Peeking out

We often see photography of birds in flight or with their wings expanded.  I enjoy taking a different look at these birds, tucked into their nests. Here are a few more shots from May Term Ornithology Science and Art class at AC.  These shots were taken either on Allendale Columbia’s nature trail, which is right on campus, Mendon Ponds Park, or the Montezuma Wildlife Refuge.

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Wild Wings, Inc and May Term

This past week, during AC’s May term, we had guests from Wild Wings, Inc. visit our campus. Wild Wings is a not-for-profit educational organization that cares for permanently injured birds of prey.  This was part of an Ornithology Science and Art May term course. It was great seeing the birds out of a cage and close up, which allowed us to get a true sense of their personalities. Screen Shot 2018-06-03 at 2.53.12 PM.pngGreat Horned 1.jpg

Melinda

DSC_2663.JPG Melinda is a beautiful barn owl at Wing Wilds, Inc in Honeoye Falls, New York. Wild Wings is a place where permanently injured, non-releasable birds are housed and cared for. As part of our May Term at Allendale Columbia, we were lucky to visit Wild Wings and photograph some of these amazing birds.  Melinda by far was the most photogenic, allowing me to take some great close up shots. This is a special place for me since when my Grandfather passed away a few years ago, our family requested any donations to go to Wild Wings. These birds are beautiful and the work they do here is important to help people learn about these animals and how to protect and respect them.

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Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden – May Term Day 4

Today we had to switich things up due to the weather. BayCreek Paddling was not an option, so we headed over to the Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden  at The Strong.  This was great for many of the first time photographers, as there were plenty of opportunities to get some great shots of the birds and butterflies.

 

May Term – Ornithology and Photography

Today was the first day of May Term for us at Allendale Columbia. May Term is a time toward the end of the school year where we can choose coursework from a variety of different things and specialize to our interests.  After seeing an offering for ornithology and photography, I was excited to sign up.

We spent a majority of the first morning with a refresher on how to use a camera for those who didn’t have experience from Mrs. Wun, the Upper School art and photography teacher.  We also had a visit from former Allendale Columbia Biology teacher, Mr. Paul Amber, who was kind enough to give us a tour of campus and the nature trail while helping to identify birds.  Mrs. Lisi, who is one of the instructors, also had a former student who is an ornithologist in Maryland who Skyped with our class. It’s great having my photography teacher Mrs. Wun and science teacher Mrs. Lisi team up in this course, which brings two of my favorite things together; wildlife and photography.

I’m very excited about tomorrow as we head to the Montezuma Wildlife Refuge. Hopefully, I’ll be able to see a bald eagle and get a good photo.

National Geographic Your Shot Community

National Geographic has a great community site for sharing photography. I know there are many of these sites out there, but Nat Geo Your Shot by far has been the most influential to me. I have used the site for the past 2 1/2 years, and in that time and gotten great feedback from other photographers on my work. My favorite part about National Geo Your Shot are the assignments. I think it’s very easy for me to get caught up in taking only wildlife photography, which is a passion of mine. The assignments and stories part of the site let the editors give an assignment for photographers like myself to submit photographs to that fit a particular theme.  I have enjoyed challenging myself on themes just as “The Gift of Life”, “Invisible Worlds” and “Facing your Fears”, After the editors close the entry period, they craft a story that is then published. I love reading these stories and seeing which photographs made the final cut. I haven’t earned this yet, but I hope to keep submitting my photographs, as my goal is to someday be part of a published story.

What has been really wonderful for me is to be selected as an “editor favorite”. These are special shout-outs from the editors for liking my submission, and some of these shots may have been at least considered for a published piece. The fact that a few of my photos were liked have kept me excited about trying to become better at my work. An even bigger plus is when an editor leaves a comment. For me, that is the best thing that can happen, as I know that a professional who liked my work took the time to let me know that.

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National Geographic Your Shot also just added a “follow” feature, which allows a photographer to follow another photographer’s work. I do not have a large following at all, but the fact that 8 people decided to keep track of my work is a great start and something I think I hope to improve on.  There’s no catch. It’s free, and for a high school student like me, the feedback is priceless.

Where My Camera Might Take Me

The Madagascar trip will be forever be in my brain as an amazing opportunity to have seen some pretty incredible wildlife and scenery. It has taught me to be patient and slow down to look at the smallest details. Even though I have been home for many months, I continue to think about the trip and how I can continue to travel to learn more about photography and nature. Hopefully, another opportunity will present itself to me in the future. Until then, I continue to take macrophotography in my own backyard.  dsc_1826csc_1845dsc_1822dsc_1800dsc_1716

Master of Macro – David Liittschwager

It was great to be able to observe National Geographic photographer David Liittschwager while in Madagascar.  He was working on his famous One Cubic Foot Project and students from our school, Allendale Columbia, were able to assist when we could.  I was able to watch him work some of the days and learn about his camera setup and the way he takes such amazing photographs for his projects. We collected some of the samples for his work, and I was able to find time to try my own photography.

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