• AJ

Your mission . . .

. . . should you choose to accept it . . . Joining groups on Facebook and other social media platforms is a great way to get the scoop when something special pops up in the local area. This week's blog is about a little red bird that was a challenge to capture pictures of. The Vermilion Flycatcher is not normally found in our local area. There was a posting on one of the groups I belong to that mentioned this bird was in the area and had been for several weeks. It was close by, YES! But it was early in the week when I found out and couldn't make plans to go out photographing till the weekend. I was nervous that this Flycatcher would have moved on by the time I got out and tried to find it.

The poster in the group was kind enough to provide the exact street intersection that it had been found at. It was private property. I didn't know what to expect. Would I have to get permission from the landowner to go onto their property? I was lucky the bird could be seen from the easement along the road. However it was a good distance off. I would just have to make do. I setup my stool right up against the fence at the property and just sat and watched for a bit.

This is where the challenge comes in. Vermilion Flycatchers are fast, agile, and don't sit in one place for very long. I was going to have to attempt some in-flight shots, which at the time was not very adept at. For the first few minutes I worked on getting focus and tracking. This was going to be hard, he was very fast. But having a rare sighting in the area I knew I had to go for it.

I shot at a fairly high shutter speed to help freeze the motion of the wings and had to dial up the ISO to compensate for exposure. I knew these shot weren't going to be perfect due to the distance I was shooting at. And knew they would require a heavy crop and post editing.

It was one of the most enjoyable mornings I have ever had shooting pictures of wild animals. I was pleasantly surprised how some of the shots turned out and was even more excited when I saw the little bug that he was after in the frame as well. I still am not an awesome in-flight shooter, however I do learn something new every time I do and have improved over the past few years.

This experience gave me the "bug" to go out and practice more, often going out to photograph Gulls and Crows flying around for the practice. So all I can say is thank you my little red friend by giving me a challenge and inspiring me to do better.

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