Online resources for bird photography

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youcantryreachingme's picture
Online resources for bird photography

Wow. Just did a quick online search for bird photography - no shortage of websites there!

However, some time back I searched specifically for *flash* photography with birds. I came across an online book that had an entire chapter devoted to this subject. The information was presented really clearly and it went to a considerable level of detail in explaining concepts.

Basically I think this is an excellent website for learning bird photography techniques. While the subject of the book is bird photography, in truth you will learn general photography tips as well.

Here is the index:

Reflex's picture

I agree with you it's a great site and well written. 

Samford Valley Qld.

youcantryreachingme's picture

Ok, this has to be the most concise and correct summary I've seen to date:


Get close.

Be patient.

Wait for the best light.

Show us birds having fun, not just sitting around.

Always shoot, but only show your best shots.


- Ken Rockwell (

I would argue each of these points is essential. This is the stuff you need *before* you start thinking about post-processing. This will give you great raw material to work with (except point 5, which personally I don't follow but think is crucial, and I pay the price for not following ... but I will do this soon too).

I would add two more things -

1) It's all well and good to wait for the best light, but you have to *do* something with it, so:

* plan your approach toward the birds to take advantage of the light (even if you don't at this moment have the best light available),


2) Do your best to *compose* your image as well as you can within your other physical constraints at the time.

For example, minor repositioning of yourself may make the difference between that perched white bird being against a white cloud background or a dark foliage background - that change in composition will totally change the feel of the final picture (and of course, your preference over each option is totally your preference - or try both - but note that if half the bird is in front of foliage and the other half in front of the white cloud, that will almost certainly create a distracting background).


* plan your approach angle to take advantage of light (and background)

* remember composition while you're shooting (especially background)

Araminta's picture

I have been saying for a long time:  ZOOM IN WITH YOUR FEET. Even if you are lucky enough to own a big lens, you still have to get close.

Sometimes it might not be worth to bother, if you know a few basics are wrong. I used to have a Tennis Coach who alway told me, if you know in advance you can't get that ball, don't waist your energy running, concentrate on the next ball.

Photography is the same. I try to get the best shot in the first place, I do not work on any photo when I come home. I know, I have been critcised for my approach again and again. That's why I happily admit : I know nothing about photographycheeky. But what I do have, is an "Artist's Eye", that helps with composition and all the other things people seamingly have to lecture about.

A good eye for composition is something hard to teach surprise

In bird photography I find , the most important skill is to know something about "bird behaviour" . With fast moving objects you have to be able to tell "what's going to happen next"

I have come accross groups of photographers still trying to focus on birds and fiddle with settings while the birds had long moved somwhere else. I think taking photos of birds is a special kind of photography, you can know a lot about how to use a camera but still not take great photos. Sound strange, and I would never have said it before, but I know nothing about how to use a camera, but some of my photos aren't bad.wink


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