Photographing Birds

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Whatever camera accessories you use, the most important tools in your camera bag will be patience and preparation. Check below for the other things you don’t want to forget.

Zoom or telephoto lens
Chances are you won’t be able to get as close as you want. And you shouldn’t try to get too close. You don’t want to disturb a bird’s natural habitat. So use a zoom lens to bring you closer. A camera with an 8X to 10X zoom lens should be sufficient.

Extra batteries and memory cards
Wouldn’t you be crushed if your camera died right when a Red-headed Woodpecker landed 10 feet away? What if you filled up your memory card? Before heading out, check the batteries in your camera, and snap a few pictures to make sure everything is working. Pack extra batteries and film or memory cards to keep you taking more pictures.

Action-stopping pictures
From the feeding frenzy at sunrise to roosting at sunset, you’ll want to capture it all. Use the sports action mode or set your camera to a fast shutter speed and a high ISO, like 400 or 800, so no situation will escape your camera. You’ll be set to freeze the action of that dive, swoop, or flutter.

Use this to avoid camera shake and blurry pictures, especially with a telephoto lens. A small lightweight tripod is also useful when photographing birds in dim light, where the camera sets a slow shutter speed. It’s even good for close-ups of vibrant feathers or an amazing wingspan where extra steadiness yields sharper pictures.