Wow, 40 years ago this SLR technology was really 'high tech'. And it is still the 'standard' for today's DSLR technology. Do you know anything that you have today, that is the same technology as it was 40 years ago?
Fast forward to the present time and the bird and nature photographers are still using Single Lens Reflex (SLR) cameras. Still with the flip up mechanical mirrors and all. Sure they have replaced the film with digital sensors to record the incoming light. They changed the name from SLR to DSLR only because they have a digital sensor instead of film. The latest 'improvement' to the DSLR are new models that have REMOVED the very mirror that make SLR so wonderful. Go figure. Instead of a mirror system to show you the image you will photograph, they show you the image from the sensor instead. Well, that innovation was introduced 15 year ago! You know it if you use any cell phone or pad camera. Just look at what you will record .. no mirrors required.
But what about the advantage of being able to swap lenses?
What if you had a single camera lens that would let you get as 'close' as 4 inches away or would bring a distant bird 60 times 'closer'. A bird 50 feet from you would fill the whole photo area. You can get extreme close up portraits of bugs,animals and birds and everything in between, from inches to hundreds of feet away.
The camera that has this fantastic capability goes by many (somewhat disparaging) names. "Bridge", "Point and Shoot", "Pro-summer", "Zooming point and shot", etc. For this book I'll just call them "zoom cameras". These zoom cameras generally cost about 1/4 to 1/2 of what a "mainline" DSLR would cost. But the DSLR needs a lens which will cost as much or more than the DSLR camera body. The zoom camera has a built in zoom lens so there is no extra cost.
But a good question to ask "is the zoom camera as good as the DSLR ?". If you read and compare the specifications there are few differences. Feature for feature they match up very well. If your goal is to take stunning nature and bird photographs then the zooming lens is the way to go. The zoom camera has a lens that allows you to take extremely close up shots from long distances. The PROLOG that follows will demonstrate this with several photos. The true advantage of the zoom camera is that you can set it on program mode and it automatically adjusts the shutter speed, exposure, and focus without you thinking about it. Truly a "point and shot" that zooms 10 times closer than most DSLR cameras that cost three times as much.
This book will lead you step-by-step, through the selection of the camera, tripod and accessories required. My goal is the best equipment at the least cost. A 'mainline' DSLR camera and a suitable lens will cost upwards of 1000 dollars. I'll show you how to do better on less than half that amount. Also you'll end up getting better up close portraits of birds and nature.
PROLOG - VISUAL TOUR OF ZOOM PHOTOGRAPHY
CHAPTER 1 - WHO THIS BOOK IS WRITTEN FOR
CHAPTER 2 - WHY I WROTE THIS BOOK
CHAPTER 3 - WHAT YOU WILL LEARN
CHAPTER 4 - REQUIRED EQUIPMENT
- About digital zoom cameras
- Alternate ideas for birders
- Survey of zoom lens cameras
- Tripods (and the like)
CHAPTER 5 - OPTIONAL EQUIPMENT
- Telephoto extension lenses
- Flashguns for fill-flash
CHAPTER 6 - MY PERSONAL EQUIPMENT
- Telephoto extension lenses
- Flashgun for fill-flash
CHAPTER 7 - PHOTOGRAPHING IN THE FIELD
- Preparation for the field
- Walk and Stalk Techniques
- Plop and Shoot Techniques
CHAPTER 8 - INDEX OF 50 CLOSE UP BIRD AND ANIMAL PHOTOS
APPENDIX A - SAMPLE CHAPTER FROM BOOK #2 - "IMAGE EDITING FOR BIRDERS"
APPENDIX B - ABOUT THE AUTHOR/PHOTOGRAPHER
I want to share the pleasure and joy that I experience every morning while taking photos of those wonderful birds. It has kept my heart and mind young in an old body.Let me assure you that I am not a writer. After all is said and done, I'm just a 'birder' and bird/nature photographer. What follows is not a book of prose but is a detailed accounting of what I have learned over many years of photographing birds and nature. I consider myself a 'birder' and more correctly a 'bird photographer'. Certainly not an author.
