On the lookout
Mountain Bluebird (Sialia currucoides), Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, June 4, 2010, at 3:49 p.m., by Jim Chagares
Published: February 15, 2011
Professional photographer Jim Chagares lives in Richmond, Indiana, but travels often to Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming to photograph wildlife. That’s where he was last spring, when he created this lovely picture.
Mountain Bluebird (Sialia currucoides), by Jim Chagares
Chagares understands that preparation is key to getting a great shot, and this one was no different. By taking the time to study his subject, a female Mountain Bluebird, he learned two pieces of vital information: that the bird had made its nest in a hole in a road sign, and that she and her mate liked to land in a small tree nearby before going to the nest.
Chagares had just finished photographing a fox near the road sign on June 4 when the bluebird returned to the tree. When he looked up, however, he realized that this time the bird was carrying a snow-white feather, perhaps an eagle’s. The light, background, and perch were just right, and Chagares was ready.
Camera: Canon EOS-1D Mark IV
Lens: Canon EF 800mm f/5.6L IS USM
Tripod: Gitzo GT3541XLS with full Wimberley head attached
Settings: ISO 800, 1/1000, f/8, aperture priority, +1/3 exposure compensation, AI Servo
Light: Available light, no flash
Format: Canon RAW CR2
Adjustments: Developed in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3. Minor levels and saturation adjustments, dust spotting, and noise reduction. Unsharp mask amount 100%, radius 0.5, threshold 0, cropped to 4x5 aspect ratio with Photoshop CS5.
Meet the photographer
PHOTO MAN: Subscriber Jim Chagares, a professional photographer from Richmond, Indiana, likes to tell his clients that his portraits do not happen by accident but are a result of time, planning, and above all, care. He travels to Yellowstone and nearby Grand Teton National Parks in Wyoming to shoot portraits of a different kind three times a year.