My main objective with photography is to share the wonders of nature that might not be easy for others to witness firsthand. With bird photography, I love being able to freeze nature in motion and capture details that the naked eye cannot see. I also try to pre-establish a vision of what I want to achieve on a specific trip. During the workshop where I got the great kiskadee shot, my focus was on action shots that would help the viewer appreciate the speed, dexterity and beauty of the species. With wildlife photography, I spend a significant amount of time learning the behavior of my subjects, and being able to predict this great kiskadee’s consistent flight pattern was key to achieving this shot. I loved how the action of this beautiful bird was captured.
How I got the shot
This shot of a great kiskadee attracted to pyracantha berries was captured in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas. The shot was a challenge due to overcast skies, thus requiring a high ISO due to the depth of field and high shutter speed required for the desired outcome. The overcast skies were also a blessing, as they reduced shadows and gave me better flexibility with sun angle. I pre-focused in manual mode to where the birds were consistently eating berries. Then using my handheld shutter release fired away. It was very gratifying when preparation and vision all came together for this photo.
What I used
The photo was taken with a Nikon D5 body and Nikkor 500mm f/4 prime lens, Gitzo Tripod, Wimberley Sidekick Gimbal, and a shutter release. The settings were 1/4000 second, ISO 4000, f4.5 at 500mm using manual focus. After processing in Lightroom with my standard workflow adjustments, I used Topaz DeNoise AI software to help with noise reduction.
I call Northern California home and have always had a passion for conservation. My love for wildlife drives my interest in photography. A few years back I decided to wind down my career in technology to spend more time in the outdoors focusing on my photography. Although I do sell prints, I see myself more as an advanced enthusiast. My primary focus is with birds and mammals, but I have recently started expanding into landscape, cityscapes, and astrophotography. My favorite location is anywhere outdoors. However, I do enjoy the abundance of wildlife and nature in Yellowstone, Grand Teton, and anywhere in Alaska.
I started out in college as a wildlife and forestry major and during my summers worked as a Hotshot firefighter. Although I ended up working for 20 years in corporate finance, throughout my life I have always had a camera and been out in nature. I have gone through many hobbies from being a private pilot, scuba diving, mountain biking, sea kayaking, and backpacking. Through it all, the constants have been my camera and my love for conservation and nature.
My photographic journey
My first published photos were of California forest fires taken with my Pentax K1000 when I was a firefighter in college. I took this hobby to the next level after I purchased my first DSR while living for three years in India. Upon returning to the US, I found Brian Small’s website where he had photographed every North American breading bird. I decided to take on a similar challenge and have since photographed 505 North American birds. I aspire to express the personalities of wildlife and the beauty of nature in hopes of inspiring their protection.
NANPA and me
I joined NANPA in 2017 and have participated in several regional events. I have enjoyed meeting and building friendships with other members and am continually inspired by their work. In 2019 I was recognized in the Showcase 250 for the first time and, with so much talent amongst the NANPA members, am truly honored to have received this year’s recognition.