Monday, April 03, 2006

Digital Photography 101 - Get your shot

When I took the butterfly photography workshop at the Tucson Botanical Gardens in January, Jay Rochlin's advice was "First - get your shot. Then, if you have time before the butterfly flies off, move in and get the shot you want."

Thursday was a "get your shot" day. I was trying to photograph two verdins that were flitting all over a mesquite tree. As I lifted my head, I saw a flash of red. No time to focus on this Vermillion Flycatcher. It's the first time I'd ever seen one. My next shot was of a perfectly focused, empty mesquite branch. So here's the first shot - fuzzy, but still dazzling. (Yesterday evening, I was sitting at my computer and looking out of the window when he showed up again - but only stayed a few seconds. )

Later, I was walking back into the house when a Red-Tailed Hawk swooped low over the house. I ran back to where I could see the top of the eucalyptus tree across the street, and shot these photos as she landed. Quick shots from far away, then heavily cropped, but you can still get a sense of her power and majesty.

All shots taken with Canon Rebel XT set at Aperture Priority, 300 mm., f/5.6, 1/4000


Jean said...

Cet oiseau rouge est vraiment beau .
En France , il ne vient pas nous visiter .C'est dommage !

Endment said...

I am in love with the vermillion flycatcher. He can come live in my yard any time he likes and I will bring him any tidbit he might desire.

The pictures are great - thanks for sharing the camera setting information.

Rexroth's Daughter said...

We just don't see birds quite that red here, like your Vermillion Flycatcher. What an amazing, rich color. Love those hawk photographs too. We had a similar experience with an eagle yesterday. Those wings are magificent.

chiefbiscuit said...

I just love to see all the very different birds and wildlife etc you have on your patch.

Pam in Tucson said...

jean - It is beautiful, isn't it? This is the first one I've ever seen, although I understand they're not uncommon in Arizona.

endment - I'll have to find out what attracts the flycatchers. Now our wall's been built, I'm starting to create a garden in our barren back yard. It will be a slow process - no green thumb or gardening knowledge here and not much time either, but I'm determined that one day our patio will be a haven for birds and butterflies.

RD - Whenever I see the hawks or the turkey vultures flyng over my head or landing, I find that I'm quite breathless with awe.

chiefbiscuit - It's mutual. I visit pohangapete's blog and marvel at the variety and colour of New Zealand birds in his photographs and I love to read about them in your blogs and his.

TDharma said...

omgosh, what I've been missing! wonderful photos, Pam! I'll have to be much more diligent about ckg your blog, my dear!