Gone to the Birds ————————————— 15th February 2015
So guess which landscape photographer you know and love discovered birding while on one of her trips? If you told me that would be me a few months ago, I would said “nahhhh…”, with no good reason whatsoever.
My dad was a bird lover, I won’t categorize him as birder … you know those guys (and gals) that can name and distinguish birds on sight, study field guides and rattle off interesting facts in a heartbeat … my dad was only a bit of the latter but his love for birds led to him participating in many conservation efforts over my growing up years. In fact, we still have two parrots he saved from the forest twenty years ago – he wrestled with the idea of having caged birds because it was against his beliefs (that they should be left in the wild), but he grew so attached to them that they were sleeping by his head or on his shoulder most days and roaming around the house like they owned it – left plenty for me to clean up, but like I said they are with me 20 years now and definitely part of the family.
I have always been a great admirer of bird photographers and over the years developed a profound respect for them (after having tried it myself); the craft certainly requires additional patience, in synergy with the usual timing and skill.
While in the U.S. earlier this year, I had the good fortune of having a bird feeder outside my bedroom window and I felt myself sitting there a number of times just looking at the birds come by … I never imagined something so simple to be such a fascinating thing. Naturally the next step was to grab my camera … I mean how hard could it be, they were within range, not going anywhere and in abundance a few feet away and even better they were not spooked by me being so close … sufficed to say I had to ante up cause it was not as easy as it looked even with these conditions… birds move fast … hardly a lightbulb moment I know, but definitely made me stop and think.
Today, I went on a small expedition with some birding photographer friends of mine to a remote part of Trinidad called Biche, a place where I haven’t been since I was 13/14 years old. My dad used to frequent Biche, it was where we spent many weekends camping and being back there today was rather nostalgic and almost emotive for me. And yup there were birds … hundreds of birds, different species …everywhere … more in the earlier hours of this morning (did I mention I got up at 4:30 am?).
At one point when we were driving through the forested areas, with the car windows down, all you could hear were birds whistling their carefree tunes. At the end of the day I saw and learned more than I actually shot … and I grew an even deeper respect for my birding photographer friends, who had me in awe with not only their captures but with their incredible knowledge … I might not be one of them yet, but I was and always will be a bird lover like my dad …