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backyard birds

Doug Herr

Member
I've built a semi-permanent (and semi-weather-proof) blind in my yard, positioned for optimal lighting and backgrounds and have developed the nearby habitat to attract a variety of species.
























All photos: Sacramento County California, Sony a7II or a7rII camera, Leica 280mm f/4 APO-Telyt-R lens. All comments are welcome.
 

Tom Robbins

New member
Very nice, Doug!

The semi-permanent setup is the way to go with these little subjects. I spent a few years chasing small birds locally in the early 2000s, and then a friend introduced me to shooting birds from a location specifically created for the purpose. Wound up with incredible photos. After the experience, however, I no longer had the same desire chase the little ones. One can hunt for the birds, or one can create a stage for them. Both approaches take effort.
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
I've built a semi-permanent (and semi-weather-proof) blind in my yard, positioned for optimal lighting and backgrounds and have developed the nearby habitat to attract a variety of species.
.

Doug,

What a superb idea. This habitat and the blind are both great to have in one's home. Very convenient and it means one can spend so much more effort to getting birds in perfect composition and an array of attitudes, all well lit and in focus. How close are you? Perhaps you will make a thread, with an intro to habitat design.

I love your choice of the A7Rll, as it has a huge resolving power, perfect for the feather detail. What you are doing is almost macro photography!

Asher

BTW, was there much cropping needed with your fixed focus lens?
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
It's not like you did the Audobon, whacked the bird, stuffed it and posed it perfectly for the picture, but this is even more perfect!



Doug,

This fellow is such a perfect poser. In a fashion window they couldn't do better.

The creamy b.g. Has just enough irregularity in it. But I would love to see what appears when you stop down a tad? When does this b.g. become distracting?

Asher
 

Doug Herr

Member
The particulars of habitat development depend on which species I'm trying to attract. Some species prefer dense brush to hide in when the local Cooper's Hawk patrols the area. Others like tall grass to hide in, still others prefer open fields with exposed perches to forage for insects.

One advantage of the backyard blind is that I can position the blind and manipulate the habitat for optimum backgrounds and lighting. A disadvantage of relying on the blind is the relatively limited number of species found locally. Another advantage is that I have nearly unlimited opportunities to photograph the common species so I can work the habitat and lighting almost endlessly until I get it "right".

One of the goals of my backyard avian portrait studio is to keep the carbon footprint to a minimum. The blind was made from locally-sourced scrap materials, primarily discarded shipping pallets, and I don't burn any fossil fuels to visit it. It's tall enough to stand in, has space for two camp chairs and has multiple viewing ports at the seated and standing levels.

Few of these photos are cropped significantly. I position the perches at the right distances for the species I want and the 280mm lens. The 280 is in integral part of the planning; I love the way this lens puts an image on a sensor.
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Could you share a picture of your recycled "wooden palette" blind. Don't birds want to nest in it, or explore between the wooden slats?

Asher
 

Doug Herr

Member
The pallets are reduced to their components and re-assembled to suit my needs. The back side of the blind:



Note the neighbors' field and bare trees which I use for backgrounds

The bird side of the blind showing one viewing port open and cobbled-together bird bath:



a pile of brush serves as protective cover for the sparrows and wrens (also shown: manure pile from the barn and a half-grapefruit from my tree, hollowed out & re-filled with grape jelly for kinglets, warblers and mockingbirds, and some of my neighbor's "automotive restoration projects" a.k.a. junk



The goldfinches have become accustomed to seeing me putter around the yard. This photo was made with a 35mm lens not using the blind. Note the twig with dried-up blossoms tied with baling twine to the large upright limb:



The whole thing unbolts in a few minutes and can be re-assembled at another location.
 
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Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
a block of suet. Jays, magpies, mockingbirds, nuthatches, wrens, kinglets all love it. Supposedly woodpeckers too but I've yet to see one at the suet block.
Well, Doug, I am being educated! I remember the word "suet" from talk in the UK of "Suet pudding". Although I am not sure it was not an insult to the cook, LOL! However, now I understand what it is, a chunk of hard animal fat!

Makes sense. It's packed with energy.

Asher
 
It means this..... LOL
“Acronym for She Who Must Be Obeyed. Term of endearment for one's wife/girlfriend (or resignation to the nature of your relationship).”

Don
 
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