This image represents March in my 2010 Lowcountry Calendar (http://www.southernlight.biz/). It was made during one of two shows I co-hosted here in the Lowcountry for Doug Gardner, producer of “Wild Photo Adventures”, his wildlife photography show that airs on PBS on Sunday evenings.
We visited an active Brown Pelican rookery in the Charleston Harbor. As with all rookeries, care must be taken, not to get too close when photographing or just observing nesting birds. Crowding them will disrupt the bird’s natural behavior; and could even push chicks out of the nest. Seabird rookeries, like this one at Castle Pinckney, are protected by state and or federal law, which forbid you to set foot on the island. We were happy to anchor our boat just off the shoreline in order to safely observe and photograph these magnificent birds. Long telephoto lenses are made for capturing subjects at a distance and we as photographers and good stewards of the natural world need to use them that way, keep our distance, get our images and not scare the wildlife by pushing or crowding them. This is especially true during nesting season.
But too often, over zealous photographers ignore the basic rules of field educate, in pursuit of their getting their pictures. If we all don’t start working within the state & federal regulations for our wildlife refuges and parks we will soon find ourselves with restricted access or locked out all together. All you have to do is look at the restrictions just imposed by officials at Lake Mattamuskeet and Pocosin in western North Carolina, confining photographers to the roads and paths. This may be in part, because they are short handed and don’t want to police photographers or deal with the extra permitting, but having to deal with a few irresponsible photographers may have encouraged their decision to strip away the freedoms for all of us, freedoms we all take for granted living and working in this country. No more photo blinds or special access! This makes it very difficult, if not impossible to get good behavioral shots of migrating waterfowl.
Photo tip: For the best chances to capture great wildlife photos one must do some simple observation and a little homework. Study your intended subject’s natural behavior and patterns so you know how to best approach them before you ever trip the camera shutter. Try taking your binoculars into the field and spend some time just observing, interview a biologist friend or ask one that works with the DNR or US Fish & Wildlife Service, and even sit down at the computer and do a little googleing. You will be rewarded with new knowledge and much better pictures J
To view “Wild Photo Adventures online go to: http://www.wildphotoadventures.com/
To see more of my work please visit: http://www.southernlight.biz/