Birders: Time for some re-introductions!
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Old 11-05-2011   #1
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Default Birders: Time for some re-introductions!

I think it's been a while since a thread like this has popped up here, but since we get a new crop of bird shooters here quite regularly, we should take to time to stand up, introduce ourselves, and tell everyone a little about our journeys here

I'll start.. Hi, I'm Bill.. and I take pictures of birds

Is of course only a hobby of mine, but thanks to my older brother, Rich.. I really am enjoying photography. After he had gotten into photography, he finally talked me into taking the plunge. I had a brief stint with a Fuji s9000 Ultrazoom, then bought my first DSLR (D80)... After playing with it on auto for a while, we finally decided to go on a photowalk. We did some tinkering, adjusting and playing around, I then found my lens (pitifully short 18-135 kit) kept pointing at the local Gulls... In fact here's my first keeper from that outing:



I think it was then that I got hooked.. I can distinctively recall my brother saying to me "Oh, your going to be one of THOSE guys.." Well almost 3 years later and I'm still at it (and he is too BTW lol)

Since then I went through a few equipment upgrades.. I first bought a Sigma 70-300apo to go with my D80, and I must say it gave me some reach at a reasonable cost. I then purchased a used Sigma 100-300 f4 and had limited success with it. Almost to the point of giving up. A while later I got a D90 with a 70-300vr, and it renewed my zeal in this hobby. So I used that combo exclusively for a while until my most recent purchase.. the 300mm 2.8 AF-S.. Funny still nowhere near the reach I want, but with the 1.4x converter, it gets me a bit closer.

I find myself spending much of my free time now at Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge... taking extended walks through local parks on my lunch hours, watching the skies and looking up in the trees all around for that once in a lifetime shot. I also have found this amazing community of like minded folk here, to help me along this journey. I get sound advice, good criticism, and sometimes a bit of an ego boost...


But a pictures worth a thousand words right? How about this?

My first Eagle shot less than 2 years ago:


My latest from the other day:


So whats your story?

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Old 11-05-2011   #2
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Default Re: Birders: Time for some re-introductions!

Bill, you have obviously learned alot in 2 years. Of course, better equipment helps, but its not every thing. I really like your idea. Will have to answer better at another time. I am neck deep in %$#* right now. Keep up the good work.
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Old 11-05-2011   #3
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Default Re: Birders: Time for some re-introductions!

Nice idea for a thread Bill! I'll add my introduction.

Hi I'm Alex - and like Bill, I take pictures of birds.

For me my interest in birding came at a young age. My grandfather and I used to watch the garden birds at his peanut feeder when I was a young boy. As a result of this I joined the YOC (Young Ornithologist Club) - in fact I still wear a YOC patch on my photography vest! However, my hobby did not follow me out of childhood and it was some years later that I developed an interest in photography... and some years after that when I pointed a camera at a bird!

I started with a Nikon D70 (which took me 2 years of saving to buy) and a Phoenix 100-400mm lens that was soft from 200mm upwards!

For almost 2 years I practised with this kit getting images like these:





With each trip I got more and more frustrated. I joined an online photography forum and received scathing criticism, but no advice.

Then I discovered Photocamel, and though I could not upgrade my equipment for some time I got a great education here. Ron Woolridge (Phoebe) was instrumental in my development and I will always be thankful to him... in just a few sentences in a PM to me he eradicated my frustrations and photography became a joy, rather than the chore it was.

I upgraded my lens to a 300mm f4 prime lens and on my first outing with it I got this result:



With this new lens I found that the constructive criticism I received suddenly started to make sense. I was no longer trying to 'battle' my equipment and could now focus on my own technique.

Now I have upgraded to a Nikon D90 and coupled with the 300mm f4 I am confident that I will shoot more 'keepers' when I venture out. I still learn with every shoot... and every time I post here I get fairly critiqued (with suggestions) which makes me think and want to improve with each trip.

This is the level I am at now:






I have many lessons to learn, but I have no doubt that my fellow Camels will help me on the road to perfection!!
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Old 11-05-2011   #4
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Default Re: Birders: Time for some re-introductions!

