Thursday, November 3, 2011

Trying Hard

Hey, at least I tried. =)

My practice model for the afternoon: Mr. Blue Rock-Thrush
I haven't really tried bird photography in earnest. I admit I am intimidated with the technical aspect of it and having major limitations in terms of gear, somehow elevates the "challenge" factor. But I would LOVE to take wonderful photos of  wild birds like so many of my friends do. Looking at them in action and seeing their photos... wow. They make it look so easy! But there is always that silent wish that I could capture these beautiful birds and do them justice in photographs I could take.

So, after seeing the Blue Rock-Thrush pretty close-up, playing with its food just a couple of days ago, I decided to go back alone and try photographing it. As I was driving to the site, the sky darkened and there was a foreboding of strong rain. As I parked, some fine raindrops began to fall and the sky was getting darker still. I scanned the area, watching out for the bird in the grass, on some shrubs, on the large tree. It wasn't there. I turned around to face the building and immediately saw a figure of a bird, standing tall atop the roof. A quick look through my bins confirmed that it was the male BRT. I gave it a few minutes, silently wishing it would fly and perch anywhere near me. But as the sky grew darker and the bird not moving from its perch, I sighed, took one last look at it through my bins and went in the car. I started the engine and with my head down, told myself it was ok. When I looked up through the wind shield, there it was: Mr. Blue Rock-Thrush perched just in front of me!

I turned off the engine. It didn't move.
I opened my door. It didn't move.
I ever so sloooowly got out of the car. It. Didn't. Move!!!

Crouching to be at level with the car, I pointed my D40 with a 28-300mm borrowed lens from Jops and tried my very best to remember what Sir Alain and Sir Rey talked about during their bird photography lecture at the Philippine Bird Festival: ISO. Shutter speed. Aperture. Oh my god it's too dark! No light! What do I do when it's too dark? (Was it pack up and leave?) It's starting to rain!!! Nooo!

I managed to get a few shots. As in: few. After a few minutes, it flew down to the grass, hopped around a bit before it flew away out of sight just as the drizzle got stronger. I got back in the car, excited to see what I got. And I got.... lots of blurred pictures.

I initially got lots of suuuper blurry pictures like this:

I also had lots of shaky pictures like this (no thanks to my pasmado hands and the hour I spent playing the guitar earlier that afternoon!):

I got semi-blurred images of the BRT. I'm so thankful it stayed that long on its perch right in front of the car!

And this was the best shot I got of it. Not as sharp as I'd want it to be but I do need to practice.

Oh well, I was happy enough being able to practice on such a handsome subject who posed so close to me! And I'm happy I tried very hard =)


  1. That was a great effort and you succeeded quite nicely Maia. You should attend our workshop, we'll give you and Jops a very nice discount. A good chance to greatly lessen the learning curve and be able to create beautiful wild bird images that you will be proud of.

  2. Hi Maia!

    Congrats on starting up being a wild bird photographer.

    Don't worry about your shots, but I tell you, this is how we started. This is how it all began. I will tell you what the "it" later.

    But congrats because you have overcame the first difficulty. You have mustered enough courage to go it alone and do it alone, and with your captures, it's thumbs up, madam!

    Keep it up and see you in the field soon!


  3. you can always say pic 3 is actually a 3D image and you need special glasses to see it in 3D

  4. WOW! Thank you, thank you!

    Sir Alain, I'm super encouraged with your comments! I'm raring to go out and practice again... but its raining =P

    Jon, why not?! I accidentally made a 3D image! =)

  5. Don't be discouraged, Maia! The fourth photo is very good. A lot of practice is all it takes.

    Keep on shooting!

  6. Thanks Tito Bob! Yeah, I really need to practice and practice! Super challenging but its really a wonderful feeling being able to get a good photo of a bird =)