Waiting for my feathered friends
As the weather becomes a bit more harsh, I am in the process of waiting for my little feathered friends. The tree in the above photo has been through a wonderful change and has always been a perch for hungry birds waiting for their chance on the bird feeder. In the summer the leaves were a bright redish green. In Autumn they were a wonderful bright burgundy color. Now, it is home to billions of snowflakes. The bird house that you see was purchased recently in an attempt to provide safe haven for a special (small) bird. The hole is sparrow sized and is still waiting for its first occupant.
Another great thing about this tree is that it is my favorite spot to photograph birds while they wait. I don’t mind capturing birds at the feeder but it tends to get a bit old – fast. As birds perch or leap from branch to branch, it provides way to capture different postures and compositions. It also provides a way to capture them in their natural environment.
The best way that I have captured backyard birds is by using two lenses. A regular telephoto and super telephoto lens. It depends on how far away I am from my subject. If I am able to sneak on to the back patio I use my regular telephoto lens. For tiny birds, I use the super telephoto lens so that the subject completely fill the frame with minimal cropping in post processing. Another aspect of capturing snow birds is the lack of bright light due to the snowy weather. This means increasing the ISO so that I can maintain a high shutter speed.
The downside of photographing birds perched in the tree is the fact that they almost always tend to position themselves where a branch is in the way. It causes confusion for the camera because it doesn’t know which subject to focus on and by the time it figures it out the subject is gone. To combat this dilemma the best thing to do is wait. Patience is key when photographing wildlife; including backyard birds. There have been many times where I found myself frustrated. However, at the end of the day, its an animal going about its regular routine and who am I to get frustrated that its not landing where I can capture a good photo. The only solution is to wait for the bird to land in a good spot then make the picture – that simple.
- Black Oil Sunflower seeds
- Suet Cake
- Meal Worms
- Bird Bath
Most birds love this combination and will remember the location of a food source if I maintain consistency in keeping everything stocked.
On a final Note
The best part of capturing photos of my bird friends is knowing that we both are getting something out of the deal. They are getting food and water during the colder months and I get to capture unique photos of my feathered visitors. I have a feeling that this tree will get a lot of use this winter. It provides a beautiful backdrop and perch for the birds I intend to photograph. I look forward to their arrival in a few weeks.