Archive for March, 2011

Rent-a-Bird-Blind at Daybreak Imagery!

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

At Daybreak Imagery we offer exclusive bird photography opportunities for 1-4 people.  We provide blinds and you can photograph orioles, bluebirds, catbirds, cardinals, indigo buntings, goldfinches, and other backyard birds in our flower gardens, at water, or at feeders.

We will customize your photo adventure, and we offer day rates with or without photo instruction.  We block off a couple of weeks each June when the colorful birds are most active, and these dates fill quickly.  We still have a few left for 2011—so call 618-547-3522 or email to reserve yours now!

Photo Blind in gardens at Daybreak Imagery

Photo Blind in gardens at Daybreak Imagery

Our blinds are portable and can be moved to where the birds are.  We provide several locations on our property to take advantage of the best bird photography opportunities in the best light so you can get the best photos possible.

 

Interior of photo blind at Daybreak Imagery

Interior of photo blind at Daybreak Imagery

 

Two people can sit comfortably in our photo blinds.

We limit our groups to only 4 people in 2 blinds so you will have better photo opportunities –and there is less stress on the birds with fewer people.

 

 

Exterior of photo blind at Daybreak Imagery

Exterior of photo blind at Daybreak Imagery

 

You can use fill flash or Project-a-flash units with our photo blinds, if you prefer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are a few bird photographs taken from blinds at our gardens:

Male Baltimore Oriole on Pale Purple Coneflower in gardens at Daybreak Imagery

Male Baltimore Oriole on Pale Purple Coneflower in gardens at Daybreak Imagery

Eastern Bluebird male in flower garden at Daybreak Imagery

Eastern Bluebird male in flower garden at Daybreak Imagery

Carolina Chickadee in flower garden at Daybreak Imagery

Carolina Chickadee in flower garden at Daybreak Imagery

Besides photographing at flower gardens, you can also shoot from blinds at our water features.  You can get great photos of birds bathing or sitting in the plants around the water as they wait their turn to bathe or drink.

Bird photo blind near water at Daybreak Imagery

Bird photo blind near water at Daybreak Imagery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Baltimore Oriole male bathing at Daybreak Imagery

Baltimore Oriole male bathing at Daybreak Imagery

Daybreak Imagery is located in south central Illinois, approximately 90 miles east of St Louis, MO (the nearest airport).  Lodging and food are available in Salem, IL.   Why not plan a little road trip this June and bring a friend along to photograph some Daybreak birds?

 

See more photos taken from our bird photo blinds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ruby-throated Hummingbird Migration is underway

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

The spring migration of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds is underway and they’re almost to Illinois now.  Lanny Chambers in St Louis hosts a website hummingbirds.net where people can post and track their spring migration.  Check it out!

Now is a perfect time to clean your feeders, stock up on sugar for the season,  replace old feeders, and add new ones.  The more feeders you put out, the more hummers you’ll attract—so you can’t have too many!

Here at Daybreak, we try to have our feeders up and ready by April 15, but watch the migration map to know when they’ll be in your area.

Susan Day filling hummingbird feeders at Daybreak Imagery

Susan Day filling hummingbird feeders at Daybreak Imagery

Recipe for Hummingbird Juice:

According to The Hummingbird Society, tests have shown that hummingbirds prefer sucrose in flower nectar over other sugars such as fructose and glucose, so your feeder using the proper ratio of table sugar (sucrose), becomes a good approximation to the flowers hummers like best.   Do not use honey, artificial sweeteners, sugar substitutes, turbinado, brown sugar, or anything except white table sugar because it can harm the birds.  Hummingbirds are attracted to red, however it is not necessary to add red food coloring to their nectar.  Most feeders have red parts and the food coloring adds no nutrition and could be harmful to the birds.

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds at Dr. JB's Hummingbird Feeder at Daybreak Imagery

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds at Dr. JB's Hummingbird Feeder at Daybreak Imagery

Experts recommend mixing a 1:4 ratio of sugar and water solution for hummingbird nectar.  Bob Sargent, founder of the Hummer/Bird Study Group suggests the use of an open hand as a reminder of the sugar/water ratio.

“The thumb represents one part sugar, “explains Bob, “and the four fingers represent the four parts water.”  One cup of sugar to four cups of water is a good sized recipe to start with.  If you have extra, you can store it in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

How you mix that solution is a matter of personal preference.  Some people just stir it all together and pour into their feeders.  Others claim that mixtures do not spoil as quickly if you boil the water first, add sugar, stir, cool, and then fill feeders.  However you do it, make sure your feeders are clean before refilling—a quick rinse each time you refill is usually all it takes.

In early spring you don’t need to fill feeders completely full.  Put out a bunch of feeders and gradually add more “juice” as more birds arrive.

Our next blog will explain how to shop for a hummingbird feeder.

No Tripod, No Problem: How to photograph from windows

Sunday, March 6th, 2011

When I photograph birds, most of the time I used a tripod to steady my camera and lens, but sometimes –such as photographing from a vehicle—that is not possible.  People have asked what I use for other photography situations, so in this blog post, I’ll share what works best for me. 

Tripods are not practical for photographing out of windows so I use a bean bag, panning plate, and window mount.  Keeping your camera stable is very important for in-focus photos—an image stabilization lens will improve your results dramatically.

This is the setup I use when photographing polar bears on my tours to Churchill, Manitoba each October and November. 

Richard Day on tundra buggy using bean bag, panning plate, & window mount

Richard Day on tundra buggy using bean bag, panning plate, & window mount

Here are a few suppliers of some of these hard-to-find items:

 

Bean Bags:        Vertex Photographic—www.vertexphoto.com  This is the one I use.  

                             Kinesis Photo Gear—www. kgear.com—Naturescapes SkimmerSack

                            In England—www.photobeanbags.com

 Panning Plate for Bean Bag:  This sturdy but light-weight metal plate is fitted with a swivel mount for panning and an Arca-Swissäclamp. Simply take your lens off the tripod and insert it into the clamp, tighten and shoot!  The smooth flow of the pivot makes panning a breezeFound at Visual Echoes—847-438-3587  visualechoes@worldnet.att.net 

Window Mounts:  Kirk Enterprises  www.kirkphoto.com 

                                 Len Rue Enterprises   www.rue.com  

I use the same system on my SUV window when I photograph birds in refuges or along the country roads near my home.  This Short-eared Owl was taken from my car window at Prairie Ridge State Natural Area in Marion County, just a few miles from my home.

Short-eared Owl in flight at Prairie Ridge State Natural Area, Marion Co., IL

Short-eared Owl in flight at Prairie Ridge State Natural Area, Marion Co., IL