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Learn how to capture stunning photographs of birds in song
Tags:How to photograph birds singing,andy langley,animal photography,chris gomersall,go wild tv,how to photograph birds,how to photograph birds in song,photography tutorials,wildlife photography
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Birds in song are a challenging subject to all our photographers, first of all, why do they sing? Okay, generally speaking it’s only the males which sing and there are three main reasons: one is that they want to attract a mate and the other they’re advertising themselves to rival males, we’re up to this morning mist in gravel pitch and cane bridge here, amongst some dense Hawthorne scrub and around me I can hear Nightingales singing already, Blackbirds, Chief Chaffs, one of the few species of birds, some of those are migrants but they’ve only just arrived. Nightingale’s a fairly scarce bird; breeding population of something less than 5,000 pairs and they’re mostly confined to the South and East. For this shot I’m using a 600mm (--) lens with a 1.4 times teleconverter, quite a hefty piece of glass to carry around and pretty expensive too, and, but it’s excellent for stalking birds out in the open at distance. When you’re stalking Nightingales you probably hear them first and they might be very difficult to see, we just really need to stay around in the same area because it’s their singing they own the territory and it’s just crushing the time before they pop up. Usually if there are two or three birds in the same vicinity, when one starts singing they’ll bounce off each other and they reply to the other song. Typically I’ll be using the lens wide open here on maximum aperture looking for shift of speeds better than 250th of a second trying to stop the bill movement on the singing bird. If the bird’s moving around among branches and behind leaves quite often that would revert to using manual focus cause I know that the focus is going to detect to your subject. So with a very successful day and found quite a few Nightingales in the end, certainly paid to sit around for a while and watch and listen as you can see here they can be quite hard to spot than they’re on the grass but I do like the feeling we get here of peering through the leaves and getting this kind of privileged inside since it’s the bird’s private life; one thing I might do to improve the picture further in post production is to mask a bit of left and bottom of frame to move the subject off center. Here’s another with a bird a bit closer this time, but even that we’re getting lots of opportunities of birds within camera range, you do have to look around for line of sights and as they can so easily be hidden behind branches and foliage. Now this bird’s taking up quite an open perch and it’s sustained the birds of song and that has helped me in two ways: one, I’ve been able to consider a composition a bit more and I’ve placed in more to left of picture, not central so it’s a more pleasing composition and as it has been singing quite a lot, I’ve had chance to take a lot of shots and therefore a much better chance of getting at least one with the bill wide open. One thing I’m not so keen on this photograph for others to wait, it appears to be impaled through the breast by a brunch, and as always something like that that you can find fault a with, but you can see how important it is to keep trying taking new angles, different birds and eventually arrive at some sort of something near where you go, perfect vision. I’m lucky that I live quite closer this sites and I’ve been all to get back again and again over the years and take lots of photographs of Nightingales and these shots is one of my very favorites, it’s got that hazy foliage, and I have feel lots of considered composition, their souls are out by the fill flash I’ve used just to pick out the filling the shadows and pick out the bird’s eye. Hello, we’ve talked about Nightingales here; these techniques can be applied to all kinds of songbirds, whether it’s White Throats and Head Throws, also Blackbirds and Robins in the garden, so wherever you live you’ve got the chance to go out, apply these lessons and come back with some great images of birds in song.