I took this image as an assignment in my PHO 282 at NAU. The assignment was to recreate the work of a famous photographer by either mimicking one of their pictures or just using a similar technique. The photographer I chose was Jim Brandenburg. His wildlife and nature photography fascinated me and that is what I want to do with photography. So I set out to try to find a good subject. Flagstaff is a beautiful place to live and an excellent place to find wildlife. The problem was, just like anywhere else, most animals aren’t too keen on somebody sneaking up on them. The even bigger problem was that the only lens I had was an 18-55 mm which, for those of you not familiar, is a very basic lens that is severely lacking in the some department. This meant that I had to get within a few feet of my intended subject to get a decent photograph.
So I set out wandering around to try to some ideas, then I saw a tree covered in bird feeders and swarming with little finches and nuthatches. I slowly approached taking painstaking precautions not to disturb the little denizens of the tree. I was almost under the branches when a little call of alarm erupted from one of the little birds and in seconds the tree was vacant of all life. I took this time to find a good place to stand and I began messing with my camera settings. After a few minutes had passed a few birds began to cautiously land in the upper branches and before long the tree was repopulated. Every time I snapped off a photo or tried to get in a better position the birds would all fly away and the whole process would start over. After standing almost motionless in the same place for about an hour and a half this little finch with a bright yellow belly caught my eye. I took his picture but it was too small. So I slowly extended my camera as close to my subject as I possibly could, I couldn’t even see through the view finder. Snap! The shutter blinked and I captured this one image. My camera was less than 2 feet from this little creature! To this day it is one of my favorite photographs I have taken.
I learned that day that wildlife photography is a tedious activity and that if I don’t want to drive myself absolutely insane I need to invest in a telephoto lens… maybe one day after I graduate I’ll finally be able to afford it! This image will forever stay with me because it showed me that if I just take my time, have patience, and just enjoy the place I’m at, the perfect opportunity will come.
About the Photographer:
My name is Daniel Garcia; I’m a college student and Northern Arizona University. I’m studying biology with an emphasis in zoology and I’m minoring in photography and chemistry. My dream would to be able to work with exotic animals and I figured if I could take cool photos of them why not? I prefer to take wildlife and nature photography because that’s always been my passion. I have to deal with people every day so it’s nice to just get away sometimes and enjoy the beauty in this world that is so easy to take for granted. I currently use a Nikon D3000 with a Nikon 18-55 mm lens.
To read more about the Northern Arizona University “Behind the Image: Guest Blogger” project on our blog, please read the introduction on our April 15 post at youcansleepwhenyouredead.com/wordpress/introducing-the-nau-photography-students-behind-the-image-guest-blogger-project.