Birds have caught our gaze since time immemorial. With widely varying and beautiful plumage and the effortless ability to soar above our earthbound heads, humans have long taken notice of these graceful animals.
Peter Krivas, Managing Editor at Ideas in Motion Media - As an amateur wildlife photographer, I’ve only got a novice amount of experience with actual ‘birding,’ and mainly just enjoy being out in nature and capturing animals in the wild with my camera. It's a very peaceful and almost meditative thing to be out in the woods, seeking that perfect shot and observing these beautiful creatures in their natural habitat. Here are a few that I enjoyed taking as well as a large selection of photos from some fantastic local photography experts who will have a much greater selection and range of experience than I.
This photo is of a Tufted Titmouse. I don't come up with the names. I took a picture of this charismatic little birb down in Central Indiana, about an hour west of Indy. It was a bitter cold day so these fluffy little guys were flocking around the feeder near my parents' cottage in the woods.
This is a Hairy Woodpecker, captured in the same region as the previous bird, taking a break from smashing his head against a tree to ruffle his feathers a little.
This Red Tailed Hawk photo was taken a little closer to home, at a Valpo High School football game. It was around the time I had first started at Ideas in Motion and we were training on sports photography when this fiercesome fellow made an appearance, which I couldn't resist photographing of course.
Andy Neal of Michigan City - "I enjoy photographing nature and birds because I think it is awesome to look up and see a hawk or eagle soar for many minutes without moving its wings. To watch it target its prey from hundreds of feet up and swoop down in a flash and capture a fish beneath water. Or to watch a tiny hummingbird whose wings move so rapidly they can barely be seen, all while hovering in one place.
To hear hundreds of Sandhill Cranes congregate with their loud squawking calls as they meet for the evening. I enjoy hiking with my dog Charlie several times a week and it is peaceful and meditative to journey on a trail through nature and see, hear and feel the wonders around us. some very simple, others complex. To watch Charlie in his natural element running, jumping logs, climbing, swimming, sniffing and tracking. It is very relaxing while being a healthy pursuit."
Sandhill Cranes in flight
A swan family out for a swim.
Humming Bird comes in for a close-up.
Bluejay enjoying a peanut.
Trevor Mahlmann of Valpo - "I think capturing images of not only birds but wildlife in general is fascinating, takes a huge amount of patience and a little bit of luck. There are a lot of things that play into a successful wildlife, or in this case, bird photo. Time of day, lighting, temperature, camera equipment - it all has to come together! I like the thrill of it after capturing the photo you’re all amped up but you have to not be too distracted or you might miss another great opportunity."
A Bald Eagle in flight catches a bite to eat. This was taken on a trip Trevor took with Dave Wegiel, whose photos are listed below.
Right before the catch.
Snowy Owl hanging out.
Snowy Owl racing above a frozen landscape.
David Wegiel - "Bird photography is so much fun because it is so hard. You are using long lenses to zoom in on tiny birds that can change direction quickly. Birds can be unpredictable too which adds to the difficulty. The level of difficulty though is what makes the successes so much fun. If it were easy to capture a great bird shot then it would not be fun. I have learned so much in a short time taking bird photos. It really is a fun way to spend some of my free time.
Bald Eagle on the Wabash - wildlife photography is not easy, and should never be easy. This time for some reason it was. Less than ten minutes after pulling up to our spot on the Wabash my friend Trevor Mahlmann and I spotted this eagle going for its lunch. We lucked out when the eagle flew right at us with its catch.
Geese flying at sunrise on the Wabash River - This was a morning that I spent waiting on the Wabash for eagles that would never come. These geese flying in the early morning light were a great way to pass the time though. A very warm white balance helps warm up the photo as well.
Bald Eagles on the Wabash River fighting for lunch - Here two eagles fight for one fish. When the food is scarce just because you caught the fish does not mean that you will be the one eating it.
Snow geese taking flight at Goose Pond in Linton, Indiana. It is fun to watch snow geese by the thousands sitting in a field. When they all take off at once it is simply amazing. Here is a glimpse of part of the flock taking off one spring day.
Sandhill Cranes at the Jasper/Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area - Each fall the sandhill cranes return to the Jasper/Pulaski Fish and Wildlife area on their way south. It is a great time to see some beautiful birds up close.
Snowy owl near Battleground, Indiana - My first encounter with a snowy owl was a memorable one. I watched it from afar for a long time to see how it would react to vehicles. When I saw that it didn't mind them I drove a little past the owl and then turned around and pointed my camera at the owl. I have never gotten as close as this again making it a great moment for sure.
Pat Landers of Michigan City -
A Kildeer spotted wandering around Michigan City, they nest on the ground in rocky places.
A seagull captured mid-catch on Stone Lake.
Streibel Pond provides some fishing grounds for these birds.
A Blue Heron takes in his surroundings at Streibel Pond.