My Photographs Have Been Improving

Part of the joy of bird photography is the challenge of getting a better shot than one you’ve gotten previously. When I look back on the shots I got when I started birding, I’m amazed at how much better my shots have gotten. Part of that improvement comes from understanding the birds better, but a significant part comes from owning better equipment. No matter how good of birder you are, you’re rarely going to match the shots of those who have top-of-the-line cameras and telephoto lenses with a point-and-shoot camera.

But even with the best of equipment the element of chance always plays a part in determining how good of shots you get. You have to be in the right place at the right time to get good shots. This year I managed to get three shots I’ve been trying to get for several years now.

I first saw a picture of an American Avocet in breeding colors nearly four years ago while visiting a preserve in Eastern Washington. It wasn’t until March of this year that I ever saw an Avocet, and I never managed to get a shot of one in breeding colors. This one was shot in Malheur in late Spring.

American Avocet in breeding colors

I’m sure I’ll manage to get a better shot in time, but this strikes me as an awfully good photograph. I couldn’t have been happier at the time I got it.

I first saw an Eared Grebe at Malheur on my first visit to Malheur several years ago. But it was in the middle of a thunderstorm and the bird was barely recognizable. I got this shot in Northern California right after I got the shot of the Avocet at Malheur.

Eared Grebe

I can’t imagine I’ll ever get one that shows breeding colors better, though I still prefer shots of birds flying, not floating.

This is the best shot I ever got of a White-faced Ibis in breeding colors.

White-faced Ibis

Best of all, it was a slightly better shot than Leslie had gotten of one in the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge. I like to keep up the illusion that I’m a better birder and photographer than Leslie, especially since I spend far more money and time on them.

7 thoughts on “My Photographs Have Been Improving

  1. Loren, I always thought you were using a top of the line camera with a telephoto lens! Great shots, as always, and Happy Holidays…..

    • Actually I started out with a really slow Canon Rebel and a fixed 400mm lens. I kept upgrading Cameras over the last seven years until I moved up to the top-of-the-line 1D, but I still get most of my shots with the relatively inexpensive 400mm lens.

      Happy holidays to you, too, Brian. I’ve been enjoying the reincarnation of your web site!

  2. Thanks for another enjoyable year of your blog. “Blog” sounds so unlike the gifts this brings. With appreciation. kjm

    • Thanks to all my visitors who keep me motivated to keep at this when I’d prefer to disappear into a book.

    • Apparenty 🙂

      Still, like anything, I do expect to improve the more I practice. That’s why I don’t measure my photos against professional photographers who have devoted their life to photography.

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