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Bird Photography Tips - Getting Close to Birds

Article By: Sudhir Shivaram

bird photography tips
Photo by: Sudhir Shivaram

The toughest part in bird photography is getting close enough to them. Most of the beginners who shoot birds often end up saying; “the bird looks so small in my entire frame”. Looking at my images they often ask me, is your image heavily cropped? How do you manage to get so close to the birds?

There are different techniques used to approach the birds at close range depending on the habitat and the location of the birds. Let’s look at one of the easier methods; the option of shooting from the vehicle:

Tips for Photographing Birds from the Vehicle:

bird photography tips -  photographing birds from a vehicle
bird photography tips -  photographing birds from a vehicle

This is the most preferred approach to shoot birds at ease when you are on the move. It’s very difficult to approach birds on foot.

The moment they see a human being carrying this huge equipment and moving towards them, they just fly away, whereas the birds are used to vehicles and are not afraid of them.

Most of the birds I have shot are from my vehicle.

As seen in the image, I prefer to shoot from the window from the back seat of the car as it gives you flexibility to move between the windows.

If you are driving alone, keep the camera in the passenger seat and use it from your window when you see a bird.
Many of the birds are perched onto the bush/plant tops beside the road. When you see such a bird, approach the bird slowly and position the vehicle so that you get the bird in your viewfinder.

If possible, switch off the engine. Switching off the vehicle is important as it causes vibration while shooting.

While positioning your vehicle, watch out for the direction of the sun. It should always be behind you and directly falling on the bird.

Feel free to share these tips to your friends, contacts or groups who want to start bird photography.

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