For over 15 years I've tried to capture the beauty and glory of birds (and animals) in digital form. I have no words to tell you a what a joy, pleasure and inspiration that this bird photography hobby has brought me. Lately I have gone from just photographing birds to trying to get more intimate by concentrating on portraits. By portraits I mean just the head and face of the bird. This required changing both equipment and tactics. This new challenge has made my birding more exciting and rewarding.
This starts one of the best two hours of my day. Birds come and go. I turn the camera on each, zooming close enough to get the whole body of the bird. I shot a burst or two then zoom in closer for a portrait, shooting in bursts of four or five frames, hoping for the best photo in the group. For each bird I will get about 10 or 12 photos. Always attempting to get their expressions. Searching for details and unusual behavior. The time passes so quickly. Then the birds are through with the morning feeding and retire to preen and rest. Well, that was fun and exciting, but all is now quiet and it's time to head home and see what I got for my first two hours.
Returning home, I start the second best two hours. I pull the image storage chip from the camera and download the several hundred digital photos. They are stored in a computer folder. After I verify that the download was successful, I delete the files from the SD chip. I also put the camera battery in the charger to be ready for tomorrow's birding trip. Then it is time to review the files in an image editing program. This is the start of my second fun two hours. I look at each photo and decide whether to save or not. Most images are not worth saving, and only about one in twenty is saved for further editing.
After selecting those images to edit, it is time to modify the images, If you are a photographer, you already have a favorite. editor program. For the birder not used to editing photos, I will give a step-by-step instructions in the second book. The photos are edited by cropping, light balancing, setting contrast and correction colors. The upcoming Image Editing Book will lead you step-by-step through this process. In that book we will discuss RAW vs. JPG file recording. We will provide step-by-step instructions on editing with several free software programs. Additionally we discuss uses for your images after editing.
Now that I have edited the photos I change the camera file name to a day code. My method of cataloging is a date code of year-month-day-sequence. ie: 140215-02 = second photo taken on Feb 15 2014, You may elect to use some other method. The idea is to catalog your photos to be able to find that same file at a later date. The free editing software that I'll detail in the Editing Book does this in a single operation.
Then the edited file is resized for use on the internet. I maintain the original master edited file, It has the highest resolution (number of pixels) for use in printed matter (300dpi standard) I then resize all of the files to 480 X 640 or 600 X 800 pixels for use on the internet.
All display screens whether TV or computer screens only have a display resolution of about 80 dpi. Altho many of the newer tablets can do 240 dpi. The reason to resize is to reduce the file size, and to speed up uploading and downloading of the file. Also to fit the image on the screen and not overrun the display limits. A 480 X 640 will provide a 6" X 8" image (at 80 dpi) and a 600 X 800 pixel would be about 8" X 10" on the 80 dpi screen. The smaller screens in tablets and smart phone will reduce the size to fit their screen area automatically. The newer tablets have much higher resolution screens and can provide sharper images
I then store that day's files inside a monthly folder witch is stored inside a yearly folder, which is stored in a folder called "birds". All neat and tidy. I back up "birds" folder every week to a separate storage device.
I'll detail all of the above in step-by-step instructions in the "Image Editing Book for Birders".
How-to books, such as this, are written with an assumed audience in mind. Since this book is all about Bird/Nature Photography ... duh... it must be written for 'Birders', 'Nature lovers' and 'Photographers'. Of course there is a wide range in each of these groups. In addition each person will have their own idea of where they fit and what they expect. Some of you are beginners, others intermediate, and a some experienced. I have tried to include information to help all of you, but slanted the information to the Birder with little knowledge of photography.
