My adventures in the woods, streams, rivers, fields, and lakes of Michigan

Feathered Frustrations

As I was walking along, I heard numerous small birds in a tree right next to me, and one of them was a warbler. It was back away from me, too far away to take any photos, but I thought that if I waited, maybe the warbler, or another bird would land in a place close enough for me to get a photo. The warbler was working its way closer to me all the time, then perched on one of the runners from a grapevine that was growing on the tree, right in plain sight!

Feathered frustrations

But not long enough for me to get a photo as you can see. Now where did that little bugger go? There he is! Right in with all the leaves that are making my auto-focus go crazy trying to pick which small pale yellow green object in the frame to focus on in a tree full of small pale yellow green leaves.

Feathered frustrations

I can do better than that, better switch to manual focus.

Feathered frustrations

Too late! Now where did he go? There he is, in the open again!

Feathered frustrations

Sit still you stupid little bird, I only want to take your portrait. Maybe this chickadee will cooperate better.

Feathered frustrations

But its right in line with an opening in the leaves, screwing up the auto-exposure.

Feathered frustrations

That’s a better spot, but now your hiding your head behind a leaf, how about moving a little?

Feathered frustrations

Not that far! I didn’t want you to fly away as I pressed the shutter release.

Feathered frustrations

There’s the warbler again!

Feathered frustrations

Or not. There he is.

Feathered frustrations

I wish you guys would hold still for maybe 2 seconds or so.

Feathered frustrations

Not behind a leaf, please!

Feathered frustrations

Better, but please hold still!

Feathered frustrations

Thank you! But how can I identify you in that shot? There’s like 1,000 species of you guys, and you all look a lot alike, especially at this angle.

Wait, come back! Please come back. I didn’t mean to insult you, I just wanted to take your picture. Oh well, better luck next time, I hope. I’m going to go shoot some robins, they aren’t as camera shy as you warblers are.

Robin bathing

Then again, maybe they are.

Feathered frustrations

I think any one who has tried to photograph song birds has had days like this. As always, thanks for stopping by!

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2 responses

  1. That was a fun post to read and I can certainly understand your frustrations. Here’s what I try to do. One thing I do is use spot metering. Then if you can do it with your camera, use only ONE focus point, and make that the center one. Then the challenge is trying to get that one focus point on the bird. At least the other branches won’t then make your auto-focus go crazy. With the spot metering, you will also get a better exposure. I hope you don’t mind me telling you all of this. I just learned from experience.

    Also, I was trying to ID your warbler, and I can’t come up with a good choice. The wingbars are throwing me off. I wonder if it might be a White-eyed Vireo?

    October 10, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    • I do appreciate the tips, my problem is that I never set out to shoot just one thing, as I will post about soon. If fact, I had been photographing some sumac bushes when I noticed the birds, and didn’t have the time to make the adjustments to my Nikon. I can cheat with my Canon, it’s depth of field is so much greater, I can “grab” the correct exposure from the area, then shift to the bird, if it will sit still. What I need is a camera that I can have two presets for everything with an easy to flip switch to toggle between the settings. Or, a second camera body 😉

      October 12, 2011 at 1:07 pm