Birds of North America

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Wildlife Photos: Subject + Light + Background–Painted Bunting

_dsc3212When most people think of wildlife photos – whether of Mammals, Birds, or Reptiles – they think of the subject. But there is a lot more to making a compelling photograph of an animal in nature than the subject. Light plays an essential role, for starters. Dull, drab, images are seldom capable of commanding our attention. Backgrounds, while under-rated, are also key. All three came together in this image of a Painted Bunting from our Hill Country bird photo workshop this week. Each element plays a role… Read more »

Tails aren’t just for Mammals: Birds have them too!

_djc9056As anyone who has been on safari to Africa with me knows, I’m forever calling out “watch the tail” when we’re photographing a leopard, lion, or other long-tailed mammal. Far too often otherwise excellent mammal photographs are ruined when shooters inadvertently focus too closely on the face of an animal and chop off the tail. Read more »

February 6th Talk at BABP in Palo Alto on ‘Creating Award-winning Photography’

I’m pleased to be returning to one of my favorite local photo clubs, the Bay Area Bird Photographers, next week. I’ll be giving a presentation (which I first gave at B&H in New York last October) on Creating Award-winning Photography – with a focus on wildlife and bird photography. If you enter contests, or have thought about it, there will be plenty of advice. Even if you just shoot for yourself, there will be lots of pointers to help improve the quality of images you capture. Read more »

Bird photo blinds: Studios or Habitats?

This Summer Tanager was photographed in a tree along the Guadalupe River, without using a blind or artificial perch of any type.Having just returned from two weeks of really fun and very productive photography on some of the best private ranches in south Texas, I’ve had a lot of time to think and rethink about the design of the bird blinds we used, and some of the others we saw in use. In this case I’m not talking about the physical blind structures where we, the photographers, sit. That part of the blinds has continued to evolve for the better over the six plus years I’ve been shooting there. They are more comfortable and better positioned than ever. No, in this case I’m talking about the part of the blind where the real action is, the “stage” where birds and mammals hopefully appear and are photographed… Read more »

From birds to blooms in the Texas Hill Country

djc_6619Our Texas Hill Country photo workshop drew to a close today with a full day of photography. We started this morning in the excellent blinds at BCNA, with our co-hosts Larry and Sharron Jay making sure we not only had a great breakfast, but were well set up for the arrival of the sun and songbirds. Read more »