Closeup on Birds

tecboy

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I have a bird feeder and the birds come by eating seeds. When I get closer to the birds to shoot photos, the birds fly away. Tips, anyone?
 
You sound like a person in need of a good shed.

I'm serious too!

Well maybe not a shed, but try moving something that you can hide within near to the feeders (or move the feeders closer to it). Birds might well be scared away early on, but they adapt fast and will quickly grow used to something fixed that doesn't move and does not threaten them. Its the reason that many scare-crows actually don't work at all - a static person standing in the field can fast be left with the crows landing upon it as they discern that it offers no thread (ergo why mechanical/moving scares and moving the scarecrow around the field are used).

You then just have to set yourself up inside and be patient.
 
Don't get closer?

Personally I use a long lens to shoot birds at my feeders. Birds are shy no matter where they are, and they feel more vulnerable when they are at a feeder.
 
buy some cloth (camo or whatever).. get some PVC... build a small portable blind / cover with just a hole for your lens!
 
You likely already have stuff around the house you can use to jury rig a blind. An opaque shower curtain, tarp, old blanket, etc. Just so the birds can't see you.

You will still want at least a 200 mm lens so the birds have some scale in the photos.
 
Not to hijack this thread but...

While I have learned that photos of birds (or any other wild critter) perched on an object which doesn't belong in nature isn't always the most sought after photograph, I to take these shots. Personally, I prefer to use wireless remote shutter releases when doing so. I'll set the camera up and focus it on the feeder, then I sit well back and allow the birds to come by. When the time is right, the remote shutter release is used and the only thing the birds sees or hears is the shutter on the camera snapping. You can shoot all day like this without spooking your subjects. I present for the purpose of example, exhibit "A" & exhibit "B" :


Grassland Yellow Finch by © 2010 F/Sharp Photography, on Flickr


White-Breasted Nuthatch by © 2010 F/Sharp Photography, on Flickr


While these are not a photographs of a bird, they are photographs of other wild critters - this time in their natural environments. These photographs tend to be more pleasing to most. You be the judge. They are also far more difficult to obtain. For these examples, wireless shutter releases were not used. Stealth and cunning were at the forefront of these captures. Again, for the purpose of example, I present exhibit "C" & exhibit "D" :


Squirrely 2 by © 2010 F/Sharp Photography, on Flickr


Western Painted Turtles by © 2010 F/Sharp Photography, on Flickr
 
I know a guy that built himself a makeshift blind and a set for his bird shots, so though his photos are made in his backyard they look as if they were made out in the wilds.

His set is just a a bare branch and block of firewood he has set near the blind that he salts with bird seed.
 
I know a guy that built himself a makeshift blind and a set for his bird shots, so though his photos are made in his backyard they look as if they were made out in the wilds.

His set is just a a bare branch and block of firewood he has set near the blind that he salts with bird seed.

A fantastic idea indeed! Providing you don't live in an apartment and that yard offers some "nature like" qualities. Some how old tires, a stop sign or a rusted out school bus doesn't seem very "natural" to me. My point is simply that perhaps not everyone's yard would make a good candidate for such photograpy. Mine does. That's what counts to me...lol! With that said, a man made "natural" looking perch or feeder is a great idea!
 
When taking photos of birds, you need to remember that regardless of their breed, they have the eyes of a hawk. The slightest movement or sound will scare them off, theres no changing that, thats just how they are.

As suggested before, a shed would work just find, it would not let as much sound out so you can easily take photos and maybe slurp some tea in there while your at it. Another option is camoflauge. Your gonna need some camo gear and one of those sheets of netting that are used in army bases. Try not to move, also it would help if you got a remote capture device. Like, you press a button and you camera takes a photo. Less noise, less movement, better results.

Hope this helped.

Regards


Orbit.
 
I don't know what camera you are using but some like my D7000 have a quiet mode which does seem to reduce the sound coming from the camera. I have aslo heard of a device called a blimp but I have never seen or used one. It's basically a rigid box lined with baffling material (foam). They can have holes to allow for manipulating the camera or just one for the lens and viewfinder. If you have a setup like Olympus' and are pre-setting the camera or using semi-auto modes and a remote trigger then all you would need is a foam lined box with a hole for the lens.
 
I have a bird feeder and the birds come by eating seeds. When I get closer to the birds to shoot photos, the birds fly away. Tips, anyone?

! don't get close

Get a longer lens
 

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