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Should we expect more from bird photographers?


KathyW e2
11 1.8k 12 Norfolk Island
11 Jan 2013 11:23PM
I don't think we can realistically expect anything more from bird photographers, they do remarkably well taking everything into consideration - feathers, spindly legs, beaks etc... Now squirrels on the other hand... They could do far better

By the way Neil, that is an awesome shot of the Jay. Not easy birds to capture as they seem to be very shy. Smile

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keithh e2
11 23.4k 33 Wallis And Futuna
11 Jan 2013 11:26PM
Just lately I'd be more worried by the PIAP shots - Pig in a Poke.
StrayCat e2
10 15.5k 2 Canada
12 Jan 2013 1:12AM

Quote:From my past limited experience in bird photography, capturing the subject exactly where you want it, is a challenge.


Are you trying to say that all those bird images in the gallery are of live birds? Cheesh!!! I thought they were all stuffed...like mine.Tongue
12 Jan 2013 10:13AM
Ok, i have to confess that i do take BOAS, and worse i set-up and feed in order to take these.

'Should we expect more...' i think is a question that should not neccessarily be asked of just one discipline of photography but could easily be applied to any genre.

This site clearly has members of all abilities and interests and is not neccessarily a 'photographers site' but a site for people that do and have taken images with whatever equipment that have - as such we will always see a variation of results no matter the subject. I mean no offence by this, and have made very similar comments at local camera clubs which are remarkably similar.

Some of us are lucky enough to have the kit or knowledge or time to capture reasonable BOAS images and many of us do this in our own back yard, which means we can make these images without having to find the time to go further afield. Personally i work from an office at home a fair amount so nipping out to get BOAS for 10 minutes does not detract from the work day too much. I know some BOAS togs that are not particularly mobile so again a relatively interesting / appealing subject that is easily achievable for them. These are possibly contributory factors regards why there are so many of these images - but if you look at the gallery on any one day i don't think that it is a disproportionate representation.

As to why these images may be popular amongst viewers - simply an appreciation of the subject matter perhaps?

Most folk will spend a moment to watch a bird in their own garden but not everyone believes they can capture the subject well, so if they perceive that someone has done so then it appeals to them.
12 Jan 2013 4:59PM
I have a keen interest in all things wildlife since childhood, I had great ambitions when I started wildlife photography to get out and about and photograph otters, badgers, foxes etc., however my health had other ideas!
Some days I cannot leave the house, but I can photograph the birds in my garden Grin as can anyone regardless of camera equipment.
Unfortunately there are no otters, badgers & foxes in my garden and they are blimmen hard to get even when out and about lol.
I now have a dead tree in which I have drilled holes and filled with all sorts of treats to encourage the birds.
As has been said already there are a plentiful supply of feathered things to photograph hence the popularity.

I can understand where the OP is coming from, because I am still trying to get an image that is not the usual BOAS or BIF
I sit for hours and hours waiting for the right light and the right wing movement, getting the bird to make eye contact etc.
To date I am still not happy with any of my bird images, I want to do better, seeing how others photograph birds is a great help in my opinion.
I will vote on a bird image because I know the effort it takes to capture that moment in time, and it is most definitely not easy.Tongue
p12owe e2
2 101 2 United Kingdom
12 Jan 2013 6:03PM

Quote:I can understand where the OP is coming from, because I am still trying to get an image that is not the usual BOAS or BIF
I sit for hours and hours waiting for the right light and the right wing movement, getting the bird to make eye contact etc.
To date I am still not happy with any of my bird images, I want to do better, seeing how others photograph birds is a great help in my opinion.
I will vote on a bird image because I know the effort it takes to capture that moment in time, and it is most definitely not easy.Tongue



Thankyou for taking the time to understand the point. I have as you can see, had a few very sensible replies to what was a genuine question. I have also had the expected knee jerk reactions from people who look no further than the first line, I have even had my own work personally attacked. I like you, are not able to go out at present so looking for new projects.

I am in the process of building a feeding table for the back garden, hence my original question. In nearly all genres, it seems necessary for an image to have something extra to stand out or receive any accolade, with bird photography this does not always seem to be the case and even seems to be frowned upon by a small section of bird photographers. I was curious as to what I should be trying to achieve when attempting my own bird photography. As you quite rightly say, It is hard enough to get a good shot at just the right moment, Think how satisfying it must be to go for, and get a really stunning image!Smile
tomcat e2
9 6.2k 15 United Kingdom
12 Jan 2013 6:22PM

Quote:and even seems to be frowned upon by a small section of bird photographers


Not entirely sure, what you mean PeterSmile

Adrian
p12owe e2
2 101 2 United Kingdom
12 Jan 2013 6:46PM
At our local club any shot of a bird not sitting on a stick or picking up a dead fish that someone has thrown for it, will be roundly and loudly tutted just for the judges benefit! I am just assuming there might be a few others out there!
StrayCat e2
10 15.5k 2 Canada
12 Jan 2013 7:02PM
If you aren't able to walk, or drive, to get out and about, how about visiting conservatories? I rediscovered our zoo last summer, and it has saved me 100s of dollars in travel expenses. I got senior's membership, including parking, for $65.00 per year, a real bargain in today's world. I visit at least 3 or 4 times a week with my camera, and the opportunities are limitless; all it takes is a bit of an imagination. There are also indoor gardens to visit in most cities, where one can spend hours in comfort creating great images. If transportation were a problem, we have city wide free transport for any disabled persons, manned by volunteers. I'm not restricted in any way, and I'm not disabled, but I usually did my photography in the Canadian Rockies. That can get a bit expensive in gasoline, etc., for the car, so I only take a drive to the mountains about once or twice a month now, compared to a couple times per week before I got a membership at the zoo, which is a 20 minute drive from home.

