Studebaker Bird Photography Newsletter #1

02Jun09

Thank you one and all for taking an interest in my work. With this newsletter I will try to give helpful photography tips, seasonal location information, trip reports, and career happenings. I welcome questions from any and all readers, and with permission will include the question and answer in the following newsletter. To unsubscribe and any time simply reply to the e-mail with a subject heading of “unsubscribe”. I intend to send out one letter every 4-8 weeks.

 

Pre-workshop report from Arizona

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Bill Forbes is on location in South East Arizona and has already planted many native flowers this season for our workshop and will purchase even more plants which our group will be able to position next to our hummingbird feeders. His role is key to the success of our workshop, and his efforts have produced one of the best bird photography set-up locations in America at his property in Green Valley. Hummingbirds on his property tend to come to the feeders with greater consistency than the flowers as less energy is required per sip of nectar. By positioning the feeders near flowers we will be able to roughly control which flowers the birds drink out of and photograph them sipping from natural blossoms. Along with the building hummingbird migration over the past few days, 3 species of orioles are visiting the feeders already, along with all the usual suspects including Gambel’s Quail, Curve-billed Thrasher, Acorn, Arizona, Gila, and Ladder-backed Woodpeckers, and many others. Migration will be in full swing for our workshop in two weeks and we anticipate having many surprise species flocking to our desert oasis. There’s no predicting what migrants we may see. Hepatic Tanagers and Lazuli Buntings have even been known to stop by the ponds we’ll be shooting at each year so we’ll keep our fingers crossed.

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Workshop changes for the ’08 season.
·
In depth information packets are mailed to all participants well in advance of the workshop rather than simply having the information online and handing out the printed version at the workshop.
·
“Hold harmless” contract signatures are required to reduce liabilities to a minimum on my end. (thanks to the advise of one of my participants Richard Bovier)
·
I also purchased a state of the art digital projector and have booked meeting rooms for each workshop location so that I can make my lectures and photoshop demonstrations more formal. This will take the place of the informal laptop and lunch instruction and the expensive printed booklets.
· One-on-one workshops are no longer available. Instead, I’ve found we actually have more fun and learn more in groups of 2-4. This will be better for some of the birds as well, since they will only be in human presence for 1/2 to 1/4 the time (with fewer total days in the field). Some opportunities are only typically possible once a year, like photographing my friendly local Scarlet Tanager. The new workshop format certainly promises to be a win-win for me, the birds, and the participants.

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Bird Houses for Bird Photography
Now is the time to have your bird houses up and ready. Make sure your bird houses are clean and well placed. A good strategy is to place them so that there is a clean background behind the bird house, and make the entrance holes face north or south so that a perch can be attached to the bottom of the feeder and lit by both morning and evening sun. Once the parents start feeding the young they’ll appreciate your perch as an easy place to land and look around before entering the nest box. This in turn provides the photographer a chance to photograph the birds to your heart’s content. Make sure you photograph nests and nest boxes from a blind or concealed location so that you don’t disrupt the normal feeding cycle and jeopardize the young bird’s lives. Some of the best species to put up nest boxes/platforms include Eastern, Western, and Mountain Bluebird, House Wren, Tree Swallow, Prothonotary Warbler, Eastern Pheobe, Wood Duck, American Kestrel. If anyone puts up a Kestrel box with a perch attached and with photography in mind (in terms of background choice and light direction) and actually gets Kestrels to move in, give me a call! I would fly cross country for such a photo opportunity.

 

Other Bird Photography Career news this Month
-My first printed version of my Ohio Site Guide will arrive in a few days. It will have updated information, new maps, updated photos, and a beautiful new design by my wife, Liza. As always, the digital version is available from Arthur Morris at http://www.birdsasart.com Both printed and digital books will be $50 (80 pages, full color, soft cover). While it may seem a bit pricey for a soft cover, I actually make zero profit after publication fees and marketing through Birds As Art but am selling the printed version primarily for the love of it. Many workshop participants come through site guide sales as well.

– My Cuyahoga Valley Photographic Society presentation was well attended and a lot of fun. It was great to finally meet many of you!

– Look for my photos in upcoming issues of Birding and Birder’s World magazines.

 

Where to Photograph in Ohio during Late March:

– Late march is the best time of year to set up a floating blind in marshes where large numbers of waterfowl congregate (especially in North West Ohio). Good spots include the wildlife areas used for duck hunting in the fall.

– Kinglets and Brown Creepers will move through as migrants. Check your local grapevine tangles and pine groves for the kinglets.

– Wood ducks and Great Blue Herons arrive in force in places like North Chagrin Reservation and Cuyahoga Valley National Park

-Check the shores of Lake Erie for late migrating grebes, mergansers, diving ducks, and migrating gulls. A good spot to start is Gordon Park Marina near E72nd St in Cleveland.

– Attach a spotlight to your camera lens and photograph at dusk at your local woodcock breeding ground. They are conspicuous as they make their “peent” calls and aerial displays. If anyone finds a good place to try this let me know as I am still searching (The Wilderness Center perhaps???).

 

 There are still two spots left for my fall Wood Duck Workshop and Shorebird Workshop.

http://www.studebakerbirds.com

 

-Your local Bluebirds and Pine Warblers will be arriving on territory now. Most counties have at least one “Bluebird trail” with a series of twenty or so nest boxes in prime habitat. Pine Warblers can be found in pine and mixed pine/deciduous woodlands in most of Ohio’s southern counties. This shot was taken yesterday by placing a perch on top of an active bluebird nest box. The birds seemed to appreciate a place to land before going into the nest hole.
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Geauga County, OH | March 28, 2008, 7:25pm | 1/60th sec, f5.6 |
Canon 40D | Canon 500mm f4 IS | 1.4xTC |

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Good shooting,

-Matthew

330-608-7882 (cell)

 

Good Bird Photography to All,

-Matthew

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One Response to “Studebaker Bird Photography Newsletter #1”

  1. 1 Bill Bevington

    Great web page, very informative-Thanks
    When will your book be out?


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