Since I am already living the fantasy of travelling the world, looking at birds and getting paid whilst doing it (notice whilst not for, that’s a whole different dream), what more could I realistically hope for? Sometimes, on those dull, overcast days when I am scratching around to find any light to take pictures, I wish that I had an assistant with one of those light reflecting thingies so beloved of wedding photographers.


This week’s trip took me to Washington DC and we stay to the south west of IA Dulles in an area dense with glass buildings. This time of year, the sun stays lower for longer and the light was being reflected back from the various financial institutions onto a berry tree beyond a screened fence.


American Robins were feeding on the fruit and to get any pictures, I would otherwise have had to shoot into the sun from my position.


The secondary light source was almost as strong as the sun itself and giving me conditions that I could scarcely expect outside of a studio or without a shiny, pointy assistant.


I prefer not to use flash when taking pictures of birds. Partly because it may disturb them, but mostly because I am rubbish at it and it would just be more for the assistant to carry. We had already had to deploy the stepladder to raise my diminutive frame above the fence line.


I was delighted to see that a back-lit bill could be achieved at the same time as a highlight in the eye. It is unusual for banks to be quite so generous and I was half expecting someone in a suit to tap me on the shoulder and demand a service charge or management fee.


The effect of the second light source was quite dramatic and I shall be exploring unobtrusive ways to achieve the same effect again if possible.

As this is likely to be the last post of the year, may I wish you all a bright and happy 2017.

Written by Redgannet
Redgannet worked for more than 35 years as a flight attendant for an international airline. He came to birding late in his career but, considering the distractions, doesn't regret the missed opportunities. He was paid to visit six continents and took full advantage of the chance to bird the world. He adopted the nom de blog, Redgannet, to avoid remonstrations from his overbearing employer, but secretly hoped that the air of mystery would make him more attractive to women. Now grounded, he is looking forward to seeing the seasons turn from a fixed point.