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- Telephoto zoom – 300-400mm will give you frame-filling shots
- Tripod – You'll need a sturdy support for your larger lenses and having a tripod with a ball-head means you can track the birds more easily. Take a look at Vanguard's SBH-20P.
- Gimbal head – If you're using a seriously heavy lens one of these will make life a lot easier and you'll be able to pan a lot smoother too.
Don't try heading out into your garden with a new camera as you don't want to be searching for buttons and messing around with settings when you only have seconds to take a shot. You also need to be quite close to the birds even if you are using a lens with plenty of reach as they are really tiny things and can be easily lost in your background. You'll have to hide out of sight so try shooting from your house, shed or if you have one, from a hide.
Make sure you have feeders out, particularly at this time of year when food's a little scarce, and place them in front of the branches and ready-made perches you want them to land on. That way they'll, hopefully, land on the branch in front of your chosen background before going for the food. You can even change the style of perch you're using to bring a bit of variety to your shots.
Hedges make great natural looking backgrounds but don't let the scenery overshadow your subject. Using a longer lens will help blur the background to stop this but don't be afraid to use wider apertures to blur it even more. Try collecting a few sheets of material that can help disguise a wall or fence too as they don't make particularly great backgrounds unless they're disguised.
Pay attention to the tips of tail feathers as these can become out of focus and don't be too eager to hit the shutter button the second a bird lands on your strategically placed branch as they're nervous creatures and it may take them a while to become comfortable with their surroundings.
Find the tripod and camera bag to suit your needs at www.vanguardworld.com