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Old Wednesday 5th July 2017, 16:21   #1
mountainflute
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Bird Photography or plain old birding!!

Hi all,
I don't know if this is the right forum, so the moderators may place it in an appropriate forum.
Let me highlight a peculiar problem.. I've been into ornithology since a long long time now.. Although erratic, depending on the time my job has allowed me to. SO, it's not as if I've become bored with the stuff.. Even on my treks today, the look out for birds is always there at the back of my eye.
But, ever since I've got into photography (I'm just an amateur), trying to sight birds has become even more difficult, and I'm saddled with clicking pics of common garden birds or otherwise, not too good shots of birds far far away (in shrek-land).. I guess my technique for photography has to improve, but, lately, that zing of photography has gone.. And the old trusty binoculars is slowly taking its position round my neck again. While I try to improve my technique, I wonder if it was a waste of investment in getting a telephoto and a tripod when I can't get either interesting birds or interesting pics to click...
I only understand that perhaps I need to dedicate more time for photography.. but, even when so, it's difficult to get good shots!!
Experiences from more senior people on this forum please
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Old Thursday 6th July 2017, 11:08   #2
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I wonder if it was a waste of investment in getting a telephoto and a tripod when I can't get either interesting birds or interesting pics to click...
Probably

But I can feel with you. I bought a better camera recently as well, and I also struggle between focussing on birding or trying to get better pics.

I think that birding and bird photography are two different things, requiring two very different styles of how to move and behave and spend your day.

With birding you are more on the move, once you saw all birds in a spot, got good views of a bird, you move on to a new site. You are happy at the end of the day if you got a long list, saw a lifer, or witnessed some interesting bird behaviour.

With photographing, you set up you tent in a good spot, or sit in a hide, or similar, and wait for the birds to come close. You are happy if you come home with one great shot, showing the bird in good light and doing sth interesting (photographers are allowed to protest at this description, I actually have no clue what photgraphers are really doing).

I'm definitly a birder so far, trying to get good record shots. But since I have a better camera, I see myself also being drawn a little towards investing more time in getting nicer pictures.

Last edited by dalat : Thursday 6th July 2017 at 11:10.
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Old Thursday 6th July 2017, 11:36   #3
Chosun Juan
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Then again, probably not

Taking really good photographs is an art. You will need to schedule your times and movements to put you in the right spot, at the right time of day, with the right light coming from the right direction. Then you will need to be closer than is easy to achieve, with gear that is more expensive and heavier than you'd ideally like. It can be a lot of movement, and a lot of work, for sometimes fleeting results. So somewhat rather limiting.

Serious birding can also be demanding.

Personally I tend to be a bit more casual about both pursuits most of the time. This means that my photography gear is more prosumer (though still many many thousands) than professional, and light(ish - 6lb) to tote around (nearly always no tripod), and my [one] set of bins generalist in nature and a mid priced value equation rather than the latest alpha.

So mostly I am free to move around for even a whole day, sometimes paying more attention to lighting angles etc, and at other times exploring whatever environment and just enjoying things as they come. Depending upon results, and how I feel about them, focus may shift from one end of the spectrum to the other from time to time. It's whatever floats your boat - there is no right or wrong ....

Besides, if most of us are truly honest, a large part of it is all about the gear!


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Old Thursday 6th July 2017, 14:07   #4
mountainflute
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Probably


I think that birding and bird photography are two different things, requiring two very different styles of how to move and behave and spend your day.

...

I'm definitly a birder so far, trying to get good record shots. But since I have a better camera, I see myself also being drawn a little towards investing more time in getting nicer pictures.
@dalat
Couldn't agree more.. I have come to realize that both require different attention. Somehow, at the end of the day, birding I guess turns out more satisfying to me, although I do wish I could photograph them as well..
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Old Thursday 6th July 2017, 14:39   #5
mountainflute
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Then again, probably not



Personally I tend to be a bit more casual about both pursuits most of the time.
...
So mostly I am free to move around for even a whole day, sometimes paying more attention to lighting angles etc, and at other times exploring whatever environment and just enjoying things as they come. Depending upon results, and how I feel about them, focus may shift from one end of the spectrum to the other from time to time. It's whatever floats your boat - there is no right or wrong ....

...

Chosun
He He He... aptly put chosun...
guess I can divide my time, by going one day for birding, identify potential spots for photography, and then next visit for only photography... Guess that should help me in both ways...
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Old Tuesday 26th September 2017, 21:27   #6
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Birding and Bird Photography

Both are great.

I learned photography the same as you. One picture at a time. Over the course of twenty years, I would deliberately do bird photography.

