Challenges of Photographing Birds

Superb Blue Wren (Female) Bjelke Petersen Dam, Queensland

Photographing birds is such a challenging pastime. Heading out for a photographic session you may come across a tiny fairy wren which may only be 30mm high and on another occasion you will come across a great egret which may be 1,000mm high so there is a need to be flexible to be prepared for many different situations. The two examples in discussion are illustrated below.

Firstly the Superb Fairy Wren.


Superb Blue Wren (Female) Bjelke Petersen Dam, Queensland


Secondly the Great Egret.

Eastern Great Egret, Bjelke Petersen Dam, Queensland


In the case of both these images I used a 300mm lens which was a little too short in each case to be able to approach the bird without frightening it.

With the Superb Blue Fairy Wren (Femel e), I was able to get within around four meters from the bird which was not quite enough so I had to crop the image somewhat during the post processing. Cropping will take away some of the sharpness of the image unfortunately. I used a monopod to help stabilise the camera and lens combination.

With the Great Egret image, I captured again using a monopod to help stabilise the lens.

Both of these images were captured with Nikon’s 300mm f/4D AF-S lens.

The real secret with shortish (with shortish I am classing my 300mm lens in this group) lenses and chasing birds is stealth, you need to be able to get very close without spooking the bird. Sometimes it is better if you stay very still and wait until the bird comes closer to you but sometimes this does not happen.