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Photography Birds: Field Techniques and the Art of the Image

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In this complete guide to bird photography, Cornell Lab of Ornithology photographer Gerrit Vyn shares his approach and provides expert guidance for photographers of all levels to capture the beauty and behavior of bird life.
 
A great bird photograph doesn't happen by accident – there are dozens of decisions to make and options to weigh. They begin before a photographer walks out the door and continue through the moment the shutter is released and image files are brought home for editing. Bird photography is a constant calculus in every aspect. From the technical settings on your camera and the lens choices you make, to where the best opportunities or light might be at any moment, to the way a subject is approached, to choosing the exact spot to frame an image from. The more you are informed and experienced in all aspects of photography, light, equipment, and natural history, the better you will be as a bird photographer. This book will give you the foundation you need to become a great bird photographer.

In Photography: Birds Vyn shares his deep understanding of such topics as:

  • selecting the best camera, lenses and accessories for bird photography
  • managing camera settings so you can get the results you want
  • photographing action and birds in flight
  • understanding compositional choices and how best to position yourself
  • using blinds, tripods, and flash
  • observing and interpreting bird behavior so you can get close
  • editing and managing your files in Adobe Lightroom

Whether you're documenting the chickadees that visit your feeders, spending a day at a national wildlife refuge, or spending weeks in the field on a photo expedition or safari, Photography: Birds will give you the confidence and skills you need to be a better bird photographer – and a better naturalist.



From the Publisher

Photographing Birds, FlamingosPhotographing Birds, Flamingos

An American Flamingo colony in the Yucatan show with the Canon EF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM zoom lens at 135mm, 1/400 second at f/16, ISO 1600.

Chapters

Photographing Birds, How to photograph birds

Photographing Birds, How to photograph birds

Photographing Birds

Photographing Birds

Photography Equipment, Cameras

Photography Equipment, Cameras

Chapter 1: The Study of Birds

Where to StartLearning Materials and Methods

Chapter 2: Birds in the Field

General Principles for Approaching BirdsBird FeedersPhotography BlindsPlaybackPredicting Behavior

Chapter 3: Equipment

CamerasCamera AccessoriesLensesBuying Used EquipmentLens AccessoriesCamera SupportBackpacks, Bags, and CasesCamera and Lens Cleaning

Photography Birds, Photographing Birds

Photography Birds, Photographing Birds

Bird photography, photographing birds

Bird photography, photographing birds

Adobe Lightroom

Adobe Lightroom

Chapter 4: Technical Matters

Getting to Know Camera SettingsUnderstanding ExposureDetermining Depth of FieldFocusingPhotographing Birds in FlightMaking Sharp ImagesUsing a TripodShooting HandheldWorking with Flash

Chapter 5: Creative Decisions

SubjectLightWhite BalanceCompositionBehaviorMotionStitched ImagesStorytelling

Chapter 6: Digital Darkroom with Adobe Lightroom

HardwareAdobe LightroomManaging MediaOrganizing and Culling in the Library ModuleImage Editing in the Develop ModuleA Word of Encouragement

Bird Migration MapBird Migration Map

Migration

Resident to medium-distance migrant. Juncos that breed in Canada and Alaska migrate to the southern United states in winter. Some populations in the Rocky Mountains are only short-distance migrants, and some individuals in the West and in the Appalachian Mountains of the East don’t migrate at all.

From Chapter 1: The Study of Birds

Distribution and Occurrence

Range maps, like this one for the Dark-eyed Junco from the All About Birds website, tell you where a species is likely to occur at different times of the year.

The range maps in your field guide will be your first reference for learning where and when birds are present—their geographic distribution and seasonal occurrence. A range map typically uses color to indicate a bird’s winter range, its summer or breeding range, or, for a bird that doesn’t migrate, its year-round range.

From Chapter 3: Equipment | Lenses – Focal length comparisons of images shot from a distance of 30 ft.

Bird Photography

Bird Photography

Bird Photography

Bird Photography

Bird Photography

Bird Photography

Bird Photography

Bird Photography

840mm

400mm

200mm

50mm

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