10 Tips On Photographing Robins
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|Category:||Animals / Wildlife|
10 Top Robin Photography Tips - Want to have a go at robin photography but aren't sure how to do it? Have a read of these 10 quick tips.
We know robins are a popular photographic subject but for those who've never tried to photograph a robin before, here are a few quick tips to help you out. Plus, most of the tips can be used for capturing other garden birds who visit your garden this winter.
Long LensesTelephoto lenses are a must as robins, and other garden birds, will look tiny in your shot without the pulling power of a longer lens. Around the 300-400mm mark should give you the frame-filling shots you're looking for.
SupportFor sharp images, a tripod is a must and if you have one, fit a ball head to it as you'll be able to adjust the camera's position at a much greater speed.
Know Your CameraStruggling to find buttons and dials is not what you need when you can quite literally have a few seconds to capture a good shot so make sure you know your camera well before you take it outside. Talking of cameras, don't forget you can still purchase a PENTAX K-3 and receive a minimum of £85 when you trade in any camera!
Feed The BirdsYou can't expect to go into your garden and find a robin waiting to be photographed. To attract birds, you need to set up feeding stations to encourage them to visit regularly. Having a mixture of different seeds, peanuts and fat balls on offer will attract varied species too. Robins like mealworms and berries, which can start to be found on bushes, are always popular with certain bird species. If you move your feeders to a particular spot when taking photos, always remember to move them back after as many birds may have become reliant on them. Don't suddenly stop feeding them either.
PerchPlacing branches next to feeders will mean that (hopefully) they'll land on the more photogenic branch before heading for the feeder, giving you the chance to capture a more natural shot. Garden furniture, tools and other non-natural objects can work equally well as a perch, particularly when covered in a layer of snow or frost.
BackgroundsHedging always works well as backgrounds as when you blur it, the colours will look natural. Whatever you choose, make sure it's not too busy.
Inside Or Out?If you are going to brave the cold then invest in a hide because as the name suggests, this will keep you 'hidden' from view so the robin is less likely to fly off. You can also position the hide to give you the best vantage point but do wrap up warm as sitting for an hour out in the cold will soon have you wishing for your slippers, a hot drink and a comfy seat next to the fire.
If you don't fancy sitting in the cold, there are two methods that allow you to work from inside your home. The first is with a IR release but for this to work you do have to venture outside for a little while so you can set your camera up and set its focus. Unlike when you're working in a hide, this method means you can't adjust the composition or focus, making the method a little more limiting.
The second option is to bring your camera and tripod inside so you can shoot through a window (if you have one overlooking your garden). Position your tripod so your lens is as close to the glass as possible (without touching it so when doors etc. shut it doesn't shake your lens) and switch your house lights off to minimise reflections. A lens hood could also be useful as this will shield your lens or you could try cupping it with your hand.
Sharp ShotsSmall birds are fast and they don't tend to stay still as even when they are feeding they twitch their heads to check what's happening around them. For this reason you need a high enough shutter speed to ensure they stay sharp. You also need to make sure your not throwing the tips of tail feathers and beaks out of focus when you're trying to create your out of focus backgrounds. Try around the f/8 mark but do adjust if needed. Also, use your LCD screen and zoom in on the beak and tail tip areas to double-check everything's sharp.
You may find that adjusting your focus manually gives you more accurate results and as winter light can be weak, don't be afraid to use higher ISOs to reach the shutter speeds you need.