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Photographing Birds In Your Garden


11 February, 2021


Photographing Birds In Your Garden

To the beginner, the huge lenses and fancy DSLRs employed by enthusiastic nature photographers can put you off the idea of photographing birds, but it’s perfectly possible to have a go in your garden without a huge financial investment.

This week we’ll show you how to create the perfect environment to attract wildlife – and entice them close enough to take some great images that would look fantastic printed on canvas and hung on your wall.

Attracting birds to your garden

With so many furry domesticated predators in urban areas (yes, we mean cats!), it’s crucial that you provide a safe place for birds to feed if you want them to visit you regularly. If they have a reliable supply of good quality food and feel safe enough to perch and eat they’ll make your garden a regular stop on their rounds. Fortunately, you can now buy excellent feeding stations that allow you to attract different species by adding a variety of foods – they also offer great visibility so your visitors will feel safe.

However, feeds tend to be made from plastic, so it’s a good idea to create perches out of sticks close to the feeders so that you can shoot your subjects in as natural a setting as possible. They’ll use them to hop to and fro between the feeders, providing you with some great shots.

Preparing the scene

Photographing birds is similar to taking portraits of people – the subject is the star of the show, but the background has to work too. Generally, you’ll be shooting as wide as you can in order to blur out the background, but a busy backdrop will always detract from the image, so try to set-up your shooting position so that the background is uncluttered. Trees, bushes or hedges, for example, make the perfect backdrop, but if this isn’t possible a plain wall will also work.

Be patient

There’s a reason enthusiasts use such long lenses – they allow you to keep your distance from skittish birds. On a budget, that’s a luxury you can’t afford, so it’s essential to make your visitors feel comfortable with your presence by thinking a little laterally:

Make a ‘scarecrow’ and set it in a chair about ten feet away from the feeders - over time the birds will learn to ignore it.

When your visitors are comfortable with the scarecrow replace it with yourself, but be patient and resist the urge to use your camera. Begin by sitting quietly before gradually introducing slow movements – your goal is to have the birds feel secure enough to eat without worrying about you eating them!

Eventually, you can bring a camera into the garden and start shooting. If you get this right you’ll be able to take some great images with a fairly standard 200mm focal length lens.
Have fun!

As you can see, the key to photographing birds in your garden is preparation and patience, but the most important thing to remember is to have fun, so follow these tips and start taking some great photos of your new feathered friends!

Tags bird photography, canvas art


11 February, 2021

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