March 8, 2016 Salineno Birding Area, Texas

Northern Cardinal
Northern Cardinal

Finally Getting Some of the Good Stuff Posted

My Nikon D810 camera died and was sent back to Nikon for warranty repairs a couple weeks ago now. Since then I have been concentrating on getting a serious backlog of image processing done.

Female Northern Cardinals
Female Northern Cardinals
Female Northern Cardinal and Golden-fronted Woodpecker
Female Northern Cardinal and Golden-fronted Woodpecker

I still have hundreds of nice action shots to sort through and process, even though I haven’t shot anything new in two weeks. As I go through these images, and think back to where I started this action shot business three months ago, I can’t help but think I have made some pretty decent progress. My time here in Salineno has proven to me that you actually can teach an old dog new tricks.

Great Kiskadee
Great Kiskadee
Long-billed Thrasher
Long-billed Thrasher

Turns out that camera technique is only half the secret. Paying attention to how the props are constructed, where they are placed for bird flight paths, selecting the proper backgrounds, and knowing what time of day will yield which type of shot best, are every bit as important as knowing how to use the camera.

Female Northern Cardinals
Female Northern Cardinals
Female Northern Cardinal
Female Northern Cardinal

The images in this post were shot over several days with varying light conditions. Most of my favorite shots from here were taken between 7:30 and 8:30 in the morning or in the very last hours of useable light in the evening. All of the above shots were shot at that time of day, where the dark backgrounds and brilliantly lit subjects produce very dramatic images. Yet those are also the shots that require the most patience. Because of the dim light,  it becomes difficult to maintain the shutter speeds necessary to freeze wing motion and it takes an awful lot of shots taken to get just a few good images, but I have found that when all the conditions are just right and the subjects catch that golden light just so, well, the results speak for themselves.

Golden-fronted Woodpecker and Female Northern Cardinal
Golden-fronted Woodpecker and Female Northern Cardinal
Altamira Oriole and Female Northern Cardinal
Altamira Oriole and Female Northern Cardinal
Altamira Oriole and Female Northern Cardinal
Altamira Oriole and Female Northern Cardinal
Two Female Northern Cardinals
Two Female Northern Cardinals
Great Kiskadees
Great Kiskadees

Another very different lighting condition, foggy mornings that yield very diffused light, produces  an entirely different type of image, these soft, pastel like shots.

Great Kiskadee and Green jay
Great Kiskadee and Green jay
Great Kiskadee and Green jay
Great Kiskadee and Green jay
Great Kiskadee and Long-billed Thrasher
Great Kiskadee and Long-billed Thrasher
Great Kiskadee and Long-billed Thrasher
Great Kiskadee and Long-billed Thrasher
Long-billed Thrasher
Long-billed Thrasher
Audubon Orioles
Audubon Orioles
Golden-fronted Woodpecker and Female Northern Cardinal
Golden-fronted Woodpecker and Female Northern Cardinal
Great Kiskadee and Female Northern Cardinal
Great Kiskadee and Female Northern Cardinal
Altamira Oriole and Great Kiskadee
Altamira Oriole and Great Kiskadee
Altamira Oriole and Northern Cardinal
Altamira Oriole and Northern Cardinal
Altamira Orioles
Altamira Orioles
Altamira Orioles
Altamira Orioles
Altamira Oriole and Audubon Oriole
Altamira Oriole and Audubon Oriole
Audubon Oriole and Female Northern Cardinal
Audubon Oriole and Female Northern Cardinal

Midday produces the best light for freezing motion and thus some of the sharpest shots are taken then, though the bright backgrounds add little to the images.

Audubon Oriole and Female Northern Cardinal
Audubon Oriole and Female Northern Cardinal
Altamira Oriole and Green Jay
Altamira Oriole and Green Jay
Altamira Oriole and Green Jay
Altamira Oriole and Green Jay
Great Kiskadee and Female Northern Cardinal
Great Kiskadee and Female Northern Cardinal
Green Jay and Female Northern Cardinal
Green Jay and Female Northern Cardinal

The weather here at the start of March has me itching to head north for a change of scenery , routine, and some more comfortable temperatures. March 20th has been announced as the closing date for birding at Salineo, so I begin my countdown to departure, hoping that Nikon gets my camera sent back to me in time to leave on schedule. I hope to be able to catch some of the Texas springtime wildflowers as I head north and west from here.

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