Capturing great images of crows; my challenge.

I follow a blog whose genre is Crows in the writers neighborhood. Having them in ones vicinity is common enough, this is one of two blogs I follow featuring the noisy black birds. I’m a Corvid fan as well, I have been since an early age when a Crow landed in the yard in front of me. As I recall at about the age of 6-7, I don’t recall exactly. I was taken aback when the Crow said “Hi, I’m Jimmy the Crow.” A boy on a farm down the road taught him to speak, his nickname was “Bubbles”, he lost his life in Vietnam. That Damn War.

The blogging ladies photographs of the birds are very good quality, exactly what I struggle with. The image above is one of 85 that I snapped last Monday, a few days ago. Of the 85 I kept 10, 2 over ten percent. I am able to get good detail on most other pictures, still a 10% “keeper” is a good number for me.

I don’t have too many difficulties when photographing birds or mammals that are multi-colored. However as I mention often these dark birds have become a real challenge. I am certain it is the lighting. My suspicion is the early morning is a good time to take advantage of the opportunity but I must catch them in a shaded or partial shaded area. The Coopers Hawk in the above image was in a good spot partially shaded from the Sun by the big trees it is facing. The detail is good even after a bit of cropping, an added advantage was the bird being within 50 feet of the camera.

The Night Heron in this image is 100 feet from the camera, it was also cropped. He’s a small bird no more than one foot tall, tough to capture on the fly and hard to see when landed. I’m confident my focussing is good, it’s my belief we all struggle with it at least a small bit. Although the background of this picture is a bit busy, I will use it in my blogs.

The shot above is close, but it’s still not what I am after. My goal is to be able to enlarge them with the fine feather details being the prominent feature.

I’m doing well with the flying birds, it merely took a lot of practice. Practice just to be able to follow and capture the image in flight let alone focusing. I feel with a bit more practice in flight dark birds will become more acceptable. Rising above the 10% keeper ratio is my goal, every picture above that is gravy. I am happy with the above image but not so much with the blue background, I have to work on that.

My next attempts will be to set up the camera with try-pod on the top of the Levee with the rising Sun to my right. Maneuver to within 50-100 feet of the Pecan tree roosting area and capture images of partially shaded birds. I have a window of two hours, 7am-9am, it goes by quickly. They are out until close to 11am, their activities are governed by the Sun which is obvious. I will take some until they are no longer out and about in the mid-day Sun. I actually do quite well during the brightest part of the day, it’s a challenge I am up to; it will be fun.

Jacques Lebec Shutter Flutter

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