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on May 19, 2020 in Wildlife Photography

Free Water is the Answer!

Backyard bird photography is a great past time and can be a real money maker. Some though have limitations such and money, mess, or unwelcomed pests. How can you attract the birds to your lens in your backyard and avoid these roadblocks? This video goes into that and a whole lot...

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on May 12, 2020 in Wildlife Photography

Those Darn Squirrels?

One issue many have with feeding birds in their backyards are squirrels. Squirrels love the seed we put out for birds perhaps more than the birds themselves. For them, it’s real simple, easy calories. The problem for bird photographers though is that the squirrels tend to scare off the birds if not totally prevent them from feeding at the feeders. If you want to photograph birds, this makes them darn squirrels, pests! There are some measures you can take to deal with pesky squirrels. One is the anti-squirrel bird feeders which close off the feeding holes by the weight of the squirrel landing on the feeder. I got one of these for The Ranch to see how well they work. They do keep the squirrels out but the White-tailed Deer have figured out how to eat from it. Too funny! But I want to ask the question, those darn squirrels? I realize they can eat one out of house and home, making feeding birds expensive. They can scare off...

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on Apr 30, 2020 in Wildlife Photography

It’s Nesting Bird Time!

Spring has to be one of my favorite times of the year. It’s that time of year when birds are so active with nesting. Literally one of the first things I did when we got to The Ranch was put out our bird boxes and just six days later, one has a new owner! We were delighted today to see a pair of Red-breasted Nuthatches taking nesting material to it feverishly. I can’t wait until the kids pop and I can photograph them! Photographing nesting birds, no matter the species can be done by anyone. There are only a few rules (I hate rules, but these are important) you need to remember: No photograph is worth sacrificing the welfare of the subject! Never have the parents off the nest for more than twenty minutes! Have Fun! After that, it just takes a little homework, thought, planning and execution. Here is the abridged version to get you started! Finding the Nest – Pre-Field Homework When it comes to photographing a...

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on Apr 23, 2020 in Wildlife Photography

Great Time for Hummers!

Hummers pretty much around the country are doin that “birds & the bees” thing right now. This is the perfect time to capture photos like this, the males “defending” their feeder. This display is part of a displaced aggression showing visually to other male hummers that he “owns” this feeder. So how did I get the shot? Out of frame right is a hummingbird feeder, no more than 14 inches away (4:1 sugar water, no food coloring). The perch you see that the hummer is perched on is just a “stick” that is held by a Justin Clamp that is attached to a light stand. I can move that perch around based on the light and the background, the background is a biggie! I have the camera rig (you can use any length lens you have) on a tripod. The camera set to Aperture Priority, matrix metering, and more importantly, the advance set to Continuous High. I have manually prefocused on the branch and then I focus just a...

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on Mar 31, 2020 in Wildlife Photography

The Bird Feeder is Not the Photo

While the photo of birds on the feeder can be cool, that’s not truly the goal of backyard bird photography. The goal is the photo of the bird off the bird feeder. Typically, this is the bird waiting its turn to go and feed. This makes the placement of the feeder not as critical as the perch you want to photograph the birds on prior and after their feeder visit. That perch should have a great background and the perfect light for the time of day you can spend shooting. In this case, this Sharp-shinned Hawk is not waiting his turn to feed at the feeder, but rather feed on what’s feeding at the feeder. It is a perfect example of the bird on the perch shot you want to be after. The formula then is kinda simple. You’re offering the birds food, the feeder. You then offer them shelter in the form of a shrub or bush. Between that shrub (about 7-10′ away) is the perch you want...

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on Mar 24, 2020 in Wildlife Photography

Starting Backyard Bird Photography

It’s no real surprise, photographing birds in backyards is really big right now! I’ve been flooded with emails asking for help getting feeders up and birds coming to them so they can be photographed. This is great, I couldn’t be happier. Understand that the “Field of Dreams” doesn’t instantly apply to birds. Just because you put out feeders doesn’t mean birds will instantly appear. It sure can but more realistic is it taking a week or more. I have lots of posts here on the website about backyard photography, got a book or two on the topic as well. The best resource I have to offer up is my KelbyOne Backyard Bird class. If you have specific questions, you too can email via the link on the website. Happy to help any way I can. On a side note, the perfect lens for backyard bird photography I think is the 500PF. Right now, Bedford Camera has a couple and if you order from them, mention the Moose Discount for...

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