Whether you’re a ‘twitcher’ or not, it’s hard not to be impressed by the beauty of earth’s winged creatures. In flight, at rest or simply preening themselves: there’s so many ways to capture a Bird with your camera lens.
There’s still a steep learning curve with this type of Photography and having good equipment is half the battle. Photography Life gives guidance on what photography equipment will take you from amateur to semi-pro and it isn’t as costly as you might imagine.
Be sure to also check out our post on macro photography, which is very useful for capturing the finer details of wildlife.
RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch
Recently, the RSPB held its annual Big Garden Birdwatch – launched in 1978 alongside Blue Peter – to encourage the country to document the birds they saw visiting their gardens. This was an excellent opportunity to get the camera out too!
Some of the ‘fascinating facts’ to come out of this campaign in the past include:
- A decline in sightings of some of the UK’s favourite garden birds since 1979 – House sparrows down by 57% and starlings by 80%. Despite this, these species still make it into the top 5 birds sighted each year.
- Unusual and exotic birds are seen each year in the #BGBW and last year saw huge increase in the number of waxwings, native to Scandinavia. It is thought that they have travelled to the UK because of a berry shortage back home.
Bird photography inspiration
Seeing the work of others in this field will really inspire you with your own photography. The Guardian’s Bird Photographer of the Year competition saw some exceptional entries that are a combination of excellent timing, perfect focus and the patience to get the perfect shot. Check out the images here.
British Bird Lovers also put together a selection of bird photographers on Instagram so you can have a daily dose of inspiration.
Location, location, location
To increase your chances of capturing the perfect bird shot, it is worth doing some research into where you can go to make sure you are exposed to the wealth of British birdlife. As a starter, these organisations are sure to give you some great subjects to test out your skills:
Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust – Amateur Photographer says that these centres are great for flight photography in winter, when ducks, geese and swans are there in large numbers. Slimbridge Wildfowl & Wetland Trust reserve in Gloucestershire, Martin Mere near Liverpool, Caerlaverock in Dumfriesshire and Welney on the Ouse Washes in East Anglia are among some of the top locations.
To capture seabirds – something the UK is not in short supply of – these locations are considered very good:
- Farne Islands in Northumberland
- Bempton Cliffs in East Yorkshire
- Fowlsheugh RSPB Reserve in Aberdeenshire
- Skomer Island, off the Pembrokeshire coast
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