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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Written by Redgannet
Redgannet has been working for over 33 years as a crew member/flight attendant and enjoys the well-ventilated air of the outdoors. The nom de blog, Redgannet, was adopted to add an air of mystery and to make himself more attractive to women. His father first whetted Redguga's appetite for all things natural by buying him his first pair of 7x35s and a copy of Thorburn's Birds. Having no mentor beyond an indulgent parent, he spent the first season hoping for an Egyptian Vulture at the bird table in his English garden. His most memorable birding moment is seeing an Egyptian Vulture with those same binoculars 26 years later. Redgannet is married to Canon, but his heart and half of his house belongs to Helen and their son Joseph. He is looking forward to communicating with people who don't ask if he is searching for the "feathered variety" of bird.