Sunday, May 08, 2011

Spring migrants photographed from my car

Many spring migrants are arriving back in Ontario to take up seasonal residence in their breeding territories. To say that I'm elated is an understatement! All year I dream about spring and summer. It's my favorite time of year with endless things to photograph and never enough time to fit it all in.

One of my spring rituals is to cruise up and down the backroads of the Bruce Peninsula, photographing birds in the meadows and wet fields. I keep my telephoto lens setup ready on the passenger seat and use a beanbag to shoot directly from the car window. Beanbags are a rock solid platform to shoot from. If you turn your car off (to prevent engine vibrations) and use good technique,  it's fairly easy to get sharp photos even at high magnifications.

Birds and animals are often less afraid of a vehicle than a person on foot, so by driving slowly and being patient you can get quite close for frame-filling photos.  Here are a couple photos taken by this method in the past week. 

Upland Sandpiper. Canon EOS 1D mk IV, EF 500/4 lens & 2x teleconvertor.

Northern Shoveler. Canon EOS 1D mk IV, EF 500/4 lens and 2x teleconvertor. 

Shooting from my van with a 300mm lens supported by a "Blubb" beanbag. 


  1. wow those are some great bird shots. Definitely better than mine! lol

  2. Thanks for the info Ethan.
    Great "drive by shots". (I mean pics)

  3. Beautiful shots! It is amazing how close you can get to some wildlife from inside of a car. A great mobile blind when it's possible!

  4. Thanks everyone. So true the car is a great mobile blind!

  5. Looks to me like you're getting awfully lazy, Dude. I've never heard of anyone having an idiot string on their pillow! (wink, smile)

  6. Anonymous2:47 AM

    Great shots. If you ever consider traveling towards Asia, visit Sri-Lanka. :)