A stroll across a parking lot produces two birds for the price of one

10/4/2013 | 0

Bushtit (Psaltriparus minimus), Santa Cruz, California, April 27, 2005, 3:04 p.m., by Tony Britton

Bushtit (Psaltriparus minimus), Santa Cruz, California, April 27, 2005, 3:04 p.m., by Tony Britton

It’s generally true that the more megapixels your camera has, the better your photos will be. This fun shot of a Bushtit examining its reflection shows that timing, composition, and a bit of luck can be just as important.

Gallery contributor Tony Britton

Gallery contributor Tony Britton

Tony Britton owns a mobile personal training and martial arts business in Santa Cruz, California. In April 2005, he was walking through a parking lot on his way to teach an exercise class when he noticed a female Bushtit flapping around a car’s mirror. He grabbed his Olympus C-720 Ultra Zoom, a three-megapixel point-and-shoot, to try for a photo.

Britton tells us that he was able to approach the Bushtit from an angle that allowed him to include not only the direct reflection of the bird, but also just enough of the text on the mirror to help add a bit of humor to the composition.

Bushtits are common year-round from British Columbia to Mexico. Only coastal birds, like this one, have a brown cap.

Britton began birding in 2002, when he bought his first digital camera, the Olympus that he used to photograph the Bushtit. He watches birds and other wildlife in and around Santa Cruz and has posted photos of egrets, herons, gulls, and other birds in our online galleries. He uploaded the Bushtit photo to our U.S. and Canada Gallery in July 2013.

Britton used the following equipment and settings to take the photograph:

Camera: Olympus C-720 Ultra Zoom with built-in 8x zoom lens
Settings: 1/500, f/3.4, ISO 200, hand-held
Light: Natural
Format: JPG

A version of this article appeared in the October 2013 issue of BirdWatching magazine.