Denny

PS: I should mention that most of the places I mentioned have motorised chairs or wheelchairs for rent.
tomcat e2
9 6.2k 15 United Kingdom
12 Jan 2013 7:44PM

Quote:At our local club any shot of a bird not sitting on a stick or picking up a dead fish that someone has thrown for it, will be roundly and loudly tutted just for the judges benefit! I am just assuming there might be a few others out there!


If I read you correct, then what you are saying, is that your local judges frown upon anything that isn't on a "stick" etc

This depends on the subject at hand - a small bird, IMO needs an uncluttered background, so the eye is drawn to the bird itself. Of course it needs a decent perch too.
However, larger birds like waders, herons etc; etc, need the background to emphasize their habitat

As regards to the "dead fish" remark, the only shots I see on here are the Puffins, who have just caught their Sandeels out of the sea, or Herons/Grebes etc; who again have just caught a live fish. The same goes for Kingfishers, though some of the toggers (no criticism) have the fish in a contained trough just under the water line.

Birds of Prey - some are stage managed, but some are taken out in the field.

A very strange set of affairs - An Eagle Owl with a dead rabbit (stage managed) will hit the roof, but a shot of a Sparrowhawk, who has just caught, say a Blue tit will bomb.

Having said all of the above, none of it is easy I can assure you

To achieve the shots (most of) that I take now, I am well under ten feet from my subject. A lot of time and hard work has gone into achieving this and I still walk away with only say half a dozen decent shots, from a three hour session

Just putting up a mossy perch will not work. The birds might not take to it. You have to evaluate, from which direction they fly in - how far from the food source do they like to perch, before they make the final swoop, etc; etc;

I have spent hour upon hour, year after year learning the fieldcraft that supports all of this

I do wish you luck though with your bird tables etc;


Adrian
p12owe e2
2 101 2 United Kingdom
12 Jan 2013 7:55PM

Quote:
I do wish you luck though with your bird tables etc;
Err... thanks, I think...



I suspect given what you can do with your camera, and if you still need to be well under 10' from the subject, with a 400mmm and an extension, my own 300mmm and lil' ol' birdtables will be doomed to failure. Still it will be fun trying!
tomcat e2
9 6.2k 15 United Kingdom
12 Jan 2013 8:04PM
It was meant my friendSmile or I would not have said itWink

Now then, you have fallen into the abyss of pessimism, before you even get startedSad

You don't have to be that close - I chose to be, to avoid any major cropping. Also, the minimum focussing distance of my lens is 3.5 metres - the 12mm extension tube fools the camera and I can focus down to 2.8 metres
If you set your tables up close enough and have some "cover" - I know a well respected togger on here, who shoots out of a ground floor window, with a net curtain draped over the camera etc; you should do OK

The perches/tables are only 10/12 feet from the camera

Adrian
lawbert e2
7 1.8k 15 England
12 Jan 2013 8:08PM

Quote:I was curious as to what I should be trying to achieve when attempting my own bird photography. As you quite rightly say, It is hard enough to get a good shot at just the right moment, Think how satisfying it must be to go for, and get a really stunning image!Smile


What is a stunning Bird Image?

To me the main criteria is the subject has to be sharp.

Going further add a superb background to highlight the beauty of the subject.

Understand your subjects behavior and your camera and lens capabilities and go for an inflight.

Any more than that is down to your own creativity as to set up a scene and introduce further elements and tecniques to get something original.

But as with any genre of photography the only person you have to please is yourself, and bird photography is a very time consuming pastime with little reward until you nail the basicsWink

One of many Im proud of.




And having spent much time on Birds in Flight I have been able to carry the tecnique over to Dragonflies.




I hope this helps and the BIGGEST criteria of Bird Photography is Understanding your subjects BehaviourWink
tomcat e2
9 6.2k 15 United Kingdom
12 Jan 2013 9:45PM

Quote:I have spent hour upon hour, year after year learning the fieldcraft that supports all of this


...and I still can't get it rightWinkWinkWinkWinkWinkWinkWinkWink

Adrian
lawbert e2
7 1.8k 15 England
12 Jan 2013 10:43PM

Quote:
my own 300mmm and lil' ol' birdtables will be doomed to failure. Still it will be fun trying!



Perhaps you should take your tin hat off and stop whinging and get on with itWink

All the songbirds in My PF are taken in my very small back garden.....Many with a 100mm macro lens.

Have a gander at peoples kit and shooting info via thier exif data and you will learn a lotWink

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