Rear View – Bird Photos

by John Briggs on March 11, 2009

in Bird Photographs, Blog

I am told that I am brutal on deleting photos that I don’t like after a shoot. If it’s out of focus, blown out, too dark, can’t see the eyes, etc. it goes in the recycle bin. On any given outing, I may fill an 8 gigabyte card with 400 photos and keep only 30 to 50 images. It’s just how I am.

Storage of photos is a big concern of mine. I have a 500 gig external HD that is full and a 250 gig HD that is nearing full. These are kept locked in a fire safe along with our other valuables. Once a month I will go through photos that have not been scrutinized and begin the process of elimination. It’s nearing the time that another hard drive is going to be purchased and with that, a larger fire safe.

We though it would be fun to show a few photos that normally would not be included on this site.  I call this series “Rear View”, a look at birds that are facing away from the lens (or have a rear end showing). If you have better captions than I have provided, let’s see them.

All photos may be clicked for a larger view.

Semipalmated Plover | Doing the backstroke

Semipalmated Plover | Doing the backstroke

Blue Jay | Hangin' in there

Blue Jay | Hangin' in there


Female Bufflehead | Steaming away

Female Bufflehead | Steaming away

Female Common Eider | Flapping wings

Female Common Eider | Flapping wings

Least Tern | Lookin for fish

Least Tern | Lookin for fish

Long-tailed Duck | Disappearing under the waves

Long-tailed Duck | Disappearing under the waves

Red-tailed Hawk | Gotta look good for the ladies

Red-tailed Hawk | Gotta look good for the ladies

Semipalmated Plover | Watch where you are poking around with that lens!

Semipalmated Plover | Watch where you are poking around with that lens!


Happy birding!



Amy March 11, 2009 at 5:05 pm

Great idea for a post! I’m hopefully getting a scope soon and if I can get the hang of digiscoping, I understand you have described the process very well (many ‘bad’ shots for every good one). I’m looking forward to finding the keepers – if I manage to get any! The backstroking Plover is hilarious!

Abraham Lincoln March 11, 2009 at 6:28 pm

Thank you for your visit to my birds blog.

I read, with interest, your accumulation of photographs. I smiled a little but know where you are coming from. Been there. And as they say, “Done that.”

I have almost 79,000 digital photographs and most are of birds that flew into my backyard since 2005. There are two 500 gigabyte external hard drives and one 250 gigabyte hard drive that is full. I do throw some photos away — primarily those out of focus or completely lost in some other way. I keep the rest. When I get bored I will type in some bird name or something like raccoon in Picasa and up pops countless pages of those and most of them I have never actually looked at. I don’t have time or don’t take time when I am shooting photos. Sometimes I will scan through 300 or more photos and only pull out one or two and work on them in Photoshop and the rest are archived. When I reach 100,000 bird photos I plan to donate them to some college or university or to Cornell. It will keep some undergraduate students busy for some time just looking at what I have and doing something constructive with them.

I like your photography and don’t see a bad pic in the bunch.

bevson March 11, 2009 at 8:20 pm

I absolutely love the Long-tailed Duck shot!!! I dump a lot of my photos too. But I do not have nearly the volume or quality that you do. I have been looking into getting an external drive to store my photos.

Kallen March 11, 2009 at 8:58 pm

I know Abe and love his pictures! His style reminds me of yours in a way in that you both take fantastic, clear photos that always wows me.

If I didn’t include some butt shots and similar photos in my blog, than I would have no pictures to show. LOL!

You and Abe are scaring me though with talk of additional hard drives to store photos!! I hope I don’t have to do that anytime soon. I have no problems deleting photos I know I will never use. The only two species I can’t do that with are the peregrines and the pileateds.

BTW: I loved all of your photos and didn’t see anything wrong with them. Your wife is right, you are a perfectionist. ;o)

John T. March 12, 2009 at 7:17 am

Great idea for a post, I was actually thinking about doing the same thing at some point, post photos that I consider throw aways. I think you can learn a lot from bad photos just as you can from good ones.

Andy March 12, 2009 at 9:17 am

Enjoyed you rear view series. I especially like the Long-tailed Duck and Blue Jay photos.

That’s alot of photos!
While I do not have that many yet, redundancy in backing up is important.
I backup to two external HDD, plus make CD’s / DVD’s.
CD/DVD are copied to a Master, Safety and Working Copy. The Master and safety copies are stored away. The Working copy if by the computer.
If I had as many as you, I may backup to only one external HDD.

FYI: has a Seagate 500g for $85.99 with free shipping.
The same model is $115 at Best Buy reg price and $119 at Staples on sale.

Andy March 12, 2009 at 9:19 am

Oops, typo.
“The Working copy if by the computer.” should be “The Working copy is by the computer.”

Dawn Fine March 12, 2009 at 6:19 pm

Well I loved all the shots…but my favs are the semipalmated and the long tailed duck…
how fun..

Dawn Fine March 12, 2009 at 6:21 pm

what the heck just happend to my comment above…very strange..I did not type any of that..
what i did type was.
Great shots…
my favs were the semipalmated and the long tailed duck
how fun.

Dawn Fine March 12, 2009 at 6:24 pm

ok some sort of glitch..what i saw was andys typo comment under mine…but i see that it didn’t post …So..never mind..
nice series…and all of the above comments that have my name on it were mine and i take full responsibility for them…
tee hee..

John Briggs March 12, 2009 at 6:49 pm

Hi Dawn! Looks like you were having a problem. In any event, thank you!

Natural Moments March 14, 2009 at 7:19 pm

Wow, that plover shot is awesome. It must have been exciting to watch that behaviour.

John Briggs March 15, 2009 at 5:57 pm

Natural Moments; Thanks! The Plover shots are my favorites.

Red March 15, 2009 at 8:53 pm

I’m nutty about backing up my photos too. I have them duplicated on two seperate harddrives and one of them I have with me nearly all the time transferring from home to work. This one, I expect will crash and that is why once a week I backup all the data to the other drive.

I’m not quite as brutal as you on cutting pics, but almost. I would have kept that last Plover pic merely for the tailfeathers. It may not be a prize winner – although still beautiful – but it’s educational for sure.

Heather March 16, 2009 at 10:28 am

Here’s an alternate caption for the Blue Jay (it’s a bit long):
“They triple-dog dared me to thtick my tongue in here, and now I can’t get out! I’m thtuck!”

By the way, do you use any online storage services for your photos in addition to your external drives? I’m not very familiar with that sort of thing, and I suspect there’s a fee involved, but I’ve heard of some other folks who say that gives some extra peace of mind.

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