HOW TO PHOTOGRAPH BIRDS

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BIRDS 1

TIPS ON HOW TO PHOTOGRAPH BIRDS

 

FOR A LONG TIME IN MY LIFE, I DID NOT PAY MUCH ATTENTION TO BIRDS.  YES, THEY WERE THERE FLYING AROUND, DOING THERE THING.  I KNEW THE ROBIN BECAUSE I WAS INTRIGUED TO SEE IT JUMP AROUND ON THE LAWN, AND TO THINK THAT IT COULD HEAR A WORM CRAWLING IN THE EARTH WAS FASCINATING TO ME.  AND IT WAS SOMEWHAT A PRETTY BIRD.  THEN ONE DAY, I STARTED TO NOTICE THEM MORE AND MORE; THE SPARROWS WEREN’T ALL SPARROWS!  THERE WERE FINCH’S MIXED IN THE CROWD OF SMALL BIRDS, AND THEY WERE RED ON HALF OF THEIR BODY.  AND THEN IN THE WINTER, SOME YELLOW FINCH’S SHOWED UP, AND ADDED TO MY REALIZATION THAT NOT ALL SMALL BIRDS WERE NOT SPARROWS.   

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The red Finch
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The Gold Finch

It’s kind of like discovering flowers around you.  The moment you realize that flowers are really beautiful, especially when you discover the close-up world of flowers:

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SO, THERE HAS TO BE SOME SPECIAL TECHNIQUES TO TAKE PICTURES OF BIRDS.  AND YOU ARE RIGHT, THERE IS.  AND I WILL TELL YOU ONE OF THE BIGGEST THINGS THAT YOU MUST HAVE TO BE SUCCESSFUL IN TAKING PICTURES OF WILD BIRDS IS:

PATIENCE

THE OTHER DAY WE HAD A GOOD SNOWFALL IN OUR TOWN, AND THE BIRDS WERE LOOKING PRETTY HUNGRY.  SO, I ACTUALLY WENT DOWN TO A CEMENT SLAB AND SHOVELED OFF THE SNOW, POURED SOME BIRD SEED ALL OVER THE BARE CEMENT AND WAITED FOR THE BIRDS TO COME AND FIND THE FOOD.  THEY DID EVENTUALLY COME, AND I DID FIND SOME GREAT BIRDS.  WAS IT AN IDEAL SITUATION?  NO, NOT REALLY, BUT, I GOT SOME PHOTO PRACTICE OF TAKING BIRD PHOTOS:

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SNOW CLEARED AWAY FOR BIRD SEED, AND A “TOWHEE” FOUND SOME FOOD, ALONG WITH A SPARROW.  Photo by Lanny Cottrell
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A MOURNING DOVE AGAINST A WINTER SKY, LOOKING FOR A TURN AT SOME FOOD.  Photo by:   Lanny Cottrell

I TOOK ABOUT 4 PHOTOS IS ALL, AND IT TOOK ABOUT AN HOUR.  AND I WAS MOSTLY PRACTICING.

EQUIPMENT YOU WILL NEED:

IN STUDYING THOSE PHOTOGRAPHERS WHO ARE REALLY GOOD AT BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY, YOU WILL NEED THE FOLLOWING EQUIPMENT:

  • A REAL GOOD TRIPOD, ONE THAT IS FREE TO MOVE QUICKLY, YET BE READY TO LOCK QUICKLY.  I RECOMMEND ONE WITH A GOOD “BALL HEAD”.
  • A LARGE TELEPHOTO LENS.  THE ABOVE 2 PHOTOS WERE TAKEN WITH A 75-300 ZOOM LENS, SHOT AT 300 MM, ON A TRIPOD.
  • A CAMERA THAT HAS THE ABILITY TO CONTROL THE SHUTTER SPEED.  BIRDS MOVE FAST.  AND YOU WILL NEED TO STOP ACTION IF POSSIBLE
  • GOOD LIGHTING HELPS.  PREFERABLY GOOD SUNNY DAYS IF  POSSIBLE.  IF NOT, ASK THEM TO HOLD STILL FOR YOU.

A GOOD PLACE TO PRACTICE:

THE LOCAL ZOO USUALLY HAS ON DISPLAY SOME BEAUTIFUL EXOTIC BIRDS TO PRACTICE TAKING PHOTOS OF.   THESE BIRDS, HOWEVER, ARE REALLY DOMESTICATED, AND MOVE SLOWLY FOR YOU.  TRY TO GET THEM WHEN THEY HAVE FOLIAGE OR SOMETHING ELSE BESIDES BARS IN THE BACKGROUND.  ALMOST ALL ZOOS HAVE A PEACOCK.  AND IT WILL TAKE PATIENCE TO WAIT FOR THEM TO DISPLAY THEIR LARGE FEATHERS FOR YOU, BUT, THAT WILL BE WORTH THE PHOTO:

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THE “RAIN FOREST” TYPE BIRDS ALSO ARE ONES THAT ARE FULL OF COLOR.  LOOK FOR THOSE TO ADD TO YOUR COLLECTION.  IF YOU CAN GET CLOSE TO YOUR SUBJECT, YOU WILL GET A GREAT PHOTO OF RICH COLOR.  THAT ALONE MAKES A GREAT WALL PHOTO.

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NOW IF YOU ARE A WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHER, THE EQUIPMENT YOU WOULD NEED TO GET THE LARGE “BIRDS OF PREY”,  IN THE WILD, ARE QUITE EXPENSIVE AND LARGE, AND REQUIRE SOME REAL PRACTICE AND PATIENCE TO GET THE ULTIMATE PICTURE.

THE EAGLES, THE HAWKS, THE VULTURES, THE OWLS ARE ALL AMAZING BIRDS, BUT ARE MOST POPULAR IF YOU CAN CATCH THEM DOING SOMETHING OTHER THAN JUST SITTING THERE.  CATCHING THEM IN FLIGHT, EATING THEIR PREY, OR DOING THEIR “PREY” THING IS VERY INTERESTING AND MORE “SELL-ABLE”.

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From the Facebook Like Page:  Fantastic things in the World

SO NEXT TIME YOU LOOK AT A BIRD, TAKE SOME TIME TO REALLY NOTICE IT, AND MAYBE LOOK AT THE OTHER BIRDS, THEIR HABITS, THEN START NOTICING THE OTHER BIRDS IN OTHER PLACES, AND SEE THE BEAUTY THAT IS FLYING AROUND YOU.

IN CLOSING, I WOULD LIKE TO LEAVE YOU WITH JUST A FEW PHOTOS THAT HAVE ACTUALLY MADE IT ON TO THE “PHOTOS OF THE WEEK” THAT ARE BIRD PHOTOS.  ABSOLUTELY AMAZING PHOTOS CAUGHT BY SOME GREAT PHOTOGRAPHERS.  ENJOY THESE MASTER BIRD PHOTOGRAPHERS:

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From Photos of the week:  Unknown Photographers special

 

05-12-6
Swan….
…by Toru Kona
3-2-6
Photo provided by:  My world is Beautiful
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Curious Burrowing Owlet! Credit: Hisham Atallah
5-5-3
Photo by Val Rodriguez
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Photos compliments of “Amazing Pictures” Gallery
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Photo by Fragozo
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Photo compliments of “Amazing Pictures in the World” gallery

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