Creative photo ideas for July: 02 Shoot seabirds
June is one of the peak months for seabird photography. Not only are the birds in prime condition, but there’s plenty of behaviour to try and capture.
Despite the exposed nature of the environment they inhabit, seabirds offer one of the most accessible subjects for wildlife photography.
“Seabirds often live in the most spectacular places, so where possible try and include some of the habitat,” says wildlife pro Andrew Parkinson. “That way you’re revealing something more about the subject as well as giving it some context.
“Summer is a wonderfully colourful time, so try to be out when those colours are most vibrant, either at dawn or dusk.
“However, don’t use overcast days as an excuse not to go out, as these conditions are perfect for revealing the subtlest of feather details and for photographing black and white birds.
“Puffins can be incredibly confiding, but they still need to be treated with the utmost of respect. Remain mindful that this is a critical time of year for them.
“Even though they can be very approachable, I still crawl towards them on my stomach, pausing frequently and giving them time to accept me. Many of the auks are small birds, so they benefit from being shot at eye level anyway; it creates a more intimate image and makes the birds ‘pop’ from their surroundings.”
Head to a large seabird colony such as the Farne Islands in Northumberland, Skomer In Pembrokeshire and Bass Rock in the Firth of Forth. These locations are only accessible by boat, and trips are weather dependent (and in the case of Bass Rock, limited in availability).
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* Use telephoto lenses and wide apertures to isolate single birds, and standard or wide lenses to capture more of the colony.
* With dark birds like puffins, be prepared to dial in some negative exposure compensation to prevent their white plumage from being clipped.
* For portraits, use one-shot autofocus; for action shots, switch to continuous autofocus.
* Many birds will be returning frequently with food for their young, and Andrew suggests spending time learning the flight paths. “Keep the wind behind you and try to get the autofocus to lock onto them at some distance, as that way you’ll be able to track them all the way in – and you’ll be well placed to nail the classic wing-braking shot”.
PAGE 1: Creative Photo Ideas for July – 01 Shoot the passage of time
PAGE 2: Creative Photo Ideas for July – 02 Shoot seabirds
PAGE 3: Creative Photo Ideas for July – 03 Shoot dew covered bugs
PAGE 4: Creative Photo Ideas for July – 04 Shoot portraits with backlight
PAGE 5: Creative Photo Ideas for July – 05 Shoot toys as travel props
PAGE 6: Creative Photo Ideas for July – 06 Shoot environmental portraits
PAGE 7: Creative Photo Ideas for July – 07 Add a vignette
PAGE 8: Creative Photo Ideas for July – 08 Shoot a photography hotspot
PAGE 9: Creative Photo Ideas for July – 09 Shoot pictures with water as the main subject
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