My new online course “Bird Photography Masterclass” has launched, and I’m happy to say is getting some very nice reviews. For example, Penny A. says:
“Excellent! Highly recommended for all levels of photography! It was an honour to be taken step by step through Tim’s creative process using his stunning images to highlight each point, and culminating in a true masterpiece! I loved every minute of the course and can’t wait to get outside and practice! Thank you!”
It’s nice to get the positive feedback and know that I’ve created something that can help other photographers improve. One of my motivations for creating the course is to help the next generation of photographers with the tools to elevate their craft. Birds are such great ambassadors for protecting wild places, and as former Cornell Lab of Ornithology director John Fitzpatrick is fond of saying “Birds can save the World!”. So the more of us out there photographing and sharing the wonders of birds, the better.
If you happen to know a wildlife photography enthusiast who might benefit from my course, please consider giving it as a gift. Its now super easy to do from the course website.
With the arrival of winter, Harlequin Ducks gather along the coast of New England where they occupy a unique niche in the rough inter-tidal zones along rocky shores. They appear completely impervious to the rough water as they dive and forage among breaking waves and rocks. I made this portrait of a male cresting a wave at Halibut Point, a State Park on the peninsula of Cape Ann in Massachusetts. This certainly has to be one of the most spectacular North American duck species. What makes this shot for me besides the beautiful colors of the bird and background water, is the curtain of water is breaking over the duck’s chest in this shot. It ads that little extra something that makes an otherwise straightforward portrait special.
More Harlequin Duck Action
The Harlequin Ducks often hang out in small groups like this trio of males coming into the surf zone to feed.
Flight shots are always fun to try for, and here I was able to capture a group of five males and one female flying together. For this shot, I used a relatively slow shutter speed of 1/180 sec to add blur to the background.
The other way to shoot birds in flight, is to use a high shutter speed to freeze the motion like I did in this shot as a male Harlequin came in for a landing next to a beautiful little wave catching the light. Shutter speed here was 1/1500 sec.
This was the location and my setup for all the above shots. I got as close to the water as I could without getting into the spray zone, and shot with my 400 mm f2.8 lens and a 2x converter (thus 800 mm) with my Canon R6m2 camera. A gimbal head on my tripod made for an easily balanced lens and smooth tracking of flying birds. The red face is courtesy of the wind chill!
Thanks for tuning in to my adventures. Enjoy the holiday season everyone, and don’ t forget to spend some quality time in nature, even if you live in the wintery North. It’s well worth it!
PS. If you haven’t checked out the film about Papua’s forests that was just shown at the COP28 conference, it is now available to the public on the Cornell Labs Youtube channel at this link: https://bit.ly/COP28PapuaForestFilm