focus faster than I could manually. And then with a silhouette, panning is perfect. Swing the camera as you press the shutter and, voila! The background is blurred while the subject is in focus. The slower shutter speed adds some motion blur to the wingtips. Great! I didn’t plan for this at the time. All I wanted was an image of that fish! Oh boy, oh boy, another fish story that no one will believe – until I show the picture.

Database: When you have as many images as I have shot, then it helps to have a database. This is no more than a simple reference list of the subjects, travel, location, events and people that you have imaged. For the digital age, I use a database program Filemaker. But, you can use a spreadsheet program as well. I keep track of the date, number of images taken on that date, subject, location, and identities of any family or friends. For instance, I need to remember Africa or Ashburnham and I’m halfway to finding the bird pictures. Mostly it takes a few moments to track down an image. What’s harder is if you don’t remember ever taking the photo. That has happened as I start to convert old slides to digital files. I pulled them out of my drawer so, I took the picture, but don’t remember the image at all.

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