Capturing birds in flight will require mountains of patience. Most environments where bird photography are favorable aren’t all that accessible too so if say, you are hiking up a mountain, it’s impractical t carry extremely heavy telephoto lens. Any extra weight in a long lens can also cause hand shake blurs, etc. In this post, we are listing down practical tips for better bird photography for beginners:
Using Shutter Priority Mode
One of the first things to keep in mind when shooting fast-moving subjects is exposure. We recommend using the shutter priority mode so that you can spring into action any time. Birds, even when they are standing still, can take off any time. And if you want to capture this moment, you have to make sure you are ready for any action at any time. You an use a wide aperture like f/2.8 or f/4 for a shallow depth of field but if you want total control over the shutter speed and aperture, you can turn to manual mode and set the ISO to auto.
Focusing on Subjects
The focus of the subject will depend on what approach you are taking and the kind of equipment you have. For instance, some lenses and cameras bodies offer faster auto focus so a little tweaking every now and then will help you learn how to work your camera to certain environments.
Because birds are moving objects, we recommend changing your auto focus to continuous focus mode. This is usually called AF-C or AI Servo. Continuous focus mode tracks the subject’s movement. However, if you want to experiment a little, you can focus manually and find different ways to set up your equipment to get the best shot.
Timing and Location
Birds are usually at their most active during spring time. Spring is the time when the ground softens and the seeds are sprouting everywhere. Bugs are crawling out and this is the kind of feast birds are looking for all winter long. This means to get great bird photos, springtime could be the best time to take photos. Similarly, autumn could be a great season for bird photography because this is the time when most birds are gathering food before the frost sets.
Achieving Better Field
While the main focus should be about capturing amazing photos of birds, don’t overlook the background too! The background should not clash with the subject so a clean and simple backdrop is ideal. Avoid too much clutter that’ll distract the eyes from the subject itself. You can use your perspective as well as your own point of view to remove certain elements from the background and blur out any other details to shift the eyes to the subject in the frame.