Texas Birding 2016 Now Open

Join me in Texas June 2-6, 2016 for bird photography from private blinds.
Join me in Texas June 2-6, 2016 for bird photography from private blinds.

I’m pleased to announce that I’ll be returning to the private photo blinds of south Texas in 2016 for a small-group instructional photo safari. This trip includes private blind access on two ranches, double-occupancy lodging for four nights, and all meals.

Reserve your spot before July 31st, 2015 and get a discounted early-bird rate.

Photo of the Day: Scaled Quail

Scaled quail, Starr County, TX. Nikon D810 with 500mm f/4 AFS G VR lens and TC-14EIII teleconverter.
Scaled quail, Starr County, TX. Nikon D810 with 500mm f/4 AFS G VR lens and TC-14EIII teleconverter.

Here’s another shot from this year’s South Texas Birding Experience photo safari. This scaled quail decided to take a dust bath right in front of the blind we were in one afternoon. Between the 500mm f/4 VR Nikkor/ TC-14EIII combo and the 36-megapixel D810, you can really get close to these birds! This is a fairly significant crop from the full-frame image, but there is still a TON of crisp details. The D810 is quickly becoming my “do everything” camera for all but the fastest shooting situations (which really aren’t that many for me).

Join me in Texas June 2-6, 2016 for bird photography from private blinds. Now accepting deposits for 2016.

Is Film Making a Comeback?

Garden of the Gods & Pikes Peak, captured with Fujichrome Velvia 50 film.
Garden of the Gods & Pikes Peak, captured with Fujichrome Velvia 50 film.

In the late 1990s, as the digital camera age dawned, I was shooting with a Nikon N70 film camera and whatever lenses I could afford on a graduate student’s (miniscule) salary. For me, the idea of switching to digital was something that I didn’t even fathom at the time, simply because a $5500  camera was so far out of my price range that I was never going to realistically own one.

Of course, when something costs a lot of money and you know you can’t afford it, you start to rationalize with yourself as to why you don’t really need one. And by “don’t really need” I mean we find ways to explain why our current gear is as good or better than some new technology. As the new century dawned, the “film vs. digital” debate bloomed across the Internet in chat rooms and discussion boards. Recently, that debate has returned, as some photographers are switching back to using film for certain clients. Continue reading Is Film Making a Comeback?

Photo of the day: Black-crested titmouse

Black-crested titmouse, Rio Grande Valley, Texas

Black-crested titmouse, Rio Grande Valley, Texas

I’m back after another trip to my favorite birding destination, the private ranches of Texas’ Rio Grande Valley.  A group of photographers joined me for three days of photographing birds from private photo blinds. By using the blinds, we not only got close to the birds, but we had perfect “studio” settings to photograph them in!

This black-crested titmouse is probably only 4-5 inches in length, and yet we were able to get great close-up shots of it. For this image, I used my Nikon D810 and 500mm f/4 AFS G VR Nikkor lens with TC-14EIII teleconverter. The 36 megapixel D810 allowed me to crop the image without sacrificing detail.

I’m already putting in my plans to photograph in Texas next year. If you’re interested, please become a member of my workshops group so that you’ll be the first to know when the trip is announced. I only have space for six photographers, so you’ll want to reserve your spot ASAP.

Jason P. Odell photography