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From the comical tilt of a Robin's head to the vaulted dives into the soft earth as he seeks a spring season worm, growing up I have always enjoyed watching birds and their interesting behaviors. I find comfort and peace when listening to the Woodpecker's boisterous announcement to all that she has arrived for a short spell or when the Nuthatchs are chanting to one another as they climb up and down my trees. My interest in birds has remained a constant throughout my growing up and it has frequently been a useful point of conversation when those around are new to me but whom share the same passion for birding and photography.
My father owned a professional wedding photo lab for the better part of his life, and so before settling in as a full time software engineer my younger years were spent learning the business and becoming intimately familiar with areas of chemistry, film, paper and light. When not in the lab I could be found taking black and white photos with my first camera, a Pentax K1000. For a very brief period I photographed weddings using a medium format Bronica and after three hundred or so weddings I gave it up and to this day cringe when I hear the song ‘Celebration’ by Kool and the Gang. After leaving the lab in pursuit of a world of bits and bytes, I put down my camera and would not hold another one for more than a decade.
Living in the suburbs of Virginia with my wife and two kids, our backyard shares the title of both playground and private eco system. We have a growing population of songbirds, chipmunks and squirrels who have made our backyard their home. A labor of love I have been more than happy to ensure they have enough food come rain, sleet or snow.
One day my good friend Don showed off some very nice photographs of shorebirds he caught during a beach front vacation and I was so impressed by the quality of the images that an old interest sparked; but this time with a digital twist. With digital cameras more the norm than ever it wasn't long before I picked up a Canon PowerShot and began catching shots of the birds visiting our yard.
With only a photo or two looking even remotely like that which I was after, I realized that the camera I had was never going to get me the level of feather detail and overall quality I was targeting. Growing impatient I decided to make a larger investment in a used Canon D30 I had found on eBay. To accompany the auction item I purchased a Sigma f/5.6 70-300mm lens and started reading any photography book I could find relating to the interests of birding. Soon my old photography skills were familiar to me again and I could happily dawn my hands to a quick work of the lens' focus ring and shutter with results getting closer to my goals.
Since then I've moved on to a Canon 10D (and hopeful 20D), a 500mm f/4 IS, Extension Tubes, 550 EX Flash Unit and more. Working with BreezeBrowser and Adobe CS I am active in post processing photots for critique on NatureScapes.Net as well as providing my own level of critique where I think I can help.