My Backyard Techniques for a Winning Photograph!

Discussion in 'Nature & Wildlife' started by rstrick2, Jan 22, 2010.

  1. rstrick2

    rstrick2 TPF Noob!

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    My Backyard Techniques for a Winning Photograph!
    By Robert Strickland

    I setup a feeding and water station in the back yard next to my shed. It includes four feeders and a birdbath. I use a variety of seeds for the feeders. Most birds favor the Sunflower seeds. However, a variety of seeds will draw in many different species. I also hang out a suet feeder as well. This allows me to take full advantage of the bird situation I have right in my own backyard.

    My backyard is not very large. Approximately a tenth of an acre. I have some trees growing along the fence line, which the birds use for safety. I also have some flowering bushes growing and a Mexican sunflower. The birds use the trees and bushes for a staging area before they come in to grab a seed. Some of the birds such as Northern Cardinal stay on the feeder feeding constantly. Others like the Tufted Titmouse come in quickly grab a seed and high tail for the protection of the trees. Then are ground feeders who just hang around cleaning up the seeds that fall out of the feeders.

    The birdbath is essential because the birds need fresh water everyday. In Citrus County, Florida, it is dry during the winter months, November through April and the birds enjoy a drink as well as a bath. Some birds just come and have a cool refreshing drink, while other prefer to get in the bath a splash up a storm. The Cardinals seem to want to bathe. They come to drink, splash a little and get right in and let their feathers down and soak up the fresh water. The Tufted Titmouse will come in and splash for all its worth and when they are done look like drowned rats.

    I position the feeders and birdbath so there is a good light, a good background and a perfect distance from my shed. My storage shed becomes my blind so that the birds and other wildlife are not alarmed when they come to feed or bathe. Inside the shed, I setup my camera equipment. I sit waiting patiently for birds to come in. At this point patience is a virtue.

    The feeding / watering station and the use of the shed as a blind work very well to allow me the opportunity to capture a variety of backyards birds. It is simple, the birds come for the food and water and I capture them with my camera.

    This is where I captured the Bathing Cardinal that Won first prize in the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) Photo contest in the Amateur division for Backyard Habitat. That day the Northern Cardinal came to the birdbath to drink and bathe. After a small drink the cardinal decided to take a bath, splashing water everywhere. Suddenly he just stopped and let all his feathers fall, did not move and soaked up the water letting his down feathers collect water.

    Setting up a feeding / watering station and the use of a blind (shed) as well as plants, bushes and trees allowed me the opportunity to capture a prize-winning photograph.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    GREAT POST! I enjoyed the exposition, plus the fine photograph. The behind the scenes stuff is quite interesting...for example, I had no idea it was dry there in these winter months....I just assumed there would be some rain that provided natural water for the birds, but apparently not. Thanks for letting us know how you are using a shed as a backyard blind--pretty cool!
     
  3. icassell

    icassell TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for this wonderful post. I have a feeder and 3 hummingbird feeders, but hadn't really given any thought to a birdbath. My plan was to plant some hummingbird-friendly flowers, but I haven't done it yet. I also need to move my feeder as it doesn't have a very pleasing BG from a photographic standpoint.

    I was actually considering taking down 2 of the hummer feeders because, without fail, I set my camera up ready for one and the darned hummer goes to the other :)

    I love your cardinal image.
     
  4. HikinMike

    HikinMike No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Love those Cardinals!

    I do something similar... DIY Photography Blind. I think I'm going to add a small pond to make it more realistic.
     
  5. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Excellent, thanks for sharing.
     
  6. EricD

    EricD TPF Noob!

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    I remember that well Robert....excellent job!
     
  7. keith foster

    keith foster TPF Noob!

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    Great ideas and a beautiful shot! Thank you.
     
  8. grafxman

    grafxman TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Excellent photo! Interesting set up. My feeders and bath are in my front yard. I put privacy fences around some of the area. I just open my front door and shoot from my living room.
     
  9. fokker

    fokker No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Cool post. I might work on making a bird feeder to see what I can attract.
     
  10. srinaldo86

    srinaldo86 TPF Noob!

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    I'm really curious what your neighbors think when they see you out in the child's play house. Hah, I like the set up but it must look odd from a 3rd party's point of view.
     
  11. TiaS

    TiaS TPF Noob!

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    that is amazing. Thanks for sharing
     
  12. Roy_WT

    Roy_WT TPF Noob!

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    What a fantastic shot, Congrats, I can't wait for summer to come back and try my telephoto 300mm.
    Regards...Roy
     

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