Patience and practice pay off when capturing photographs of high country birds in flight (photos) | VailDaily.com

Patience and practice pay off when capturing photographs of high country birds in flight (photos)

Photos by Rick Spitzer
Special to the Daily

Wildlife photography is tough. With birds in flight, it gets even harder.

Camouflage makes birds hard to find, and birds — particularly small birds — tend to move erratically. You need high-end lenses and camera equipment but then it's tough at high magnifications to even find the subject in the viewfinder.

Once the subject is located, focusing is a challenge. Fast shutter speeds and good depth of field are necessary. Holding a heavy, long lens steady is often difficult. And, ultimately, luck is a major part of the equation.

"I often tell people that wildlife photography is a lot like fishing: Some days are better than others," wrote Rick Spitzer, the local photographer who captured these shots. "There have been a lot of times I have been out and got nothing worth showing. Today was on the other end of that spectrum."

All of the shots shown here were taken at Gypsum Ponds between 8:35 and 9:09 a.m. standing in the exact same spot.