ImageSpotlight: Black-necked Stilts

Black-necked Stilts. Canon 1D MkII | 500/4.5 | ISO 400

Black-necked Stilts. Canon 1D MkII | 500/4.5 | ISO 400

The past 3-4 weeks have been an absolute whirlwind. Since my last post, I successfully defended my doctoral dissertation to earn my PhD degree, graduated, had another birthday, sold my home, started exercising again, and have started packing the belongings ┬áin my old home as my family and I prepare for our move to the State of Georgia this summer. To say the least, I’ve been busy and the little photography I have done has been people gigs, not wildlife. So, I’m sharing an older file of a couple of black-necked stilts I photographed at Estero Llano Grande State Park. Awhile back I did a write-up about Estero, which you can find in my “places to shoot” category.

I like the black-necked stilts but they are a challenge to expose correctly with the dark blacks and bright whites of its feathers. On a sunny day like this, it’s not uncommon to blow out the whites. Exposing for those correctly can mean losing details in the blacks. To compensate for that I often use fill-flash to brighten the shadows. Still, if I have to give up one end of the spectrum, I’ll opt to lose some details in the dark areas in favor of correctly exposing the highlights.

I like flight shots and anytime you can get two birds in nearly identical poses, that’s a good day. So until next time, good light and keep shooting. –KEVIN

Migratory Fallout @ South Padre Island, Texas

About 10 days ago, an unexpected northern front blew through South Texas and with it came a massive fallout of migratory birds. To my misfortune, my Canon 7D was at Canon CPS for repair. Those who have shot with me in the past know that I always have two cameras but I had sold my 1Ds MarkII so that I could save up for a new full frame camera. Well, I still haven’t purchased a new one so when the fallout came, I was caught without a camera. This past weekend, another northern, though much less intense, pushed through the area. With my 7D back from repair, I drove to the South Padre Island Convention Center and was able to photograph the birds below. While this second fallout was nothing compared to the week before, I had a great time and some interesting experiences. The weather is warm now and these birds will soon be departing but they’ll be back another day…and I’ll be there with “two” cameras at the ready.

Until next time, keep shooting. –KEVIN