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Old Jan 21, 2013, 2:37 PM   #11
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Thanks for taking the time to have a look and your nice comment.

I am very fortunate in as much as I live smack in the middle of the Pacific fly way for migrating water fowl. The Central Valley is covered with thousands of square miles of rice fields, a perfect habitat for the water fowl once they arrive. There are several National Wildlife refuges within an hours drive of my house. This particular one is the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge. They have a six mile auto tour around part of the refuge. If you stay in your car in make a perfect blind. The birds all get used to the constant traffic and will stay put for the most part. This allows for the amazing opportunity to capture the birds natural behaviors. All of these shots were taking from inside my truck on the auto tour. I rest my camera on a photo bean bag that lays across the partially rolled down window. It makes a very steady and solid base from which to shoot.
Now that I have described all of that, how does that help you? Not being familiar with your area I guess I would, first, suggest you get in contact with any local bird groups or Audubon societies and find out where the good birding locations are. A very long lens is also pretty much a must. 300mm minimum, the longer the better. I started with a Tarmon 200-500mm zoom on my Nikon and it gave excellent results at about $1000. I have since saved for a couple of years and now used a Nikon 200-400mm VR with a 1.4 tele-extender for most of my shots. This ain't cheap or easy. Out of every shot I post I probably take another 50-100 that I delete. Keep some kind of camera with you at all times, if possible. It is a game of patience and opportunity. Slow and methodical adancement, major disappointment when the target flys off before you get the shot. However, getting that one shot for the day makes it all worth it. And every day is different. That's what keeps me coming back. I never know what will show up or when I will capture that amazing photo. So, stay with it. Learn to recognize behaviors of the birds you are stalking. And most importantly, enjoy what you are doing. When it becomes work, it isn't worth showing up.
Good luck and keep shooting, it takes time.

Cheers, Steve
Great tips, thank you! I understand the concept, but now to execute it is a different story!
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Old Jan 26, 2013, 12:25 AM   #12
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Thanks Saly, I still feel like my shots are evolving, hopefully forever. I am still my toughest critic when it comes to exposure and sharpness. I guess that's what keeps me coming back.

Cheers
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Old Jan 26, 2013, 12:57 PM   #13
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Steve -

These are all beautiful shots - the clarity is just amazing.

Always a treat to see what you post next.
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Old Jan 26, 2013, 5:01 PM   #14
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Steve -

These are all beautiful shots - the clarity is just amazing.

Always a treat to see what you post next.

Thank you so much. Cheers
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Old Jan 28, 2013, 8:58 AM   #15
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Another great series of the raptors.

The advice you just gave is about the same as I give to people that ask me "how I do it".

Know your target, patience, be there & ready, patience, know your equipment, and did I mention patience?

My "keeper" rate on most of my wildlife outings is around 2-3% and even some of them are questionable.
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