I tell you what, trying to photograph birds is driving me round the bend!!
Seriously though, because I’m not confident I can capture a sharp image with my “long lens”, I decided to change things up a bit today, try a few things and use my Canon 18-55mm lens, that I know I can get a sharp image with.
Its a good job it was just me and the girls in the house this evening, because when I’d got the little ones dinners sorted and they were tucking into it, I headed off to the conservatory to hatch a plan.
Being restricted to a maximum focal length of 55mm, I was obviously going to need to get pretty close to the birds, to get a half decent shot.
My plan was to set my camera up right at the door opening, but only open one side of the door, not both, to obscure the camera and tripod, I could also duck down and hide behind the shut door.
Furthermore, I grabbed a bright pink crochet blanket, and draped it over my head and the camera. I looked like a right wally, no question……
Once I’d dialled my settings in, I headed back into the house to watch over the girls and make sure they were eating their dinners and not throwing it at each other, and to let the birds settle on the bread crumbs I’d thrown out just four or five feet from the back door on the grass.
Pretty close quarters, and I’d need to be quiet and hope the birds wouldn’t shy off the pink blanket!
As you can see, I finally got some half decent shots of the little birds, mostly sparrows and a black bird, and I’m fairly chuffed to be honest, though I could have done a better job on the edits I think.
Also, I’ve tried this a few times now, and this is by far the closest I’ve put the bread out, and I think the birds are building in confidence as they learn they have a free meal without being disturbed.
Maybe I will be able to get even closer in the future!
Learnings – arranging a composition while photographing these little birds is really difficult, and you are really at their mercy.
I had to use a wide aperture and fast shutter of course, and as the light changed even slightly I had to dial the exposure in again.
The main thing I learned today though, was that I was trying to capture a bird stood still on the ground, to try and get a sharp image; however when I looked back through the images the ones I liked most were the ones that were not perfect, but that captured the birds in flight, or moving about, playing and squabbling,
Then it hit me, of course it’s better to get an image of a bird flying, that is their no1 super power, they can fly, and the shapes they make when they are in flight are amazing, and beautiful to look at.
One for the future I think, but I definitely want to try and get some shots of birds in flight, and also I need to think more about my subjects characteristics overall; what makes them who or what they are, is what I need to be capturing in a photograph.