My local library had a display of Missouri books out as the state approaches its 200th birthday. I took home one called “Missouri In Flight” by Mundy Hackett about capturing bird photographs.
Hackett is a professional with cameras and equipment I don’t and never will have. He has time to travel to good places to see birds, time to sit and wait for that great photograph. His photographs reflect this with birds so close, so real, so ‘want to reach out and touch the feathers’.
I am an amateur who loves to take pictures. My camera is a good one, but with one lens and lots of settings of which I use very few. Although I own tripods, I rarely carry or use one. I do not travel or have time to sit and wait for birds to show up.
But those spectacular photographs inspired me to try capturing bird photographs of my own.
I am lucky. As “My Ozark Home” shows, I live in a place with a wide variety of habitats and lots of open land. This year the brush cutter has not visited yet. (Dance for joy!)
My first obstacle was to get over trying to not use the zoom much on my camera. As Hackett mentions in his Introduction, the greater the magnification, the larger any movement is to distort and blur the image. If I don’t have a tripod set up, how can I stabilize the camera? For shots out across the creek, I use the top rail or the gate. For other shots I sit down and use my bent knees. In desperation I plant my elbows on my chest to create a tripod (Remember: don’t breathe until after taking the shot.).
Even when taking photographs of wildflowers, the hints and suggestions Hackett makes turn out to be helpful. But the big pluses of the book “Missouri In Flight” are admiring the amazing photographs and the inspiration to go out capturing bird photographs of your own.