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Kid and Animal Photography FuelTip: Photographing Backyard Birds

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From the book
Laurie Excell, author of Bird Photography: A Guide to the Equipment, Techniques, and Locations for Capturing Beautiful Images, talks about how photographing birds in your backyard is a great way to practice your photography and learn birds' habits.

Fuel Books

A great place to begin practicing your skills is right in your own backyard. A bird feeder, water, and cover are all you need to attract birds. Installing a bubbler was one of the best investments I made in backyard bird photography. The variety and quantity of birds that visit my backyard have provided hours of observation and photo opportunities (A). With subjects so close and convenient, I can shoot at various times of the day and in different light conditions, working on stop action (B) and blur motion (C) right from my kitchen window.

A Water is the single best bird attractant you can provide.

ISO 200, 1/180 sec., f/8, Nikon AF-S 600mm f4 VR lens with TC-20E III 2X teleconverter, Nikon D3 full-frame body

B Fast shutter speeds capture stop-action motion of the water and birds’ wings.

ISO 400, 1/2000 sec., f/8, Nikon AF-S 600mm f4 VR lens with TC-20E III 2X teleconverter, Nikon D3 full-frame body

C Slow shutter speeds create a blur of fast-moving wings and the spray of water.

ISO 400, 1/125 sec., f/8, Nikon AF-S 600mm f4 VR lens with TC-20E III 2X teleconverter, Nikon D3 full-frame body

Backyard bird photography introduces you to the wonderful world of bird photography, its ups and downs, the patience required to capture great shots, and the knowledge of bird behavior that is needed to anticipate action. And as your skills improve, you can even work on capturing birds in flight (D).

D Capturing a hummingbird in midair takes considerable skills and patience.

ISO 400, 1/125 sec., f/8, Nikon AF-S 600mm f4 VR lens with TC-20E III 2X teleconverter, Nikon D3 full-frame body

Note
Setting up a couple of feeders near protective foliage with a stick for the birds to perch on lets you control where the birds land and what they land on, providing the best photo opportunity for good light and clean backgrounds.
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