It always strikes me as peculiar when someone starts off a discussion by saying, “Let me preface this by saying X.” X usually ends up being some long-winded diatribe on how much they really respect the subject they are about to totally trash after they insert a big fat “that being said” into the very next paragraph.
Even as I actively acknowledge that bit of verbal jousting, let me preface this by saying I really admire how hard a creative endeavor it is to photograph birds. Those who can do it successfully utilize their equipment to its maximum ability, understand the nuances of directional light, and have the patience and dedication of your 4-year-old’s underpaid pre-school teacher. People often come into the camera store with their 8-year-old DSLR asking what lens they should buy because they want to get into bird photography. I have to wonder if they know the cost, not just in dollars but also in time, of just being competent at one of the hardest types of photography.
That being said… it’s just not my thing.
I appreciate the skill and dedication that it takes to truly capture amazing bird imagery, but the images themselves don’t really speak to me the way they must to those who camp out for hours (or days) in one spot to get that one outstanding eagle shot. I get it. Not everyone looks at a rusty incapacitated pickup truck the way I do either.
Even though bird photography isn’t my passion, it doesn’t stop me from joining the throngs of photographers up at Middle Creek each year for the annual snow geese migration. The lake isn’t more than a 15-minute drive north from my house, so it’s an easy weekend photography trip that only takes up a small portion of my day. This year, I took along the new Tamron 150-600mm G2 from the rental case (but forgot a monopod…. rookie) and a 7D MK II to see what I could capture.
The birds were unusually light during my visit and seemed pretty content to stay put, so I wasn’t able to catch any of the massive walls of birds taking off all at once like I had in years past. I had to settle for hand-holding the 150-600 for some small groupings. All things considered, I was impressed with the stability of the lens, and the images themselves were pretty acceptable even upon closer inspection.
I don’t think I’ll be rivaling Arthur Morris anytime soon, but as always is the case when I dip my piggy toe into the world of wildlife photography, I came away with a deeper respect for those who do it well.
Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area
100 Museum Rd, Stevens, PA 17578
PA Game Commission Middle Creek Website