Monthly Program – September 2012 – Vic Berardi

On Monday, September 10, 2012 Vic Berardi captivated an audience of 94 members
with his presentation on “Hawk in Flight Photography”.  Photographing these magnificent birds are moments treasured.  It was 18 years ago that Vic began to focus his attention on hawk migration monitoring and to learn to identify not only hawks but other raptors as well.

Along with the outstanding images presented throughout the evening, and wonderful anecdotes on image capture, Vic also offered many tips on how to photograph, when to photograph and where to photograph raptors.

The highlights from the evening’s presentation included three important things to consider when photographing birds of prey:  technique, opportunity, and patience. 

Technique included an in-depth discussion on sensor and lens choices, camera settings, holding the camera, supports, image stabilization, depth of field, burst rate and concealment. Vic didn’t hold back—he shared his years of experience and answered a number of questions from the audience.

Opportunity is something we can’t control.  It just happens and you have to take it when it’s available.

Patience may be the most difficult to master.  You have to put in the time and wait, and wait, and wait some more.  You can never give up.

As a raptor photographer, Vic’s first love is learning through observation the behavioral patterns of the birds.  He suggests that you should never hesitate to take a so-so photo, or record shot.  You can learn a lot from it.

Vic shared the many places in the state he is familiar.  He has photographed raptors such as bald eagles, buteos, harriers, falcons, red tailed hawks, golden eagles, to name just a few.

Vic also reminded us about the The Sunny 16 Rule which is based on the fact that the sun is equally bright everywhere outdoors between 10 am and 5 pm. So, if you know what the exposure is for sunlight at mid-day, then you can estimate it for cloudy or overcast situations. We have added 2 references which provide good definiton and examples of this key tool:  Reference smug mug and Wikipedia.

Members walked away with an amazing wealth of information and knowledge to begin or continue their journey of photographing magnificence in flight.

For more information from Vic on capturing high quality raptor images, please visit the following link…

Thank you Vic!

Vic Berardi is the founder of the all-volunteer Illinois Beach State Park Hawk Watch which has conducted eleven complete seasons of full time hawk migration monitoring.  He recently served on the Board of Directors for the Hawk Migration Association of North America (HMANA) and is the Central Continental Flyway Editor for Hawk Migration Studies which is HMANA’s biannual publication. In 2007 he was awarded the Grassroots Conservation Leadership Award for his leadership in raptor education and research. And in 2009 he was awarded the Service to Chicago Area Birders by the Chicago Audubon Society.

In addition to Vic’s dedication to the IBSP Hawk Watch and HMANA, he also finds time to write articles on hawk watching, give hawk identification seminars and raptor conservation related talks. Vic is also an accomplished photographer and many of his photos have been published in several magazines, including Outdoor Illinois, Hawk Migration Studies and BirdWatching Magazine along with two new guide books, “Stokes Field Guide to the Birds of North America” by Donald & Lillian Stokes and “Hawks At A Distance” by Jerry Liguori.

Vic is also a member of the Raptor Research Foundation, HawkWatch International and several other birding organizations including the Illinois Ornithological Society in which he served as a Board member for 4 years and Field Trip Chair for 3 years.

When Vic isn’t out in the field watching and photographing raptors you will find him at his fulltime job as a Sales Manager for a Wisconsin based designer and manufacturer of plastic injection molds.

He is widely respected by the prominent leaders in the hawk watching community of North  America.