Birds are among nature’s most fascinating creatures. For the wildlife photographer, they are one of the hardest subjects to master, but as with all photographic difficulties, perseverance can bring great rewards. If you have ever witnessed the elaborate courtship display of the great crested grebe, watched a small passerine searching for material to line its nest, or seen an osprey plunge into icy water to snatch a fish, you quickly realize why birds are such popular subjects for photographers all around the world. Wherever you are, there is never a shortage of feathered subjects and there is a huge diversity of species, all with their various specializations. Many of them are easily accessible, even in a suburban environment, and some will permit a very close approach, so there are endless possibilities for capturing a stunning image.
- Telephoto zoom lens
(for example, 75–300mm)
Telephoto lens(ideally 400mm or longer)• Carbon-fibre tripod• Monopod• Beanbag
Wimberley tripod head
Fully-charged spare camera battery
noticed thisheron perched motionless on a mossy rock underneath a large waterfall, and immediately saw the potential for an environmental study. I managed to crawl to the water’s edge without being seen,placed the camera on a tripod and used a slow shutter speed to blur the movementof the water, capturing the bird in its habitat.
Canon EOS-1D Mk IV, 100–400mm L IS, ISO 50,1/8 sec. at f/16, tripod
It can be helpful to compare the aperture to the pupil of an eye. Pupils widen and contract to control the amount of light entering the retina. Aperture works in a similar way. Altering the size of the aperture adjusts the speed at which light can pass through the lens to expose the camera’s sensor. If a large aperture is selected, light can enter quickly – so a faster corresponding shutter speed is necessary to produce a correct exposure. If a small aperture is selected, it takes longer for the light to enter the lens and expose the sensor, so a slower shutter speed is needed. Apertures are stated in numbers, known as f-stops. The aperture range varies depending on the speed of the lens, with some optics having more or fewer settings. The typical standards for aperture are shown in the diagram below: f/2.8, f/4, f/5.6, f/8, f/11, f/16, f/22. The f-numbers relate to whole-stop adjustments. However, most modern cameras allow you to alter the aperture in 1/2- and 1/3-stop increments, for even greater control. Confusion often arises because large apertures are represented by low numbers (f/2.8 or f/4, for example), while smaller apertures are represented by higher numbers (like f/22 or f/32). To help you remember which value is bigger or smaller, it is useful to think of f-stops as being fractions – for example, 1⁄8(f/8) is smaller than 1⁄4(f/4). F-numbers correspond to a fraction of the focal length. For example, f/2 indicates that the diameter of the aperture is half the focal length; f/4 is a quarter; f/8 is an eighth; and so on. With a 50mm lens, the diameter at f/2 would be 25mm; at f/4 it is 12.5mm. A lens is often referred to by its settings – maximum and minimum. Its maximum – or fastest – aperture relates to the widest setting; closing it down to its smallest setting – which allows the least amount of light through – is said to be the lens’s minimum aperture. Until fairly recently, many optics were constructed with an aperture ring, which the photographer adjusted to select the f-stop required. Today, however, few lenses are designed with an adjustable ring – instead, aperture is quickly and conveniently adjusted via the camera itself, often using a command dial or wheel.
Best Len For Bird Photography
For bird and mammal photography, a focal length of at least 300mm is required. Fast, prime telephotos like this Nikkor 400mm f/2.8 are quite pricey, but there are many more affordable options available.
|Depth of field becomes progressively shallower at longer focal lengths and higher magnifications. However, as long as focusing is precise, this can help you to isolate your subject from its environment, throwing surrounding vegetation pleasantly out of focus.|
Nikon D300, 120–400mm (at 400mm), ISO 200, 1/400 sec. at f/5.6, handheld