How I Got the Shot
Early spring in my local Northern Virginia wetlands park is a great time to shoot these territorial male Red-winged Blackbirds. At first light, the displaying birds are backlit and, if it is cold enough and bright enough, you can see the breath of the singing bird. The problem is a black moving subject, backlit, in low light, so there is always a tradeoff between shutter speed and ISO. For me, there is a lot of trial and error involved. The good news is that the blackbirds are relentless in defending their territory. For the 15-20 minutes that the light is perfect, there are usually multiple photo ops.
What I Used
Nikon D5, Nikon 500mm f4 lens with 1.4 TC. Gitzo tripod with Wimberley head. SS 1/640, f 5.6, ISO 4000. Post processing usually requires some noise reduction and bringing up the shadows in the bird. If you expose for the bird the breath vapor usually gets blown out so you have to try different exposures.
I am retired and live in Northern Virginia; nature photography gets me out of the house. Friends would say I am a bird photographer but I love all aspects of wildlife photography. I shoot a lot locally but my favorite place is Yellowstone N.P. especially in the winter.
My Photographic Journey
Early on most of my photographic time was spent underwater and I learned a lot from a wonderful photographer/videographer, Mauricio Handler. Now I have transitioned to land photography and have spent many hours learning about nature photography from two talented pros and fellow NANPA members, Nikhil Bahl and Aaron Baggenstos. It is pretty easy to stay involved with nature photography because, if you make the effort to get out and shoot, you are almost always rewarded.
NANPA and Me
I have been a NANPA member since, I think, 2015 and made my first Expressions in 2016 with an underwater image. Since then I have been lucky enough to have a top 100 image each year, twice for Birds and once for underwater photos.
Learn More About Me
My NANPA portfolio is: http://www.nanpa.org/events/showcase/about-nanpa-showcase/2020-top-24-showcase-stan-bysshe/.
May website is sbysshe.smugmug.com.