An Interview with Photographer/Birder Mia McPherson

I learned about Mia McPherson when she became one of the regular bloggers for the multi-author blog Birding Is Fun last summer. I’ve been following her blog ever since and marveling at her photos. Mia is a fabulous photographer and is currently photographing wildlife in northern Utah. She writes and displays her photos on her blog, On the Wing Photography.

I really enjoy her photography and wanted to interview her for my blog. Here is that interview along with some of Mia’s wonderful pictures.

PB:  First, tell me a little about yourself. For example, where are you from, and tell us a bit about your work. 

me-flaming-gorge-9123Mia: I have traveled all of my life and because I have I don’t claim to be from any one place, I love to immerse myself in nature wherever I am and that can be found anywhere on the planet. I have worn many hats as far as work goes but my favorite profession is being a bird, wildlife, and nature photographer, it suits me perfectly.

PB: How and when did you first become interested in photography/birding?

Mia: I’ve been interested in birds as long as I can remember and while living in Florida I became addicted to photographing them.

Monarch Butterfly feeding from a Showy Milkweed, Antelope Island, Garr Ranch, Utah

Monarch Butterfly feeding from a Showy Milkweed, Antelope Island, Garr Ranch, Utah. Photograph by Mia McPherson/On The Wing Photography

PB: What photography equipment do you use?

Mia: I use Nikon gear, my primary bird and wildlife set up is a D300 with a Nikkor 200-400mm VR f4 lens with a 1.4x TC attached most of the time. I have two Nikon D200s that I use for backup bodies and they generally have a wide angle zoom lens attached so I can easily take close ups and landscape images.

Bald Eagle landing on the  Bear River National Wildlife Refuge, Utah

Bald Eagle landing on the Bear River National Wildlife Refuge, Utah. Photograph by Mia McPherson/On The Wing Photography

PB: Is there a bird on your wish list or a “nemesis bird” you would really love to see or photograph?

Mia: I would love to see and photograph a Snowy Owl because they are so beautiful and I have a deep fondness for owls.

PB: Any tips for new nature photographers or bird photographers?

Mia: My tips for those who are just starting out in or nature photography are:

* Get to know your gear intimately, know its strengths and weaknesses and learn which setting you need in every different situation.

* Practice, practice, and practice some more.

* Get to know your subjects, their behaviors and you’ll be able to anticipate their actions which can lead to great poses.

* And always practice strong wildlife ethics in the field so wildlife isn’t disturbed unnecessarily, this is especially true for nesting birds, chicks or other wildlife with young.

PB: What is you most memorable birding experience?

Mia: I have had so many memorable experiences while photographing birds that it is quite a challenge to pick just one! I think one of the most amazing for me though took place on Fort De Soto County Park’s north beach in Florida one morning while I was photographing a Great Blue Heron perched on a snag. In the distance I caught sight of a bird hovering over the mangroves to the east, I took some rather cruddy images of that bird which turned out to be a White-tailed Kite, a species which had not been seen in that county in 98 years!

A Great Blue Heron at Fort De Soto County Park, Pinellas County, Florida

A Great Blue Heron at Fort De Soto County Park, Pinellas County, Florida. Photograph by Mia McPherson/On The Wing Photography

PB: What new species are you hoping to photograph/see this year?

Mia: I would love to photograph Saw-whet Owls this year, they are tiny and gorgeous owls.

PB: What is your favorite to photograph, mammals or birds?

Mia: My passion has its roots in bird photography because they are a challenge to photograph and I enjoy observing them and learning more about each species habits, behaviors and the habitats that they live in.

Coyote in the Snow at  Antelope Island State Park, Utah

Coyote in the Snow at Antelope Island State Park, Utah. Photograph by Mia McPherson/On The Wing Photography

PB: Where is your favorite place to photograph wildlife?

Mia: That would have to be Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge in southwestern Montana. The Centennial Valley has marshes, lakes, grasslands and even sand dunes. On south side of the valley there are the Centennial Mountains with forests and alpine meadows. There is a wide variety of birds and mammals that inhabit the refuge and each day that I spend there is truly a delight.

PB:  I really enjoy your blog and the photos you post on it. What made you start On the Wing Photography? 

Mia: I started On The Wing Photography because I wanted more than just photo galleries, I wanted to be able to share my experiences and observations in nature, the stories behind my images and I also wanted help others who are interested in photography by explaining ethics, techniques and the challenges of being a bird, nature and wildlife photographer.

Juvenile Burrowing Owl stretching at Antelope Island State Park, Utah

Juvenile Burrowing Owl stretching at Antelope Island State Park, Utah. Photograph by Mia McPherson/On The Wing Photography

***

Thank you for the interview, Mia, as well for letting me post some of your exquisite photographs. Again, I highly recommend visiting Mia’s blog, On the Wing Photography for the excellent content and the superb photographs!

10 thoughts on “An Interview with Photographer/Birder Mia McPherson

  1. Pingback: A juvenile Red-tailed Hawk fly by | Mia McPherson's On The Wing Photography

  2. Great interview … the questions and the subject. It’s a delight to find your blog through Mia’s. I didn’t know the story about the White-tailed Kite, that’s pretty spectacular. Someday, I’d love to get to the spot Mia describes, Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge.

  3. Pingback: My Birding Equipment | Prairie Birder

  4. Pingback: Young Birder Blog Birding #14 « ABA Blog

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