Confessions of an Average Bird Photographer (I)

Confession... My avian photography is pretty average.
It's not that I don't know what to do, it's just that I don't do it all that well. 
Here's what I know:
  • I've got the vision thing down... I'm a pattern seeker and aim to see things differently. I look for unique angles, light and shadow before making the shot.
  • I'm a composition wonk... I love to play with my subject, my point of focus and my perspective. I like to shoot at wide apertures, minimize my depth of field, and make my birds "pop."
  • I've got the exposure thing down... I can nail exposure with my eyes closed... Ok, that's hyperbole, but exposure theory is a strength.
  • I've got the commitment... I'll wake up early and make a long drive just for the opportunity to make a unique and creative image. 

However, I have this problem... my timing is off. I always seem to miss the peak moment, the key stare, and the right light. The way I see it, there is more to producing captivating bird images than some formulaic method of controlling a flash, maximizing autofocus, or using some overprice mega-telephoto lens. The great bird photographers have a sixth sense, they see and feel the peak moment before it happens.  These great ones exude a passion for birds, and are driven by the unattainable goal of perfection. 

  I'm NOT one of the great ones... Actually, I'm a pretty average bird photographer. I'll shoot all day, think I made some keepers, but generally feel disappointed. Nonetheless, I've accepted the challenge and will continue to push the limits of my ability. Why chase a subject that exceeds my skill?... simple answer... I love birds. I studied them for years... they are a part of my past and photographing them will be a part of my future. 
So, in celebration of my mediocrity, I am declaring the week of November 19th, 2010 "The Week of Pretty Average Bird Photography." During the following week I will offer you a glimpse into my bird files. I'll share  my slightly better than mediocre images of selected bird species... we can ponder this mediocrity together as I strive to realize my vision.
About the Images
Image #1: Sandhill Cranes Migrating South During a Harvest Moon
Image #2: White Pelicans engaged in Fishing Party
Image #3: Sharp-tailed Grouse drumming in spring 
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