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.
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.
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.
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.
For Day 2 of May Term, we headed off to Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge for the Ornithology Science and Art Field Work class. It’s about an hour from Rochester, and right off the New York State Thruway. It is just short of 10,000 acres of both dry and wetlands set aside for the nesting, feeding, breeding, and resting of waterfowl and other migratory birds. We are fortunate to be so close and we will head back for another day tomorrow. No bald eagle sightings, but maybe tomorrow will be our chance. I’m so excited to go back. May Term is such an incredible experience, and I’m so glad I go to a school that doesn’t keep me sitting at a desk taking exams when there is so much out there to learn.
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.
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.