G'Day I'm Peter,

I live in Sunny Australia, I'am a single Dad of one perfect little princess aged 4, I work as a Plant Operator (Heavy Machine Operator for a local Coal Mine) and I will have to admit that I might be the only hipocrite here.

I never had an interest in bird photography and birds in general were not my thing, my goal for photography was in wildlife - Kangaroos, Wombats, Koals etc. It wasn't until I found out just how hard it can be to locate some of these creatures, spending a whole weekend and maybe getting 5 shots of a roo fleeing from my direction through the scrub. (if you were lucky), all the while countless birds flying overhead. In some cases the small birds would actually come closer and closer to me to see what I was doing and I would kindly shoo them away or tell them to be quiet. The Irony with this is that some of those little birds that would annoy me were indeed endangered species like the Speckled Warbler below.


Then one day while out trying to find my subjects I noticed a Wedge-tailed Eagle being bombed by a Magpie, I took a shot of the going ons for entertainment value and to show some mates. This photo was the begining. Taken with a Sony Digital Mavica FD-71. (I gave that to my mum it still works and she still uses it. Very hard to get floppys for it now)



The colour was all wrong the contrast was horrible, but the fact that I caught two birds in flight and in conflict changed everything.

Birds are everywhere, always a willing subject even in your backyard, I have also gained a great respect and fondness for many bird species.

I also have to thank the members of this very site Frogstar, Colin, Robert, Alex, John, Gil and Gautum and many others for being so willing to help other members, giving freely the lessons they have learnt to encourage others to improve their skills.

Top effort Chaps

Here are a few shots I have taken that are somewhat better than the Wedge-tail I took, One day I will photograph a Wedgie and do justice to the magnificent creatures they are. My equipement has also changed from the Digital Mavica to the Canon 300D and now the Canon 50D and hopefully in the future the Canon 7D or equivalent.

1.


2.


3. Whistling Kite



Thanks and "Nice to Meet Ya",

Ps: I still like Kangaroos, Wombats and Koalas - the Journey continues.... God Bless
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Old 11-06-2011   #5
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Default Re: Birders: Time for some re-introductions!

My name is Gil and I keep birds, watch birds and of course take their pics. I started a few years ago with a point and shoot and started trying to capture and keep track of the species out my window. I feel really blessed because there is a shallow retention pond out my window that attracts a wide variety of species. I also have put out feeders to attract even more birds. (some of my neighbors just hate them btw) This is one of my first posts to the Camel in 2007 taken with the Canon S3.


About 3 years ago I purchased the D80 and that has forever changed my concepts about photography and fueled my obsession. I would really have to think about how many bodies and lens Ive been thru since starting.

Yes having great gear is helpful but not necessary. #2 here is taken with a Sigma 70-300 lens thats very inexpensive compared to the lens that followed. This is a hobby for me and as much as I would like to make money from this I would hate to loose all the joy I get from being out in the woods and listening to the birds sing.

My best advice for anyone listening is to go out and shoot as much as you can and have fun!
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Old 11-06-2011   #6
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Default Re: Birders: Time for some re-introductions!

Hi, I'm Georgepat, and I'd like to take the quality of image posted here so far. I have only a 55-200MM 5.6 VR lens on a Nikon D80. It takes great shots, but doesn't have the reach I'd like to have.
So until I have a better lens I will continue to keep up with you folks and your wonderful images of birds.
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Old 11-06-2011   #7
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Default Re: Birders: Time for some re-introductions!

My name is Wolfgang. (everyone calls me Wolf). I'm from Germany but spent my working life in Western Canada.

I retired in May of this year and that has allowed me more time to do do the things I REALLY enjoy - Photography and Travel. I also have four grandchildren whom I like to photograph at every opportunity.

I have too many cameras to mention going from German (film) rangefinder to Exakta, Nikon, Pentax, Canon, Fuji, Rollei film and other reflex film cameras. I have several Pentax DSLRs and many digital P&S cameras. I carry a camera in my pocket wherever I go as I do not want to miss any of those shots that sometimes jump out at me.

