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A bird on the flower ...

Posted by Teresa Hanafin  July 31, 2008 12:26 PM

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A steady hand and a trusting little birdie helped Charlie McGibbon of East Dennis nab this shot of a baby goldfinch perched on a black-eyed Susan.

By Charlie McGibbon
East Dennis, MA

Our yard is one big flower garden, as that is my wife's passion along with the natural world (we have wild critters running around here all the time). Last summer, my wife was out in the yard and noticed several baby goldfinches flitting around the lawn and flowers. She took a bunch of pictures of them on the lawn and sitting on wire cages in the garden. She mentioned them to me in passing.

The next day, I decided to mow the lawn and she reminded me to watch out for the baby birds as she thought they might still be around.

I have a riding mower and was on high alert for the birds. I was cutting along the very edge of one of the flower beds and I saw a slight movement on one of the black-eyed Susans. I stopped the mower, looked closely, and no farther than a foot away from my knee sat that little baby. He was being quite still at that point. I went forward with the mower a short distance, got off, and ran to get my camera, a Canon PowerShot S3 IS.

He was still there when I got back and I took several pictures. This one was probably the best of the bunch. The camera was on "Autofocus" and "Auto" for the shutter speed and light. It is a 12X zoom and I believe I zoomed just a little bit to get a closer photo of the little cutie. He didn't seem too afraid of me. I was sure he would jump or try to flutter away, but he just stared back at me.

I have always tried to take pictures (snapshots) throughout my life, but a trip to Alaska last summer really got me interested in photography. An older, retired gentleman (photographer from the Royal Navy) whom I had recently met told me to pick up a PowerShot S3 IS and take that camera to Alaska. He told me that camera would serve me well, especially where I wasn't too familiar with cameras. He said an SLR would be too much for me to figure out, and I would be fiddling with the camera more than taking pictures. He also said the Canon was a pretty good deal for the money. It was good advice.

I took about 1,000 photos in Alaska and I dare say most of them came out just gorgeous.

I joined the Cape Cod Art Association Camera Club about a month ago after another friend of mine, who saw some of my pictures, said he thought I might enjoy it. So far I have enjoyed going to the meetings and realize there is quite a bit to learn. I've found the meetings very informative and a nice group of people, too.

I'm already looking to move up to a digital SLR in the near future as I realize it will allow me (hopefully) to take some better shots.

I enjoy taking pictures of birds or anything that is beautiful. I have created a couple of photo shows on the web (Comcast) and shared them with friends. I've always received positive feedback from them and knowing that others enjoy them is rewarding to me.


About Charlie

Charlie McGibbon
Charlie McGibbon had better be careful not to mow down baby birds in his yard; he's a computer database administrator for the International Fund for Animal Welfare in Yarmouth Port. Charlie, 59, has lived in Dennis for 45 years. He's been married for 34 of those years, and has a 25-year-old son.

Read other "How I Got the Picture" essays

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