You take photo ops where you find them.

I was in south Texas last year leading a photo workshop at Tecomate Ranch in Starr County and right next to the house, was this oriole nest.  I literally took this photograph from inside the dining room by opening the window and sticking my lens out.  I put up some netting so they could not see me, and  they could have cared less.

That was the easy part.  The hard part was trying to get the shot just right.

It was in dark shadows, so I had to add some fill-flash.  Mama oriole would fly in, drop off the cargo and fly away so fast I could barely focus.  And I really wanted everything to come together.  I’d get mama with food, but you could not see the chicks.  Or the chicks’ mouths were closed.  Or mama’s tail was cut off. Or the flash would not fire, or be too bright.

Finally I got one where I think everything came together.  It was about time, too.  My back was killing me and all that feeding had made me hungry, too.

Female Oriole on Nest

Canon 1D Mark IV.  300mm.  ISO 1000.  f.5 @ 1/80 second.  Fill flash (probably -1 EV) from the front and full flash from behind to help illuminate the fronds.  Front flash snooted so that it just hit the mama and nest and was not so bright everywhere else.

Here are some of the misfires and goofs, and finally my favorite.