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Bird Feeder Shoot - not as easy as it looks!

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  • Bird Feeder Shoot - not as easy as it looks!

    My wife maintains a selection of bird feeders in our garden, stocking nuts, seeds and fat balls. They are conveniently placed outside her shed, which she uses as her art studio, and they attract large numbers of blue tits, great tits, gold finches, bullfinches, chaffinches and sparrows. I really should make an effort to take more pictures than i do, using the shed as a hide. This morning I did just that. It took a long, long time for the birds to return after I had gone in the shed and even then the slightest movement by me had them flying off again. Still, I did manage to get a few shots.

    Unfortunately none were really sharp. At first I couldn't understand it, the camera was getting sharp focus on the feeder, but not when I focused on the bird. Later I realized that although the birds are in theory stationary on the feeders they are in fact anything but. Heads are continuously jerking and turning, either digging out another tasty beakfull or checking for predators. Although I was using shutter speeds in the range of 1/250th to 1/500th of a second, they were not fast enough to freeze the movement of the birds. Either that or I was finally experiencing shutter shock on the E-M5.

    Anyway, this was the best that I got and I was forced to conclude that photographing birds on feeders is not as easy as it looks!

    John Perriment

    A photograph is more than a record of what you see - it's a window to your soul

  • #2
    Re: Bird Feeder Shoot - not as easy as it looks!

    Practice and more practice John. They do pause briefly, it's learning to anticipate when they're about to pause. Setting up a nice looking branch nearby with a good background will allow you to get the birds as they land on it before going to the feeder.
    Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it. Terry Pratchett.

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    • #3
      Re: Bird Feeder Shoot - not as easy as it looks!

      That's a beautiful shot, lovely dof, gorgeous detail and a superb pose of the bird with spot on focus and catchlight of the eye.

      I'd be thrilled if it were mine, it took me quite a while before I ever managed to get a decent shot of a Blue tit.

      I love it!

      Pol

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      • #4
        Re: Bird Feeder Shoot - not as easy as it looks!

        That's not a bad shot at all, John. In fact, it's B good!
        Stephen

        Just take it easy. There's always tomorrow. And if tomorrow doesn't come, you won't have wasted any effort on it.

        My Flickr site

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        • #5
          Re: Bird Feeder Shoot - not as easy as it looks!

          Nothing wrong with that.
          If you observe them for a while you will see that they follow the same flight path to and from the feeders. This will allow you to anticipate and get some captures of them just about to land.
          I use manual focus and a remote switch, usually manage a couple of keepers out of every hundred

          See the thread 'inbound'. Not perfect by a long way but you see the idea.
          -------------------------

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          • #6
            Re: Bird Feeder Shoot - not as easy as it looks!

            I can see by the position of the blue tit that you have been very patient he has side glance at you and you pressed the shutter. I find that the feeding time in the late afternoon works for me also they do get used to you being their. I use my E-M-5 and My E3 has become redundant. Enjoyed your photo send some more John.

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            • #7
              Re: Bird Feeder Shoot - not as easy as it looks!

              Next time I have a stake-out in the shed I will wear some extra clothing and task a flask of hot coffee!
              John Perriment

              A photograph is more than a record of what you see - it's a window to your soul

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Bird Feeder Shoot - not as easy as it looks!

                Originally posted by John Perriment View Post
                Next time I have a stake-out in the shed I will wear some extra clothing and task a flask of hot coffee!
                No, I think you're right to tempt them with peanuts. They may not be coffee drinkers.
                Stephen

                Just take it easy. There's always tomorrow. And if tomorrow doesn't come, you won't have wasted any effort on it.

                My Flickr site

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Bird Feeder Shoot - not as easy as it looks!

                  Originally posted by John Perriment View Post
                  Next time I have a stake-out in the shed I will wear some extra clothing and task a flask of hot coffee!
                  Good idea, it's perishing here indoors, never mind the shed. David's just 'squelched' across the lawn to refill the feeders and it was amusing to watch masses of Starlings watching and waiting for him to fill their favourite feeder with fat balls.

                  Pol

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                  • #10
                    Re: Bird Feeder Shoot - not as easy as it looks!

                    One of the more interesting comments that came out from the "Go Wild" day was Dave Stevenson's use of high ISO to push the shutter speed up.

                    He made a point of this in saying a noisy shot is far superior to a blurry one.

                    As most of my photography is of relatively slow moving subjects, this has never been needed, but even with the advantage of a fast lens, the need for speed is ever present in wildlife photography.

                    The latest version of DxO Optics Pro is very good at noise reduction and detail enhancement, so I've wound up the ISO limit and will see what I can do with it.
                    Graham

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                    • #11
                      Re: Bird Feeder Shoot - not as easy as it looks!

                      I agree with the others its a cracking shot. To me this type of subject is a bit like shooting motor sport. You will have loads of missed shots but when you do nail then wow its a cracking shot Just keep shooting away and in the end you will always get more keepers then not
                      http://www.flickr.com/photos/petebphotos/

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                      • #12
                        Re: Bird Feeder Shoot - not as easy as it looks!

                        I read The Lord of the Rings trilogy sitting in three different sheds shooting my nest box shots.
                        Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it. Terry Pratchett.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Bird Feeder Shoot - not as easy as it looks!

                          Originally posted by David M View Post
                          I read The Lord of the Rings trilogy sitting in three different sheds shooting my nest box shots.
                          I wonder how many shots you missed through being engrossed in the books!
                          John Perriment

                          A photograph is more than a record of what you see - it's a window to your soul

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                          • #14
                            Re: Bird Feeder Shoot - not as easy as it looks!

                            The secret was to listen and be positioned so a simple turn of the head had your eye to the viewfinder. I could hear an adult land at the nest box hole and have my eye to the viewfinder as they were entering it.
                            Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it. Terry Pratchett.

                            Comment

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