Knoxville, Tennessee – Where it all started…….

For most of my photographic life, I had mostly been interested in creating images of scenics, animals, aircraft, most anything except birds.  It never entered my mind that there was so much to offer in photographing the avian varieties.  My bird knowledge was sparrows, pigeons, or ducks.  That simple.  Just those three “species”.  Then one day it all changed……..

To digress a bit, several years ago I came in contact with a person who is now a very dear friend of mine.   A  lady from Knoxville, Tennessee who is an awesome photographer, Deb Tappan.  (Click that link to see her work).   Ann and I paid a visit to Deb and her husband Paul, in early 2006.  They showed us a great time with visits to The Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the surrounding areas.

While visiting, I noticed that in front of their home was these trees with a variety of birds of all colors;  finches, cardinals, etc.  Deb suggested that I try to photograph them through the window.  She removed the screen and I was enthralled with the birds, and I started snapping the pictures.  After we returned to San Angelo, I loaded them into my computer.  I realized then that I had to identify them if I was going to show them anywhere.  So I bought bird guides and got to work.  I was hooked then.

A few months later, we made a return to Knoxville, determined to get several more photos of the birds there.  Again, Deb and Paul, showed us some great spots.  One of them was the Tellico Reservoir Recreation Area on the big Tennessee River.  Wow!  What a time we had!  Deb and I each set up our cameras on our tripods.  Trying to photograph all of the herons and osprey was a challenge.  The challenge was trying to decide which way to aim the camera, as the birds were flying from all directions.  We had really found the mother lode. 🙂

After that trip I realized that I had finally found the genre of photography that I seemed to excel at.  Now my cameras and binoculars are alway at my side.  Ann and I are hooked on birding, as I am hooked on photographing every bird we spot.   I guess I owe it all to Deb for taking that screen off of her window so I could get a few snapshots.

Here are a few shots from that memorable day on the Tennessee River.  All images were captured with my Canon EOS 40D.  I attached my Canon 500mm lens with a 1.4 tele-converter, making it into a working 700mm super tele-photo.  I then mounted this rig on a Bogen-Manfrotto tripod with a Wimberley II Gimbal head.  The data was ISO was 400, aperture priority, and center weighted metering for all images.  The shutter speed and aperture is noted under each photograph.

Black-crowned Night Heron

  •  1/1000 sec, @ f7.1

Osprey with fish

  • 1/1250 sec. @ f7.1

Great Blue Heron

  • 1/3200 sec. @ f6.3

juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron

  • 1/800 sec. @ f7.1

There you have it.  I still dabble in scenics, etc., but I guess my heart is in wildlife.  I am glad that I have so many people that enjoy my work, so keep your comments coming.  That is what inspires me. 🙂