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Old Oct 24, 2011, 5:19 AM   #1
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Default Wedding tog tries his hand at shooting birds

I think the title says it all. I don't shoot wildlife, however I had a bit of a gap in my weekend so decided I would go and try something completely different from the norm. This is down at Bournville lake which is only about 3 mins drive from where I am at the moment.

I struggled hugely with exposure, as there were trees causing large amounts of shade then strong sunlight. I played with manual and also Av with exposure comp..... nothing was ideal but I got some shots I'm pretty happy with.

I plan to have another bash so would appreciate any thoughts to help me improve next time. Oh and I know these are mainly gulls so not exciting, however there were lots and it let me practise tracking them in flight. I most enjoyed trying to capture the chases that took place when one of the birds had food, and also the first photo here which is where a larger gull came along and was promptly chased away.

There are more on my blog if you are interested.







7 Not sure what is going on here but made a good splash!




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Last edited by Mark1616; Oct 24, 2011 at 10:22 AM.
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Old Oct 24, 2011, 3:49 PM   #2
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You should definitely do more nature photography. These are terrific! Really like #2 and #3.

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Old Nov 7, 2011, 8:54 AM   #3
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I agree with Saly, you should do more of this.
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Old Nov 9, 2011, 8:36 PM   #4
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Number 3 is a great photo i really like it alot.
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Old Nov 9, 2011, 8:44 PM   #5
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Nice job, Mark! I have yet to get any really decent BIFs and you come along without even breaking a sweat to bring some good ones.
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Old Nov 10, 2011, 3:26 PM   #6
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Aah....the lovely Black Headed Gull.... great,fiesty little bird..
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Old Nov 10, 2011, 3:32 PM   #7
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Note the different summer plumage around the head...!
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Old Nov 11, 2011, 9:33 AM   #8
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Excellent shots Mark!! Now you can say you take pictures of the pretty gulls at weddings.

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Old Nov 11, 2011, 10:20 AM   #9
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Well done for a great start, Mark. The exposures in particular are quite good! (though I'm not a big fan of photo #3... that's my personal taste)

Some of the photos are too busy, and have distracting backgrounds.. but it's not easy to get a background with them flying / darting around. You did good.

My favs of this set are 6 and 11 (if only that person wouldn't have been in the background).

Cheers.. hope to see more of your work sometime.

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Old Nov 14, 2011, 5:56 PM   #10
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Hi Mark,

Welcome to the world of shooting birds in flight. Indeed, a very good start to a rather difficult and frustrating aspect of photography.

As has been mentioned, it's rather difficult to concentrate on background and what may be there when you're busy just trying to obtain focus as well as framing the bird.

A couple of situational suggestions that I think may help.

First off, if you're an early riser (and if you want to shoot birds, you should be!) try getting out as early in the morning as you can. That solves two major
problems. Too many people and the lighting/contrast isn't nearly as harsh.

You'll find with less people around, it's easier to not have to worry about people in your background. Also early morning light is much softer and easier to deal with.

Another benefit in shooting in the morning, is that the birds are hungry, quite active and will give you better opportunities.

If there is a wildlife refuge in the area, that would be the place that I would go.
For a lot of reasons. But mostly because the backgrounds tend to be simplified, the expanse of water allows you a clean unbroken background, and the birds will be concentrating on feeding instead of wondering what you're doing.

By the way, whenever I go out to shoot birds, my camera is on a carbon fibre monopod. Its much easier to steady the camera when shooting.

Hope some of my ramblings might help.

Here is a link to some photos I've taken of shore birds that may be of interest:



So you want to be a better photographer? Open your eyes and take a look at what is all around you.

Last edited by zig-123; Nov 14, 2011 at 6:04 PM.
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