Spending hours outside and having patience aplenty pays off when taking just the right photo of sunsets, birds, and other wildlife.
Photographer Rick Barr spends about four hours a day getting outside with his camera and then back at his computer editing whatever treasures Mother Nature brings his way. But he says, “Seven out of ten outings are a dud” — meaning when the star of the sunset show doesn’t appear or when his everyday finch friends are the only birds in his backyard. “When it doesn’t happen, there’s no anger and regret. It’s always good to be out in nature.”
Rick’s photo outings often revolve around whether there might be a good sunset. “The number one tool I use is my eyes,” he says. “I observe the clouds and the sky.” He often heads to the water not knowing whether there will be cotton candy skies or a colorful sun sinking below the horizon. “When I’m successful, it’s awesome,” Rick says. “To see nature do this over and over again in a different, but as beautiful, way is something to see.”
Living near Bay Park, Rick has easy access to Mission Bay, the San Diego River, and the ocean — perfect for photographing the wide variety of birds in the area. “It’s easy to fall in love with them,” Rick says. He doesn’t even have to leave his yard for some stellar photo opportunities. As he sits in the backyard with a morning coffee or afternoon beer, he’ll keep his camera at the ready in his lap. Hummingbirds are a favorite, but he also loves the butterflies, bees, and other visitors.
Recently, while cleaning up the yard, he saw some giant grasshoppers in his birds of paradise and had to run inside to get his camera. “I just marvel at nature in her beauty,” he says. “When I see that moment that I think represents just how beautiful nature can be, that is the image I desire to capture.”
Rick Barr’s Number One Photo Tip
Inspired by a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson, Rick embraces this philosophy: “Adopt the pace of nature. Her secret is patience.”
He says, “No matter what your subject may be, landscapes, nature, animals, birds, or even people, patience is the key to finding the best image. Patience can be waiting for someone to get out of the frame of your photo or waiting for cars to get out of the way, waiting for a bird to catch a crab or a fish, or to take flight.”
See more of Rick’s work on his Instagram @rickbarrphotography