Sunday, May 20, 2012

For the Love of Birds

This is an updated post originally dated October 22, 2012. This post is updated. The original also contains some different images and can be viewed here.

Inspired from the movie "The Birds". You can see the light shining
thru their wing feathers.

After picking up photography again in November 2007 after an 18 year absence from the art, I decided to 'Master' several subjects. The reason for this is that by forcing yourself to master a specific subject, you are forced to learn all the specific skills required to master that specific subject. Each type of photography requires different skills so by moving on from one subject to the next (after you have mastered it of course) you can force yourself to learn all kinds of new skill sets. I call this 'Project Based Learning'. It is a great way to force yourself to learn new skills!

The first very first subject I choose was 'birds'. I do not know exactly why I choose birds except perhaps it was my love of them.

Bird Photography was ideal for me as I now get to do two things, well, three things I love. I get to be 'outdoors', doing 'photography' and shooting 'birds'. How much better than that can it get?

I also decided to try to make money with my bird photography and have since donated all bird image sales profits to Bird Sanctuaries and Rescue Shelters. All my bird images are for sale (some are available at with more to follow shortly) and 'Rights' are available for free by permission only to government registered non-profit societies for use in Print Material. Please inquire.

Here are a few of my more recent bird images. Note that most of these images are not cropped (except for the obvious square crop on the America Crow and a slight crop only on the left portion of the frame of the Great White Egret in B&W. Most people think these are shot with the Birdir's 500mm or 600mm Lens. Except for the Gannet, these images were all shot with a Canon 70-200mm F/2.8L Lens (most at 200mm). The Gannet was shot with a Canon 400mm f/5.6L Lens.

To get this close to these birds, be patient, be quiet and calm. The birds will get closer to you or will allow you to get closer to them. For more tips on how to photograph birds, check out my previous blog - Bird Photography Tips which will also be updated soon.

American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos), Florida

Northern Gannet (Morus bassanus), Cape Saint Mary's, Newfoundland

American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos), Florida

Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus), Florida

Vulturine Guineafowl (Acryllium vulturinum), Florida

Here are two more images but this time in B&W. B&W is not a preferred media for bird photography as colors are very important in Ornithology. However, B&W can look great or even better with the right birds in the right lighting.

Click the images to zoom in to see the detail and the delicate exposures. Note the details on the white feathers of the Egret and again the detail of the black feathers on the Crow. The right exposure is crucial here and usually can't be saved in Photoshop. Use exposure bracketing if the lighting is tricky. Both these images have even better detail in Print.

American Crow in B&W (Corvus brachyrhynchos), Florida
3rd Place Winning Print at DPI 2012 in B&W Category

Great White Egret in B&W (Ardea alba), Florida
1st Place Winning Print at DPI 2012 in B&W Category

Another aspect of the Bird Photography fun has been the identification of the birds and learning the Common and Latin names. As you can see I still do Bird Photography but in 2009 I threw myself at Flower Photography and in 2011 I started doing B&W. I still shoot all three subjects but I still strive to learn and improve my skills in all three.

Hope you enjoyed looking at these images and I hope that they can in some way inspire you to help with the care of birds or at least inspire you to photograph your love or to challenge you to learn new photography skills!

© 2012  Jean-François Cléroux
(Version 1.02 -  May 2012)

Please feel free to leave comments, corrections, ideas, thoughts or suggestions.

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I value thoughtful comments and suggestions. If you like or dislike this post, please let me know. If you have any ideas or suggestion, comments or corrections (I do make mistakes) please also let me know. Thanks.

- Francois Cleroux