One could say that Boston Neary got her start in bird photography by just winging it. The now-accomplished photographer, known for her landscape and wildlife photography, had never taken photos past what she could capture with her iPhone before moving to Vermont four years ago. However, when she moved into her new house on Bay Road in Shelburne, she found that her camera phone just was not enough to capture the constant action outside her door.
The shores of Lake Champlain are home to all sorts of birds, such as ospreys, bald eagles, herons, gulls, and ducks. Neary witnesses all of them interacting and hunting right in her backyard. “I’d look out the window and see birds flying by and gorgeous sunsets, so I’d try to capture it with my iPhone,” she stated. “When that wasn’t working, I bought a souped-up point and shoot. I thought, ‘This is cool,’ but still the birds were going by too fast. I’d click and they’d be gone. So I got a bigger camera, then a bigger lens.” From there, Neary taught herself how to use her new camera, and how to set up shots, citing websites like www.capturemyvermont.com as a place she would turn to for advice.
Neary thrives on a challenge. Being able to capture eagles as they dive for fish has given her something to work toward. She takes pictures every day and explains how she has improved. If her shots of birds of prey fighting in the sky are not enough, she also has been able to capture goslings as they hop into the water one by one. Though she is happy to show her improvement, she also notes that its mainly a matter of having good luck, good timing, and a good camera, as well as knowing when a shot is about to happen. “I can tell when the eagles are coming, because when the seagulls that are always around scatter, I’ve got seven seconds. I’ve timed it!” she states. “Then I know the eagle will be flying by. I don’t know where it will come from, but I know to be outside with my camera in seven seconds. That’s my early warning system.”
Neary’s move to Shelburne for a marketing job was the start of a new chapter in her life. She began her career in sports marketing, working for CBS Sports then ESPN. “I’ve been all sorts of places in my life… I love Shelburne. I’ve had a lot of fun being part of the community and meeting so many interesting people, which is something I haven’t really done before in other places I’ve lived. It’s just been about work, career, and travel. It’s been nice to be grounded here,” she stated fondly. Her involvement in the community has included volunteer work at Shelburne Farms, with the Lake Champlain Committee, and helping to rehabilitate raptors with Outreach for Earth Stewardship.
While at first Neary stated that “never in a million years” would she have dreamed that she would find her calling taking landscape and bird photographs, upon reflection she recalls her love of being in nature and going on bird walks as a child, and that it must have been something she always enjoyed subconsciously. As for the future, she hopes to continue improving her nature photography and also to display and sell more of her work. One goal is to turn her home into a showroom. Whatever her next project may be, this reporter feels her work will continue to soar. For more photographs, visit Boston Neary Nature Photography on Facebook.