All it took was one shot and Steve Arseneault was hooked. He instantly expanded from being an avid photographer to being a ‘birder’. “Photography is something I have been doing for a long time, but I am new to the birding thing. I would take photos while on vacation or when my son was playing sports or at my daughter’s events.” When the COVID-19 pandemic began, he was looking to fill a void. “My wife and I were doing a lot of walking, so I decided to take my camera with me. I noticed a green bird and I figured I would try to get a shot of it. It turned out to be a kinglet and if anybody shoots birds, you know they don’t sit still. It was a heck of a challenge to get the shot, but once I finally did, I was hooked.”

Great Blue Heron (Sanria-Lambton)

During the pandemic, Steve has taken to posting his pictures on the Facebook page You Gotta Love Sarnia, as well as the Lambton Photography site, and people have responded favorably. “I never used to share my photos, but once I started birding, I got a lot of comments from people who are no longer able to get out on the trail. They are getting older or can’t get outside and that really pushed me to keep going for folks like that.”

Steve has taken the time to educate himself about birds and says there are a few tips he’d offer beginners. “Patience is the big thing. Also, lots of practice.” Steve recommends beginners start by shooting common birds like blue jays and cardinals. “Eventually, you will start noticing other species. If you are walking on a trail, just stop for a while and look and listen. Birding is the most challenging photography I have taken part in, but it’s worth it.”

In one year Steve has shot more than 200 species of birds with his most prized shot being a blue-headed vireo. He continues to learn every day he goes out, encouraged by those who appreciate the images. “The more you shoot, the better you get and the more you learn.”

Blue-headed Vireo (Sarnia-Lambton)