bird photography : pileated woodpecker

John and Beth had heard the distinctive drumming of their favorite woodpecker, the large Pileated, as they walked along a trail in Huntley Meadows Park, and the two slowed to try to pinpoint its location.  John first noticed this fellow in a clump of greenbriar on the ground.  The angle and greenbriar made good photos difficult to get, so John slowly crept up until he reached the edge of a swampy patch about thirty feet away and continued to shoot photos.  After taking several, he decided to try circling around the muddy ground to get even closer, eventually coming within ten feet or so of this beautiful bird.  The woodpecker eventually decided to give up on the dead log pictured here to move to a nearby tree, emitting his unmistakable haunting laugh as he flew.
John and Beth had heard the distinctive drumming of their favorite woodpecker, the large Pileated, as they walked along a trail in Huntley Meadows Park, and the two slowed to try to pinpoint its location. John first noticed this fellow in a clump of greenbriar on the ground. The angle and greenbriar made good photos difficult to get, so John slowly crept up until he reached the edge of a swampy patch about thirty feet away and continued to shoot photos. After taking several, he decided to try circling around the muddy ground to get even closer, eventually coming within ten feet or so of this beautiful bird. The woodpecker eventually decided to give up on the dead log pictured here to move to a nearby tree, emitting his unmistakable haunting laugh as he flew.
Equipment:Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XT
Canon EF 300mm f4L IS with 1.4x Teleconverter
Settings:f8; 1/320 sec.; focal length at 420 mm; ISO 400
Date:March 27, 2006 1:08 pm
Location:Huntley Meadows Park / Fairfax County, VA
Photography Notes:
About the only thing John could have hoped for that would have bettered this amazing photograph would have been for all the greenbriar vines in front and behind the woodpecker to have been absent. Those in front made it difficult to capture photos from a low angle that would have rendered a smoother background and more natural perspective, and those behind curdle the smooth bokeh that would really make this photo a perfect composition. Nonetheless, the photo is quite wonderful, and it appeared in the December, 2006, issue of Birder's World.
 



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