Birders: Time for some re-introductions! - Page 3
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Old 11-11-2011   #21
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Default Re: Birders: Time for some re-introductions!

I joined PhotoCamel last night and very nearly made my first post in this forum and this thread as I plan on spending some time here in the "Birds" area.

I never seen myself as the "birdwatcher" type (or "stereotype" that I had imagined) but my wife got into it after a class at college, and I seen it as something "outdoorsy" that we could do together. I quickly found that I kept longing for better optics than my Nikon Sport binocs! Years ago I owned a set of Swarovskis, and regret selling them when I needed money.

I tried better Nikons, and then Steiners, and then Vortex, which I really like. My current binoc "battery" is:

6x Vortex Viper HD
8x Vortex Razor
10x Leupold Golden Ring HD

The 6x Vipers are far and away my favorites, and although my wife has a pair of 8x Zeiss Diafuns she tries to steal the Vipers everytime my head is turned!

Setting personal bias aside, I live in western North Carolina and I feel that the surrounding areas-which I include eastern TN (Roan Mountain) and Southern VA (Grayson Highlands-Mt Rogers, Damascus, etc.) is a BEAUTIFUL region to live in and pursue outdoor hobbies. So even if we go out and have a "bad" "birdwatching" day, or a "bad" "photography" day, we STILL have spent a beautiful, stress-free day in the mountains of NC/TN/VA!

I'm a deputy sheriff (lieutenant/patrol shift supervisor) and she is a social worker assigned to child protective services, so those STRESS-FREE DAYS are gifts from God!

As a PHOTOGRAPHER however, this (bird photography) is a very new area to me, so I have no images to share right now. My previous best work has been in the areas of candids, pets, and other landscapes.

I (like many others) see these great images of birds in sharp focus, with bold colors, and blurred backgrounds, and go out and hope to capture similar images and am usually very disappointed. I know that "equipment" isn't always the answer, but right now I only have a 24-105 lens so I am at a disadvantage for birds.

I will admit that I've already learned a great deal (for instance Alan Murphy's techniques) and can see great images in my future...

I love watching most all birds. Songbirds are a favorite since they are common and provide me with the most pleasure, but I have an affinity for RAPTORS. I like watching them even if they are static. To me, raptors (and the Hawks are my favorite) are ALL BUSINESS. Even a small hawk has that "Do-you-see-ME-smilin?" look with the "Take-no-prisoners" air about them...

I have never been able to learn Photoshop, and so I see that again puts me at a disadvantage. Several photo-buddies have tried to teach me but I'm not picking it up. To me at least (and I don't think I'm TOO thick-skulled-I work with computers everyday and love photography) but it's just not intuitive...

I even was offered a FULL LICENSED COPY of PS CS by a pro-photograper for FREE but I never picked it up.

I bought Elements 6 once, and decided to "sink or swim" but found I preferred Nikon's simple Picture Project. I guess a formal class in PS is in my future.

I have been toying with DPP and Zoom Browser since they came with the 5D, but so far I am turned off by the obvious learning curves.

So...equipment and workflow are my weaknesses right now... I hope to be submitting images soon!
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Old 11-11-2011   #22
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Default Re: Birders: Time for some re-introductions!

Nice story David and welcome aboard, You will learn so much here, looking forward to seeing your posts.
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Old 11-12-2011   #23
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Default Re: Birders: Time for some re-introductions!

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Originally Posted by Floribunda View Post
Hi Guys,
There doesn't seem to be too many ladies appearing here, so I will dive in.
My name is Merrilyn - always hated it, so Lyn it is.
I have only been interested in photography for the last few years, but it started through being a keen gardener and rose enthusiast, and noticing the birds in my garden.
I got serious about taking closeups of the roses and moved on to thinking about getting closer to birds.
Hence an upgrade to an Olympus E-520 and a 70-300 (equivalent 600mm)
This put me right up close to the birds and I was hooked!
I am still bumbling along, but enjoying it so much, and appreciate the encouragement given in the bird forum.
I am 68 years young, been married for 47 years to a great fellow, we have 2 daughters and 2 grandchildren.
Life is good,and photography makes it even better.
Well said, Lyn and would be nice to see a few of your bird pics here!
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Old 11-12-2011   #24
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Default Re: Birders: Time for some re-introductions!

