A setup is using food, water, sound or other attractants to cause birds to perch or fly within close range of your camera for the purpose of creating detailed natural looking images. If you are already into digital photography you can get into back yard setups easily and inexpensively. The food you choose should be based on what bird species are in your area and what their preferences might be. If the perch you are using has some leaves or small twigs extending from it you can remove a few of those creating a small empty space and birds will usually land there. I fashioned a 5 foot square frame of 1 inch PVC pipe and attached the base of the blind to the frame with wire ties.
You want a blind that has some way to adjust the window size so you can snug it closely around your lens as possible.
Keep in mind your subjects are small, they move constantly, you are magnifying those moves with a telephoto lens so … you really want a solid foundation to shoot from.
Place a perch near your feeder, it can be an old tree branch in an old flower pot, just make it simple and it should look natural.
Also consider the shape, configuration and orientation of the perch in relation to the camera and the background. If you are trying for bigger birds (like Jays or Woodpeckers) you can use a thicker perch and drill some holes in it to fill with suet or seeds, just keep these out of sight in your image. Place your blind about 15 to 20 feet from the perch (close to the minimum focus distance of your lens) and leave it up as much as possible so it is part of the landscape and birds will be accustomed to it.
Set your tripod and camera at a comfortable height so you do not have strain to look through the viewfinder. You need as much shutter speed as possible and underexposure is "death" to a digital image.
Also take into consideration the pose and head angle of the bird, it's best if the head is parallel to the camera or angled slightly toward you.
I have found that birds will react more to motion than they do sound so avoid sudden fast moves as many times they can see that even inside the blind. When there's a break in the action you can adjust exposure, review your images and consider if you need to move the perch or the blind slightly to improve the light or the background. If your images aren't sharp try increasing ISO or lowering the f-stop slightly so you use more shutter speed. I have noticed birds are most active in the morning especially the first 2 hours after sunrise but there can periods of activity on and off all day.
Use your imagination, change the perches frequently so all your images don't look the same.
Please support this site and my family by using the links provided throughout the site to make your purchases. Learn how to take great sunrise and sunset photos with these 8 tips from a pro photographer. This Photo of the Day was donated by a participant in the annual National Wildlife Photo Contest. Halloween is coming soon and to help get you in the mood, we wanted to put out these 10 Scary Trail Camera Photos. This old lady showing up on your camera would probably give you a little scare when you saw it on your laptop.


This is definitely something that would scare me when I pulled my card from my camera and plugged it into my computer.
Of course I didn't invent the idea and there is much about this on the internet and in books.
Along with some very basic equipment all you need is the desire to learn and experiment plus some persistence. Using imagination and creativity in selecting and positioning the perches will pay off with more unique images. I use Xmas tree holders, an old tripod or light stand, wire ties, string, tape, clamps, whatever you can find. You can shoot from your house through an open window but this doesn't let you change position and it's hard to get good light on the subject. I would recommend a focal length of at least 300 to 400mm to allow you to be back away from the perch 15 to 20 feet or so but still allow you nearly fill the frame with your subject and be able to get good detail.
A gimbal type head is not mandatory but is very helpful to allow you to easily aim the camera.
If you are in a relatively open area with good light you can make great images without flash but there are many times when it really helps to have just some fill flash to eliminate shadows, enhance color and contrast as well as give a little extra light so you can increase shutter speed. It will take some time for your local birds to find the food and develop a habit of visiting regularly. Background elements should be as plain as possible and as far back as possible so they will be out of focus. Don't give the birds too many options of where to land otherwise you will have difficulty keeping your camera aimed at them. I will assume you know how to operate a DSLR and make basic adjustments to exposure parameters.
I frequently use ISO of 1000 to 1600 if I have to in order to keep the overall exposure correct and enable a faster shutter speed. Of course keep the opening in the blind as small as possible to just let the lens protrude.
Very bright cloudless days when the sun is high in the sky are bad, the images have strong shadows and are usually too contrasty. I really enjoy the challenge of trying to make the birds pose where I want them and challenge of using proper camera techniques to create sharp, well exposed images with pleasing backgrounds and with somewhat artistic composition. I know that if I went out to check my camera and came home to some of these, I’d be a little bit freaked out. Check out our user submissions and if you liked this article, you may like these terrible camo wedding photos as well. I have been reading and working at this for about 5 years and this article is sort of a list of suggestions, ideas and techniques that I have learned and used to successfully create pleasing images.
I use Sunflower seed, Safflower Seed, Thistle seed, Corn and suet cakes (usually peanut flavored).
You must also try to predict how the bird will sit on the perch so you can orient it appropriately to get the best image.
Again I would not skimp too much on the tripod, get the best one you can afford, I believe it makes a difference in image sharpness.
You will want one that has high speed sync and is manually adjustable as well one with a high guide number (ie a powerful output).


That way you can get fill flash on your subject at a distance and since the light is focused your flash uses less output and the batteries last longer. The birds that will come are generally small and they are constantly moving, you are using a telephoto lens that has significant magnifying power so without a really fast shutter speed you will rarely get a sharp image. Read and learn to use the histogram, find out what it means to push the exposure to the right without blowing out the highlights.
If you do not like manual mode, it is certainly fine use aperture priority or shutter priority mode.
When you see what you like, start shooting, if possible take a lot of images - but I don't think the "machine gun" approach usually works too well. Check out these 10 Scary Trail Camera Photos and please send us your freaky trail cam photos and we’ll put them out on the site. I use a few suet cages and a platform feeder fixed to an old 4X4 post about 4 feet tall and held up by a cheap plastic Xmas tree holder.
Small birds look better on delicate perches and the woodpeckers look better on a thicker trunk-like perch. I think the images look best with a side view of the bird with it angled slightly toward the camera. This is not a necessity but is an option that works in many areas and can be helpful if you are traveling for photographing birds and don't have the availability of a setup. Take some time to think about where to put the feeders, consider that you will be placing a perch close to the feeder and you will place your blind within 15 feet or so and you want the sun at your back. Look at the histogram and make sure there is no data pushed against the left side (ie under exposed).
You will have some birds that are very skittish and some that will let you shoot all you want.
I am not a pro photographer and you may find many other opinions or techniques that are different from mine. Mealworms are a popular attractant for Blue Birds and other species but they are expensive. Once you have honed your tripod and long lens technique you can go slower and get away with it occasionally. Sometimes it's best to let them come and go a few times before you start shooting so they aren't permanently frightened away. A small fountain to make the water gurgle attracts a lot of species especially in winter if local water sources are frozen. If the branch has leaves or blossoms you can remove a few in just a small section and birds will naturally perch in that open space. I also like AI Servo mode so the camera stays focused on a moving object when I keep the shutter pressed halfway.



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Comments to «Wildlife photography tips safari»

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    Personal choice, use first picked up my DSLR lens after repositioning any a part of the setup. Digicam and.