Growing up with an avid birder for a father, I have always paid quite close attention to birds. While I am certainly no expert on bird photography (partly owing to not having the right equipment), I have compiled a few tips for novice avian photographers:
- Buy (or perhaps hire) the longest telephoto lens you can afford – a 300-400mm would probably be best, though you would be looking at about R100 000 ($10 000 or £6 000).
- Despite my previous tip, remember that you can always zoom and crop in post-processing.
- If you are unsure where to find birds near you, find the nearest bird hide, or even putting up a bird-feeder in your own garden.
- Avoid sudden movements and noises if you are trying to approach a bird – they can be very skittish!
- Research which birds can be found in your area before trying to photograph them – knowing their habits not only helps to find them, but also to anticipate their behaviour.
Camera settings for avian photography are very similar to those for wildlife photography;
- Set your camera to Av Mode,
- set your shooting mode to continuous,
- use the widest aperture possible (for both a blurred background and speed), and
- use the fastest shutter speed possible.
These are some photos I have taken of birds over the past few years:
Next week, I will be talking about the more creative side of wildlife photography.