The Great Journey in Photography

You Complete Me

Yellow Finch Portrait

420mm f13 200iso 1/160sec

I wonder how many times that phrase was said during the last week. For a bird shooter it can have a more unconventional meaning. One of the many rambling thoughts that bounced inside my skull this week was that the photo above was one such thing that “completes me”. Many of you may think it is somewhat unremarkable, some may think it a wonderful image, but none of you will hold it in the esteemed place that I do.
That lesser Gold Finch completes a long journey in more than one way. It is my notification that I have accomplished much of what I set out to do in bird photography.

For the few years I have really focused on larger birds and about a year and half of that a huge chunk of my shooting time was spent chasing Brown Pelicans. When I first saw the bird photography of Chris Klaphake, who is a remarkable photographer, I was inspired by some of hos songbird images. I wanted to make those kinds of pictures with the color and creamy bokeh, so I set out to get some. I didn’t want to fill my bucket list but rather to shoot real high quality, magazine quality if you will, images that will bring my subject to life. This image is my start to that.

One of the thing that makes this photo remarkable to me is that I made it all in a professional manner. The photo its self is correct. Correct exposure, complimentary colors, sharp, with nice bokeh but it is how I got there that means the most to me. This particular bird is small, fairly fast and over the years I have made many pictures that are horrible. This time I found a location that was rich with the birds, I spent time watching the birds behave and how they reacted to humans. In this case they were hanging out near a feeder and were pretty tame. I lined up my shots, checked the sun angles and then I watched the birds. I came back again and watched the birds, then I came back again to make the shoot. When I set up I had all my settings correct the first time, had my angels down, backgrounds laid out and everything was perfect on the first try. No fuss no muss and that is what is remarkable, truly pro level performance from start to finish. I think some folks like to call it “unconscience competence”. What ever it is I have finally arrived. Now comes the really hard part, “rinse and repeat for the rest of my life”.

Thanks so much for reading and have a great day

You can see more of my photos at


2 responses

  1. The bird seems to be aware perching for a full-length portrait – especially for you! 😉

    February 17, 2012 at 10:54 am

  2. Love this pic !!!!

    March 16, 2012 at 7:12 am

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