Go Back   Steve's Digicams Forums > Post Your Photos > Wildlife Photos

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Apr 15, 2006, 4:18 PM   #1
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 407
Default

How close to you guys typically need be to get good bird shots? I'm finding that I need to be surprisingly close to my subjects to get a decent shot- even with my 300mm lense! Do you folks have 500+mm lenses and tripods to get the shots that you're getting? How do you not scare the birds away? Do you douse your body in urine?
Nizidramanii is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old Apr 15, 2006, 6:32 PM   #2
DBB
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 2,483
Default

Nizidramanii wrote:
Quote:
How close to you guys typically need be to get good bird shots? I'm finding that I need to be surprisingly close to my subjects to get a decent shot- even with my 300mm lense! Do you folks have 500+mm lenses and tripods to get the shots that you're getting? How do you not scare the birds away? Do you douse your body in urine?
300mm is a bit "light" for wildlife photography, although certainly it can be done. There is a rule of thumb:

"The closer the better."

Never move fast. You're not going anywhere

Carry your equipment in the position you intend to use it.

The fine art of reading animal body language. That's something you don't really "learn." One day, you just know when that extra step will be one step too much.

Wear drab colored clothes. Don't use bright. It doesn't matter that some creatures are color blind. Drab is IN!

A lot of people use blinds. Get to a good place, set up your blind, and wait.

I immitate either a Baboon or a dead Iguana. :lol: - Well maybe not this last....

I also take a 110 pound dog with me. He's my assisstant. He is trained (by himself, not by me) to distract the animals to look at him, not me. He also attracts Swans and some kinds of Ducks....Really...



Dave
DBB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Apr 15, 2006, 10:19 PM   #3
Senior Member
 
squirl033's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 6,696
Default

i have an 80-400mm lens. on my Canon body, that's equivalent to a 128-640mm lens on a 35mm SLR. and at times, even that isn't enough. i find that for bird shots, you need to be within about 25 feet for small birds like robins, sparrows, and the like; for ducks and similar sized birds, 20-50 feet is pretty good, and for larger birds like herons, you can be as far as 50-75 feet and still get a decent shot without having to crop too much. i've posted a lot of shots of herons, ducks, etc., that were taken at these distances or even less... like the shots of a heron haveing a snack, that were taken from a distance of about 15 feet! but that's mostly because they were taken in a wildlife sanctuary, and the birds know no one will bother them. still, there are some you just cannot get close to... kingfishers, for example, are very shy.

as Dave mentioned, a 300mm lens is marginal for birds. even the 400mm that i use is often not enough. for bird shots, longer is always better, but above about 500mm, lenses get really big and heavy, and require some pretty serious tripods to suppoer them. if you can, get a lens that's good to 400mm, and has image stabilization, so you can shoot handheld, and eliminatebanging a tripod through the bushes. best thing to do, like Dave said, is learn to move slowly, so as not to alarm the birds. slow movement generally doesn't spook them, but anything sudden will send them fluttering. i've found in many cases you can get quite close simply by moving very slowly. picking a spot where you know they feed or roost, and just waiting for them also works, if you can sit in one spot and be fairly still for extended periods. a blind is nice, but it's a pain; better to use good basic stalking techniques - make use of natural cover, stay downwind (i don't think birds use smell much to alert them, but you never know), wear clothing that blends in, and avoid any sudden movements. if you have a silver camera, wrap it in dark colored cloth, so reflections don't give you away. don't douse yourself in urine, unless you want to smell really bad... this isn't deer hunting, and you won't attract anything but disgusted looks from passersby.:lol:


squirl033 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Apr 15, 2006, 11:34 PM   #4
djb
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 2,289
Default

I think what Dave and Squirl have said pretty much sums it up. I use the 500 mm Canon. Right now I use it hand held and at 8.5 lbs. it gets heavy real quick! It is really not a great lens for flight shots due to the weight. I use the 1.4X Tc a lot and sometimes, where I shoot, it isn't enough length. It's a fantastic lensbut, really needs a tripod. Maybe it will work well with a monopod too. As for how close you need to be?? Well, the closer the better for detail. My lens is camouflaged and it really makes a difference as to how close I can get. As a big white lens I would scare birds away from 50 or more feet!! Now, depending on the bird, I can get as close as 15 or 20 feet and the closest focus is about 15 ft. Also, if you can find a good spot, frequent it often. It's amazing how wildlife seems to get to know you and isn't as timid. And if you ever douse yourself in urine and come to the swamps I frequent, I'll throw you in and give you a bath!!!:blah:

dennis
djb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Apr 16, 2006, 9:18 AM   #5
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 407
Default

Thanks for all the advice. I'll keep some of these things in mind and leave the urine for the hunters/fetish folks.

Hi squirl033! Nice to see you here. Do you still use your FZ20? I was strongly considering that camera for a long time but I just couldn't get myself to live with the limitations. My new D50 is nice

Oh boy, I'm drifting like a capsized vessel.

I had another idea for getting good bird shots. I could bring bird seed and other tasty viddles with me and throw it around in places where I want birds to come. They might come to like me.
Nizidramanii is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Apr 16, 2006, 9:39 AM   #6
djb
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 2,289
Default

If you feed birds and wildlife, be careful where you do it!! Most wildlife sanctuaries don't allow it as they don't want the wildlife getting too used to free meals. But, it can work, especially for ducks and other small birds.

dennis
djb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Apr 16, 2006, 9:56 AM   #7
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 407
Default

Good point. I forgot about the, "DO NOT FEED THE SWANS" sign that's by the pond.
Nizidramanii is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Apr 16, 2006, 10:07 AM   #8
Senior Member
 
squirl033's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 6,696
Default

Nizidramanii wrote:
Quote:
Thanks for all the advice. I'll keep some of these things in mind and leave the urine for the hunters/fetish folks.

Hi squirl033! Nice to see you here. Do you still use your FZ20? I was strongly considering that camera for a long time but I just couldn't get myself to live with the limitations. My new D50 is nice

Oh boy, I'm drifting like a capsized vessel.

I had another idea for getting good bird shots. I could bring bird seed and other tasty viddles with me and throw it around in places where I want birds to come. They might come to like me.
i still use my FZ20, but not much for wildlife anymore. i bought a Canon 30D and have been using that with a Sigma EX 80-400 lens for most of my bird shooting lately. the FZ20 is a great camera, and i still use it for some things, but it did have some serious limitations for wildlife photography.

scattering seed or crumbs is fine in your yard, just don't do it in parks and the like, unless you know it's okay. if it is, be prepared to use a shorter lens. ducks, geese, and the like will come right up to your feet, and even the 300mm will be too much, unless it has a very short minimum focus distance. better in that case for you to have a friend do the feeding while you stand off to one side to take pictures. you'll get better angles that way as well.
squirl033 is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 7:06 AM.