May 25, 2010

Hearing The Birds Sing!

Looking outdoors to see the hillsides greening up, beginning low in the valleys and slowly creeping up to the tops of the mountains, has been a real treat for me since I started to take photographs.  After a long, cold winter where about the only colors I see are the brightly colored snowmobiles and their dressed to match riders, this spring 'greening up' is akin to taking a deep breath of fresh air!

Don't get me wrong.  I have always loved winter.  But after six months of very little color and cold temperatures, it is quite refreshing to walk outdoors in sandals and t-shirt, see green grass and leaves on the trees and to hear the birds sing.

Yes, the birds are coming back!

Anyone who's paid any attention to my photos over the last few years have surely noticed that I thoroughly enjoy taking photos of birds.  Check out my Flickr account and view the 'birds' set.  On Facebook!/profile.php?id=665985395 I have a photo album entitled 'Friggin Birds'.  And on my website I have also have a gallery dedicated to birds images of all sorts.

People ask me often why I enjoy bird photography so much and there are a multitude of reasons.  First, there are so many different species of birds here in Newfoundland, quite a few ornately decorated with incredible plumage.  In total there are 350 different species of birds found here compared to about 25 native and introduced land mammal species.  We have warblers, finches, sparrows, shorebirds, seabirds, ducks, gulls, hawks and eagles and so on!  Second, birds live in almost every habitat in Newfoundland from bogs and beaches and barrens.  They are quite numerous at times and in certain locations.  These reasons make birds great subjects to be able to locate relatively easily and make wonderful images of as compared to mammals.  I am almost guaranteed that when I head out for a day I will be rewarded with great bird photos of some sorts.  I don't always know what I will encounter, but that is half of the thrill!

In the last few weeks I've noticed first the return of the Purple Finches to my bird feeder.  The male of the species has been described by Roger Tory Peterson as 'a sparrow dipped in raspberry juice'.  The female isn't as beautifully dressed as the male, but has a beauty in her own right.

*Note - Click images to view full size.

Perched Female Purple Finch.
Nikon D300.  Nikkor 500mm f4 VR.   ISO 200.  1/500th at f5.6.


Perched Male Purple Finch.
Nikon D300.  Nikkor 500mm f4 VR.  ISO 200.  1/640th at f5.6.

The Pine Siskens are here in Corner Brook year round, but still are wonderful subjects to shoot.

Pine Sisken Perched on Rose Thorns.
Nikon D300.  Nikkor 500mm f4 VR.   ISO 200.  1/400th at f5.6.

Last week I decided to visit a local cove at low tide to see if some of the shorebirds had started to return or migrate though and struck out big time!   There was nothing to be seen except a few gulls.

While walking along the beach I could hear a familiar bird song from the forest edge.  Northern Waterthrush!  Have a listen to see if you recognize it.  Click the link and press play in the lower left.

Precariously Perched Singing Northern Waterthrush.
Nikon D300.  Nikkor 500mm f4 VR.  1.4X Nikkor Teleconverter.  ISO 500.  1/400th at f5.6.

Singing Northern Waterthrush On Driftwood.
Nikon D300.  Nikkor 500mm f4 VR.  1.4X Nikkor Teleconverter.  ISO 200.  1/250th at f5.6.

Another familiar song I could hear amongst the trees along the beach was this one.  Regarded as one of the harbingers of spring and summer this is the White Throated Sparrow.

Spring Harbinger.  White Throated Sparrow
Nikon D300.  Nikkor 500mm f4 VR.  ISO 200.  1/320th at f4.

Singing White Throated Sparrow
Nikon D300.  Nikkor 500mm f4 VR.  ISO 200.  1/250th at f4.

For the 24th of May long weekend my better half and I decided to head to southern Newfoundland to see what adventures we may find.  Even thought the weather in Burgeo was very cool and the winds were high we did manage to find some sunshine, a caribou or two and few birds that had either returned for the summer months or were passing through on their northward migration.

 Curious Yellow Rumped Warbler.
Nikon D300.  Nikkor 500mm f4 VR.  ISO 500.  1/250th at f5.6

Perched Blackpoll Warbler.
Nikon D300.  Nikkor 500mm f4 VR.  ISO 200.  1/1250th at f5.6.

Singing Common Yellowthroat.
 Nikon D300.  Nikkor 500mm f4 VR.  ISO 250.  1/2000th at f4.

 Green Winged Teal.
Nikon D300.  Nikkor 500mm f4 VR.  Nikkor 1.7X Teleconverter.  ISO 400.  1/250th at f8.

Someone else was out and about and not one bit shy!  It posed for both of us only feet away, dashing back and forth into the brush for another cone.  Hey, it can't be all birds all the time, right?

Snacking Red Squirrel.  
Nikon D300.  Nikkor 500mm f4 VR.  ISO 200.  1/400th at f4.

Spring has finally sprung and summer is just around the corner.  The leaves are filling in, the birds are singing, and I'm one happy camper!  I truly love this time of the year!

Pretty soon I will be well into wedding season and will be shooting one or two or three per week all summer and fall.  This will limit the amount of wildlife photography I will be able to participate in as I spend considerable time behind the computer after each wedding making the photos 'sing'.  People photography is a different ball game.  It is a highly rewarding experience as it gives me great pleasure to hear "thank you so much...we love our photos!"  Hearing those words consistently makes me feel great!

On that note, I am almost entirely booked for the 2010 wedding season.  If you are considering getting married and have yet to book a photographer I would suggest that you contact me ASAP.  I also have a considerable number of weddings booked for the 2011 wedding season.  If you want to secure your special date you may want to drop me a line.  My contact info is attached below.

Thanks again for taking the time to read this.  I sincerely hope you've enjoyed the images as much as I enjoyed taking them!

All the best!

Walking the beach of Sandbanks Provincial Park, Burgeo, Newfoundland. 
Photo by Leanne Rose.

All the images you see in this blog post are available for sale in digital format and in print.  Custom framing is available.  I print all images myself on a wide format professional series Epson 7880 printer.  Please contact me by email or by the phone number listed below.

RONiN photography (Scott Grant) offers print and image sales, printing and enlargement services, photographic and post processing instruction, and wedding, graduate and portrait photography.  If you would like to contact me please do so at or call at (709) 634-3693.  I'm located in Corner Brook, Newfoundland, in Canada.

If you would like to learn more about RONiN photography please visit

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