For the 'Birder', 'Bird Watcher', 'Twicher' or just an unlabeled person that enjoys birds or nature, I'll guarantee that if you follow the instructions in this book, your birding will improve and be more enjoyable. The addition of a beautiful photos of the bird is a double reward. Who knows, you may take that fantastic photo that goes viral on the web, or perhaps ends up on a Nat Geo cover. Your chance is as good as mine.
Ok, you're a photographer. Maybe a 'snapper' using your cell phone camera to share your photos on facebook. At the other extreme you may be a professional. With top of the line DLSR and thousands invested in lenses . However bird photography is a very specialized art. Consider the fact that you are shooting a subject that is but inches in size from 30 to 100 feet away. Your need for very high magnification is paramount. Because you are shooting at high magnification IS (image stabilization) or OS (Optical stabilization) is also required. If you are sharing photos on the internet exclusively then high resolution is not a requirement but if shooting for photo quality the maximum number of pixels are required. OK, to summarize, high magnification, stabilization and high resolution are the basic requirements of your camera..
You are a birder or at least have a strong interest in birds and birding. Perhaps, like me, you are all to often frustrated that your bird sighting did not last long enough to mentally record all the details necessary to look up and identify the species.
As an example you are a good enough birder to know that what you see is a sparrow. Now comes the hard part ... in two or three seconds you must memorize enough characteristics that you can separate the thirty members of the sparrow family.
If your 'life list' is in the hundreds and you've birded for years, maybe the ID is easy. I envy your photographic memory. If that is your case then Bird Photograph will be simply a pleasant pass-time and the bird photo will serve to jog your memory back to that time and space.
Photographing the bird will assist you in identifying the species. Often you just do not have time for an identification in the field. The bird has flown and now you must trust your memory for details. But that bird has not really flown away, he now exists as a bunch of pixels. That bunch of pixels is your personal time machine
Your camera is really a time machine. By looking at your photograph, you are transported back in time to that instant when you saw that bird. Now time will 'stand still' forever. Time to examine the bird closely. Finding details not seen, or memorized in the short period of a second or two that the bird was present.
So our camera could now be called our personal time machine. Stopping time and letting us examine that instant forever.
Or perhaps you are already a photographer wanting to explore the art and science of nature photography. Birds and animals are wonderful subjects for photography. Even if you could care less about which bird is which, you will come to know the birds as you look through the bird books to name your subject. The bird or animal is always a beautiful, appealing and challenging subject to photograph. Nature photographs are universally enjoyed. Your photos will appeal to a wide audience. The close up aspect of the photo adds drama and intimacy.
Gone are your days of composing just the right conditions, Waiting for just the right light. Adjusting for HDR. selecting different shutter and f-stops to control foreground and background focus, Adding filters or flash to get an exact and perfect photo.
Think of it this way: A photographer is like a competitive rifle target shooter vs. the wild west, shot from the hip, six gun slinger.
You have an almost infinite time to plan and take your shot. You can employ many tools to perfect your aim. You are the master of your own time and skills. The target is inert and you are the only actor on stage.
On the other hand the Bird Photographer has to be a quick draw gunslinger. Often you have but a second for your shot. You are not the only actor, that bird will sit for only so long. You window of opportunity is completely unknown so you must take your photo almost instantly. No second chances in this game.
Even more challenging are the obstacles you'll face; bad light, small lens openings because of high zoom, obstructions between you and the subject, need for constant stealth, the list can go on and on. You are taking on a real challenge.
While all of these challenges will present difficulties, they will make the rewards of that Nat Geo bird photo even greater.
The reasons for me to write this book are many and varied. In order to explain my reasons, follow me through some personal history. After the history of camera selection, I'll share why I had to develop the "plop down and wait" type birding I now do,
Back in the 1960's, before digital equipment was common I bought my first SLR (single lens reflex) a Minolta SR-T101. But I wanted more that the 1X magnification (20 -55 mm) of the standard 55 mm lens. This lens was about the same thing that you see with a naked eye. In a search for more zoom, I tried adapters that increase to X2 or X3. Not good enough. I finally found an telescope adapter to connect to my Clestron C5 telescope.
