Showcase 2020 Winner Profile – Sha Lu

Showcase 2020 Judges’ Choice, Birds: “White-tailed Kite Food Transfer" © Sha Lu.
Showcase 2020 Judges’ Choice, Birds: “White-tailed Kite Food Transfer” © Sha Lu.

How I Got the Shot

This photo shows the food exchange between a parent and a juvenile white-tailed kite. Their nest was on a tree at the parking lot of a local park. After photographing and observing their daily behavior for many days, I had a good educated guess of where such exchanges might happen. When this juvenile fledged, it performed one of its very first food exchanges right in front of my position, giving me almost full frame shots, resulting in a great amount of details in the photos.

What I Used

For this shot, I used a Sony A9 camera, Sony 400mm f/2.8 GM lens and Sony 2X teleconverter.  It was shot with full manual settings at 800 mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO 640.   It was overcast and backlit, so I chose to blow out the background, with only the main subjects in the photo.  I used Adobe Lightroom and Topaz DeNoise AI to process the photo.

About Me

I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, northern California.  I am a software engineer but developed a passion for bird photography less than 3 years ago.  Raptors are my favorite birds to photograph because their behavior is very interesting to me.  Most of my photos were taken at local parks, but  I also take my gear with me on family vacations if possible, and look for bird photography opportunities. 

My Photographic Journey

About two and a half years ago, when I was on a family vacation in Yellowstone National Park, I took some bird photos using my entry-level DSLR and kit zoom lens. That got me hooked on bird photography. I found predator/prey behavior to be most exciting to photograph. Locally, there are opportunities for me to shoot things like bald eagles hunting on the lake, cormorants/terns/kingfisher catching fish, white-tailed kites food exchange, etc.  I often wait at a location for hours in hope of catching some great “action” shots. Getting the shots is only half the work, post processing is also important. I try to process some photos every day, keep improving my techniques.

NANPA and Me

I am a relatively new member, joined in September 2019. I enjoy browsing photos in the NANPA Facebook group and post some of my photos in the group.

Learn More About Me

My NANPA portfolio is: http://www.nanpa.org/events/showcase/about-nanpa-showcase/2020-top-24-showcase-sha-lu/

I post many of my photos in my Facebook Timeline, apart from posting in various Facebook groups, like NANPA’s.