Friday, August 6, 2010

Pic of the Day

     American Robin – Point Pelee; Ontario, Canada: The American Robin, Turdus migratorius, a member of the thrush family is perhaps the most well know of all birds. After a long arduous winter the sight of robins is one of the first indications that spring is on its way. Robins may very well be the most numerous passerine in North America. I am constantly amazed when I travel, for the first bird I usually see is the Robin. This has occurred in the desert, prairie, mountains, the great north woods and tundra. The Robin really gets around, a very wide spread species.
     The first nest I ever found was that of a robin. I don’t remember how old I was but I was quite young, somewhere between eight and ten. The nest was only about eight feet off the ground, but it seemed much higher as I climbed the tree to see if it had eggs. It did, four bluish eggs about an inch long. The nest was made of mud and sticks. This discovery had me building bird nest for a couple of weeks, trying to recreate the robin’s nest, but the robin’s nest was much better. I watched the nest throughout incubation and rearing of the young until they fledged. I remember thinking how much the baby robins ate, the parents were constantly bringing worms and the babies constantly begging for food.
     As I discovered bird photography it was robins that I chased with my camera and lens. I never did get a shot I liked. Decades later, on a trip to Point Pelee, Canada, I was photographing a Chestnut-sided Warbler when I spied a group of robins feeding on the lawn of a picnic ground. I wasn’t about to give up the warbler for a robin, but as the warbler climbed into the heights of the tree and out of range of the lens, my eyes drifted back to them.
After about ten minutes of watching and stalking I found myself in the right spot to photograph a robin. The bird was far enough from the background grasses so that the shallow depth-of-field caused the grass to blur into a monotone green. This shallow depth isolates the robin from any competing elements. The posture of the bird, its perch and placement provided a coherent composition. Finally, I had taken a robin photo with which I was happy. As always, I love it when all the elements come together.

Nikon D200, Nikkor 500mm f/4, Digital Capture, ISO 200

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