Wonderful, the C5 telescope changed my X1 (55 mm) SLR camera to X60 (1250 mm.) Sounds like a winner. A camera that gets 60 times closer. But I never got a photo ....why? Because the zoom was so great, the amount of light restricted it's aperture to f10. That's a really tiny opening, so the shutter speed had to be very slow. The film speed in those days was fixed at ISO 100. With the film speed at 100 and the f-stop at f-10 the shutter speed dropped to 1/20 of a second. Shutter was open so long that everything was a blur. With this combination, I never got a decent photograph in over a year of trying. I wasted a lot of money as the film was 5 bucks and the processing was 5 bucks and I only got 36 exposures.
So for many years I ignored bird photography, Alto others stayed with it and the manufacturers improved the technologically year-by-year. Digital cameras started appearing in the market place during the mid 1980's. The technology improved year, after year. Hardly a day passed with a new major step. I have remained outside as these wonderful tools advanced. Not that I didn't want the newest and greatest, but the cost was way beyond my limited budget.
Fast forward to the year 1997. I have signed up to join a group on safari in Africa, A life-time bucket list adventure. I wanted a camera that was 'cutting edge', capable of close ups of the birds and animals of Africa. It was time for a new digital camera, but I was living on a fixed income and the African trip was eating up my savings. I found the most amazing machine, the Sony Mavica 1000. While expensive, this camera was a bridge into the digital world. Essentially it was a video recorder that shot analog freeze frames which were then digitized into .jpg files.
This fantastic camera had a 10X (500 mm) zoom able lens. Stored the 1.2 megapixel digital JPG file on a 3 inch CD disk. You could store almost 200 photos per disc. Fantastic technology for year 1997. Imagine holding a CD recorder in your hand. Cutting edge technology.
I used this workhorse for several years. It made a trips to all the National Parks, Costa Rica, and the Copper Canyon, Mexico. There were two major drawbacks to this camera. The first was it wrote the very compressed jpg file to the disc right after taking the image. 15 second delay between images. You better get the first one right. The second drawback was in order to review the image on a computer you have to 'finalized the disc and no more files could be added to that particular disc.
Fast forward again another five years and another 'bucket-list' item. I'm headed to the two weeks on the Amazon River in Peru. Five years of technology has produced my next camera. Technology was passing up the SLR concept by eliminating the mirror (single lens) and adding an eye view finder display. At that time, expensive DSLR cameras and a large zoom lens were way beyond my budget. The cost of the camera was more that what I'm spending on the total trip. The 'big boy' mainline DSLR were too rich for my blood. I need a new camera but can't afford the DSLR and lens.
I had to find another way. Research leads me to a "bridge' or 'pro-sumer' type camera. No mirror or shutter plane. But the 'bridge' has all the other 'whistles and bells'. The crowning feature is the built-in zoom able lens.
Panasonic was, and is still, the leader in zooming cameras. I choose the FZ50 at about 400 dollars. It featured a standard 10X (500 mm) zoom, ISO up to 1600, shutter to 1/2000. 12 megapixel sensor. A unique feature is that the camera will internally crop the center of the sensor to produce even greater magnification at a lower resolution ... for instance if "e-zoom" is selected you can double (X20) at 5 megapixels or triple (X30) at 3.5 megapixels. Wow, imagine photos closer that through a spotting scope.
Over the years from 2005 to 2013 I bought several upgrades .... not that I needed to but these wonderful camera kept getting better and better and the price stayed in the 300 to 400 dollar bracket, while mainstream DSLR bodies and the necessary lenses were in the thousands of dollars.
