May 2023 Photo of the Month

At Tom Bol Photo Workshops, we celebrate great images created on our workshops by selecting a Photo of the Month. For May we chose an image from our Louisiana Birds and Bayous Workshop created by Nancy Lehrer. Nancy is primarily a street photographer. She signed up for this workshop to learn more about wildlife and bird photography. We hope you enjoy Nancy’s images as much as we do!

Congratulations to May 2023 ‘s featured photographer – Nancy Lehrer

The Story… 

We were heading towards an alligator on the boat. I heard Tom yell, “Look at the light, look at the light.”

In that part of the swamp there was less moss. It seemed like there were two parts to the swamp. There were light green, mossy parts and then there were these dark green and brown parts. When we arrived in this spot I had not seen the dark green part before.

I was trying to get the reflections and the floating algae. I shot about 20 frames, but the focus wasn’t right. I focused on the reflection and not on the plants. I decided to try a wider angle lens instead. I grabbed my 24-105 mm lens. I wanted to capture the feeling of a bowl. Wide angle images give more of a fisheye feeling. I wanted the feeling of a lake in front of the trees.

I didn’t put the tops of the trees in the image because they are in the sun light. It would be too much contrast with the understory. By focusing on the reflection, the viewer can see the sky in the reflection on the water. I also wanted to capture the side lighting that brought out the yellow tones on the trees

May 2023 Photo of the Month

EXIF Data:

Camera: Sony A7 R5

Lens: 24-105mm f4

ISO: 640

Shutter Speed: 1/125 sec

Aperture: f/9

Shooting Mode: Aperture Priority

Shot at 30mm, handheld

Great Blue Heron taking flight

About Photographing in Louisiana’s Swamps

I am really not a wildlife or landscape photographer. I found that photographing in the swamp was very much like doing street photography. The actors were the animals. We were gliding on the boat like I’d be walking down the street, very slowly.

It was very peaceful in the swamp. The animals were in their habitat. I found myself just looking around for animals, birds, turtles, alligators.

Great Egret feeds chicks in a mixed wader rookery

Nancy’s Tips for Bird Photography

  1. Get a camera that has really good Auto Focus. I rented a Sony A7 R5 for this trip and it made a big difference.
  2. Using a monopod really helped me be stable. It meant I didn’t have to worry about fatigue. I practiced with it at home on the birds in the backyard.
  3. Be a good motion detector. Look for motion and then follow the bird.
  4. Look for birds that are stationary and getting ready to take off. That’s the only way I can count on getting birds in flight.
  5. Connect the bird to the landscape. It’s just like street photography. The background should tell a story.
  6. Watch the behaviors. Keep shooting different behaviors and decide later which is the best image.

Louisiana has more alligators than any where else in the world

On Nancy’s Horizon:

Hokkaido, Japan for fishing villages and the Ice festival

Iditarod in Alaska

The Silk Road in China

Anywhere in eastern Europe: Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Hungary, Czech Republique

Nancy, the wildlife photographer

Where are Tom and Cree?

We are headed to Africa to photograph in Tanzania for two weeks. Then it’s up to Alaska for our annual Brown Bears at Summer Solstice trip. We have space for 1 male photographer if you’d like to join us from June 18-23. We’ll be photographing brown bears with cubs in Lake Clark National Park. Click here for more information.

We’ll be posting photos from these two trips on Instragram @tombolphoto and Facebook. We’d love to see your photos on our Photos for Inspiration TBPW Facebook Page.

Thanks for reading our posts!

Tom and Cree

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