Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Creative Nests

The Carolina Wren has been known to use many different and unusual objects for its nest. Here is an example of my favorite one so far. This nest was built last year in an old hiking boot on my shoe rack in the garage. Thankfully they didn't nest in a shoe I was currently using. The lighting for this was pretty bad, so I hooked up my external flash. My shutter speed was 1/60 of a second which is just what I needed to get the shot.  I am curious where they will nest this year! I know that there are many birds out there that make more creative nests than the Carolina Wren's but since this one was right outside my door, I wanted to share it with everyone. Feel free to leave a comment about some of the most creative nests that you have found.
Posted by John Mark Simmons

1/60 of a second shutter speed, f4.5, with Vivitar 283 Manual external flash.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Photo Quiz (Eastern North America) #2

This was taken in a small field and this bird was numerous among the species that were present. The answer will be posted Feb 24. Good luck!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Common Birds are Pretty Too (Just Look Closer)

Today's post is to liberate the common birds from their place of shame that they are usually placed in by many birders. Many people focus on harder to find birds or rare birds that count as lifers. This is definitely the case with me also, but lets shed some light here on the birds we see everyday. Now some of you may not see White Throated Sparrows every day but I'd say most people in the U.S. do. When you see a bird this common usually it is not considered worthy of time or energy to look at. Well, I spent a little time to get this picture and I love it. I've never gotten a sparrow photo with more detail. I am glad to have gotten this photo because these sparrows will be gone rather soon. I hope you might be inspired to give the common birds a little more credit for the beauty that has been carefully placed in them. Thanks for reading everybody, you inspire me to keep going. 
Posted by John Mark Simmons

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Advantages of Manual Focus

     Here is an example of a good time to use manual focus on your DSLR camera. When there are many branches or sticks in the way it is best to use manual. Too many leaves or sticks can confuse the AF system and it will focus where you don't want it to. As for me, I always use manual focus because my camera's AF is rather slow. I can beat my own auto focus so I use manual. Here is a picture of a Palm Warbler where I was glad I always use manual. There were not a substantial amount of sticks in the way but manual helped a lot to nail this bird. On average it is good to use AF for the majority of your shots. Unless you want to take it as a challenge and go manual. Thanks for reading and have a nice day.
Posted by John Mark Simmons