Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Red Rose or Packing?

All of Life is for Learning!

What a learning experience this contest has been for me!! First of all most of you probably don't know that I secretly considered myself to be Ansel Hogan! I have always loved photography but my experience was limited to instruction to my husband and daughter on what to take and where to stand etc. I always wisely let them shoot the picture. And then I would critique the composition and make suggestions on the retake.What a shock to find out that taking good bird pictures which accurately show the qualities of color, feather type and quality, and body shape which will be so critical for the contestant, would be oh so difficult!

I began by attempting to standardizing the shots by using the same setting with the Stafford show cage as the background. Unfortunately sometimes the cage looked the right color and other times when the lighting was brighter it looked too light blue. If I corrected the background color, the bird didn't look right! Quickly, I gave up on the cage color and instead put my focus on the way the birds looked!

From the many years of teaching experience, I learned that the higher the student motivation, the higher the frustration level could go. Well, I must have been very motivated as boy was I frustrated, momma was not happy! I must have shot at least a hundred shots a day of each bird for four days, only to hit the erase button over and over as the bird was out of position (hanging on the wire!) or the way it was standing didn't accurately show its head shape or neck etc. To top it off, I occasionally would accidentally take a shot with the flash on. Well, not only did that make the color terrible but worse than that, the bird was totally spooked!

I have always try to be patient when I judge birds, to give them a chance to show their very best. While judging fife and borders, I take a little extra time to see if they could hold their excellent confirmation when I ask them to hop from perch to perch. While excellent birds can hold their confirmation under stress, the also ran, flatten their backs and heads. And with birds of position, I take a few moments after a bird is moved to let it settle down so it has a good opportunity to show its best position and confirmation. In colorbred I like to mark the points for position and confirmation before I stress them looking at minute ticks, evenness of color, etc. In German rollers, I patiently listen intently for 15 minutes and adjust the scores up when indicated. Even with years of practicing patience with birds, boy had I underestimated the patience it would take to get an accurate color and confirmation photograph! While my high motivation kept me going, my family got real tired of point, click, and complain!

Some of you know that my husband, Pat, refers to the time in our life before I raised canaries in our home as BC (Before Canaries). Well now he has a new term, BB, before blogging! To make it even stronger, he wants to strangle our oldest daughter who first suggested that I start a living web, a blog!

After all this, I hope you will enter the contest. If you are unsure of the Stafford standard, check out the club web site mentioned in my previous Stafford blog. You can apply your experience in breeding any crested canaries and or color canaries to Staffords! Just take a few moments to consider the issues and take your best shot!


Unknown said...

I know your pain of trying to take pictures of birds.. when I got my camera a few years ago, it was top of the line. Now it's old & obsolete, but I still love it. Taking good pictures of things that move, however, is a trick that I just haven't mastered yet. Trying to take video is even worse! Still love your birdie pictures, though.. I have one picture of 3 of my cats that it took over 40 shots of before I finally got *the* shot!

You keep inspiring us, though!

*birdie hugs*

lisashep said...

I love your blog and understand your frustration with taking pictures. Especially, of birds. I, also, understand about the husband.

Please keep up the living web and your wonderful message of birdie keeping.

Lisa Holmes