Sunday, October 20, 2013

Up Close & Personal with Nature...Locally

Chestnut-sided Warbler, Northport, MI
Image was taken on a nature trail excursion
For bird and nature photographers to capture images that meet personal 'perfection' criteria, it takes the three "P's":  practice, persistence and patience.

Before the three P's can take hold, the photographer must have the right lighting, location, camera settings and a bit of luck in finding their subjects.

When subjects are spotted, that's when patience and persistence takes hold. Our little birds typically pose for a few seconds before darting off to another branch.

To be able to track your subject, select your camera settings, focus on the eye, it takes many snaps to get your desired image.

Where to practice?  Many towns have individuals, groups or even centers that's mission is to rescue injured wildlife and rehabilitate back to the wild when possible.   I have seen a few that work with photographers creating a win environment for both.

Barred Owl, The Howell Nature and Conference Center
A perfect poser in Steve Gettle's workshop
The Howell Nature and Conference Center offers many education forums for the Southeast Michigan region.

Steve Gettle, a widely published professional nature photographer conducts photography workshops at the center on a regular basis.  In October, he led Photography Workshop: Lighting and Composition.  There is a fee for the workshop that goes directly to the center in support of their mission.

This workshop offers students the privilege to photograph wildlife in a beautiful, natural setting with a lot of attention to the details.  A picture-perfect place to practice!

Another group in the Midwest is Back to the Wild in Castalia, Ohio. This group centers on rehabilitating and returning animals back to the wild.  They offer educational programs, share progress updates and rely on donations for support of their efforts.

Each spring during the The Biggest Week in American Birding they bring their birds of prey for demonstration and education that cannot be returned to the wild to Magee Marsh at Crane Creek near Oregon, Ohio.  Photographers can get within a close range as these birds are accustomed to seeing people and will give a pose or two.  A practice haven.  While not required, they accept donations during the demonstrations and online too.

Peregrin Falcon, a poser from Back to the Wild
Image taken in May 2013 during The Biggest Week in American Birding
By researching local non-profit wildlife groups you can take part in helping their cause and potentially get some 'practice makes perfect' time.  Happy Shooting!