Date: 1/9/21 3:11 pm
From: Wayne Hoffman (via carolinabirds Mailing List) <carolinabirds...>
Subject: Re: Request for Photography Tips
Hi -

First, I am going to quibble a bit with Chris. His tips are very good for getting the best-lit photos. However, if you are trying to document sightings, rather than (or in addition to) creating art, then you need to learn how to take photos in whatever conditions you have. If you cannot get to a point where the sun is directly behind you, take photos anyway. Or, take a few, then try to move into position to get the better ones. In other words, do not let the perfect be the enemy of the adequate. Learn how to take photos that are side-lit, even back-lit. Your best photos from an artistic perspective likely will come in Chris's early morning light, but if the Kirtland's Warbler pops up in front of you at noon you still need to know how to get a serviceable photo at noon.

1. Once you have invested in the camera and lens, the cost of the next digital photo you take is incredibly low. All you are really doing is re-arranging electrons in your storage media, and all it costs to take the next shot is a tiny bit of the electrical charge in the battery. So, take lots of shots, and learn to be ruthless in discarding the poorer ones.

2. Bird photography very often requires quick reactions, so it is helpful to anticipate the camera settings you are going to need for the next bird you encounter. If you wait until after you find the bird before deciding what ISO, what f-stop, etc. often the bird will be gone before you are ready. If you are trying to photograph flying birds, it will usually be gone before you are ready. It also helps to have the autofocus somewhat ranged in in anticipation of the next bird you expect to encounter. If you have a flock of songbirds working through a hedgerow in front of you, pre-focusing on the branches where you expect a bird to pop up can save precious seconds. If you had just been focusing on a TV soaring hundreds of feet away, it might take the camera a while to find its way back to relatively close focus.

3. So what settings should you use? I am not familiar with the program options on your new camera, but pick one that usually meets your needs, and learn it well. It used to very common for bird photographers to leave the camera set on Av (aperture priority), and set the aperture (and ISO) for the overall light conditions, but I recently read a review that recommended using "Tv" (shutter priority) on the particular new camera being reviewed. The reasoning had to do with the order in which that particular camera adjusted aperture and ISO. I still use Av, and set the aperture anywhere from F4 to F8 depending on overall light conditions. I leave the ISO at 200 most of the time. Thus if I have a bird hopping around in the shade, and it moves into the sun, the camera will adjust the exposure to compensate, and I do not have to change any settings - just keep focusing and shooting. Probably others can give you better advice on what works best for your camera.

Hope this helps -

Wayne Hoffman

----- Original Message -----
From: "carolinabirds" <carolinabirds...>
To: "steve stevens" <stevevonsteve...>
Cc: "carolinabirds" <carolinabirds...>
Sent: Saturday, January 9, 2021 12:26:01 PM
Subject: Re: Request for Photography Tips

That is a good rig for bird photography. I think you will be pleased.

I’m not a real photographer but I like it when my casual bird photographs look pleasing. So my tips would be

1) get close.
2) have the light coming from directly behind you. When you learn to shoot with your shadow extending directly toward the bird, you will be surprised at what a difference it makes.
3) shoot in morning light, that golden hour when the low light coming from behind you has some color to it. Right now, probably 7:30-9am. Earlier as the season progresses.

Rules are made to be broken, but those, in my opinion, are the basics. And I know you said flight photography too. I’m ignoring that part though the same three rules apply.

Chris Hill
Conway, SC

> On Jan 9, 2021, at 11:49 AM, steve stevens <carolinabirds...> wrote:
> CAUTION: This email originated from outside your organization. Exercise caution when opening attachments or clicking links, especially from unknown senders.
> Hello,
> After years of deal hunting I recently put together a camera setup that might be appropriate for birds/wildlife (canon 7d mark i, 100-400 lens) and was curious if anyone had any resources or guidance on how to best use these tools. I'm an absolute beginner (as all my blurry eBird photos show) but I'm particularly interested in trying to learn how to photograph waterbirds/birds in flight well.
> Thanks!
> steve
> Chapel Hill, NC

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