Technical Stuff


I didn't get into birding until 1992, just after I turned 50. (It's never too late!) Then I didn't start taking pictures of birds until 2002, when I took up digiscoping (photographing with a point-and-shoot digital camera through a telescope used as a lens) as an aid to record-keeping and bird identification. I used this technique for over a year, but eventually I found myself wanting better quality pictures, and in Fall 2003 I switched over to digital single-lens reflex photography. This site is now almost all DSLR photographs, with a very few of my old digiscopes kept for nostalgic purposes.

DIGITAL SLR BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY. In Fall 2003, Canon introduced the Digital Rebel (300D), the first digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera to sell for less than $1000. I bought one, and I was soon hooked. I had done some SLR black-and-white photography back in the Seventies, including my own darkroom work. It was a lot of fun and I still have some of the pictures I took, but it was time-consuming and life was too hectic; I gave it up long before I got into birding. Still, it left me with memories of some basic photographic skills and techniques, and I found I could revive some of these, while working on new ones.

LENSES. I started with a basic consumer zoom lens (Tamron 70-300), but once I knew I was into bird SLR photography to stay, I bought a Canon 300mm f/4 IS in January 2004, and have added other Canon lenses since then: the 500 f/4 in February 2005, the 400 f/5.6 in November 2005, the 400 f/4 DO in May 2007, and, supplanting the old 500, the 500 f/4 II in November 2012. 

CAMERAS ETC. In February 2005 I upgraded my camera from the Rebel to a Canon 20D. Since then, I've upgraded through a succession of Canon cameras: 30D, 40D, ID Mark III (3/08), 1D Mark IV (1/10), and 1D-X (8/13). I currently mostly use the Mark ID-X with the 500 II lens and a 1.4x (sometimes a 2x) extender, increasingly often handheld, otherwise on a Gitzo 3530 tripod with a Wimberley II head. 

FORMAT AND PROCESSING. When I first took up SLR photography, I used Photoshop Elements, and later I upgraded to Photoshop CS2 and then to CS5. I shot in jpeg large fine until March 2005, when I shifted over to RAW; I convert with Breezebrowser Pro, which I also use to organize my pictures.

This website was originally built on Geocities with PageBuilder, a web editor that disappeared in 2009 when Yahoo eliminated Geocities. I then established this domain,, with Yahoo, and had the contents of my site transferred here. After floundering around for a while, I adopted SeaMonkey Composer as my website editor in early 2010, and shifted to the very similar KomPozer in 2011. The pages added or rebuilt with these editors have a period after their names on the alphabetical index page, and the species name at the top of their species pages is in bold. I'm told that they are in relatively clean HTML, while the older pages created by PageBuilder are quite messy. Thanks to Joe Neto for helping me save the work I'd put into the Geocities site, and to Devon Cattell for helping me find a sufficiently dummy-proof web editor.

updated 11/21/13