Photographing the Says Phoebe
In April of 2009 a friend of mine pointed out a nesting pair of Says Phoebe birds at his house in SW Utah. At the time I was living there for the season and shooting in the area. Bird photography is a recreational past time for me. I love how hard it is and I looked at this as a fun opportunity for backyard photography. There are few things more enjoyable in photography then seeing a picture in your mind and doing whatever it takes to make it happen. The shot I wanted proved to be a patience and problem solving game, and one I was having fun with. This gallery is dedicated to 4 days of tenacity with 2 birds. Enjoy!
Day 1 A standard approach on the first day, long lens from a distance. I liked the photos but wasn't in love, but my interest was peaked.
On The Hunt
The Greatest Influence
A friend of mine and brilliant photographer, Dave Black, once said "Light is the greatest influence to a subject" I couldn't put it better or agree more.
Just Add Light
After looking at my photos the first evening I wasn't blown away. But I had walked away with something key. The 2 birds had a discernible and basic pattern when returning to their nest. They would always land on the highest point they could find closest to the nest, scout, and fly in safely to their eagerly awaiting chics. I decided to surround the highest point in the area, a dead branch, with concealed high powered off-camera strobes. The result was one step closer.
An adult scouting before heading to the nest with a fresh honey bee meal. The off camera lighting was freezing the action in select scenarios.
The new look was nice, but the shutter speed limitation with these strobes wasn't enough. Nothing left to do this day but persevere!
New angles, Different Technologies
Step 1: A more intimate angle
Step 2: Using a remote camera mounted under the predictable perch and adding 4 Nikon SB800 speed lights to keep up with the action
The 2nd greatest influence
The dead tree branch wasn't as pleasing of a background as I'd hoped, so I clipped down some mesquite branches, bundled them up, taped them to a light stand and created the new highest perch
As hoped, the birds flocked to the new high perch immediately
It was a great feeling to get the photo I had initially envisioned, but more then anything the process and patience it took was the most fun. It was also a great way to spend 4 days.
All Photos Available At www.natgeocreative.com
To see more please visit www.ladzinski.com