In 2011 I upgraded to the FZ 47. The two most important features are improved zoom now at an unbelievable 24X (600mm) and the resolution now increased to 12 megapixels. I bought a 2X telephoto lens. Now at 2 times 24X my zoom is 48 times. Bird photos are now zeroing in close enough for portraits. I enjoy the extreme close ups that let me take portraits of the bird. A little bird sitting on a little branch will show you the little bird but that does not compare with the impact of a full frame head shot. It's a much more dramatic photo. This has been my standard set up for several years. I make many photo trips to central America countries. The photos are used for calendars, photo books, t-shirts, etc. Printing at 300 dpi at 8" X 10". It can't get better than this.
Ok, now we move the story to January 2014. Panasonic has come out with what I feel is the ultimate bird photograph camera. The FZ70 has specs that make it right now the best camera for birding. The most important qualities necessary are zoom and resolution. We'll discuss these aspects in more detail in later chapters, but know that the FZ70 can zoom up to 60X (1200 mm). This is two and a half times more that my FZ40. An incredible zoom range. Other zoom cameras come close, but the FZ70 is still ahead. And the resolution has increased from 12 to 16 megapixels. Shutter speeds now up to 1/2000, burst modes up to 9 photos per second, Custom modes can be preset so that a complete camera configuration can be set with a single button push.
Ok, the bottom line. I figured that any birder that can use a pair of binoculars can take good bird photos. using any of the super-zoom cameras.
I'll give you step-by=step instructions and information that will enable you to raise the camera (just as you do with your binoculars). Zoom until you get a good picture of the bird (the camera will focus for you, unlike the binoculars), push the shutter button. The camera has automatically focused, set shutter speed and aperture, film speed (ISO), compensated for light and shadow, all without any impute from you. You're just a birder with a piece of magic in your hand.
BINGO you are NOW a bird photographer with an image to share for fun or profit. Face book, Blog, E-mail you name it. You are now a photographer and can share you passion.
When you want to take a picture that has a large image size and maintains sharp resolution to, for example, print a large picture. Set zoom lever to maximum. The image is magnified 60 times and is at 1200 mm at 16 mp.The categories of Ultra, Super, and zoom are in the eye of the marketer. I will arbitrarily divide them as follows: Ultra zoom is X50 (1000 mm equiv) or more. Super zoom is X20 (450 mm) or more, and finally a zoom of X20 to X 10 . But these zoom numbers contain a certain amount of ambiguous information. For instance Panasonic FZ70 says that they zoom X60 while Cannon claims X50 yet the max zoom in both cases is the same 1200 mm equiv. How come Panasonic says 60X while Cannon says X50 yet they have the end zoom point (1200mm), It's all in the definition Panasonic zoom is from 20mm to 1200 mm so they claim 60X. Cannon zoom range is from 25 mm to 1200 mm so they say X50. But for the bird photographer the max zoom is the important characteristic.
When you want to take a picture that has a large image size and maintains sharp resolution while reducing picture quality, select Extended Zoom. The magnification is doubled with extended zoom and is now magnified 120 times. The image is now at 2400 mm still at 16 mp with some decrease in image quality.
When you want to make the subject larger as you are not going to print a particularly large picture. Decrease image size to less than 16 mp, and use extended zoom function. For instance if you select 5 mp image size (2560 x 1920 pixels) and use extended zoom, the image is mow magnified a whopping 216 times or 4500 mm.
When you want to make a distant subject as large as possible Turn on the Digital Zoom function. The digital zoom will multiply the above figures by X5 For instance in case one (optical zoom alone) the new zoom factor is 5 X 60 = 300 times. If we use digital zoom in case #2 (optical+extended) the new zoom is 5 X 120 = 600 times. In the last case (decrease resolution) the new zoom is 5 X 216 = 1080.
