During our recent holiday in the Myrtle Beach area of South Carolina I had the opportunity to spend some time photographing birds at Murrells Inlet. Early February is not the best time for bird photography as the number of birds and range of species is somewhat limited. Never-the-less I persevered and visited the inlet a number of times, usually going out to the end of the pier.
As photographers we all do our best to really think about the composition of our images and construct them to achieve a sense of balance. When we do this well we are able to control eye flow and create a pleasant viewing experience for people looking at our photographs. To accomplish that we often use the Rule of Thirds in our compositions. Obviously this is much easier to utilize when photographing static subjects such as landscapes and much more difficult to achieve when our subjects are moving.
If we’re lucky from time to time we get the opportunity to capture an interesting bit of nature playing out before our eyes. I had one such opportunity on Saturday afternoon when I was able to photograph a blackbird chasing a hawk in flight. I was sitting at my kitchen table having just returned from Grimsby harbour after trying to photograph some terns in flight with my Nikon 1 setup. It was a very dull, grey, overcast day so I cut my session short and had returned home.
Most people who enjoy taking images of birds will attest to the fact that it can be especially challenging to photograph hummingbirds. These little ‘pocket rockets’ dart around constantly and very seldom stay in one place long enough for us to find them in our viewfinders, let alone actually get an image. If you’re like me even being able to capture a decent image of a hummingbird on a feeder with its wings spread is an uncommon feat.
As part of the field work for my review of the Nikon 1 V3 I took some images of birds in flight under rather harsh winter conditions earlier this year. While I did have some success with the Nikon 1 CX 70-300 f/4.5-5.6 zoom lens I wasn’t satisfied that I had given the lens a good test with this subject matter as my goal for the article was more to demonstrate the capability of the V3. I really wanted to try photographing some cormorants but by the time I purchased my copy of the Nikon 1 CX 70-300 in late 2014 most of the cormorants had already migrated south so I missed a good testing opportunity last year.
During a recent trip to the Myrtle Beach area of South Carolina I took the opportunity to try something new, and captured a number of images of brown pelicans. Although I’ve seen these birds a number of times in the past I never tried photographing them before, and as with any bird species there was a learning curve involved.
I’ve been continuing my field work for my hands-on review of the Nikon 1 V3 and spent some time capturing images of birds-in-flight at Grimsby Harbour. This has been a particularly severe winter and some of the Great Lakes have frozen over completely. This is only the fourth time in the past 40 years that this has happened. As you can see from the image below, Grimsby Harbour is frozen solid out past the lighthouse. This made for some interesting captures of birds-in-flight.
As a brief follow up to my Photographing Tundra Swans with Tamron 150-600 article, this piece features a small selection of bird-in-flight images taken along the Niagara River with a Nikon 1 V2 with the Nikon 1 CX 70-300 f/4.5-5.6 lens.
It is important that I state up front that I really struggled deciding to even write this article as the image quality is not up to the standard that I prefer to show to readers. Unfortunately trying to shoot white birds on greyish backgrounds accentuated the Nikon 1 system weaknesses and the lack of dynamic range is very apparent. I finally decided that since the images represent what can be expected under these particular shooting conditions that the images (hopefully) would still be of value to readers. As I stated in my review of the Nikon 1 CX 70-300 lens shooting birds in flight can be a challenge with the Nikon 1 system. People buying a super telephoto lens with the express intent of shooting primarily birds-in-flight are likely to be better served by using a DSLR combination. [Read more…]
It always amazes me how I can live in an area for so long and be completely unaware of some fascinating image subjects. Thanks to Ray Miller, a local Photography Life reader, I had the chance to photograph a small group of Tundra Swans in their winter migration home on the Niagara River in Ontario.
As a dedicated sports photographer, I look forward every year to fall. The American school year starts, plus horse polo season is just around the corner. So you can imagine my reaction when my wife announced that we would be taking a month long vacation in September; my heart damn near stopped. I looked sadly at my new D810, with the attached 70-200mm f/2.8G forlornly staring back at me. Football, Golf, Swimming and Volleyball seasons were just starting, and I would not be there. Instead I would be at the beach for the next month, with nary a chance to photograph any sports. So I packed up the D810, the D800E (with an attached 24-120 f/4), threw a 50 f/1.8 in the bag for good measure, grabbed a tripod, some memory cards, etc., and off to the beach we went. A felt like a fish out of water (or, since we would be at the beach, a bear chained to a stake). Just what would I take pictures of?