Happy Mother’s Day and a Chance Capture…

Merganser bird photo

Happy Mother’s Day! – this photo is dedicated to all those mother’s out there who seem to be able to ‘run on water’ with their amazing ability to manage the kids, the household, careers and hobbies all with a smile 🙂

I took this photo the other day at the creek near my house.

Totally unplanned…

I had just taken some creek photos and was relaxing looking over the water when I saw this colorful bird cruising on the surface at the corner of my eye.

I slowly reached for my camera so as not to startle the bird (fortunately I had my 70-200mm f/28L lens on my Canon 5D Mark III at the time).

By the time I had my right hand on the camera, ready to pick it up, I saw our dog Bali (the Australian Shepard / Border Collie mix) charging towards the creek in the left corner of my view…

She had spotted the Common Merganser on the water – leaving me all of 1 or 2 seconds to get the camera to my eye and snap off a few shots.

I managed to get 4 shots as the bird took flight from the water. The one above was the best.

The ISO was really low – set at 100. Typically for action photography I would choose an ISO of 400-1600 to get a faster Shutter Speed.

As it turns out my camera was set to Aperture priority (which I recommend leaving your camera on) and set to Aperture f/3.5 and the Meganser was in the sun so I had a Shutter Speed of 1/320 sec. This gave me a reasonably fast shutter speed but you can still notice some movement blur as I was zoomed in at 200mm.

Panning with the bird, as it ran on the water, did help keep it in fairly good focus. But you will notice some blurring which I find gives a better feeling of motion.

This is the track and pan method I describe in my “Shutter Speed” video of the DSLR Basics Module in my EasyDSLR Digital Photography Course (Blue Membership).

If you want to learn this method…

OR are just a little curious about what else is in the course then head over to my >Special for Blue Membership here< This Special is for limited time – click the link to see how much time is remaining.


Explosive Color: Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

Took a little family trip through the Skagit Valley North of Seattle last week.

Just happened to be during the Tulip Festival 🙂

It’s an amazing explosion of color – really hard not to get some great photos. These are a few of my favorites. I won’t show you the other 235!

I was trying out some different perspectives using a Canon 5D Mark III paired with a 70-200 mm f/2.8 L lens and a 16-35mm f/2.8L lens. The first 3 were at 70 to 80mm. The 4th and 5th photo were at 200mm – I was using this focal length to ‘compress’ the perspective giving condensed bands of color. The last photo was at 16mm just holding the camera at arms length above a bed of tulips for a unique perspective.

I used different Focal Lengths and Apertures in these photos to modify the Depth of Field (how much is in focus) to give a different look to the photos. >>Click here to find out How to Isolate your Subject with Narrow Depth of Field <<

I hope this gives you some interesting angles to try out in your flower photography.


Hummingbird Photo

Hummingbird PhotoI had this Hummingbird visit me in the inner city in Portland.

The Fall (Autumn) colors of the trees provided an amazing backdrop. I was hoping to get the Hummingbird in flight but after much patience he disappeared as fast as he appeared giving me zero time to get a shot… oh well!

I took this with a Canon 60D, 200mm at f/4 (70-200mm f/2.8L) with ISO400 and 1/400th sec Shutter Speed. The crop factor of the Canon 60D (1.6x) gave me a little extra reach with the 200mm focal length used (equivalent to a 320mm on a Full Frame sensor).


Bird Photograph: World Photography Day


I decided to send a bird action shot for my 2013 World Photography Day submission.

I learned a couple of key tips for bird photography while trying to capture a photo of nesting swallows on our property. After many failed shots (trying to capture them in flight) I had 2 realizations:

  1. I needed a predictable angle and position to capture – ‘side on’ aiming at the nest with a Telephoto let me pre-focus on where the swallow was going to be.
  2. Setting an ISO of 1600 gave me a shutter speed of 1/8000th sec – which was crucial to freeze the motion of the super fast swallow

It took a dozen shots but I nailed a capture that I was fairly happy with…. actually this was part of a sequence which was awesome. I’ll post that next time.

Please show your support by ‘favoriting’ (is that a word?) my shot at:

(To ‘favorite’ my shot you need to Register and Login to World Photography Day then you will see a link “Add to favorites” next to my name and the heart count – if that is too much – you could just share the photo using one of the sharing icons on the right of the photo.Thanks!)