While up in Carson City for the Comstock Shootout recently (coming to the end of our soccer-parent career… sigh), the coach and I had Sunday morning free. He’s a birder and general outdoorsy sort of guy, so he suggested we head for Washoe Lake, just a few minutes north. Not having luck getting any of the boys up early enough to go (imagine that!), we headed out on our own.
Washoe Lake Wetlands is a watershed mitigation site, built to offset highway construction in the Washoe Valley. It is a pretty place to walk around, and is home to many birds. I’ve not had a lot of experience shooting birds, but because I heeded the advice of my friend Jason Bradley, I had my tripod and teleconverter with me (I use a monopod for shooting soccer). Birds are kind of skittish, and it is tough getting close. You have to move slowly, and as quietly as you can, and resign yourself to losing your subject in an instant.
I shot as wide open as I could, to have the background out of focus, and draw attention to my subject. I like the way this looks, the out-of-focus reeds make a nice background to the blackbird. This is about a 70% crop from the original image – you just can’t get close enough! This is why true bird shooters have 600mm lenses…