I’m still working through the thousands of images from the 3-day bird photography workshop I attended in Alamo, Texas a couple of weeks ago, and found this series of interactions between a Golden-fronted Woodpecker and a Red-winged Blackbird. No one can say those blackbirds aren’t feisty, pesky, and challenging.
If there is one thing I’ve learned from the Alan Murphy workshop in Alamo, Texas, it’s to make sure you have the right set up before you bring birds in to photograph. Providing the right food is just the final step.
First, find suitable staging perches from which the bird will fly a short distance to the food. That ensures that you will get some good flight shots out and/or back.
Second, decorate the source of the food so it doesn’t look like a feeder. Alan gets quite creative with his decorations so that the colors blend well with both the background and add some splashes of color to the photo.
Make sure the feeder set up has a nice backdrop 30-50 feet away, so that you will get a smooth background with a telephoto shot. Then, of course, you have to have a place to sit with your camera on a tripod that is at the same level as the feeder and the staging perch, so you are not shooting down on the birds. Blinds are ideal, although a little chilly for us to sit in during the winter in Minnesota. Raising the feeder perch and staging perch to window height works too.
And voila, wonderful photos that hardly need editing! In fact, the only editing I did on these photos was some very minor cropping.
I’m currently in Alamo, Texas attending a bird photography workshop run by Alan Murphy, and learning how to set up for taking photos of small birds in flight. Today’s challenge — learn how to pre-focus the camera in the place you expect the birds to be. Sometimes it worked, but most of the time, I captured an empty perch.