Snowy Plover in early morning light
I am a nature lover, wildlife watcher and bird photographer. Birds fascinate, delight and intrigue me which is why I devote many hours learning about them, observing their behavior and photographing them. It makes perfect sense that the more I know about each species the better my chances are for creating wonderful images of the birds because I can anticipate what they might do next.
I enjoy sharing my photos, photographic skills and techniques with those individuals who are serious about their own avian photography. I have a great amount of fun while photographing birds and yet I can still be serious about my efforts.
I am self taught and have never attended a photo workshop other than the ones I have given. I practiced a lot when first photographing birds because they are such a challenge but I enjoy the challenges. I also became efficient at self critique by removing myself emotionally from the images I create and evaluating why they work and why they don’t. As much as I hate to cull the bad images by looking at them and asking myself “what could I have done to make this shot better?” I’m able to learn from my mistakes. I feel that is very important; even critical, for my growth as a photographer.
I prefer to leave my images as close as possible to what they looked like as created, using only minimal contrast, saturation or levels adjustments along with sharpening for web presentation. I have seen too many images where the saturation and contrast levels were terribly overdone and the birds end up looking like cartoon characters because the colors are unreal. You won’t find images like that here.
I don’t “clean” up the bills when they are salt encrusted or muddy, I don’t attempt to clean bubbles off the top of water and rearrange feathers to make my images look more aesthetically pleasing. I take images in nature and nature isn’t perfect but I find it to be perfectly wonderful just the way it is.
I don’t bait birds, use set ups or call them in with sounds. I prefer to photograph birds doing what birds do and where they want to do it. I will at times take images of backyard birds near the feeders though, I’ll mention that when I post them.
On image critique forums I often see the phrase “you take what you get” , my philosophy though is “I get what I take“. I do my best in the field to create the image I am striving for and if I don’t get that image I want, you won’t see it here or on a critique forum, it will be in my delete bin.
I photograph in all kinds of light, the golden light of dawn, sunsets, low light, snowy and foggy images too. I like the challenges of those conditions and have learned to work with the light, not fight it.
I don’t enjoy tooting my own horn but I felt I should mention that my work has been published in guide books, national and international magazines, bird apps and various other publications. I also have works on display in several locations across the U.S. that include the Utah Natural History Museum.
I find that my photographic nature journeys bring a sense of peace and balance to my busy life and I try to show that with my images. I hope you enjoy my photos.
Photographing shorebirds in Florida ©Adrian Burke