Nature Blog Network Wildlife Photography Blog Fatbirder's top 1000 birding websites

Welcome to the Pine River Review. Our sight is dedicated to our little homestead located along the Pine River tucked inside the Chippewa Nature Center's 1400 Acres of wild in Michigan's lower penninsula. We love to share our pictures, video, comment, and our own homespun music. Step inside our world as we celebrate this beautiful nook!


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

World Bird Wednesday LV


The Zen of Flight Photography


  We started the week with a good dose of snow and so it seems winter's long night has begun in earnest. Cold weather out of the North-West can often mean clear skies with the bright luminescence of a low arching December sun beaming through the trees. This is prime time to try and pull off some small bird-in-flight captures. When ever I see a good song bird flight picture I'll stop and take notice. They are a rare commodity. Getting one by accident is a pipe dream, achieving it with purpose is time consuming and baffling. Many methods have been tried to achieve good results and often successfully so. Consider please photographer/genius √Čtienne-Jules Marey of 19th century France who managed to apply multiple time lapse images of a flying pelican onto a single negative. The quality of this image taken in 1882 still holds up brilliantly some 130 years later. To this purpose Monsieur Marey invented a photographic machine gun that could shoot twelve frames a second. My sophisticated Dslr camera of today shoots only seven. 




    
                 Marey's images pushed the study of anatomical motion light years ahead. His books: La Machine animales/Animal Mechinism and Le Vol des Oiseaux/ The Flight of Birds, was followed by Le Mouvement in 1894, famously illuminating in great detail many mysteries including how a cat always lands on it's feet and that indeed, all four horse's hooves do leave the ground simultaneously at a full gallop.
    Photography and Enlightenment had begun a intriguing relationship.



   If the trick of capturing a Bird in Flight was pulled off so effectively in 1882, then why is this accomplishment still so intoxicating to every bird photographer great and small to this very day? Perhaps it has more to do with the singular experience of taking such a picture than the picture itself.
   Only up to a point, and a very fine point it is, can nature photography be planned in advance. (By the way, is that a tether knotted to Marey's pelican's foot?) When the day begins it is impossible to predict what birds we shall see and know the time of their arrival. We are seekers, open to opportunity. Ours is a reactive pastime, and an impressive level of concentration is required to simply observe, let alone pull off the mechanics involved in photographing our prey. A great shot is always just around the next corner and our reflexes are set to snap it.
   No one, and no technology is fast enough to track a song bird in flight at close quarters. Coupling that limitation with the need for shutter speeds in the vicinity of 1/2000 of a second and a cracker thin depth of focus it's easy to see why folks rehearse their in-flight photog' skills on lazily gliding gulls.
    The advanced practice takes total immersion; a Zen like focus on the Here and Now. That and $2000 worth of camera gear! 



A White-breasted nuthatch in flight. A moment in time.

    My technique involves picking a cubic foot of air near a feeder and shooting picture after picture as the yard birds streak through it. 99.9% of these attempts contain nothing but clear air and are nudged into the waste basket. Out of focus and blurred birds round out the last 1/10 of one percent. As a meditation exercise the student of Zen presses a stick in the sand and in a flash of inspired motion attempts to scratch a single perfect circle, an endless endeavour to momentarily experience perfection. How can anything so inherently frustrating lead to Nirvana? You'll have to ask the Buddha that one. To achieve a bird in flight capture we apply the same demented principle to a camera. The truth is the effort to take these pictures puts you 100% in The Present, the razor thin chasm between the past and future.                                             I don't think the animal kingdom in general devotes much time to such aesthetic pursuits as reaching harmony with the Universe. They don't need to.                        It is Humankind's special delusion to see itself as separate and insulated from Mother Earth like the thermos bottle in your lunch box.
    

A Black-capped chickadee in full bloom.

    Perhaps that lucky strike photo is all the proof we really need that if only for a moment, we too can delve into the kind of transcendent oneness a cat experiences when it lands softly on it's feet after a great fall or view the mystical mastery a bird has over it's wing tips as it manages the million micro maneuvers that sees it safely to it's perch.
   Bottom line: Small bird in flight photography is fun and does require your full awareness. The rare good pictures are Bliss, a souvenir from from a momentary glimpse of heaven!



This is the home of World Bird Wednesday. A place for bird photographers from around the world to gather and share their photographs and experiences as they pursue Natures most beautiful treasurers, the birds.

You don't have to be a Bird Watcher or expert photographer to join in,  just enjoy sharing what you bring back from your explorations and adventures into nature!

World Bird Wednesday will be open for posting at 12 noon Tuesday EST North America through midnight on Wednesday.

