Patience, knowledge and stealth are just a few key factors one must master in order to be a good bird photographer. You cannot simply walk around in the woods with all your gear and expect a bird to pop in front of you to be photographed. Furthermore, in this genre of photography, it is essential that you be familiar with your subject. If you don’t have an idea of what you’re doing, you’ll end up lost. To get a taste of how things work in a bird photographer’s day, let’s join photographer Morten Hilmer in this behind-the-scenes video:
As you see, Hilmer is pretty quiet when photographing birds. Remember that birds are quick, small and easy to scare. Chances are high that you will miss a lot of photo opportunities, especially if you’re noisy or unprepared. Your patience will be truly tested—and rightly rewarded as well.
It is equally important that you have a good understanding of the specific bird you’re photographing. Knowing the types of birds in your area will help. This will aid you in analyzing the behavior of the birds and set up your “camp” to wait for the bird. And remember, if you feel that you’ve waited long enough and that things are not going as planned, feel free to change your strategy. Otherwise, pent-up frustration can hamper your efficiency and mood.
In the video, Hilmer also shares some useful tips on how perspective impacts your images. He also shares his thoughts on the importance of shooting from a bird’s eye view—even if that means going lower, rather than higher. In this context, if you need to get your clothes and hands dirty, don’t be afraid to do so.
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