All Photographs by David lilly
Latest Bird Photos
Winter Bird Photography Tips
Winter can be a wonderful time for bird photography, as the snow and unique lighting conditions can add a magical touch to your images. Here are some tips to help you capture stunning winter bird photos:
Choose the Right Gear:
Use a telephoto lens:
Birds are often skittish and may not allow you to get too close. A telephoto lens with a focal length of at least 300mm is recommended.
Consider a lens with a wide aperture (low f-stop) for better performance in low-light conditions.
Make sure you are dressed appropriately for the cold weather. This includes warm clothing, gloves, and insulated boots, as winter photography sessions can be long and chilly.
Understand Bird Behavior:
Learn about the behavior of the birds you want to photograph. Understanding their habits can help you anticipate their movements and capture more dynamic shots.
Look for areas where birds are likely to gather, such as feeding stations, bodies of water that remain unfrozen, or locations with easily accessible food sources.
Use a Tripod:
In low light conditions, a tripod can help stabilize your camera and prevent camera shake, especially when using slower shutter speeds.
Adjust White Balance:
Snow can fool your camera's auto white balance, resulting in a blue tint. Adjust the white balance settings to compensate for this and keep the snow looking white.
Pay Attention to Lighting:
Winter lighting can be both challenging and beautiful. Early morning and late afternoon light are often warm and provide a pleasing glow. Experiment with different lighting conditions to capture unique images.
Focus on Composition:
Pay attention to composition principles such as the rule of thirds, leading lines, and framing. A well-composed image can make a significant difference in the visual impact of your photograph.
Patience is Key:
Wildlife photography, in general, requires patience. Winter conditions may make it more challenging to find and photograph birds, so be prepared to wait for the right moment.
Use a fast shutter speed to freeze bird motion, especially if they are in flight. Adjust your ISO to maintain proper exposure, and consider using aperture priority mode to control the depth of field.
Bring Extra Batteries:
Cold temperatures can affect battery life. Bring extra batteries and keep them warm in an inside pocket to ensure your camera remains powered.
Always prioritize the well-being of the birds. Keep a safe and respectful distance, and avoid disturbing their natural behavior. Remember that winter conditions can be harsh, so take precautions to keep yourself and your equipment protected. With the right preparation, winter bird photography can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience.
Upside Down Nuthatch
A while back I wrote an article about the White-breasted nuthatch. in the article I talked about how the nuthatch is upside down for ninety percent of the time, just like the photo to the right.
I was photographing this nuthatch and was lucky to get its wings open. They are very fast, if you blink they are gone.
I consider myself lucky to get this photo.
Nikon d 500 with a Nikon 200 - 500mm lens.
All bird photos do not have to be exposed properly.
There are other techniques a photographer can use.
In the case of the Hairy woodpecker to the right, the sun was setting. So, instead of trying to expose the bird, I decided to underexpose for rim lighting. By doing so I avoided a common problem in situations similar to this - burning out the background
Nikon D 500 with a Nikon 500mm pf lens
Colourful Rock Pigeon
The Rock pigeon is a colourful bird in the right light.
Photographing the bird in the snow in a way to isolate it against the snow was a bonus. They are not easy to photograph as they spook easily.
Nikon D 500 with a Nikon 500mm pf lens