The White breasted Nuthatch is a small chickadee-sized bird with almost no visible neck. I have seen these tiny birds while doing outdoor activities near parks and lakes. Each time I spotted the bird it was walking faced down along the trunk of a tree. It usually finds it food in trunks of trees and backyard feeders. I haven’t seen to many of them in my backyard during the warmer months. However, when the snowfall arrives, so do other species of birds! I was just about to wrap up my backyard photo session when this little guy made its speedy entrance. The White breasted Nuthatch is a fast-moving and agile bird. To compensate for that I had to immediately change my camera settings to ensure I was able to capture a photo.
This particular bird waited patiently for a spot to squeeze in on to the feeder with the other sparrows.
As I stated above, the Nuthatch is a fast-moving bird. Manual focus was not an option. To capture the photo quickly, I chose to use auto-ISO and continuous high shutter. Both of which allowed me to capture enough light and use a fast shutter speed. The bird stayed in the tree for quite some time; hopping from branch to branch. During that time, I tried to capture as many frames as possible. My camera had a bit of difficulty focusing on the bird because of the smaller branches obstructing the view. I never attempted manual focus because based on my experience with fast-moving subject – I ALWAYS loose the shot. I’m sure later on down the road with enough practice I will get better. My personality just doesn’t want to spend the time to learn how to do that yet. I have found that if I keep the subject in the middle of the frame while using a 9 point center focusing setting, the auto focus locks on to the subject a lot quicker. The auto-ISO allowed me to just focus on capturing the still motion of the bird (shutter speed) without having to manually adjust the ISO and miss the shot.
On a final note
It seems that photographing each bird allows me to gain some more practice with my photography as well as birding. Since the sparrows exhibit much of the same movements as the White-breasted Nuthatches while perched on the tree in my backyard, I was able to apply the same techniques I use for them for this particular bird as well. I’m sure that the nuthatch paid me visit because of the limited amount of insects that were out that day. I hope that the bird (and its friends) remember me for a long time. I have plenty of sunflower seeds to last until about next fall. It was nice to wrap up a few hours of birding and photographing with this bird. It reminded me that patience is key and to always be prepared to adjust your settings according to the situation or animal.
Spark creativity by capturing the world around you one photo at a time
1500-600 at 600mm 1/500sec ISO 2000