, Newburyport, MA

January 2, 2014

Avian art

Port photographer captures 'grace and beauty' of birds of prey

By Jim Sullivan

---- — As far as nature photographer, artist and Newburyport resident Nick Corvinus is concerned, there are only two reasons for his creative success.

“I spend a lot of time outdoors and have a big lens,” he said with a laugh.

Corvinus’ photography will be shown in an exhibit titled “Avian Hunters and Fishers,” opening Monday at Mass Audubon’s Joppa Flats Education Center.

“I’ve taken a lot of pictures,” Corvinus said. “I happen to enjoy the raptors, but I also enjoy herons and owls, hawks, whatever. I like birds of prey. There are a lot of them around here, and I just find them very interesting. So, I’ve taken a lot of those types of pictures rather than songbirds. I don’t do as much of that.”

Corvinus will introduce the exhibit, which runs through Feb. 23 and is his first in the area, during a free reception on Sunday, Jan. 12.

“You will be able to get a pretty good feel of what these birds are like,” he said. “You will be able to see some of the grace and beauty of these birds up-close. I’ve got some pretty detailed close-up shots of them hunting and fishing and doing those sorts of things.”

A financial services executive, the 66-year-old recently scaled back his day job so he could pursue his love of art and photography that has been on the back burner since he was a student at Syracuse University in New York. An avid outdoorsman, Corvinus is also one of the original investors in Speedboard USA, a stand-up paddleboarding company that started in the city two years ago.

Corvinus lives on Water Street, so he doesn’t even have to leave the house to get a good shot.

“I live right on Joppa Flats,” said Corvinus, who moved to Newburyport from New York almost 40 years ago. “Birders are in my front yard just about all the time looking at all the migratory birds and shorebirds that are in Joppa Flats and on the Merrimack River. I just see birds and seals all over the place.

“I’m out all year taking pictures, and I could stay right here,” he said. “They’re all going to come by here eventually. I’ve got eagles, hawks, ospreys flying over the house in the summer.”

Getting within 20-30 feet of his subjects while out in the field, Corvinus will spend hours waiting for the best shot.

“It’s the exact same thing as hunting, only you are shooting a picture,” he said. “You have to get to know their habits. Where you will see them, what time of day you will see them, you have to know the habits just like you would if you were a hunter. They go fishing when the tides drop just like we do.”

Once the action begins, Corvinus must be prepared to shoot.

“It happens so fast, you have to be ready,” Corvinus said. “Usually, I have got two cameras. One that is smaller, which I can swing around, and then I have a telephoto lens typically that I have on a tripod.”

Waiting for all the action to start can also have a positive effect.

“You have to spend so much time observing to get a good shot,” Corvinus said. “You’re going to learn something in spite of yourself.”

Corvinus recently opened an art studio in Amesbury, where he also creates oil paintings.

“I just got done with it in the beginning of September,” Corvinus said of his Cedar Street studio. “I haven’t even gotten the website up yet, I’m still working on it. But I have had the opportunity of working with Donald Jurney; he’s a famous landscape painter who has a studio near me.

“I always wanted to do (this),” he said. “Somehow, I ended up in the financial services business.”

A portion of proceeds from all purchases made at Corvinus’ exhibit will help support the education center.

If you go

What: “Avian Hunters and Fishers,” photographs by Nick Corvinus

When: Jan. 5 through Feb. 23. Open Tuesdays through Sundays, and on Monday holidays, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Where: Mass Audubon’s Joppa Flats Education Center, 1 Plum Island Turnpike, Newburyport

How much: Free

More information: 978-462-9998 or