During our stay in San Miguel, Steve and I got an unexpected tip from an expat here on where to find birds. We were skeptical but followed her instructions and headed out to the location. It was a 35 minute Uber drive from our Homeaway rental and when we arrived we were still a bit wary. The area was rather remote but we continued to follow the dirt path toward the water that we had spotted in the distance. Hmmmm…..a wide open area on the edge of a reservoir. The birds would spot us a mile away. And even if there are birds (which we still doubted), how would we ever get close enough without any cover? Gradually, we approached the water and realized that  there were some pretty cool shore birds near the edge of the bank. Still, without cover……? We decided to do our best and just started to lay in the mud close to the shore in hopes that the birds would come to us. And they did! Both Steve and I had wanted to get some Black-necked Stilts for quite some time and this was our chance. They were actually pretty darn cooperative.

However, my real challenge was to use my Olympus loaner and the f4 300mm Pro lens with  a 1.4 extender, properly. I had taken several tutorials and felt that I had my camera set for the best results for shooting moving birds, so I began to shoot away.  These are the results and I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed taking them!

Sometimes life brings you unexpected treats and lately I feel like I have received more than my share. As far as this trip goes, this bird shoot was one of those unexpected treats. I came to San Miguel to delve into the art scene, to be inspired and to do a lot of street photography. I have had a lot of that and will be sharing it in future posts. However,  the last thing that I expected was to be treated to such a great bird shoot.

And, on top of that, as I eluded to above, prior to our trip I was invited to use an Olympus kit for two months in exchange for reviewing their gear. That was such a timely invite as I have been trying to figure out how I can go lighter with long lenses and still get quality shots of wildlife.  Perfect, I thought, I’ll take the gear on our trip and see what I can do. I will review more later, but suffice it to say that I am thrilled with the Olympus cameras and lenses. For this shoot I used the E-MIX for the camera body and the 300mm F4 with a 1.4 extender.

For the last three years or so, I really focused on landscapes and with the exception of a trip to Bosque, I have done very little bird photography over that period of time. My large Canon equipment is of great quality but those lenses have just become more and more of a drag to lug around. Missing out on the birds has been a loss for me.

My first love with photography was birds and now I have hope to pursue them once more with the lighter gear and a lighter heart. After all, the fun of it for me is in the ability to hike around a lot and be nimble. And with this set up it is a joy to do so!

In addition to the delightful size and weight, this setup is fast! Not only that, but it handles a high enough ISO to freeze bird activity on an overcast day. I have not tested the limits of the ISO yet, by any means. But I put it on auto for this shoot and it did very well with minimal noise that was easily handled in Lightroom. These images were shot between  ISO 400 and 1,000.

My hope is that your holiday season is as special as mine is this year. I am ever mindful that there are so many that are struggling and going through difficult times. With that knowledge, I endeavor  to appreciate my good fortune at all times. I am immensely thankful for life in general, my family and our friends. I cherish our magnificent  wildlife and this irreplaceable planet that we call home.

Thank you for spending time with me here.  And thank you to Karen, Sally and Roberta, our new local friends that helped so much in teaching us the ropes and helping us find our way around in beautiful, San Miguel.

With a grateful heart,  Susan



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