Wednesday, July 1, 2009

I miss squirrels - tips for momtographers


I'm not a bird person. I'm a squirrel person.


I always say if I were to die and come back as an animal, I would never pick being a cat like 90% of ppl say, I'd be a squirrel. Dude those things have the most fun, they can climb like mad, fly without wings, cute as a button, they have FUN, and they usually go out with a blaze of glory. Yeah. I wanna be a squirrel.

But the down side is, there's no squirrels out here. Oh, maybe down the road there is, but *right here*, nothing. Probably because they like that whole "tree" thing, and I have lots of trees, but they are all about 8 feet all.

What I didn't expect was birds. In town, there were tons of sparrows, occasionally a robin or a cardinal, and nothing else. Here? I'm seeing birds I've never seen before.

A few days ago, I saw a bird I DID recognize. The Goldfinch, I know that one because I'm from Iowa, and it's the Iowa state bird - and I think they are one of the prettiest birds ever.

So I stopped in at Walter-mart, and found this sock thing, full of finch food. I had shepherds hooks left over from the wedding, and stuck it out in the yard. It was a matter of ONE day, and there were the goldfinches eating away. Manna from heaven. I question how they can even fly they eat so much.

Tanner has been picking up my camera lately and taking photos himself.


Sunday, he took the above photo with my long telephoto lens, then came to me and asked me a good question.

"How do I make the camera not be so shaky when taking pictures with the big lens?"

Good question!

Here's the answer. If you want to take a photo and you're using a long lens, you have a couple problems. The closer you get in lens, the more you'll notice a fraction of movement. It also is a lot heavier, so that fraction of movement is very easy to make happen.

The best thing to do is use your tripod. What? You don't have a tripod? OK, you have alternatives. You could get one of those fancy bean bags from a photography store that you set on a solid object like your fence, or your car and then place your camera on it. Those are cool, and something you could even use with your point and shoot, put one in your camera bag or in the trunk of your car.


You could be cheap and lazy like myself, and just buy a bag of dry beans. It'll do the same thing, and then when you crash your car into a snowbank in February, you'll have some beans to live on.

what? you got caught with no tripod, and no beans?
Are you my husband or child?


You can make yourself into a makeshift tripod. First, stand with your feet apart, one slightly in front of the other. Tuck your elbows in tight to your sides, take a deep breath, exhale half way, then shoot. Now take 5 pics if you can because odds are at least one will be pretty clear.

If that still doesn't seem to be enough, try growing a third leg, -or- you can lean against your car, a wall, the fence, etc.

*****If using a DSLR or SLR - crank up your ISO, increase shutter speed, shoot f-stop wide open. ie: get as much light in your camera as possible to make it as fast as possible.

We're still not getting close enough for super sharp photos to make me happy, so the master plan is to buy a remote for the camera, set it outside, and then in air conditioned comfort, take super close up photos of the birdies from the kitchen window.

In my jammies.


Melanie said...

Love your blog, very entertaining. :) I really enjoy reading your photo tips. TFS!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tips, I like your writing style. It feels like old friends chatting :)
Jessie at Blog Schmog
p.s. I'm so getting a bag of beans! Ha

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