Photographers are like fishermen: they like to talk about the one that got away. Birders, similarly, are on a quest – to spot, identify and note a beautiful species by its colour, distinctive markings, flight pattern and song. My motives for joining the Birdwatching, Flora and Fauna course are to capture great photos and to acquire knowledge in identifying the winged creatures that I document. Then, I create photo art cards with my images.
As a photographer on these nature walks, I would like to pass along a few photo tips. Photography is all about the light and spectacular, interesting, subject matter. So if the bird is colourful and/or rare, by default it will be a more interesting photograph. The smaller the bird, the more difficult it is to capture as it flits from branch to branch. It’s much easier to photograph larger birds like ducks and swans cruising on the water. Or if you are really stuck, photograph a beautiful plant or tree. It will not move unless it’s windy!
Try to get as close to your subject as possible, fill the frame, use the longest lens you can afford, and, if need be, zoom in, and crop digitally to make the bird larger. The emphasis is on the bird in its environment, backdropped by the season’s beautiful fall colours.
Taking more pictures increases the possibilities of getting a really good one, and practising makes you a better photographer.
Composition is key when creating nature photographs. As in landscape art, the rule of thirds applies. Namely, divide the frame in three – horizontally and vertically – and the point of interest should be on one of the intersections of the four lines. With birds, the eye needs to be sharp and their beak should be in profile, making their shape instantly recognizable.
Contact me at judycazemier[at]gmail.com if you would like more photo tips, to make a comment or are interested in purchasing my photo art cards. They are 5.5″ x 4.25″ in size at $4.00 each or $20.00 for a set of 5 cards. More photographs are visible on my website at www.judyanncazemier.ca.
Judy-Ann Cazemier, Photographer