Photographing Hummingbirds: A Pandemic Escape

Hummingbirds getting ready to migrate. (The right front is an adult male Rufous; the other three appear to be Broad bills.) © Debbie McCulliss
Hummingbirds getting ready to migrate. (The right front is an adult male Rufous; the other three appear to be Broad bills.) f/6.3, 250mm, ISO 640, 1/8000 sec. © Debbie McCulliss

By Debbie McCulliss

On the snowy first couple of weeks of this past spring, to lessen pandemic anxiety, I was thinking of migration—movement from one region to another. It was timely. Epic animal migrations take place every spring. Some of the feats that these animals accomplish, crossing oceans, traveling without stopping, are unthinkable. Their destinations are clear and instinctual.

But this spring was different. People all over the globe were migrating, many without a clear destination, back to their home continent, country, or state, not knowing if, when, or how their lives would be permanently or temporarily altered.

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Backyard Birdwatching in the Midst of the Pandemic

The author photographing backyard birds from his dining room.
The author photographing backyard birds from his dining room.

Story & photos by Frank W. Baker

Here I am, in Columbia SC, where the weather has taken a turn toward Spring. The azaleas are blooming and the birds outside my windows are quite active.

I’m a big fan of shore and wading birds so, if you’re like me, you’re rather frustrated now that most of the coastline has been placed “off limits” to us as we shelter at home.

Many other bird watching sites are also closed. With nowhere to go, I’m spending more of my time at home. Perhaps, like me, you are taking time to review older images and post some online.

There’s only so much I can do before I need to spend some time away from the computer. A window in my dining room is the perfect spot now because of its unfettered view of my bird feeders.

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Creating Your Own Wildlife Photo Habitat

A monarch butterfly on a flower.
The striking and photogenic monarch butterfly.

Story & photos by Tom Haxby

We are all staying much closer to home these days, yet the need to connect with nature through our photography is needed now more than ever. One way to do so is to create a wildlife photo habitat in your yard. This is how I came to create a habitat for monarch butterflies in my northern Michigan yard.

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From the Archives: Photography Close to Home: Backyard Birds

From the Editor:  We’re featuring another post from the Archives.  With signs of spring beginning to show, this is a good time to review the relative ease of backyard photography, and the rewards it can bring.  If you don’t have a backyard, these principles can be applied during a visit to a nearby park.  This post first appeared in 2015.  Enjoy!  DCL

 

Story and Photographs by Bob and Jorja Feldman 

 

House Finches © Bob Feldman

House Finches © Bob Feldman

Backyard bird photography can be undertaken on the spur of the moment, no travel time or travel expenses required, no clothing and gear need to be packed and, if Mother Nature rains on your parade, you can easily resume when the rain stops.

Backyard photography is a way to keep photography skills fresh and up to date. The backyard can serve as a test bed for a new lens, camera body, flash or other equipment. Not only new equipment, but the old can also be checked out in advance of a major photo tour. Continue reading

Photography Close To Home: Backyard Butterflies Story and photographs by Robert and Jorja Feldman

Great spangled Fritillary, © Jorja Feldman

Great spangled Fritillary, © Jorja Feldman

Last month our article on backyard bird photography was published in NANPA eNews, and we described some benefits of shooting in your own backyard. This article is a continuation on backyard photography and includes three attributes of the backyard that make photographing butterflies in this venue especially appealing.

These attributes are immediacy, intimacy and control. Continue reading

Photography Close to Home: Backyard Birds Story and photographs by Bob and Jorja Feldman

House Finches © Bob Feldman

House Finches © Bob Feldman

Backyard bird photography can be undertaken on the spur of the moment, no travel time or travel expenses required, no clothing and gear need to be packed and, if Mother Nature rains on your parade, you can easily resume when the rain stops.

Backyard photography is a way to keep photography skills fresh and up to date. The backyard can serve as a test bed for a new lens, camera body, flash or other equipment. Not only new equipment, but the old can also be checked out in advance of a major photo tour. Continue reading

The Grass is Always Greener by Steve Gettle

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Opossum photographed in my backyard.

Story and photographs by Steve Gettle

No doubt about it, most outdoor photographers love to travel to new and exciting locations to capture the subjects they love. But, the truth of the matter is that most of us can’t be jetting all over the globe whenever we want. Most outdoor photographers I know are able to take one, two, or maybe three major trips a year. Sadly, I also know many photographers that only use their cameras when they are on one of these major trips.

I would argue that those same photographers are missing one of the greatest locations available to them… their own backyard. Most of us live within a short drive of a local park or a piece of undeveloped land where we could practice our craft. There are many benefits to working an area near your home. One of the greatest benefits is simply being out there working, it is impossible to make great pictures if you are not in the field. Another important benefit of working close to home is the ability to go out on a moment’s notice – when the lighting is really nice, or during unique weather conditions. You can also get to know a smaller piece of land and its inhabitants more intimately. You can make sure you are there when the cardinals nest in that bush, or when that patch of wildflowers are at their peak.

A Cold Winters Morn

Northern cardinal in my backyard.

Consider developing the area to suit your needs. Try getting permission to put up some feeders and birdhouses to attract birds to the area. You can often obtain permission from a developer to rescue wildflowers from an area that is going to be developed into another subdivision or strip mall. Take these rescued flowers and transplant them onto suitable habitat where you will be able to shoot them. Sure, this is a long term prospect, but you will find these small steps payoff over the long haul with huge photographic dividends.

We all need to look at our own backyards with fresh eyes – with the eyes of a traveler. Remember that your backyard is very often someone else’s hot travel destination. Try to look at things with the eyes of a visitor and you will often be surprised by what you see.

To see more of Steve’s work, check out www.stevegettle.com and www.facebook.com/steve.gettle

Cloudless sulphur in my backyard.

Cloudless sulphur in my backyard.