Monday, August 3, 2009

"Talk, talk......Talk, talk talk talk....,all you do to me is talk talk"

I have become addicted into going to the bait shops around town in the morning. I usually get up at about 7am and throw on some shorts, grab the camera and my tripod and head out the door. I arrive at Hart's Landing bait shop first and I set up there.
I try to time my arrival with the arrival of the shrimp fishermen delivering their catch from the night before. The fishermen bring their load of shrimp in and the bait shop attendant then starts sorting the shrimp according to size. All this commotion attracts a number of birds. Great blue Herons, Snowy Egrets, Great egrets, Little Blue Herons and sea gulls are all attracted by the possibility of a free meal.
I am hoping that the bait shop attendant will toss the birds a couple shrimp and I can capture the moment of the birds swallowing the shrimp. Many times I have to beg the guy to give the birds a shrimp. Some of the employees are better about it than others. One guy has to be begged to give the shrimp away and another guy throws the birds the shrimp so quickly that I have a hard time getting the exposure right.
I use the spot meter for my bird shots so I have to be quick. I just place the center spot on the brightest part of the bird and zero out the meter from there. I have learned to have the exposure compensation set at +.03 if the bird is filling the frame. I use the matrix meter if the bird does not fill the frame and I have the exposure compensation set to zero. I use the manual exposure mode so I am constantly changing the shutter speed. I also let the camera focus the lens, I have enough to think about.
Hart's Landing is a cool place and I can get some good closeups there with the sky or the bay as a blurred background. I then move on and take my gear across the bay to New Pass Grill & Bait. Their shop is set up a little differently and gives me some different photo opportunities They have docks and a shoreline and some rocky outcrops over by the jetties. The sea gulls like to sit on the docks and squalk at each other. I like it here because I can compose the shots without distracting backgrounds.
I like the bait shops for bird photography because I can get close to the birds without spooking them and fill the frame with my subjects. The birds are interested in eating so they don't pay much attention to me and my camera. I hope you will like my images

1 comment:

  1. Hi Michael,
    You are a kindred spirit, lover of animals and birds. Your profile photo of a squirrel on Flickr prompted me to contact you. It's clear you're in communication with the creatures you are photographing; the love, respect and humor are there. I agree completely with your captions. Isn't it interesting how different animal and bird species share comparable attitude, with notable individuals standing out? The birds are right out there vocally throwing their weight around.
    Did you hear about the 20 to 30 year study a field biologist is doing on baboons? All the alpha males died about 5 to 10 years ago from eating tainted meat which THEY had gotten to FIRST. Guess what's happened since. It's good news with far-reaching implications, perhaps, for humans.
    Committed to following a true animal lover's blog (not to mention amazing photographer's,)