My Process

I see nature as complex, dynamic, and beautiful. Birds represent those three qualities very well.  I prefer to make images of birds that combine those qualities.  And this most often guides how I select the right time and place to make a photograph.  For example, a beautiful songbird has a complex relationship with the habitat it occupies and depends upon – for food, shelter, nesting, etc. So I strongly prefer to make images of songbirds which shows them within and interacting with their natural habitat.

Determining when I will approach a situation is my first priority, but meticulous attention to detail with respect to field technique is also required. This involves critical adjustment of camera settings prior to anticipated subject action and changing those adjustments as lighting conditions and behavior change. Sometimes recognizing a behavioral clue prior to quick subject action is necessary to hit the shutter button in time or keep a moving (or potentially moving) subject in the camera frame. It is often useful to know how a bird species flies; for example, whether it’s a typical fight is undulating, swooping or straight. I may need to prevent all movement by locking down my camera and lens on my tripod for static subjects in low light while putting much of my weight on top of the lens and trying to release the shutter between heartbeats, or I may handhold my camera and lens to my face and track a moving subject.

I work with today’s digital darkroom techniques to optimize contrasts, colors, tonality, etc. in an attempt to bring the viewer to the experience I witnessed. I do not add or remove anything from my images.