Bajadreamer often gives some background information about his shots and his award-winning shot was no exception.
After learning he was the Photo Contest Winner he went back in and added some additional information I thought you might like to know. Here’s what Bajadreamer said:
One of our favorite places in Costa Rica is the town of Cano Negro. We often stay at Hotel del Campo, with its delightful 3-4 acre grounds. During one of our stays there, May of 2019, the owner of the lodge told us that a pair of these Piculets had build a nest on the grounds. The nest was high in the canopy, but the birds were actively feeding in the surrounding trees. Because of their feeding habits, I decided to set up the camera on a tripod near a tree that I could see had a lot of ants present. I chose my spot based on height (I was on a small rise which put me close to eye level with many of the branches) and the direction of the sun at dawn. Then I waited. First day, 4 hours, no bird. Second day, after about an hour the female (no colored crest) came and gathered ants. She would break the bark apart and then “lick” up the ants. I was fortunate in that she came many times to this same branch, gathered up a few ants and flew to the nest.
I was using a DSLR, 5D4, with a 500 mm f/4.0 lens with a 1.4x extender. At this time I was processing in DPP and Lightroom.
There are several take-aways for me. First, May is the start of the rainy (slow) season in Costa Rica; there were no other people at the hotel. Easy to set up and wait without attracting a lot of attention. Second, if you know the feeding habits of the bird you are after, it is much easier to be in the right place. The right time? Unfortunately I have not figured that one out yet. I spend a lot of time standing and waiting.
Thanks for the reminders about patience and know your birds’ habits.
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