Saturday, May 1, 2010

Eye to Eye

This past week, I was invited by a close photo friend to join her at Fort De Soto Park near St. Petersburg, Florida for a day of bird photography. Fort De Soto is the first landfall of migratory birds returning from South and Central America in the spring as they cross the Gulf of Mexico, so it is an excellent place for bird watchers and photographers.
Our mission was two-fold: to practice photographing birds and bird behaviors and to practice using (and carrying!) our super telephoto lenses. During the course of the day, we saw a large variety of birds. Luckily for us, most of the birds we observed at close distance were either wading slowly by the shoreline or standing quietly making it easier to track them in the viewfinder and to make compelling bird portraits.
However, capturing bird behavior was another challenge altogether, which we quickly learned required patience, extensive knowledge of bird behaviors, prediction, and quick reflexes!

I must admit, I did not capture many bird behavior images from the day and I have gained a new respect for bird photographers...
It's not as easy as it looks!

This week' s image is one of my most interesting images from the day's experience. The heron was wading at the shoreline and seemed to be trying to figure out how to eat a fish head it had found in the water. It made numerous attempts to do so, positioning the fish head in different directions before finally succeeding. This frame was my most successful shot of his dilemma.
(Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 600mm lens, 1/1600 sec at f 4.0, ISO 400)

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