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Backlighting

8/8/2020


I only made it out for one day of birding this weekend. I headed to Prophetstown, again. I had dreams of good lighting and all the wonderful birds I saw the previous weekend. I was half right. Lots of great light. I did not find nearly as many birds, though. The down-side to good morning light is that it quickly turns to harsh mid-morning light. I was done shooting by 10. On the plus side, that meant I had time for a longer nap.


I had one Sedge Wren in the same location as last weekend. He spent a lot of time perched up in the blue stem. He would fly to various locations and sing a bit before moving. Some pishing got him on the right side of the light for a little bit, but he really prefers the side against the sun. If you cannot beat them; shoot them backlit. I think that is the phrase.

Of all the Henslow's Sparrows I had last weekend, I could only find my buddy with the bad facial molt. He looks like he got a "Covid cut". It was him and three immatures hanging out together. I only got photos of one other. I'm not sure where all the other sparrows went.

The only other shots I got were of a Dickcissel and an uncooperative Blue Grosbeak. What makes the grosbeak so uncooperative? Well, he sat on this compass plant in the pre-sunrise fog and let me shoot him; knowing I could not get a good, detailed shot in those conditions. Later, when I went back and the lighting was good, he flew as soon as I pointed the camera at him. The shot I got cleaned up well in Topaz, but there is no detail or definition to the shot when you look at it close up. Shame, because I really like the look of the shot.

While I was at the park, I ran into John Baughman and Steve Bradley. Two local photographers who are still somewhat new to birding. They are coming along quick with both the camera and their birding. They are new to prairie birding, and it was good to see them enjoying one of my favorite places - and getting some good shots.


Saturday night was another attempt at some night photography. Indiana is not really suited to this. With the meteor shower coming up, I wanted to try it. Saturday was a few days ahead of the peak of the shower, but it was my best opportunity for getting out. The weather over peak is not going to be great. Unfortunately, the weather on Saturday was not, either. I met Shari McCoullough in Montgomery County to try shooting. Shari is an all-around great photographer. Night photography is new to both of us, and we were hoping we could figure it out between the two of us. Well, the clouds never gave us much of an opportunity to try. We waited for about 3 hour and had a brief clearing before the clouds started moving in again. We did not get much, but we had fun. In the end, that is what really mattered.


Thanks for reading,

Mike



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