Garden Photography In The Summer - Part 2

Holly Constantine shares her tips on capturing wildlife images in your garden during the summer.

| Animals / Wildlife

In part two of my article,  I will share some top tips on how to capture captivating wildlife images with the Tamron AF 70-300mm Tele-macro lens (focusing on both the normal 70-300mm focal lengths and the180-300mm macro focal lengths).

If you missed part one which looked at macro flower photography, have a read of it here: Garden Photography In The Summer - Part 1


Garden Photography In The Summer - Part 2: Bird


Choosing your Subject and Doing your Research

Similar to the flower macros, the first thing you need to consider is what garden wildlife you want to photograph. Once you have decided upon your chosen wildlife subject, take time to observe the animal to find the area that they more commonly visit (for example, the bird table or the back of the garden). Once you have identified this area, take time to think about possible compositions and framing and whether you will need to remove any distracting features (such as dead leaves or twigs).


Enticing your Subject

As you may already know, different animals are easier to photograph than others. Although you will be photographing the animals in their natural environment, a majority of them will automatically shy away from human presence. This means that you may need to entice them with a little bit of food. Make sure that the food you choose is suitable for the animal, and as a little tip, try using small samples to make them less noticeable within your final photograph.


Play with Perspective

When setting up your frame, consider getting down to your subjects level in order to create a more intimate and personal portrait of the animal. Being at a similar level to your chosen animal will also make you appear less intimidating, giving them greater confidence to approach the area.


Depth of Field

Again, similar to the flower macros, depth of field is a very important factor when photographing wildlife in the garden. It is suggested to use the manual focus in order to isolate the animal from its surroundings, focusing all of the viewer’s attention on the animal itself.


No Flash

Whilst taking wildlife photographs in the garden, make sure that the flash is off. Not only does the flash create unflattering shadows and glare that can take away from your image (as previously stated), it can also scare off any of your potential animal subjects.


Using a Fast Shutter Speed

As you will know, animals are very unpredictable in their movements, making them relatively difficult to photograph. Using a fast shutter speed of at least 1/500 second will mean that their unpredictable movement won’t create unwanted blur within your images.


Use a Tripod

Once again, the use of a tripod is imperative when photographing garden wildlife due to the fact that you will be using manual focus and no flash. As said above, not using a tripod will result in blurred photographs from even the slightest of movements. However, make sure that the panning lock is unlocked, allowing you to freely move your camera from side to side whilst following the movement of your wildlife subject.


Patience is Key!

Wildlife often tends to shy away from human presence so it will take time for your first subject to appear. To help the process, try and sit as still as possible with your finger on the shutter button waiting for the opportune moment to capture an image of your chosen animal.


For more information on Holly, take a look at her blog

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WereBo Avatar
WereBo 7 42 United Kingdom
31 Aug 2016 2:33PM
Another tip with garden (or balcony) photography is to spend time feeding the birds before photographing them. Let the birds see you filling the bird-feeder and/or bird-table, then retire back to a 'safe' distance to let them feed. If you're not too bothered by weird looks from the neighbours, talk to them in a soft high-pitched voice (smaller ears hear higher frequencies). After a week or so they'll associate your presence with food and start to trust you, then you can reduce the 'safe' distance day by day until you're close enough to get your decent shots.

If photographing birds through your window, ensure there's no lighting behind you i.e. another bright window or open door. Birds react to movements so if you're bobbing around in front of a light source, they'll fly off before looking to what was moving. Either close the door/curtains behind you, or move your position to a dimmer area of the room. It will also reduce any unwanted reflections on the glass.

If photographing through double-glazing, get as close to the glass as possible then point your camera straight-on to the glass rather than angled at one side, this will help reduce background reflections

These were taken from my PC chair through a double-glazed window, using a Nikon P610 'Bridge' camera set to it's 'Bird-Spotting' scene selector.



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