Bird photography


TPF Noob!
Apr 4, 2005
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59.1N / 18.3E

I am interested in making some fresh attempt of bird photography in future. Do you have experience of handling flying birds with digital cameras in a natural park setting? If you have any technical advice or tips for beginners, I hope to hear from you. Or you may direct me to an online resource. It's most appreciated. Thanks in advance.

Set up a hide (if you have one... if not, try making a rough shelter from branches etc to hide in) and a feeding station in a secluded area of the park, some days (or even weeks...) before you intend to shoot. This will give the birds plenty time to get used to the hide etc, and to start using the feeding station regularly.

Make sure your hide is set up so that you'll be shooting the birds against a natural looking background, with no distracting objects (dark or mid-tone foliage is often a good bet).

Set up a couple of natural looking perches (old logs, moss covered branches etc), and drill a few holes into hidden areas, which you can stuff with bait such as fat, peanuts, seeds etc.

Choose the day of your shoot - bright but overcast weather is often better than full sun, as there'll be less harsh light and contrast problems to deal with, and you probably won't be including the sky in your pictures.

Take the right kit - a zoom lens up to about 300mm should be enough to get a good shot from the hide - if your shooting on an APS sized sensor then you'll get some added 'zoom' from the crop factor. A tripod will be useful, and set your camera to the lowest ISO setting that will still give you a reasonable shutter speed at a wide aperture (1/250th or faster will be ideal if you can get it).

And after all that, set yourself up in the hide with a flask of coffee and sandwiches, and wait... :)
Thank you so much, j_mcquillen, for taking the time to write. I saved your advice for future reference.

In my case, I particuarly lack the experience to handle the flying birds when in full motion. I tried seagulls today. It's not terribly difficult because at times they drew really close to me. But for smaller and more agile birds, even the common sparrows, it's hard exercise.

What shutter speed you'd pre-set for, let's say, flying Canada geese?

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