Tuesday 24 March 2009

Garden Bird Photography

Spring is a good time of year to get some great shots of your garden birds, The adults will have young to feed so will be busy at the feeders and the trees have blossom on which will add some colour to your shots, Decide on what birds you want to shoot and then make a garden studio where you can control the light direction and the perch making sure that the perch will suit the bird,Don't have a great big branch for small birds to land on-it has to look natural and proportionate, I have various types of feeder for different birds, I have a pole with hanging feeders with nuts/seeds and fat and a flat bed feeder for birds that like the feet on the ground feeding, Certain foods will attract certain birds,Niger seeds for instance will bring goldfinch in and suet/fat will bring in woodpeckers, So with the flat feeders i strap (using cable ties) a nice looking branch above for birds to land on or a place for them to perch whilst waiting their turn to feed, The pole feeders have various branched/twigs strapped next to each feeder, I change these throughout the year-spring time i will use some pussy willow or some cherry/apple blossom and in the winter i will use some holly or similar with berries for added colour, For woodpeckers and nuthatch i will find a nice looking branch-not too thick and drill some holes in it which i fill with peanuts or fat and strap it to a pole or partly bury it so that it sticks straight up out of the ground like a small tree,The woodpeckers will soon find the peanuts and use it on a regular basis,Make sure when you set your stages up that the light will be in the right direction i.e from behind and that the background is good-use a tree or bush in the background to give a nice diffused even colour, Your garden doesn't have to be big but try to get a good distance from feeder to background say 30 feet or more, When shooting the birds i use a hide and try to use F8-11 to try to get all the bird in focus-remember to focus on the eye, Prefocus on the perch for speed as they flit around the perch you will need to be quick,If your shutter speed is low then use a higher ISO


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