Want to shoot winter wildlife photography but not leave the comfort of home? Find out how to stay warm – and well hidden – and hone your bird photography skills on the many birds that are active in your garden this time of year.
Bird photography isn’t just for dedicated wildlife photographers with expensive cameras and long telephoto lenses. Many digital cameras have cropped sensors, which is a real advantage for wildlife photography.
With their 1.5x or greater crop factor even a modest 300mm lens becomes the equivalent of 450mm or more, which allows you to fill the frame with your favourite feathered friends.
- For more on this, see our infographic Full frame vs Crop factor lenses
But rather than just wandering around the countryside hoping to get some great shots, entice the birds into your garden where you’ll have more control over the pictures you take.
The best way to attract birds is by supplying regular food and water. You can provide bird food all year round, but in the late autumn, winter and early spring birds are most hungry and are sporting their brightest plumage.
Food stuffs such as peanuts, sunflower seeds, niger seeds, windfall apples, mealworms, raisins, grated cheese and fat balls will attract a range of different species.
Hang bird feeders on branches close to where you intend to photograph and scatter seed on the ground. It shouldn’t take long for the birds to find the food and numbers will build up quickly in cold weather.
Some species are very tolerant of people, and you may be able to sit quietly out in the open to photograph them. But others will be quite shy and won’t visit the feeders if you’re close by.
The best approach is to conceal yourself so that the visiting birds will be more relaxed. Purpose made photo-hides are ideal and have apertures cut into them through which you can point your lens.
Alternatively, you could make your own from old material or scrap wood. It may also be possible to shoot through the window of a garden shed or from the house through patio doors.
PAGE 1: How to attract winter wildlife
PAGE 2: Framing your winter wildlife pictures
PAGE 3: 3 easy ways to shoot winter wildlife photography from your garden
PAGE 4: Capturing garden birds in flight
PAGE 5: Final tips for photographing garden wildlife