Go to your favorite bird spots, keep the sun at your back while you walk, and concentrate on bird photography techniques. One particular technique I learned over time involved the space that birds need in order to not be spooked. It's amazing how many birds will allow you to walk within five feet of them, done properly of course.

Also, if you stand still, many birds, such as flycatchers, will get curious and eventually fly and perch near you.
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Old Tuesday 26th September 2017, 23:33   #7
Egrets Ivadafew
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Simple, just ask yourself what type of guy you are Mountainflute. What I mean is, faced with a delicious bowl of fruit, do you want to take arty still life photos or do you want to sit down and savour the juice. Faced with an attractive naked body draped across silk sheets, do you want to take glamour shots or do you want to make love. Birds can be enjoyed in the here and now (through a pair of bins) or they can be recorded for later enjoyment (through a camera lens). As I say, which type are you.
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Old Wednesday 27th September 2017, 07:07   #8
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fairly new to Australia I tend to watch birds AND try to photograph them also, more because most of them are unfamiliar to me so if I get a shot of something I,m not sure on I can study it in the comfort of my home!as for taking long range pics I have learned ...get as close as you can.in this country heat haze will defeat the best of equipment. happy snapping.
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Old Thursday 28th September 2017, 07:49   #9
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Relax and do what you want, when you want. Sometimes you may just want to go birding: so go birding. Sometimes you may look at the light or the season or the birds around and feel like getting the camera out. In which case, get the camera out.

Its your birding. You don't have to pick an approach and stick to it.

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Old Thursday 28th September 2017, 18:59   #10
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I'm with Farnboro John and Patkin. Do what you fancy. I try to carry both my bins and my camera with me. Some days are good for birding, and other days are great for photographing. You never know what you want to do until the time comes.

Once I thought I saw three swans flying overhead in Barns Ness. Didn't give it much thought, but photographed them anyway. When I returned home, they turned out to be spoonbills! Who would have thought of spoonbills in Scotland! So photographs do help ID bird later and help correct your mistakes.

And when you are unable to go birding, you can look back at old photos and reminisce (the way I have been the past week).
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Old Friday 29th September 2017, 10:34   #11
Patudo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mountainflute View Post
While I try to improve my technique, I wonder if it was a waste of investment in getting a telephoto and a tripod when I can't get either interesting birds or interesting pics to click...
I only understand that perhaps I need to dedicate more time for photography.. but, even when so, it's difficult to get good shots!!
Maybe it was, but we waste money every day and every year, on all sorts of things. At least you still have a decent setup if you need or want it.

I enjoy taking digiscopes of birds I'm already watching through the scope, especially when things are slow (eg. a raptor sitting on its perch for ages twiddling its toes). I'm astounded by some of the remarkable shots I see, and have seen some amazing things through binoculars that I know would have made for some really good shots, but as things currently stand, the work required to attempt to get good photos would interfere too much with the pure enjoyment of observing birds. The type of gear I would like to get the shots I'd want to take is also considerably beyond my budget. I have to admit the urge to get better photos is very strong. There is nothing like a really good photo to bring the memories right back.
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Old Friday 29th September 2017, 12:07   #12
Paul Longland
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I very much appreciate looking at some of the stunning shots that often appear on here and other birding websites. however, I am afraid I have neither the patience nor the inclination to sit in one spot all day just waiting for the opportunity to get the perfect picture of a rare (or even common for that matter) bird. It may just be a personal character trait, but also I hate doing anything half-cocked and would soon lose interest if I could not do the job properly. Having just parted with the thick end of 2k for a new pair of Swaro bins the budget certainly would not stretch to any decent camera kit that would allow me to take the sort of shots that I would want so I will stick to general birding and simply appreciate the efforts of the dedicated photographers from afar. As others have already said, how we go about getting our pleasure from the birds and other wildlife around us is a personal matter and there is no right or wrong. If you have the time, budget and desire, there is no reason that you cannot do both whenever the urge takes you.
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Old Wednesday 11th October 2017, 12:19   #13
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I think there is certainly a trade-off between enjoying a bird in the moment and recording it for posterity.
I was on a pelagic recently trying to photograph storm-petrels coming to chum...not the easiest of subjects, little black birds in bright sunlight moving erratically while you are moving around on the sea too. After a while I stopped and concentrated on trying to enjoy the rare (for me) experience of seeing storm-petrels (European and a Wilson's or two) flying around - my concentration on photography had interfered with my enjoyment of the birding experience.
I think for most birders who don't fall into the category of dedicated photographer there is an inevitable compromise between watching and photographing when you are trying to do both at the same time.
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