Photographing a Northern Flicker
Some Northern Flickers hang around Southwest Michigan year around, but most retreat from the Michigan cold. This photo of a wary juvenile contemplating his options was taken this past fall in our yard. He never did muster the courage to hop down to the fountain and imbibe with the other birds. I was lucky to get in this one shot before he flew off.
Another member of the hammering Woodpecker family, Northern Flickers are brown and tan all over with distinctive face markings, richly patterned plumage and long sticky tongues. They don’t use their tails as a prop like most woodpeckers do and can mostly be found on the ground with the Robins and Blackbirds foraging for ants and beetles.
DSLR Camera Fluent
I love posting my images and writing about how DSLR technical competency translates into rewarding nature photography. Spending time and energy learning to be DSLR fluent gives me more control over the camera’s digital imagery. I find it challenging to navigate the labyrinth of precise terminology needed to figure it all out. It’s my path to creativity.
Techno Talk Isn’t for Every Photographer
I know a few photographers who choose to concentrate only on the artistic components within the frame and let the camera handle the rest. They reject my approach and ignore the mechanical, electronic, chip oriented functionality, like they do (most likely) with their computers and smart phones. Just not their thing.
These photographers are more interested in how the image strikes them emotionally. Wildlife photography is more about the challenge to create rather than working through exposure conundrums in their head.
Camera automation is their key to artistic vision and therefore they don’t often cross the line into the technical. Manual Mode is a layer they don’t want or need. The practicality of learning how cameras work is superfluous to achieving the end game. Why bother when you can instantaneously see your image on the LCD screen? If it doesn’t work…move on and try something else.
Very different methods, motivations and interpretations lead photographers onto divergent paths. Every photographer has to decide how much she will let the camera do the thinking…..how much she will detach from the techno to accomplish her vision.
One thing bird photographers have in common. Birds come and go so fast. Often there’s only time to lift the lens and press the shutter (assuming you’ve got the camera setup on the tripod). There’s not much time to think it through right before taking the shot, artistically or technically.
So…..To bird lovers and photographers everywhere, whatever your philosophy and however you use the tools of the trade, Best Wishes and Merry Christmas!