At this time of year its quite common to see jays flying across roads on broad wings, as they ceaselessly transport acorns to their winter stores. One such passing bird resparked the thought for a return to Project J. Regular readers of this blog may recall my long running but intermittent mini project to try and photograph jays in flight. The project 'brief' has being extended on this attempt, to try and photograph the jays from a different perspective.
Jay are such beautiful birds and Project J over time has given me wonderful close encounters with them. Its always a real pleasure to be in their company. To start the post, not a flight photo but a bird posed with fully raised crest. I always thought a good caption for this would be 'Mr J contemplates his new Bonsai project'.
Moving on quickly as Project J is supposed to be about flight photos. I always forget between my periodic attempts, how hard these birds are to photograph in flight.
Apart from the obvious problems for autofocus against a mixed background, the jays have a very erratic fly behaviour.
This is especially the case during landing where unlike a magpie, that come in fairly straight, jays tend to do a strange unpredictable 'flip' sideways just as they land. This usually puts the bird half out of frame or sends the autofocus to a place where it cannot recoverly quickly enough.
Jays are a good looking bird from below
However, it is only on the back of the wing that those iridecent blue feathers can be seen.
The new element of Project J is some remote photography of the birds using a wide angle lens to get a different perpective. It something I have meant to try for a while but will admit I am on the bottom step of a long learning ladder but my first couple of attempts have given me some value experience. Its great fun going back through the photos when you retrieve the camera.
I will carry Project J on in to the winter. How long it keeps going though is difficult to say when there are many tempting photo opportunities trying to pull me away. It is difficult to run many mini-photo projects when you free time is limited and I always find concentrating on one at a time yields the best results.