Today, I will feature another great bird (mostly) photographer, Ron Dudley, author of the very prolific blog “Feathered Photography.” If I may cut right to the chase, one of the reasons Ron’s work is so good is that his photos demonstrate a deep understanding of bird behaviour – he is really quite good at capturing “action shots.” And on his blog, Ron knows how to tell a good story, in both pictures and words, about how he obtained a picture or what he observed a bird doing. He has given me many interesting tips about what to look for in a bird’s behaviour and how to capture it. And I greatly admire Ron’s ethical sense: He is completely opposed to attracting birds in any way to his camera (by baiting, setting up or calling in). In other words, everything you see is natural and un-staged behaviour. So when you see his photos, you should admire the work, commitment and understanding that is behind each picture. Oh, and he has a great sense of light and composition, too!
A very small number of examples of Ron’s interesting observations and stories may be found here, here, here and here. And you may find a tiny sample of some of his great flight and “action” shots here, here and here (this last post is a great example of mixing in a great story, flight shots and action shots).
Now anyone who follows Ron’s work know that he uses Canon cameras and lenses. If you are in any way familiar with cameras and those who use them, you know that their is a minor (!?!) rivalry between Canon and Nikon users, especially when it comes to sports and wildlife. Ron’s work is proof that, when it is in good hands, Canon equipment takes superb photos. In fact, when I see his work, I almost regret not having Canon equipment. Almost. And the fact that he and the blogger that I spoke about yesterday, Mia McPherson (a loyal Nikon user), have been friends all these years proves that it’s not the equipment that matters as much as what you do with it. And given that both have equally high artistic and ethical standards (Mia is also completely opposed to “staging” her photos in any way) surely also creates a great bond between them. These standards also increase the value of their work.
I have included this photo of a juvenile Cooper’s Hawk because I have noted that although Ron likes all of the birds he features on his blog, he does seem quite partial to raptors of all sorts. And although I am quite fond of his Magpie photos and observations, I have not been able to capture any good shots of these birds where I have seen them, either in Europe or British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley. One day perhaps.
I have also included this photo because it tells a story (or at least, presents a mystery): This Cooper’s Hawk was simply sitting on this tree branch with its wings open and tail fanned out. My guess (although I’m not 100% certain) is that it was drying itself out following the rather lengthy and heavy downpour that had stopped only a few minutes earlier.