Adrian Dorst – June 2020

Adrian Dorst

I acquired my first camera at age 11, and was a semi-pro freelance nature photographer from the late 70s to about 2005. I never considered myself a bird photographer as such, but I tried. After the world went from film to digital,  I switched to a Canon Rebel for a while until I was outperformed by a tourist with a tablet. For a few years I used a Lumix Panasonic, then two years ago I switched to a mirrorless Canon G3X, with a built in 24mm to 600mm zoom lens and, crucially,  a one inch sensor. It can be zoomed up to 50X with acceptable quality.  The whole unit weighs under 2 pounds and that is what I continue to use today. A reflex camera with a quality long lens will get you greater detail, but price and the weight are a deterrent for many.

(Editor’s note – Remember to click on images to enlarge them and experience the full attraction of Adrian’s images).

Photo #1   In summer,  southbound Semipalmated Plovers huddle near beach debris on Long Beach to hide  from aerial predators. A long lens gives us a view we don’t often get in the field. Canon G3X

Photo #2   This Marbled Godwit was photographed at Long Beach in late April. With birds, the most challenging aspect, usually, is getting close enough for an intimate shot. Canon G3X

Photo #3   Western Sandpipers at Jensen’s Bay, Tofino in early May of 2009. This picture is a reminder that not all bird photos need to be intimate, and that sometimes the background scenery plays an important role. Canon Rebel with 200 mm lens.

Photo #4   To get a closeup of this Long-billed Dowitcher I waded into a shallow pond among several feeding birds and with patience they forgot all about my presence. This one  approached to within 8 feet  of me.  Panasonic Lumix DMC-F270.

Photo #5   Rarely do we get to see the full  range of colours of the male Violet-green Swallow. This male was perched at eyel-level in full sunlight.  The photo was taken at the Long Beach Airport.  Panasonic Lumix DMC-F270.

Photo #6   The Black-bellied Plover in full breeding plumage is an undeniably handsome bird. A plain and uniform background without distractions enhances the image. It was taken in late April at Long Beach. Canon G3X.

Photo #7   A flock of Sanderlings photographed in mid-April on the south end of Vargas Island near Tofino. This photo depicts the classic behaviour of Sanderlings running before the incoming wave. Canon Rebel with a 200mm lens. 

Photo #8   Photographers sometimes forget that even the most common birds can provide us with great shots. Look how handsome this Common Raven is. Canon G3X.

Photo #9    Not quite a perfect shot, but the uniform background in a similar hue as the bird enhances the photo of this Cedar Waxwing. This bird was shot at the Long Beach Golf Course. Canon G3X.

Photo #10   A flock of Surfbirds flies low over breaking surf at Long Beach on 1 January, 2008. More than anything, this photo depicts the bird’s habitat taken at a time of interesting light. Canon Rebel with 200 mm lens.

Photo #11    A Baird’s Sandpiper stretches its wing as if to demonstrate how long it is. Shorebirds have been my favourite subject of late. I prefer to photograph them from ground level. Staying low is also the best way to approach them without causing alarm. Canon G3X.

Photo #12    This Lapland Longspur in full breeding plumage spent a week in the vicinity of Long Beach in May of 2019, allowing for a number of photo opportunities . Although it could be argued that the Yellow Monkey-Flowers distract from the bird, I nevertheless find the image pleasing and compelling.

Editor’s Note: Adrian’s highly recommended book The Birds of Vancouver Island’s West Coast was published in April 2018.