Photographing birds can be quite the challenge for the amateur wildlife photographer. Not only are your subjects going to be hard to spot but you have no control over their actions, making it even harder to grab that great shot. In order to help out those thinking of entering into the world of avian photography, Tony Hakim has put together this beginner’s guide on how to photograph bird-life.
What camera equipment to use
Knowing what kind of camera equipment to use is probably the most important aspect of bird photography. A simple point and click camera or a wide angle lens DSLR isn’t going to cut it in these cases. It’s imperative that you invest in a fast shot DSLR camera and some telephoto lenses. A good camera configuration is one with at least 1/2000th of a second shutter speed with 6 to 9 frames per second.
The kind of lenses you should use really comes down to the amount of money you’re willing to spend. The best equipment can cost upwards of $10,000 and really isn’t a feasible option for amateurs. For people on tighter budgets, the best affordable Nikon lenses for bird photography are either the 300mm f/4.0 AF-S or the 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D VR. If you are a Canon shooter, the best bird photography lenses are the Canon 300mm f/4.0 IS + 1.4x TC, the Canon 400mm f/5.6L or the Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS.
What camera settings to use
It’s extremely important to maintain fast shutter speeds on your camera to capture fast moving objects such as birds in flight. To capture a bird frozen in flight you should typically set your shutter speeds to 1/800-1/1600. Since you’re likely to be shooting at high speeds, it’s best to keep the aperture set to wide open.
This is of course only a brief rundown of the basics and there is a lot more detailed information available for people looking to get more into specifics. Tony Hakim hopes that this guide has helped you get started.
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