photography of small blue and brown bird
Photo by Tina Nord on

Only a few people even really notice birds. As a photographer, I don’t think I noticed them much until I watched a bird feeder. I thought all small birds were “sparrows”. But, in reality, I noticed red ones, yellow ones, black and white ones. So, I got curious and started looking at books and birds that reside in my area. Then I found out I had sparrows, finches, buntings, and cockatiels. My world was open now to birds.

Then, I noticed how some of these birds are really beautiful. The small ones are very colorful but they do seem “hyper” they way they fly around, and move around. But, it was important for me to get a good picture of one of these birds. The real challenge is “how” to get a great photo, because they generally don’t let you come close to them.

three long beaked small birds perched on brown tree branch
Photo by Aashutosh Sharma on

I have a list of what you will need to get the best results for great bird photos. Let’s start with:

  1. A good DSLR camera with manual control, that you can control the aperture and shutter speed.
  2. A good tripod, one that is sturdy, and one that will allow you to move the camera easily on it’s mount.
  3. A good sized telephoto lens or telephoto zoom lens, so you don’t have to get close to the birds.

That’s the basics of what you need, and that is all I have needed to get a good bird photo. One more thing I might add to the list is *Patience. It takes work for the right pose from the bird, or if they fly away, just when you get ready to push the button, and then wait for them to come back. It is a bigger challenge than I thought, but, it seems so worth it.

A photo I took of Mourning doves, waiting there turn to get to the feeder. They are so patient!

With the camera on the tripod, and your big telephoto zoom lens, take a moment and find the bird you want. Think quickly, because they could be gone in a flash. Now zoom in on the bird you want, focus, and see if that is what you want.

One thing that has helped me a lot in taking photos of birds or other moving things is a “Tripod Ball head” for my tripod. Click on the red lettering so you can see what type of product this is. It just allows your camera to be mounted on this Tripod Ball head and move around easier if you are trying to take a photo of something moving, like birds.

white seagulls near water
Photo by Pixabay on

If you want to get a good photo of birds in flight, then make sure you are using a fast shutter speed, so you can stop action of their wings. Use a higher ISO setting if you need to. I might recommend an ISO of 800 to 1600 depending on your lighting too. But you need to use a shutter speed of 1/500 to 1/2500th of a second if your camera will allow it.

One more thing to watch out for is the background, behind the bird(s). See the above photo how nice things look….. no background clutter. One worth hanging on the wall?

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