Stedi-stock is one manufacturer of a plastic gun stocks on which you can mount a camera. It is similar in use to a rifle gunstock. Available online at prices from 30 to 80 dollars. I have found it a good, if seldom used, accessory. Particularly useful when walking and birding. The shoulder-stock allows you to sling your camera (and stock) over your shoulder, like a rifle. The camera can be on the target before you could set up a tripod or mono pod. For someone who does a lot of birds stalking and walking this may develop to be their favorite tool.
A very handy tool and one that I personally would not be without, is a clamp-on ball headed window mount. You simply raise the car window a couple of inches, slide the clamp over the upper edge of the window and tighten the clamp, then mount your camera. The car is now your shooting blind, while you sit comfortably in the driver's seat. A variation on this theme is a suction cup mount. Many suction cups are available but keep in mind the weight of your camera and lens. Several excellent models are built by Hammer.
If you spend a lot of time in the 'walking and stalking' mode of birding this little do-it-yourself gadget may be the ticket. The best way to name this would be a 'string tripod'. The idea is simple. If you lift up against the restraint of a fixed cord, the cord acts as a solid base for the camera. Here are some simple instructions to make one. Measure (or estimate)the distance from the ground to your eye. This is not critical, you can 'ballpark' it. Now get a fairly heavy piece of cord or line about 1/16 to 1/8 inch or so. nothing critical here either. Measure out about 2 and 1/2 times your eye height measurement. Tie the ends of the cord together so that it is one big loop.
Now we have to attach this loop solidly to the camera body. If you have a quick disconnect plate on your camera. See if it has a little flip up ring for tightening. The Benro has this feature. If the ring is present then slip a doubled-up cord loop thru the ring and then run the rest of the cord thru that loop. This attaches the cord to the camera. To use it as a tripod, step on the cord inside the loop with one foot. Bring the camera up to your eye and then step into the loop and onto the cord with the other foot. Now spread your feet apart until the cord is taut. This greatly improves stability as you pull up against the cord.
If your quick disconnect does not have a little ring, go to your local hardware store and ask for a "quarter inch - 20 thread per inch- eye bolt". This two-bit item will screw into your camera tripod mount and will give you the ring for the cord. This whole thing can stay out of the way in your pocket or purse until needed.
Bird PhotosReturn to the Table of Contents page
Acorn Woodpecker - USA
American Kestrel - USA
Black-headed Trogon - Belize
Blue Danic - Costa Rica
Blue Danic - young - Belize
Blue-gray Tanager - Belize
Cassin's Kingbird - Baja
Chestnut-billed Toucan - Belize
Collared Aricari - Belize
Collared Aricari - Costa Rica
Costa's Hummingbird - young male - Baja
Costa's Hummingbird - Baja
Gilded Flicker - male- Baja
Golden Hooded Tanager - Costa Rica
Great Blue Heron - Baja
Green Mango Hummingbird - Belize
Green Honeycreeper - Mexico
Hornbill - Africa
House Sparrow - USA
House Sparrow -Baja
House Sparrow - Belize
Jacobin Hummingbird - Costa Rica
Loggerhead Shrike - Baja
Mealy Parrot - body - Costa Rica
Mealy Parrot - portrait - Costa Rica
Northern Cardinal - male - Baja
Phainopepla- male - Baja
Redish Heron - Baja
Red-tail Hawk - USA
Saddle-billed Crane- Africa
Shiny Honeycreeper - Belize
Verdin - Baja
Western Scrub-jay - USA
White-wing Dove - Baja
White-wing Dove - Baja
Xantus' Hummingbird - Baja
Yellow Throated Euphonia - Costa Rica
Animal PhotosAntelope Ground Squirrel - USA
Babbon family - Africa
Chameleon - Africa
Cheetah - Africa
Cheetah - Africa
Elephant - baby - Africa
Giraffe - Africa
Giraffe - Africa
Green Lizard - Amazon
Hyena - Africa
Iguana - Costa Rica
Lion - male - on kill - Africa
Lion - adult male - Africa
Lion - young cub - Africa
Warthog - Africa
The original photo with insufficient light. But in 'CHAPTER 3 - ADJUSTING LIGHT LEVELS' we learned how to adjust the light. Practicing what we learned. We display the histogram to check light levels.
