Winter Robins

The Philadelphia area got its first real snowfall this past Saturday, which kept us indoors most of the day. Oddly enough, it also gave me the opportunity to take the best “up close and personal” nature photos I’ve ever taken.

A flock of robins, who have are wintering in South Jersey for reasons beyond my understanding 1, had decided to wait out the storm in our back yard. Specifically, they were perched on the wire which brings power into our home — probably no more than four of five feet from our bedroom window.

Of course I fetched my camera.

When I first attempted to frame the photographs the birds got spooked and flew off. My wife, ever a source of wisdom, said, “They aren’t going anywhere, wait 2.” So I waited, and the robins came back.

I left my window up 3, both because I didn’t want to risk chasing the birds off and because even I realize opening a window in a snow storm is a bit much, so there is a bit more haze than I’d like. Most of this I was able to filter out in Lightroom, but a bit of it’s still there. I raised the saturation of the breast feathers a bit as well, because the extra pane of glass muted the colors somewhat. Other than those two changes, I did some highlights and shadows adjustments and a minor crop to cut out the shadow of the window. I’m really pleased with the results. You can see snowflakes resting on the robin’s body!

One day I’ll figure how how to focus my 500mm reflector correctly, and get more shots like these.


Nikon D7000 with 55-300mm lens
90mm
400 ISO
ƒ 5.6
1/500 sec


  1. Robins typically disappear during the Winter, their return is normally associated with the coming of Spring. 
  2. She said this because I was at the back window. Had I been at the front window she probably would have told me she wasn’t going to bail me out when the stalking charges came down. 
  3. The upper window of the set. 

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  1. Awesome shot. You need to set up a bird feeder lure for taking bird pics 🙂

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