March Guest Speaker – Birding with Gerald Romanchuk

romanchuk-a photo of Gerald taken by a close friend – Steve Knight

Gerald Romanchuk is foremost a birder and secondly a photographer. He’s had this passion for the last fifteen years and he’s gained much respect in the birding and photographic communities around Alberta. His time revolves around the Edmonton Nature Club (ENC) where he serves on their board of directors plus leads many of their field trips. Gerald is published in many magazines and books. His photos have appeared in the “Alberta Wildlife Calendar”. Please check out following site to see his love for birds.  “I Like Birds” by Gerald Romanchuk

Gerald is a Canon photographer. His go-to equipment is a 400mm lens with an extender plus a crop sensor camera. Most of his photos are f/8 and ISO no greater than 1600.
Gerald used humour in his presentation. We as photographers all know how hard it is to take photos of a bird or animal. They are not a subject that will take directions. In half a second, they may be no longer looking in the proper direction; birds can completely fly off of the perch. Gerald used examples of what can happen in a day’s bird shoot.

There are three steps in photographing birds:
1. Where to find and photograph birds
-One has to have a great knowledge of birds, when will they be in your area or other areas of the province.
-Are they using this area as a nesting or feeding stop-over while migrating further north?
-Will you find them in grassland, shallow or deep water, country roads, forest areas or mountains tops, city or provincial parks?
-What attracts them: bugs in shallow water, bird feeders, grain elevators or bird baths?
2. How to approach and get close to birds
-Know your birds. Some are very approachable and curious. If you take your time, they may even come to you.
-In time, if they are familiar with you presence, you can befriend them.
-Set up blinds, either natural or store bought.
-Walk trails.
3. What to look for when taking a photo– lighting, background and angle of shooting.
-There are birds photos we take that are immediate, straight out of camera like photographing a falcon attacking a pigeon? You either get the photo or you missed it.
-Other photos can be staged or set up. Make a nice non-distracting perch. Make sure your background will be acceptable and know what time of day you get proper lighting.

-submitted by Don Durand

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