CLICK THIS PICTURE!
#1. Simply copy the above picture onto your W.B.W. blog entry, it contains a link for your readers to share in the fun. Or, you can copy this link on to your blog page to share WBW. http://pineriverreview.blogspot.com/


#2. Come to The Pine River Review on Tuesday Noon EST North America through Wednesday midnight and submit your blog entry with InLinkz.


#3. Check back in during the course of the next day and explore these excellent photoblogs!

The idea of a meme is that you will visit each others blogs and perhaps leave a comment to encourage your compatriots!


Come on it's your turn!

39 comments:

  1. Love those shots! The cardinal and chickadee are my favorites. Great action and detail! They are both frozen very nicely.

    ReplyDelete
  2. my God, that chickadee is perfection!!! cardinal is mighty fine, too! great 'moment in time' captures!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Love that shot of the chickadee in flight, Springman! The winter background colors are great too. Birds in flight are so beautiful to see, but remarkably tricky to capture well. Here's a link to one of my friends on Flickr, Al, who is a true pro at capturing birds in flight -- his current tally is 467 different bird species in flight. Its well worth browsing his photos if you have some time!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Great post! Accidental in-flight shots are my game. Your flight shots are marvelous!

    ReplyDelete
  5. The cardinal is gorgeous. I've yet to capture a good flight photo of my budgies, let alone a small songbird. And yes, I think the pelican really is tethered.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Great shot of the chickadee! We do take a lot of images, hoping for one or two keepers.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Oh wow!! I'm going to try this... I might be pm-ing for more info on camera settings, since I'm a newbie to using my dsl for more than a PHD camera (Press Here Dummy). Again, wow.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Awesome shots, Springman! One of the most satisfying things...to capture them in flight and you've done them fantastically.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Early birds! Everyone is chomping at the bit I see! Welcome to WBWLV, Thank You for your presence and your comments.
    A tidy little number-LV...I like it.
    Special second edition to Pat Ulrich's comment: Pat suggests checking out Tinyfishy's photostream. This is the link; http://www.flickr.com/photos/tinyfishy/
    Here you'll find a Master at play!

    Ranger Anna... My Homie, There is so a ton of info out there on taking BIF pics and I checked out a lot of it this week prepping. Here's some of the good ones...The links are:
    http://www.pronaturephotographer.com/2010/12/the-art-of-photographing-birds-in-flight/

    Here's one from Cornell no less:
    http://www.birds.cornell.edu/AllAboutBirds/bp/hflight

    And another Master, Richard Bedford from the UK:
    http://www.richardbedford.co.uk/

    Hope you enjoy them!

    Cheers to all!
    Dave

    ReplyDelete
  10. you always comes up with stunning shots, but today you beat yourself. The Cardinal and the chickadee is absolutely stunning. Maybe the best I have ever seen. I love it. :) And keep up making me happy each week. :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. Springman, an interesting subject indeed! It seems my reflexes (and eyes) aren't what they used to be. But I keep trying. Come up with the occasional "good" one! But nothing like your Chickadee or the Cardinal! I do have lots of the clear blue sky shots though!
    I really like your header shot! I recently won a nice set of Binoculars in a photo contest with a Chickadee shot! That felt quite nice! My first entry into such a event. Probably just blind ass luck!
    Cheers to you!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Amazing. Love seeing photos of birds in flight. You capture them beautifully. :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hi Springman! My you have a way with words; delightful reading. That photographic machine-gun is most interesting concept; amazing really. The first image and the black capped chickadee great captures; what a treasure. Can imagine the delight whilst discarding many to the recycle-bin, that these ones came to the fore. That must've been a Nirvana moment :)

    ReplyDelete
  14. Another wonderful read and superb images. I admit to using the machine gun method (only 4frames a second for me) with very little result although some of my Tern pics gave me some satifaction.

    Thanks for another WBW to see all these wonderful bird blogs..

    Enjoy your week.

    ReplyDelete
  15. You have bowled me over again. Consider me a bowling pin, and you have rolled a strike every time for weeks and weeks now... relentlessly you amaze, with birds like I've never seen them before.

    Bravo, Monsieur Printemps-man, my chapeau is off to you !

    ReplyDelete
  16. Great post after great post Springman. I am tempted to print out all your writings just to have them availible to refer to again and again, not only for that never-ending encouragement I need to perserve, but even more so, for the reminder that even the best end up with 99.9% in the bucket. With a nod to the Occupy Wallstreet folks, here I am just another 99%'er, now in more ways than one. More than just great photos as usual Springman.

