My name is Abe Curland. I have lived in Rockland County, NY for 27 years.
My wife Edda and I raised 6 boys, all but one of whom are now married. As of this writing, we are blessed with 15 grandchildren. It’s been a busy time, to say the least.
I went to work for B&H Photo in 2007 which reignited the love for photography I had as a teen. With the family quite settled I now had time to hone my photographic skills.
Because of my position with B&H, I was able to spend time with many topflight photographers, some of whom became my mentors.
I started traveling a bit and doing landscape photography, which I still love, but it was a trip to Wakadohatchee Wetlands in Delray Beach, FL, that got me hooked on birds. I have used many combinations for bird photography.
In May of 2019, I purchased the Sony Alpha a9 and the Sony FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6. The focus tracking, 20 fps and image quality are fabulous!
I also have in my bag the Sony FE 85mm f/1.8 lens which I use for head shots (humans, that is), and the Sony FE 24-70 f/2.8 GM lens which is an industry standard. I use this for landscape, portraits and wide bird shots.
I have a Sony Vario-Tessar T* FE 16-35mm f/4 lens which I use for real estate photography. After all, I need to make a few bucks to buy the long lenses!
The Sony FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 lens is a bit short for most bird photography which is why I still take a Nikon D500 and a Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 contemporary lens.
But lucky me, Sony announced the Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 lens and Sony FE 600mm f/4 GM lens soon after I made my purchase. I look forward to adding the Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6-6.3 lens to my collection and then I can carry just one camera and one or two lenses for a bird shoot.
I love the Sony FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM lens but it may prove to be of little use going forward.
I do carry a tripod and gimbal with me, but I prefer to hand hold whenever possible. I use the Oben GH-30 Gimbal Head with an Oben CT-3551 Carbon Fiber Travel Tripod.
If I were using one of the $20K+ birding setups, such as the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II and Canon EF 600mm f/4 lens with a Canon Extender EF 1.4X III, then I would get a very robust top of the line tripod and gimbal, but I am still on a budget.
I rarely use a flash for birds but there are times when it can be very useful. There are devices such as the MagMod MagBeam Wildlife Kit that can give that extra bit of light for a lovely shot.
I use the Godox AD200 TTL Pocket Flash Kit and Godox TT685S Thinklite TTL Flash. I hope to incorporate these into my birding/wildlife photography. In the meantime, they are very helpful for photos of Homo sapiens.
Finally, I use the Peak Design SL-BK-3 Slide Camera Strap. It is very comfortable when carrying a camera and big lens for hours. It also provides protection from my equipment falling into the drink!
For me, bird photography is therapeutic. Being out there in the early morning and late afternoon in sync with nature is one of life’s special moments.
I have learned a lot about birds, their habits, and how to capture them in a photo that hopefully relays the experience to the viewer. I would not consider myself a top bird photographer, but I have great mentors who help foster my growth.
I am humbled to be able to share the stage here with so many fabulous artists.
In my bag:
Sony Alpha a9
Sony FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM (great lens for birding)
Sony FE 85mm f/1.8
Sony FE 24-70 f/2.8 GM
Sony Vario-Tessar T* FE 16-35mm f/4
Oben GH-30 Gimbal head
Oben CT-3551 Carbon Fiber Travel Tripod
Oben BC-126 Ball Head
Vello Wireless ShutterBoss III Remote Switch with Digital Timer for Select Sony Cameras
Godox AD200 TTL Pocket Flash Kit
Godox TT685S Thinklite TTL Flash for Sony Cameras
Peak Design SL-BK-3 Slide Camera Strap