I shoot birds, animals, scenery and everything in between.

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Old 11-06-2011   #8
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Default Re: Birders: Time for some re-introductions!

I am Gautam (that's my real name). I am a haematologist (blood disease specialist) by profession working in a NHS hospital. I am originally from India and living in UK for almost 40 years.

I started photography at the age of eight when my dad gave me his box brownie. What a versatile camera. I could take 8, 12 or 16 pictures on one role of 120 film. At that time my photography was limited to holiday trips, family and pets. My brother & cousins (we used live as a joint family) had several types of birds in cages and I tried my hands on them. Soon lost interest as my box brownie was not up to the job .

I started photography more seriously in my late teens with a folding camera (Royal S1). But still it was mostly travel, family and friends. After I moved to UK I bought my first slr - Canon FTB. I still have that camera and some FD lenses. Continued with other Canon bodies, A1, F1, T90 and several lenses and started doing wildlife photography including birds. It all died down quite a bit due to family responsibilities and work pressure. For nearly 20 years I did little more than holiday and family protography.

During this time I got into photomicrography as part of my work using mostly F1 and a Canon microscope attachement tube. I had quite a few photomicrographs of blood and bone marrow published in journals, atlases and books.

About 7 years ago, after the children flew their nest, I re-started my general photography. My first dslr was Canon 300D. Now I use 550D and sometimes 40D. Started wildlife/nature photography at that time and got more hooked than ever before.

Due to physical disability (polio in childhood and now post-polio syndrome and a bad back) I cannot travel too far or walk long distances or on rough grounds. So my usual haunt for bird photography is Potteric Carr Nature Reserve which is only 5 miles from my home. There are several RSPB centres not too far and I occasionally visit them too. I have a couple of bird tables in my garden and get a vew visitors.

One of my first BIF shots taken with Canon 30D & 70-300 DO

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Old 11-06-2011   #9
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Default Re: Birders: Time for some re-introductions!

Quote:
Originally Posted by amycramer View Post
Bill, you have obviously learned alot in 2 years. Of course, better equipment helps, but its not every thing. I really like your idea. Will have to answer better at another time. I am neck deep in %$#* right now. Keep up the good work.
Thanks and can't wait to get to your journey!

Thanks Alex, Peter, Gil, George, Wolf and Gautam for sharing... I know there are more stories out there waiting to be told...
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Old 11-07-2011   #10
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Default Re: Birders: Time for some re-introductions!

Excellent idea for a thread Bill
My name is Kevin and I go under the name of Frogstar (reference to ĎThe Hitchhikes Guide to the Galaxyí) Used this name as I thought my comments and shots werenít worthy of anyone knowing my real name. How wrong was I, this has to be the friendliest site there is and everyoneís opinion is welcome.
I started as a birder when I was 6 years old when I joined the school birdwatching group. Has a great childhood growing up in the New Forest and had an avid interest in anything to do with Nature. This grew into a life list of all the birds Iíd seen. My wife and I also have a passion for travel so this led to an increase in my life list but often I would see a bird but not be able to id it. Enter Photography.
Iíd tried photography in the film days but I was too impatient waiting for the shots to return from the processors so digital was a god send for me. Started with a Canon 350D and the 55-200 lens. Didnít get many good shots but did manage to get a few id shots. The die was set and the obsession started. Upgrade lens to 70-300 and then upgraded camera to 50D and lens to 100-400L.. Learnt more about photography by trolling the internet and reading other forums. Got the chance to buy a second hand 500L and itís the best thing Iíve bought. Just upgraded my camera to a 7D
Joined Photocamel on 08/08/06 and lurked for over a year (Iím a shy guy really)
My 1st post was on 15/11/07 and was a rant about seagulls which probably doesnít surprise those that know me. http://photocamel.com/forum/birds/34352-seagull.html and my 1st image post was on 12/3/08 and was a black-headed gull. http://photocamel.com/forum/birds/44980-black-headed-gull.html
Joined Bonsaidad (God rest his soul) as co moderator and nearly 5000 posts later Iím still here.
For those interested my life list is now 683 of which I have photo records of 312


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