Bird photography can be very
difficult. It requires a lot of patience because the birds
do not necessarily pose for you, and once you get closer,
you end up scaring them away.
Get some good camouflage or appropriate clothing for the
place you plan to visit. If the birds don't notice you, you
will be more likely to get a shot of them. You should also
try making a hiding spot for yourself as near as possible to
the birds. Be as quiet as possible. If a bird becomes
alarmed, it will fly away. If one member of a flock is
disturbed, the rest will usually follow.
Equipment - Lens
choice is the most critical of all. You really need a lot of
zoom or telephoto power (in the range of 100-600mm) to get
close to your subject.
You will also need a tripod to
prevent motion blur, unless you are taking pictures of birds
in flight while using a very high
shutter speed to freeze the action. Shoot your pictures RAW;
many birds have white patches, and even the best metering
systems can ‘burn’ the whites out.
Both the time of day and year needs to be considered when
photographing birds. Bird's behaviour and
their appearance are different during the year. Birds are
very active feeding in early morning and late afternoon, so
you might consider taking your pictures at these times.
set-up - Place some bird feeders with seeds in your garden
or in the location where you
plan to shoot. This is a great way for the children (with
your help) to get their first bird pictures.
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Birds feeding or resting - Use a 'blind' whenever possible. You may
wish to photograph through a partly open window with the curtains
almost closed. This can achieve a very good result.
One of the best
blinds is your car; you can get pretty close to a bird without
scaring it, then shoot through an open window.
Hunting blinds also work very well if you find the right spot such
as woodland, rivers, ponds and other such feeding areas.
Birds in Flight - Use a fast action setting on your digital camera
to capture a succession of images with one press of the shutter
button. You need to take multiple photos of one bird's flight in
order to get optimal wing position in the photograph. Some cameras
have a slight delay from when
you hit the button to when the picture is taken, so learn the
shutter features of your camera
Pre-focus the area in which you expect to photograph the bird, then
Pan the camera to follow the bird's flight. As the bird approaches
wait until the image is almost sharp in the viewfinder, then refocus
on the bird and start taking your sequence of photographs.
Finally, a bird's welfare must always come first. Never try to scare
a bird. If a bird appears agitated, back off and leave it alone. Now
go out with your camera and have fun!
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