There is little white component the image, it is all is dark range. So we will balance the levels by adjusting the light end slider. The dark end is already into saturation.
We have moved the white slider to adjust. The Image is now 'balanced'. However it is still a throw-away because the entire body is in shadow.
In this next series of photos, we have used a fill-flash. Still the same bird in the same location. Only difference is that I used the flashgun.
Today, John Spencer lives a simple life in a small Mexican village in Baja, Mexico. After his second 'retirement' in 1991 he moved to this small piece of paradise with one foot in the Sea of Cortez and one foot on the Tropic of Cancer. Having photographed birds and animals for over 20 years using zoom cameras John is convinced that "if he can do it ... anybody can do it". This latest eBook "Zoom into Nature" leads the birder/bird watcher into Close up Bird Photography. This is his sixth book all written after he was in his eighties. John claims "writing books and learning new things will keep me young at heart and mind, even as my body falls apart"
Born in San Jose California in 1931. Raised by a single mother until 1948 when he enlisted in the US Army. Served three years in the Korean War. Discharged and married in 1952. Attended San Jose State under the GI Bill, before starting work as an electronic engineer. Joined Lockheed Missiles and Space Division in 1957. Left Lockheed to become an independent consultant and contractor in 1966. Divorced in 1974 after a twenty-one year marriage.
Now, a single man, he followed a life-long dream and bought a 30 foot wooden sailboat with the intention of a circumnavigation voyage, solo. This started his 'first retirement'. He sailed for 12 years until his money ran out. He did not complete the circumnavigation sailing only as far as Australia.
He then returned to the US and back into the aerospace profession in 1987. Four years followed at US Wind power, testing large wind turbines. He retired the 'second time' in 1991, and moved to Baja, Mexico. John now lives in a small dirt street, fishing village, on the east coast of Baja.
Creativity is, and has always been, part of his life. During the sailing years he practiced the art of Scrimshaw. Scratch drawing on bone and ivory which was an art form practiced by sailors on whale hunting voyages. After retiring to Mexico, John started Acrylic painting of animals and birds. He followed that by carving exact wooden replicas of birds and animals for several years.
In 2002 he purchased a Sony 1000, a 10X 'digital' camera for a safari to the Serengiti. Since then he has been a both a birder and a bird photographer. Renewing zoom cameras every year or two as the technology improved. He has made many trips to various contries photographing birds and animals. John plans a yearly trip in pursuit of birds and animals. Highlight trips since 2002 are two trips to Africa, four trips to Costa Rica, two trips to Belize, two trips to Ecuador, and a single trip to the Amazon Rain forest.
In 2010 his friends asked him to write down the sailing stories that he was recalling from memory. Instead he fished through years of correspondence and found letters that his mom had saved before she died. Letters he had written monthly to his mom and friends, during the 1970's and 1980's.
These saved letters became two Kindle eBooks. "Letters from a Sailor". Book one covers the period of John learning to sail and the first two trips up and down the California coast to Baja, Mexico. Then followed the writing of eBook two, the voyage across the Pacific alone. Available in Amazon Bookstore Book #1 Here and Book#2 Here.
After the success of the first books, John followed with Baja Bird Guides. This three volume set shows photos and information on the local Baja Birds. Available in Amazon Bookstore Small Bird Guide, Here Medium Bird Guide Here and The Large Bird Guide Here.
John welcomes corrections and comments. He can be emailed Here
A link to his blog site "Twenty Years of Nature Photography" is Here
If you wish to be added to his daily email BirdNotes email use "Subscribe" in the subject line Here.
John has started the follow-up volume to this book. The second book in this series is "Image Processing for Birders". The aim is to provide step-by-step instructions on how to process the photos that you have just taken in the field.