Places I Go
I don’t claim to be an expert in bird photography but I like to believe I work at it as hard as anyone. What I am trying to do with this blog is share some of my experiences, things I learn along the way and hopefully post some nice photographs. One of the ways I learn things is by following the work of those who are the best at what they do. Today I want to share the three best online resources I know of.
Scott Bourne-Photofocus. Scott Bourne is one whale of an avian photographer. No pun intended. I used to look at one of his sites “AvianStock.com” for inspiration and ideas but he has since sold those assets and the site is no longer available. The first photography related book I ever bought was “Captivating Wildlife” by Scott and David Middleton. I got it from the Tacoma Goodwill second hand because I was on a real budget those days. It is a wonderful book with only a handful of bird photos but one of them just blew me away. On page #77 there is an incredible hawk in flight image and if there is any one photo that really got me going that is it. I have since spent many hours hiking around bluffs and canyons trying to emulate that image (no luck yet). So if you happen to see that book thumb over to that page and take a look at what I consider sheer inspiration.(Update: I was able to locate the image on line. Here is a link.) Now, front and center is the Photofocus site and Q&A podcast. Photofocus has daily content if not several times a day and is related to photography in general. The focus is the basics of photography, a little bit of product, book reviews, video, with plenty of zen thrown in. Don’t be fooled by that “basics” comment either, everyone needs to visit the basics on a regular basis. The feeling I get is that Photofocus is about as close as you can get to having a mentor without actually having one. As much as anything there are great life lessons and a kind of a code of conduct for becoming a successful photographer. Don’t expect a lot of avian/wildlife specific content though, we have to understand that being a bird shooter is out of the mainstream and blogs like Photofocus need to serve the bulk of their audience first.
Scott Kelby-Scott Kelby’s Photoshop insider blog. Don’t be tricked by the name, there is much more than photoshop tips on this blog. Kelby media covers a whole range of photography and photo related subjects but where I like to start in the world of Kelby is Scott’s blog. I don’t know that he has ever done any avian photography to be honest, but he does do a lot of sports and in particular football. The thing is that all that sports stuff he writes about all applies to avian photography in most respects, so just insert “bird” instead of “NFL” every time you see it and you will pick up a lot of good tips. As for the “photoshop insider” part – you will pick up a lot about processing photos too and that can be just as important as the photography if you want to have and print great images. I Also watch a Kelby video podcast called “D-Town”. In particular pay attention to episodes #59-61, they are all about sports photography. Once again insert birds instead of sports and you will be fine. Scott Kelby is one funny guy also, so expect a bunch of chuckles along the way.
Arthur Morris – Birds as Art. Think of Arthur Morris as the Godfather of avian photography. The Birds as Art Blog is nothing but avian photography and if you read it you better have your thinking cap on because you are going to be challenged. I only recently started reading Birds as Art every day and quite frankly it was not very long ago that much of the content would (still is??) have been way over my head. One of the things I find most facinating is his approach to tonality with manual exposure. Each and every photo on that site has detailed data of the camera settings used so you can properly analyze and deconstruct the image. The Birds as Art Blog will teach you three things specific to bird photography, proper exposure for different species of birds, different kinds of birds and their behaviors, and proper composition of birds. Its all birds all the time with a steep learning curve and no graduation days but stick to it and you will definitely become a top notch avian photographer.
So there you have it, three very different blogs but they do have a couple of things in common. First, they all hold my attention and entertain me. I am anxious to see them every morning to see what is new and that’s something I find essential. Second, they are all just the tip of the iceberg to a whole world of related information, products and services that are rock solid and proven. Want to turn pro? Tune into Scott Bourne and listen to the Going Pro podcast for tips on how to start a business. Need some new gear? Go visit Mr. Morris and you will find out what gear works best and where you can get it. You see where I am going, any direction you want to take your photography one of these resources will be of great value to you.
you can see more of my images at www.ronboyddesign.com