9 creative photo ideas to try in April

    | Photography Tips | 01/04/2014 00:01am
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    Creative photo ideas for April: 09 Shoot baby birds

    Creative photo ideas for April: 09 Shoot baby birds

    For bird photographers, the next few months will be a busy time, with a window of opportunity to shoot family portraits or stand-alone shots of young birds exploring their environment.

    Swans and cygnets are a good subject for beginners to try their hand at.

    They’re easy to find and, of course, they’re large birds, so you don’t need the longest lenses around to get a frame-filling image.

    SEE MORE: Moving targets – how to plot trajectory and beat camera shake every time

    Felix Smith is studying BA Hons Marine and Natural History Photography at Falmouth University, so he has a good grounding in the fieldcraft and techniques required to bag a great wildlife shot.

    That said, a touch of luck doesn’t hurt: he tells us that the most challenging aspect of getting this image was “a combination of being in the right place at the right time with a clear evening… and a co-operative cygnet!”

    Felix used a Nikon D800E with a 500mm f/4 lens, resting on a 1.5kg Wildlife Watching Supplies beanbag.

    Although swans are fairly approachable birds, allowing you to get dramatic pictures with a wide-angle lens, longer focal lengths enable you to isolate birds against cleaner areas of the background.

    They also make it easier to achieve shallow depth-of-field effects.

    SEE MORE: Free bird photography cheat sheet

    “The circular shapes in the foreground were actually midges,” reveals Felix, “so by using a telephoto lens, the midges were pulled out of focus and distorted, together with the reflection of the backlighting on the cygnet. For added interest, I decided to frame the shapes within the photo.”

    Shooting into the sun will enable you to make use of rim lighting, which adds an attractive glow to a bird’s outline.

    To prevent glare, make sure you’ve got a lens hood fitted, and be prepared to dial in some positive exposure compensation to brighten the image and ensure details are visible in the bird.

    SEE MORE: 10 common wildlife photography mistakes we’re all guilty of (and how to fix them)

    Get started today…
    * Get low and close to water level, with a long lens to compress the scene.
    * Find a suitably distant background, and use bread to bring the birds close enough.
    * Use continuous focus to keep an active bird sharp as it moves through the frame.
    * Increase the ISO when light levels drop to ensure a fast, action-stopping shutter speed.

    Creative photo ideas for April: 01 Shoot a natural history sequence
    Creative photo ideas for April: 02 Shoot family portraits with a twist
    Creative photo ideas for April: 03 Shoot oil and water abstracts
    Creative photo ideas for April: 04 Shoot numbers in nature
    Creative photo ideas for April: 05 Shoot a street scene collage
    Creative photo ideas for April: 06 Shoot a single theme
    Creative photo ideas for April: 07 Shoot a war reenactment
    Creative photo ideas for April: 08 Shoot a pinhole image
    Creative photo ideas for April: 09 Shoot baby birds

    READ MORE

    Animal photography: how to set up your camera for expressive portraits
    Professional Photographer to the Rescue: animal photography tips for any species
    Wildlife photography made easy: simple techniques for pro-quality pictures
    Wildlife photography in any environment: free photography cheat sheet


    Posted on Tuesday, April 1st, 2014 at 12:01 am under Photography Tips.

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