2022—Practice, Practice, Practice

As much as I travel on photography specific trips, I still practice my photography when I’m home. First, I love to take photographs. Second I love my new Nikon Z9 and jump at every chance I get to try out a new techique with it. Third, I’m always looking for something new for my blog although I have thousands of photographs in my archives. And fourth, my next adventure is a challenging place to photograph birds so I need to practice my technique. At the end of April, I’m going to Magee Marsh near Lake Erie in Ohio. Dozens of species, mostly tiny warblers, are migrating north now and Magee Marsh is a necessary resting place for them before they continue their journey and fly over the expanse of Lake Erie. I’ve been there twice in the past. I know that Magee Marsh is a challenging place to photograph small birds because of the narrow boardwalk crowded with other birders and photographers. Even more challenging is that these tiny birds are often hidden in the leafy branches of trees and shrubs and spotting them, let alone focusing a camera on them, can be very difficult. As I think about it, the scenario at Magee Marsh is much like the shrubs in my backyard. The small Lesser Goldfinches and sparrows as well as the Anna’s Hummingbirds hide among the leafy branches. Spotting them is difficult. Photographing them once spotted is even more so. Hence, my practice. I’m grateful for the auto focus system on the magnificent Z9 and coupled with the NikkorZ100-400mm lens that at 400mm focuses at slightly more than 3 feet, they make a dynamite combo. My practice yesterday was my first for this trip and although I managed to get some in focus shots of White-crowned Sparrows and Lesser Goldfinches amongst the leafy branches, I preferred the images I captured of the female Anna’s Hummingbirds after they emerged from the shelter of the leaves. I was just about 4 feet away so I was able to fill the frame with the tiny bird at 400mm and without using in camera cropping with DX mode. More practice today!

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