Musings - Travel associated with bird photography

  In the search for subjects, bird photographers may travel a bit. For a number of reasons, the travel itself can add to the enjoyment associated with nature photography. 

Birds often congregate in scenic places.

Cape St. Mary's Ecological Seabird Reserve - August 2010
Nikon D300, 18-200mm f/3.4-5.6 lens
Tens of thousands of seabirds nest here, including an estimated 30,000 Northern Gannets. The white dots on the cliffs are birds.

Click on images for a larger view.

King Penguin Colony, Salisbury Plain, South Georgia - March 2008
Nikon D80, Sigma 20-20mm f/4.0-5.6 lens at 12 mm

And the route taken to get to those places may be interesting. 

Fog in the valley at sunrise on Montana's Hwy 16, the road to Medicine Lake NWR - July 2018
Olympus E-M1MarkII camera, 12-100mm zoom lens at 80mm

Antarctica, National Geographic Endeavour. 
On our way to the next penguin colony in rough seas, avoiding the icebergs. My waterproof outerwear was useful when taking this shot.
Nikon D80, 18-200mm f/3.4-5.6 lens

The travel to birding spots in order to be there at dawn, sunrise or sunset for good lighting can also be rewarding. 

Sunrise, Florida's HWY 98 near Eastpoint heading for St. Marks NWR - May 2013
Nikon D7100, 300mm f/4 lens

Dawn - Great Blue Heron, Merritt Island NWR, FL - Feb. 2014
Nikon D300s, 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 lens at 200mm

For me, the travel associated with efforts to capture some of the beauty, uniqueness, and behavior of birds and other animals in their natural habitat has been most enjoyable. And I have been fortunate enough to pursue these efforts on all 7 continents.

Long distance travel can be rewarding but, of course, it is not essential for the acquisition of captivating images of our natural world. The travel associated with the hummingbird and damselfly photos shown below involved taking 5, 6, or depending on the lens being used, 7 or 8 steps from the patio of our condo. 

Click on each image for a larger view.

Hummingbirds visit Betty's hummingbird garden - August 2018
Olympus E-M1 MarkII camera, 300mm f/4 IS Pro lens
I am not sure about the ID of the hummers, but my best guess is that they are Broad-tailed Hummingbirds.

Betty's gardens have always contained plants that attract hummingbirds and, true to form, that is what she planted in the small (150 square feet) area in front of our Colorado condo.

The Preening Place - August 2018
Olympus E-M1 MarkII camera, 300mm f/4 IS Pro lens
After a visit to Betty's hummingbird garden, the hummers sometimes perch on the branches of a nearby tree to do their preening. The photographer must cope with the low light levels in the shaded perches. 

Hummingbirds are not the only creatures attracted to Betty's plants.

Damselflies spotted in Betty's hummingbird garden - August 2018
Olympus E-M1 MarkII camera, 300mm f/4 IS Pro lens + 1.4x teleconverter
Efforts to identify these damselflies are still in progress. 

Feel free to offer assistance with the ID of the hummingbirds and damselflies.

David Sparks

I retired in 2005 after 40 years of research and teaching at the University of Alabama in Birmingham (24 years), the University of Pennsylvania (8 years) and the Baylor College of Medicine (8 years). Photography is my retirement hobby.

Nature photography, especially bird photography, combines a number of things that I really enjoy: bird-watching, being outdoors, photography, travel, messing about with computers, and learning new skills and concepts.  I now spend much of my time engaged in these activities.

David Sibley in the preface to The Sibley Guide to Birds wrote "Birds are beautiful, in spectacular as well as subtle ways; their colors, shapes, actions, and sounds are among the most aesthetically pleasing in nature."  My goal is to acquire images that capture the beauty and uniqueness of selected species as well as images that highlight the engaging behaviors the birds exhibit.