9 creative photo ideas to try in May 2013

01 Shoot creative spring light painting effects

08 Shoot water birds at your local pond

08 Shoot water birds at your local pond

Wild birds are busy thinking about the next generation at this time of year. But before they build their nests and lay eggs, there’s the small matter of finding  a mate and defending territory to deal with.

As a result, it’s the perfect time to get some action-packed shots. As always, you’ll need to be on the spot for the right light and best behaviour, so start small and keep it local.

“Making regular visits to a local park is a great way of finding accessible subjects in which to hone your skills,” says wildlife pro Ben Hall.

“During early spring in Britain, many species such as coots and moorhens can be seen battling over territory. Birds such as the photogenic great crested grebe also start to display, offering fantastic opportunities for behavioural images.

“Grebes often continue to display throughout the whole of the nesting period, so once you’ve found a good vantage point you can make repeat visits. You don’t need a massive lens to get shots of grebes and moorhens either – they’re pretty accessible subjects, and you can get some good results with a telephoto lens of 300mm and upwards.”

Get started today…
* Keep your eyes peeled for clean backgrounds that make the birds stand out.
* Increase the ISO and use wide apertures to get action-stopping shutter speeds.
* Use the fastest continuous drive setting on your camera, and shoot in short bursts.
* If you can’t get a frame-filling shot, include the birds’ reflection.
* Lie on the bank to get water-level views.
* Wear rustle-free, neutral-coloured clothing – you don’t have to use full camo if you’re shooting at well-visited public spots.

PAGE 1: Shoot creative spring light painting effects
PAGE 2: Shoot painterly plant portraits
PAGE 3: Shoot the beach during a spring storm
PAGE 4: Shoot zoo animals with environmental context
PAGE 5: Shoot reflections in puddles
PAGE 6: Shoot plane trails
PAGE 7: Shoot portraits with reflections
PAGE 8: Shoot water birds at your local pond
PAGE 9: Shoot images with motion blur


Free bird photography cheat sheet
Wildlife photography made easy: simple techniques for pro-quality results
Photography Basics: the No. 1 cheat sheet for metering and exposure