Monday, February 18, 2013

Bird Photography Success!

Photographing birds is so much fun and so uplifting, especially when you have some success.

Just recently, I had some of this success with my Canon Digital Rebel T4i and a Sigma 18-250mm lens. The result is obviously the photo on the right.

It's a pileated woodpecker. That's the bird they modeled Woody Woodpecker after. If you are familiar with good ole' Woody, you will immediately recognize the red plumes and black feathers.

Here's Woody - it's a picture from Wikipedia from the "Barber of Seville".
The point here is that I was ready, camera at hand, all charged up and actually turned on when the opportunity presented itself.

Here's how it happened. 

I have several bird feeders right outside my kitchen window. Two have a mixture of seeds for wild birds and two have suet blocks.

I have been getting tons of bird traffic with these feeders. And the traffic has increased tremendously since I started buying quality bird seed instead of the stuff on Walmart's shelves (nothing against Walmart, but their bird seed is old and not so highly desired by the bird community that hangs out at my house).

So, I have been priming the birds for nearly 7 years, and during that time I have taken quite a few pictures of them. I used to sit outside on the deck, huddled inside a make-shift blind.

But then I snapped a few pictures from my kitchen window and discovered the quality barely suffered at all because of the window between me and the birds.

Anyway, last week I got my first glimpse of the pileated woodpecker, and my heart stopped (I'm pretty sure it stopped - I know I didn't breathe for quite awhile). It was a fleeting glance because it was on the opposite side of the suet feeder.

This is one of the female Cardinals who doesn't
look too happy about my infatuation with
the pileated woodpecker
I devised a plan that would eventually end in the success you see here. I repositioned the suet holder so I could see both sides, and I prepared my camera for immediate action, placing it next to the window.

Then I watched... and watched. Fortunately, it took only a few days before my newest photo subject returned. The sun was bright, which made for a really fast shutter and a nice sharp picture. I was able to snap off about 10 shots before the bird made its exit to the nearby tree, and then I was able to get a pretty decent shot of the bird in the tree, as well.

More success stories on my blog at

Here's to your success, too!