Sunday, December 16, 2012

Other Kinds of Bird Photography?

When we birders talk about "bird photography" we are talking really about two - and only two - types of photographs: the ID and the behavior.

"ID photos" cover the vast amount of photographs taken by birders - including me.  The idea here is to get a photo of the birds you've seen in the field with enough detail so that you know what it is.  Ideally, the shot is full-frame, bright and sharp.  This type of photo is why millions of us spend big bucks on huge lenses and tripods and bodies and whatnot.  ID photos are the logical extension of all our searching: proof of what we saw and how well we saw it.

There is a lot of overlap, but "behavior photos" are a slightly different beast.  Here, the focus isn't the acknowledgement of the species, but the bird in it's habitat - a better phrase might be "documentary" or "lifestyle" shots.  These are the kind that win photo contests - the kinds of photos birders would like to take if they could sit down and take a bunch of pictures instead of rushing to the next twitch all the time.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Big News for Birds and Sports Teams!

Big news, you guys.

As an amateur sociologist examining that thin slice of Venn-Diagram between birds and human civilization, I think a lot about birds and sports teams.  Despite the general sense that birds don't play much of a role in the lives of non-birders, there are a whole bunch of sports teams - both pro and college - named after birds.

And now, we're getting another one.  News outlets are reporting that the New Orleans Hornets (nee the Charlotte Hornets, which moved into town when the former New Orleans NBA team left to create the hilariously-named-and-borderline-oxymoronic Utah Jazz) are changing their name to ... wait for it ... the New Orleans Pelicans. 

The pelicans!  I love it, for a bunch of reasons.  One, New Orleans is covered with Brown Pelicans, so this change reflects my preference for locally-relevant team names.  Two, instead of some generic "tough" bird like a hawk or an eagle, pelicans are charmingly awkward and non-threatening (unless you're a fish).  Third, because the New Orleans Pelicans was formally the name of a minor league baseball team, there's a chance we could see the return of this adorable (if ornithologically-inaccurate) logo:

What a great development!  The nickname is likely to change in time for the 2013-14 season, so get your season tickets now.

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