    ReplyDelete
  17. 'A souvenir from a momentary glimpse of heaven' sums it up perfectly. Even my must have evening walk last night as my huffing, puffing and struggling old body dragged itself up the steep inclines of the road, two kangaroos hiding in the bushes helped me up it, on the almost flat bit the white-faced heron rose majestically from the stock trough near the windmill. Warbling birds in the bushes helped me up the next part and on the steepest stretch a hare on the skyline lured me on and on and on as my shutter clicked in the now gathering darkness and I too was finally in that state of Zen where one' own body is forgotten and all is just a glorious oneness.

    Your flight captures are sheer magic. A pity I don't have the luxury of birds coming to feeders.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Apart from the perfection, what I really like about the Cardinal is the way he is keeping a wary eye on you.

    ReplyDelete
  19. When i first saw these pictures without reading the text I thought of them as a bird ballets, for the images simply dance across the screen in fine displays of graceful beauty. I love action shots and these are fantastic. I especially like the cardinal which looks like it has on a fine red cape. I'm partial to the nuthatch also as I love their upside down antics. As usual, you have delved into the philosophical and the scientific as well as the artistic aspects of birding. Lots to ponder there. And it sure looks like a tether on that pelican's leg to me!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Magnificent photos. Thanks for sharing them and all the effort you must have put into getting them.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Springman, great tips and ideas for the bird photography. I love your Nuthatch shots. Well done!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Wow! All those megapixels of bare sky really did not go to waste. I must admit that my flight shots have normally been of an empty perch with the bird flying away, usually mostly outside the frame. I admire do your patience, but even more admire the results.

    ReplyDelete
  23. What fun it is when you get what you went for eh? Excellent work and the images are the prize!! I LOVE feather detail and there is so much detail in a feather.
    ENJOY your winter!

    ReplyDelete
  24. I absolutely LOVE in flight shots, and have been practicing, but yours are more than awesome!
    Stay safe Springman.
    B.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Oh my, Springman, that chickadee in flight is just so perfect. I love visiting your WBW; am totally inspired everytime! Greetings from Jo, Kenya

    ReplyDelete
  26. Right on and perfectly in time, the best captured shots in action I have ever seen till date. Got no words to appreciate the work... Simply splendid!

    ReplyDelete
  27. What a brillint read. I will find time to delve into yours and Pats links later on theis week.... we all need that little bit of extra inspiration now and again. Your banner shot of the Chickadee is superb too.

    I may take your lead for next weeks WBW and put up some of my in-flight shots.... includint the sublime to the ridiculous shots
    Dave

    ReplyDelete
  28. Hi there - what great pictures - five frames seems good to me!

    The chickadee and cardinal are splendid.

    Did you notice I included some birds feet for you in my grebe post!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Australia

    ReplyDelete
  29. The moments of the big 'Oooohhhhmmmmm' :-)
    Patience rewarded in your photos!
    And a nice piece of writing as well :)

    ReplyDelete
  30. I am in awe. That cardinal shot is awesome! Always enjoy coming here!

    ReplyDelete
  31. Your flight shots are heavenly, David. The chickadee looks like an angel about to descend to earth. Flight shots are one of the hardest to pull off, and it takes an expensive camera and lens. Since birds are usually dark against a bright sky, I usually dial in + EV, exposure compensation, which overexposes the sky but brings out the details in the bird. I also try to us f8 to f11 to give me a little bit more room to to stay in focus. But it finally comes down to practice and lots of luck.

    ReplyDelete
  32. I've done a lot of practice with birds in flight and I'm getting there. I haven't had much luck with the little guys as they are fast as lightning. Your images are SO impressive. I will have to give your technique a try!

    ReplyDelete
  33. Springman, now it's my turn to confess that I am in love! He he he, with your chickadee, not with you! ;) But your abilities to capture the moments are worth worshiping!

    ReplyDelete
  34. The first and the last are my favourites. What amazing captures!! I am in awe...

    ReplyDelete
  35. Hi Springman,
    Sadly, I missed the link up this week due to having no internet for a few days while staying in a hotel in the city.
    I have posted my WBW post anyway as it's one of my favourite link ups.
    http://amothersfaithhopeandlove.blogspot.com/2011/12/world-bird-wednesday-silver-gull.html

    ReplyDelete
  36. All your birds in flight are of
    exceptional quality and beauty.
    Great job!!

    ReplyDelete
  37. re the Blue jay.. I would have liked to see that one to in Costa Rica. For me it is a bird I have never seen. :)

    ReplyDelete
  38. I love this -- not so much for the practical photo tips, (although if I ever get the $2000 worth of equipment, I'll come back for them) but just because it's a wonderful essay in itself. My Zen practice is to learn to be happy with what I see even if I don't get a picture. YOUR pictures are wonderful. And I think that is a tether -- I guess back then maybe an accepted practice probably.

    ReplyDelete