Photography Class with Bill Walker

In my short trip to California from Aug 20-23, 2019, I was lucky to participate in the photography class with Bill Walker. Bill is a great bird photographer and you can follow him at This class was organized by Lisa Myers from I also got to meet Mary Wisnewski after a long time. Class was divided into two parts – 1. An evening classroom session and 2. The filed trip. In the evening class with Bill, I got the refresher about some of the basics I already knew: auto-focus, manual mode. Bill also discussed about what we need to do on the field to get our lighting correct – such as exposure ( which is how much light is getting in), shutter speed (which is basically the same ting as exposure besides it clicks faster), and ISO (which is sensitivity). Bill then taught us about histograms and how to read them. He told us that angle is very important because if you took a photo in a bad angle, you won’t like the picture. The background is important too, because of the background, you may or may not like the picture. Then after you’ve been on the field, you should delete the bad pictures you took because you will enjoy the good pictures even more. Then you should crop the photos. Also there are some ettiequte you need to follow while out on the field so that you do not scare the birds and do not damage their natural habitat.

Bill decided to have the field trip at Palo Alto Baylands Duck Pond at the early Sat morning – 7:30 am. We all were there on time. We first got to see some night-herons, and juveniles,

Black-crowned Night-heron

Then we went to the marsh area where we saw many shorebirds such as the American Avocet, Black-necked Stilt, Long-billed Curlew, and more. There were many Mallards too. It was overcast that time, so Bill told us that we should lower our shutter speed, or which how fast our camera takes them.

Long-billed Curlew

From there, we went to the EcoCenter, the place where swallows nest every spring. There were the swallows flying around, but none were in the nest. In the distance, We saw a Northern Harrier flying and that started masses of shorebirds flying. On the pond which the shorebirds landed, there was a Great Blue Heron.

Great Blue Heron

Nearby, there was a lake with Least Sandpipers and Egrets. Over there, I tried taking some flight photos, but they came out terrible.

Least Sandpiper
Snowy Egret

Then we went to the marsh/lake right next to us and that’s where I saw the Western Sandpiper. It looked so alike to the Least Sandpiper but the reddish band on the back and size is different. Compare it with the Least Sandpiper and try finding the difference!

Western Sandpiper

We then headed to a park in San Jose to meet Allen Royer my Birding Mentor and guide. It was so nice to see him. I also met Ann and Andew (another birder who started his passion at the age of 5 and currently in college and still follows bird watching.) I hope to do birding with him sometime in New York Central Park.

And that’s all for now! See you in the next post! Here’s a group shot:

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