Welcome and thanks for stopping by!

Look around, relax and enjoy some of the natural world's marvels!
How fortunate we are to live in the time that we do. Everyday is a precious gift from our creator, who surrounds us with an abundance of wildlife to capture using the latest photographic technology.
We love sharing and talking about photography almost as much as creating the images. We hope to hear of your photo experiences, favorite shooting places, techniques that work for you as well as your own product reviews.
May the light always be perfect!
Tim and Debbie Flanigan

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Photographing Warblers Requires Big Lenses for Little Targets

Magee Marsh in Oregon, Ohio was our home for the last four days while Tim and I photographed a concentration of northward bound migrating warblers as they rested and refueled prior to crossing over Lake Erie to Canada. The Saturday before Mother's Day, is International Migratory Bird Day, and is the expected prime time for the migration with thousands of birders and photographers expected to attend. If the line-up of porta-pottys is an indication of the numbers expected at this annual event, I am glad that we went early. The observation platform and boardwalk were crowded at many locations, and the Canons far out-numbered the Nikons. Pack the long lenses for the little birds and the flash extenders like Better Beamer, for the boardwalk's shaded interior. The outside edges are better for early light, and provide more elbow room. The light reaches the boardwalk about 8:00 am. Your heavier tripod will dampen the boardwalk bounce of the enthusiastic birders, however, I used my favorite BOGgear.com bipod with good results. Lots of people stopped and asked me about it, liking its obvious lightness, quick ease of use and my smaller footprint on the boardwalk. This is challenging shooting. Bring lots of patience, it gets depleted quickly. Warblers are tiny, hyperactive and play hide-n-seek in the foliage, loving the tree tops. Photographers knowledgeable of bird call and warbler identification  have the advantage. Let your vision go wide, look for movement and then look for the bird. The efforts are worth it to capture images of these beautifully-colored, amazingly intrepid neotropical migrants. Remember to be courteous, two distinctly different groups of people, birders and photographers, are both pursuing their passions. Knowledgeable birders and area experts have speculated that the migration peak is happening somewhat late this year. The good news is you still have time to witness it. The bad news is your sightings and shooting may be hampered by the thicker foliage. But believe it, this uncommon opportunity to photograph the various warblers is worth the trip!
Note: Use of the cool iphone bird call apps to attract birds are really frowned upon, so leave them in your pocket. There is a sign posted asking refrain from use. They tend to confuse and anger the birders.
Camping and lodging is available at numerous locations. We camped at Maumee Bay State Park where we enjoyed courtship displays of woodcock singing and performing their wonderful skydance right outside the camper!
At Ottawa NWR, behind the Visitor's Center, around the water and to the right (before you reach the grassy area), there is a hollow tree on the left with a Great Horned Owl nest with two adorable nestlings to photograph. Check with the staff about the new photography blind that is available to rent for $10.00 per day.
Happy Shooting!

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