The Eyes Have It

I have a friend who asks the same question each time he seems impressed with one of my photos.

“Did you get a new lens?”

I still have the same lens (300 mm zoom) that I’ve had since I first created this Blog. But, apparently, I’m getting a little better with my photography as time goes on because, I’m intermittently impressing a guy who has a much bigger lens and years more practice at the craft than I have.

Here are my secrets to getting good photos when you have a camera that is referred to as “entry level” and no experience using it other than set on Auto-focus and “point and shoot.”

  1. Lighting is everything. If it’s not boldly sunny, I’m probably not going to get a good shot. I don’t know how to change the settings on my camera (and apparently I choose not to spend the time to learn – My Bad.) I have poor up-close vision, so I often can’t read the settings, anyway. I can’t imaging changing the settings as these little birds often flit in and out of my range in less than a second. So, I just need to have good lighting.
  2. Knowing where the subjects are is very helpful. So, I have learned to lure them to me.
  3. Being close to a very small, moving subject is critical, since I don’t have a super telephoto lens. When that isn’t possible, I usually end up with a bunch of blurry images, scratching my head and wondering, “what the heck might this be?”

Yesterday, it was in the lower 40s with full sun. Check.

I hadn’t been out to offer food on the platform feeder in days, so when I did the birds arrived. Check.

I remained in the “blind” of my golf cart, which allowed me close proximity to the birds on the feeder. Check.

My primary mission was to shoot past the feeder (through a break in the hedgerow) in the event a big bird showed up at the Butterball Diner (aka turkey lure.) That’s another 60+ feet past the feeder [nothing showed up there.] But, since the little birds were right there in front of me, of course I filmed them.

While no “fancy” or out-of-the-ordinary birds showed up, they appeared splendid in the bright, late December sun. As I was reviewing the images, there were a few that made my heart sing. So, I cropped them to highlight my favorite quality. My personal standard for a good picture is one that illuminates the glint in the bird’s eye. I’m happy to share these photos of Nature’s jewels sporting that satisfying sparkle.

BLUE JAY

NORTHERN CARDINAL

BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE

DOWNY WOODPECKER

AMERICAN GOLDFINCH

HOUSE FINCH

RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER

One day, hopefully, I will be present for the arrival of one of the hawks or the crows that are taking advantage of the Butterball Diner. In the meantime, I continue to hone my craft as I sit waiting. It’s a good way to pass the time.

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