The Gentle approach

An early start provides an opportunity to join this Wandering Tattler probing in the rocks and flipping stones in search its morning meal.

To get photos like these it is important to spend the time necessary to gain trust by observing from a distance. This also gives a chance to see the bird’s behavior and plan a strategy to get in position for a good shot. In this case, I could see the bird was hunting from pool to pool and generally moving in a predictable direction. I then move ahead of this path and find a spot where I can get a low camera position (bird’s eye level) to give the feeling that you are right there with the subject. It’s a good sign the bird is not feeling threatened when it approaches you. This lack of concern is key to getting good behavior and action which adds interest to the images. Finally, a bit of luck comes into play as the shorebird moves through the scene. Will it catch something while in the frame? It just might, so be ready!

shore bird hunting in tide pool on Maui
Wandering Tattler
a shorebird catches a crab on Maui

Juvenile Annas Hummingbirds

Young hummingbirds, fresh out of the nest, provide some predictability on where you may find a good action shot. Atleast for a few days, mamma hummingbird will return often to feed the young birds while they learn to fend for themselves. The juvenile hummers can move around, but they generally don’t venture too far while waiting for another meal delivery. This gives us a chance to get the camera positioned and ready for the feeding behavior and nurturing moments from a dedicated parent.

Red-breasted Sapsucker

Birds are elegant creatures and interesting to photograph in their own right. Capturing expressions of their behavior elevates your images from a thing of beauty to one that also shares information about a species and its relationship to the environment. While taking portraits of a bird watching for and trying to document its survival strategies can be a very rewarding way to enhance your experience and will provide interesting content for your caption.

Cropping tips

We can often improve our images by eliminating distracting elements. Here are a few things to remember when cropping our images:

  1. Cropping is subjective — do what feels right.
  2. When cropping in a destructive editor (like Photoshop) make a copy to work on so you can get back to the original version.
  3. Lighter areas of an image pull the eye so eliminate them where possible if they do not add to your composition.
  4. Make sure you have enough resolution left after your crop to achieve your purpose.