30+ Natural Bird Photography Tips And Examples
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Generally birds are afraid of humans, so one needs a camera with faster shutter speed for taking freezed shots of birds or birds in flight. A good shutter speed camera should be atleast 1/2000.
Nowadays standard dslr cameras are able to accomodate 1/2000 shutter speed, but if you are professional/beginner you should probably be looking at Nikon D500 or Canon 7D Mark II which are suited for the wildlife photographers.
1. Location: Take a trip to your wildlife centre. Try to find a great locations with a variety of species and big hides ideal for any keen bird photographer.
2. Lens choice: If you get too close you’ll scare the birds so you want to use a telephoto lens to fill the frame with your feathered subjects. You don’t need the most expensive lenses to get top shots. Canon has a range of affordable and lighter (so easier to shoot handheld without needing a monopod or tripod) L-series lenses suited to smaller EOS camera bodies.
3. Come in close: Focus on individual flocks in a scene for a neater shot, otherwise the eye will be left to wander awkwardly around the frame with no clear focal point to fix on to.
4. Timing: Timing and patience is key to photographing birds. Position yourself so the background behind your chosen bird contrasts or complements the subject, and then wait until other birds or distractions have moved away before grabbing the shot.
5. Shutter speed: Use the semi-auto Tv (Time value – aka Shutter Priority) mode. Set your shutter speed while your camera automatically sets an aperture for a standard exposure. Birds are fast-moving, twitchy creatures. You’ll need to use a fast shutter speed to freeze their movement and obtain sharp shots – too slow and you’ll end up with blurred images. Aim for shutter speeds between 1/500-1/1000 sec. You should also be aware that when shooting in Tv mode, if your shutter speed is slow, your aperture will become narrower. It will increase depth of field and keep more of your backdrops in focus – which means your birds won’t stand out in the scene as well as when using a wider aperture such as f/5.6.
6. Habits: Study different birds and watch their behaviour to catch an original shot that reveals the true character of your feathered subjects. See if they’re doing anything interesting – preening in the water, balancing on one leg, twisting their head into a unique pose, or perhaps singing – which will help to make a better shot.
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