In the past, bird photography was reserved for those with very deep pockets. With long prime lenses costing more than $8000, their high prices excluded those of us with more modest budgets from the party. However, with the advent of relatively inexpensive super-zoom lenses from Sigma and Tamron, and even some from the mirrorless camera makers, it is much easier to get into bird photography these days. In this article, I want to give you some bird photography tips for creating compelling images of these beautiful creatures. I will talk briefly about gear but will focus more on the techniques for capturing great images of birds.
I recently made a couple of changes to my photography gear which resulted in me adding a Nikon 1 V3 to my kit and selling my J4 with WP-N3 waterproof housing. I wanted to put my new acquisition to the test and decided to photograph some water birds. So, I headed off to La Salle Park in Burlington Ontario as I had heard that there was over a thousand birds at that location. While the winter is often drab and dull, photographing birds can still be a very enjoyable outing.
My apologies for being silent here at Photography Life for over a month! I’ve been away on an extended holiday/field trip in New Zealand with my wife, and our busy schedule didn’t allow time to prepare any new articles for Photography Life. While the vast majority of our New Zealand photography focused on landscape images for our planned photography e-book, I did have the chance to capture a selection of photographs of various marine birds and mammals during our trip.
Like many folks after I’ve been working hard, either physically or mentally, I like to grab a camera and relax by capturing a few images. This afternoon I finished building a ‘honey-do’ project in the backyard and I had a little bit of available time. So, I grabbed one of my cameras and headed off to Hendrie Valley where I spent an interesting hour capturing some images of birds in flight.
For most folks who enjoy photographing wildlife in general, and birds-in-flight in particular, having additional ‘reach’ with their gear is always preferred. I was out yesterday morning attempting to capture some Purple Martin in flight and came to the realization that sometimes shorter is better.
I’ve been quite busy with client work lately and I decided that I needed a break. So, today I headed out to photograph birds-in-flight with my Nikon 1 J5. As most folks know, this camera does not have a viewfinder, so I used four, thick elastic bands to attach my Zacuto Z-Finder to the rear of the J5. It ended up being reasonably snug against the back of the camera. While not particularly elegant looking, it did get the job done.
In today’s digital photography age, most novice bird photographers are happy just capturing a bird portrait with their cameras. After a while, the natural progression is to try and capture some action shots of birds in flight, but that is where most avian photographers struggle. Why? The answer is quite simple; they don’t have enough shutter speed!
No matter how much planning is done, depending on the photography genre weather can often be an issue – and sometimes you need the cooperation of a much higher power – Mother Nature!
I’ve been doing some experimentation the last little while photographing birds in motion at 60fps with my Nikon 1 V2. I thought Photography Life readers may enjoy seeing a few sample images captured at this fast frame rate. All images in this article are consecutive hand-held captures of individual birds.
During our recent holiday in the Myrtle Beach area of South Carolina I had the opportunity to spend some time photographing birds at Murrells Inlet. Early February is not the best time for bird photography as the number of birds and range of species is somewhat limited. Never-the-less I persevered and visited the inlet a number of times, usually going out to the end of the pier.