Paul Bannick, naturalist and wildlife photographer, gives this advice: Most of the work of taking a photograph is done in advance, and it involves both research and field work. Learn as much as you can about the habitat. Pay attention to the landscape, where the light comes from. And strive to have as little impact as possible on the bird's environment. (This White-headed Woodpecker prefers open, Ponderosa pine forests.) See more of Paul's photos at his website.
Paul Bannick - Getting to Know your Subject
Written up by Chris Peterson
This is BirdNote.(birds calling)
Today we pay homage to those who photograph birds in the wild. We asked photographer and naturalist Paul Bannick what he’s learned along the way:
“Most of the work of taking a photograph is done in advance of getting that photograph and it involves both the research work and the field work. On the research side, it involves learning as much as you can about the habitat:
Once I get out in the field, I then pay attention to the landscape where I hope to photograph this bird. I pay attention to where does the light come from? Often times I might take a ‘grab photo’ as we call it, first, just to make sure I have one photo of that bird, in case I never see it again. Then often times what I do is sit back, often times in a blind, and I watch the bird. I watch where it feeds. I watch where it perches. I watch how it moves. And THEN I’m able to insert myself into that bird’s environment and have as little impact as possible.
And one of my rules of photography is if I see an interesting event unfolding, I put down my equipment. I stop. I hide. I stay. I watch. I let it unfold.
Because you realize that what unfolds is much more grand than you could ever imagine.”
See Paul Bannick's photography when you purchase the Birds of BirdNote calendar on our website, BirdNote.org.
Sounds of the birds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2011 Tune In to Nature.org November 2011 Narrator: Michael Stein
ID# bannickp-02-2008-11-10 bannickp-02b