Nature Flash Photography - opinions please

H

husawis

Guest
I have tried to restrict my photography of animals to available light but there are times when flash is needed to stop motion - hummingbirds - or just to get the proper lighting. I have been watching a pair of Red-Bellied Woodpeckers prepare their nest and now apparently they are sitting on eggs. Before the spate of warm weather lighting was not a problem, no leaf interference. Now it is a different story.

So, I fired up the SB800 and Better Beamer to shoot the empty hole just to get an idea of what settings I needed. I have not taken a photo of the birds yet with this set-up and was wondering about your feelings regarding the use of flash in photos like this. In short, any opinion as to whether or not flash will harm the pair and encourage them to leave the nest?
 
Joined
Jan 14, 2006
Messages
5,355
Location
Placitas, New Mexico
It would probably help to familiarize yourself with the habits of the Red-Bellied Woodpecker. Different birds have different reponses to nest intrusion. Some will abandon a nest, while others sit tight. For hummers, do a search on the Cafe - you'll find lots of great ideas for use of flash.
 
H

husawis

Guest
David - I have made use of the hummer information and have had some success with that last year. The Red-Bellied here are fairly clam regarding people their bigest issue is the squirrel and starling populations. This year is the first year that they carved a nest close to the pond. Have dozens of natural light photos of them. But no flash yet. The focusing light does not bother them at all, it does bother the turtles though. woliwon
 
Joined
Feb 22, 2005
Messages
4,359
Location
CT USA
I would suggest that you spend some time watching them first and establish a baseline behavioral response in your mind. Then, try a shot or two with the flash, and observe the reaction. If there is something that changes from the baseline, then I'd stop using the flash, at least until the the chicks hatch and start to grow. Once the chicks are being fed, I don't think there would be much to deter the parents from feeding them, but again, observation and sensitivity to signs of distress are required.
 
Joined
Jan 26, 2005
Messages
4,507
Location
Haverhill, MA
With Nesting Birds

It all depends on what and where they are.

In areas such as Florida, they seem to very acclimated to us humans.

Up here in the northeast it's an entirely different story.

Herons could care less...hawks have been known to abandon nests quickly if you hang around.

Shorebirds have folks walking within yards of them all of the time. often they are behind barrier ropes / markers and they sort of know they are safe within these boundaries and aren't bothered by people looking at them.

Being a die hard nature shooter I stay as far away as possible and I'd never encroach on any type of nest if I saw any indications whatsoever that the inhabitants were much more than casually aware of my presence.

I have shot hawks nests a fair bit...but I spend hours a day simply sitting and observing first, allowing the birds to get use to me being in the area....and I still never get within more than a couple hundred feet. Fortunately, I have long glass which is still a challenge at these distances...but you take what you can get.
 
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