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Thread: Birds In the Wild

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    Birds In the Wild

    Falcons, owls, and hawks won't come to you– and won't let you come to them.Photographing wild birds from any distance takes time, skill, and the right equipment.

    Research your subject

    Practice for the unpredictability of wild birds by photographing falcons and eagles at raptor, nature, or wildlife centers. Study their movements and flight patterns to learn how to best capture pictures of them.

    Be ready to shoot

    Blend with the scenery. Remain motionless so the birds grow used to your presence. Camouflage or neutral clothing is useful but not essential. Aim and prefocus your camera at a spot where action is likely to occur. Have the viewfinder near your face and your finger poised over the shutter button so that you'll be ready to take a picture as soon as the right moment presents itself. This is where the patience comes in.

    Place the point of interest off-center

    Your pictures will be more interesting if your point of interest, the bird, is not in the center of the picture. Place the horizon a third of the way down from the top (or up from the bottom) of the frame. Or put the birds a third of the way in from the left or right. Experiment until you find a composition that appeals to you.

    Take lots of pictures

    Take lots of pictures to increase your chance of capturing just the right moment. Even the pros take lots of pictures and think nothing of filling a memory card just to get that one great shot.

    Pan your camera

    For a creative effect, follow the bird's action (pan) with your camera and press the shutter button while still moving the camera. Your subject will be sharp, but the background will blur indicating speed.

    Zoom and flash

    Take caution when photographing wild birds. They might have a nest nearby and could abandon the area if humans encroach upon them. They may even attack you, so use a zoom lens to get close. If you're using an SLR camera, try a powerful accessory zoom flash to extend the reach of your flash out to 30 or even 40 feet. The flash will brighten the bird and
    leave the background darker.

    Fill in with flash

    If the birds are resting in a shadow and the scenery behind them is in sunlight, turn on the flash to balance out the scene. This also reduces harsh shadows on their faces. For snapshot cameras, the maximum flash range will be about 10 feet.


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