Backyard Birding: Photography Sessions

I have come to find that I am slowly becoming an amateur nature photographer, and I am okay with that. Living in Central Texas, this time of year is quite beautiful in the late afternoons. By this time of the day, the sun has crept below the oak and pear trees and casts very soft light onto everything in composition. I just love to photograph birds in the early evening in early summer.

Unlike so many other “excursions” into my backyard, this one was not accompanied by alcohol or stumbling and falling in an amusing manner. This day I simply walked outside on the patio and sat on the bench with my camera. As a budding wildlife photographer (an overly optimistic appraisal of my current skill-level), I’m still learning techniques, composition and settings. Honestly, I really just enjoy the hunt. I get a real sense of enjoyment sitting outside on a nice evening, camera over my shoulder just listening to the birds and other neighborhood sounds.

After a few minutes of relaxation, both a female and male Northern Cardinal appeared. They landed too far apart to capture them both in a single image so I focused upon the female. This particular cardinal had the most beautiful red and grey highlights and astonishingly bright orange beak. She sat on the old fence for what seemed like an eternity.

After I had captured a dozen or so images of her, I swung my focus toward the male, who at this time had moved clear across the yard behind the crepe myrtle. As always, the male is bold red, orange beaked with a black ringed face. I managed to catch a few images before he took flight.

Moments later a Mockingbird landed on top of the lattice privacy screen behind the roses. Lately these birds have been copying the call of the sparrows. You can tell the difference between the two calls/songs by the higher pitch of the mockingbirds. This one didn’t hang around long, but I got a couple of pretty nice shots if I do say so myself.

Focusing up into the bur oak tree in the yard, I was able to catch a nice image of a White Winged Dove illuminated with the soft glow from the sunset. Typically, these doves have grey bodies with white patterns on the wings and striking blue-ringed bright red eyes. The glow made this dove appear somewhat golden. Moments later I was able to get a few images of a bluejay meandering around the red tipped photinias along the far side of the yard. I did manage to catch her in flight, but my shutter speed wasn’t fast enough so I got some blur on the wing tips.

Anyway, another beautiful evening to capture backyard wildlife. Thanks for visiting!

Published by DW

Freelance writer, photographer and traveler who enjoys sharing his experiences with others.

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