[QUOTE=David from NC;1425776]I joined PhotoCamel last night and very nearly made my first post in this forum and this thread as I plan on spending some time here in the "Birds" area.

Welcome, David. These bird folks here shoot some spetacular images, so nestle in and enjoy.

Can't wait to see some of your work.
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Old 11-13-2011   #25
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Default Re: Birders: Time for some re-introductions!

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Hi everybody. My name is Eric ....
Thanks Eric! I too really wanted to get into astorphotography, but I quickly realized that the stars only came out and night lol (no longer much of a night-owl)... Glad you found the Camel and shared
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Old 11-13-2011   #26
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Default Re: Birders: Time for some re-introductions!

Thanks David and welcome to the Camel! There is so much information and help on here.. You can still enjoy bird photography with your gear.. Go to the local park and coax some ducks in with some bread, or to the nearest McDonalds and bring the gulls in with some left over fries .. You will find more than enough subjects willing to work for food
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Old 11-13-2011   #27
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Default Re: Birders: Time for some re-introductions!

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Thanks Eric! I too really wanted to get into astorphotography, but I quickly realized that the stars only came out and night lol (no longer much of a night-owl)... Glad you found the Camel and shared
I work nights (midnight to 8:00am) so I'm a night owl whether I want to be or not. Astrophotography is a lot of fun, but to do it right takes a big budget. With my setup I can get 30-second or so exposures, and that's not long enough for a lot of the dim stuff up there. Not sure if I want to spend what it would take to get reliable 10-minute exposures... it would be a lot of money for a one-trick pony. Plus, my wife says that I can only have one expensive hobby, and I've already got three (my Cessna Skyhawk, my home theater, and my photography) and I want to upgrade my camera and get a Canon 500mm (I'm even debating selling my telescope to help finance it).
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Old 11-13-2011   #28
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Default Re: Birders: Time for some re-introductions!

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Originally Posted by gilfish View Post
Steve, I really enjoyed your story and art (as well as the other stories here). I have went to several art fairs locally and found that nothing sells very well and I threw that idea out the window. Even in downtown Chicago there were photographers I thought were fantastic! (example Gold Coast art festival)

I just have a really really dumb question... so here goes - do you have any theories why a landscape or bird pic thats drawn has more appeal than a pic that has a lot of better qualities?


Thanks for sharing and best of luck with your recovery!
Gil - Thanks for the comments - As I mentioned - before I started my digital art - people in these artsy settings (foo-foo) just saw a bird picture or floral as just a plain ole piture taken with a camera. There wasn't a wow factor that grabbed them when they came in my booth/tent.
Now all the comments I get now with my digital art is "WOW I can't believe how much these pictures look like a painting - are they really pictures taken with a camera". They are wowed by the composition, colors, texture of the picture and framing. Instead of just hanging a plain ole sharp clear image of a bird, floral or LS in a limited space, now they can hang a piece of digital art in any room because of the painting effect. I think this is my answer to your question if I understand it right. The picture I'm posting with this is a picture I've sold 5 times - I frame it as a 16x20 with a black frame and a textured wedding white mat. I always sign my name at the bottom on the mat with a fine tipped pencil and date it. It gives the piece an original look. This is a picture of paper flower arrangement my wife has on our dining room table. It's nothing that I hunted out doors for - it was right in our house. I played around with different software programs before I settled on this look. One couple said we have the perfect spot for this in our house- that's what I hear when people buy my art. Anyway, I think this is what people like to see. BTW I sold this for $70 with a cost of $30.


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