Shooting birds with Michal Krause

 

1. Wait for the right moment

Watch the birds and look for interesting behavior that is worth taking pictures. For example, purple sandpipers stretch their legs and wings sometimes, as you can see in the following photo. Besides the interesting pose itself, it also helped me to make a sharp image because these small birds move quickly when looking for food on the shore and they rarely stop.

 

2.Utilize the surroundings

Many photographers often focus on capturing the main subject, which of course is a bird. I like to use the environment that surrounds it. A carefully selected composition that incorporates surrounding elements in the photo, such as interestingly colored petals, can elevate the result. Using a zoom lens helps me in such situations. You can also adopt the same approach if the focal length of your lens is not sufficient for a closer shot.

 

3.Look for the spotlights in the background

Completely blurred background works well in bird photography, but honestly, sometimes it’s a bit boring. When shooting in the forest, you often encounter light shining through the trees in the background. Instead of trying to avoid them, you can use them to our advantage. The patterns they create in a photo can add an interesting element to it. However, you should not use smaller apertures, otherwise, the nicely blurred circles quickly turn into disturbing points. Do not worry that your lens is not fast enough - I took the following photo on f/6.4.

 

4. Capture the motion

Although many expect that every feather should be perfectly sharp, it is valid to use longer times and motion blur to emphasize movement. There is no universal recommendation of suitable exposure time, but you can start with 1/30 or 1/60 seconds. In some situations, you don’t have to worry about experimenting with even longer times.

 

5. Use advanced features of your camera

Modern cameras offer a variety of features that can help us to made interesting photos. For example, a pre-capture mode that stores a certain number of pictures taken before the shutter button was fully pressed, is great for capturing the action. In other situations, the ability to control the camera over Wi-Fi may be useful. This is how I made the following photograph of the Australian brush-turkey. It is a bird which is not too afraid of people, but he would not let me get this close. The camera on the tripod near his path didn’t bother it, and I was triggering it using my smartphone from a safe distance.

Bonus tip

Try to combine these tips - for example, remotely control the camera with a wide-angle lens to capture the bird in its environment, or combine eye-catching static elements in the scene with a bird’s motion. Be creative and you’ll be able to make interesting photos even in seemingly ordinary places.

However, always remember you must not threaten or disturb the birds when taking pictures!

 

 

MICHAL'S GEAR:

 

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