Using an Old Tree Stump as a Prop
For a long time I used store bought feeders and used them to capture the images you see in my gallery, and I was getting bored with them. One day I was out hiking and saw this really beautiful rotten tree stump, about 6′ high. I returned later with a chainsaw and cut the top of, about a 2-3′ section and took it home. The stump was crumbling in my hands from the age and termite damage, but I was in love with it. See below.
Initially I set the stump on some buckets, but it kept falling over and breaking so I drilled a hole in the bottom and placed it on an old light stand. Looks nicer and easier to move where needed.
Going one step further, I used a Spade bit to drill out a well in the back of the stump and basically turned it into a natural feeder. There were some Bluebirds flying around the yard so I filled it with Dried Mealworms. The cool thing is you can put any type of food you want in it.
Figuring out where to focus on this stump is a bit more challenging due to the number of places a bird could land. They could land on the top, or one of the branches. Unfortunately you won’t be able to predict this so you’ll have to watch the birds as they come in. Eventually I noticed most of the birds landing on one of the small branches sticking out from the side. Because the stump has fallen over so many times I now only have one branch so it’s easier to decide. Of course you can saw off any parts you like and modify it to make things more predictable.
Since I knew most of the birds landed on the branch, I set my focus on the branch. With my camera on a tripod, and using manual focus, I focused on the branch. Here’s the catch. Birds coming in from the side of the branch will more than likely be in focus because they are on the same plane as the branch. Birds coming in from behind the branch presents more of a challenge because now you have to focus in space. and what I mean by that is you will have to focus behind the branch and fire away as the bird approaches. I promise you’ll miss a lot of great opportunities and it will be frustrating, but if you keep tweeking eventually you’ll figure out the best place to focus. Hell, if you can’t get any flying shots, you can get some really nice portraits.
Sitting in my blind one day I had a bunch of Red winged Blackbirds come in. One was on the branch and another tried to land on the same branch and they began to fight. I quickly put camera in AF and grabbed a few shots. It was cool as they went straight up in the air. Unfortunately i didn’t get any of those shots because I started shooting against the bright sky and the exposure was a mess. I was fortunate enough to get the shots below.
Here’s a few more images I captured using this old stump
Thanks for reading and please comment or feel free to ask any questions. Thanks!!