Some beginner backyard bird shots

Joined
Jul 30, 2009
Messages
1,265
Location
North Fork of Long Island, NY
So this past spring my interest in birds took off. As a result I started attempting to photograph the ones that visit my yard and tried to learn about them. Here are some of my photographs of some of my visitors... these were all shot with my old D40, all but the last one were shot with a 55-200mm VR lens.

1) American Goldfinch shot through a screen window on a dreary morning
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2) Grey Catbird
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3) Playing hide and seek with me
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4) Looking for food.. sad story with this momma, she had her eggs destroyed by a brown headed cowbird who left her own egg in the nest for the sparrow to raise :-(
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5) And lastly a Red-Bellied Woodpecker shot with a 70-300mm non-VR lens handheld
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Any comments and/or c&c is greatly appreciated. These are tough to catch at the right moment and I know with more experience and practice (and maybe some longer/fast glass?) I'll be able to improve on them. Thanks for looking.
 
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Joined
Jan 14, 2006
Messages
5,355
Location
Placitas, New Mexico
You are off to a really great start with a nice variety of subjects! It looks like you are already paying attention to background. Try to keep possible distracting elements in the frame to a minimum, so only the bird draws our attention. A longer, faster lens will make a big difference, and you should consider a better beamer flash setup as well.
 
Joined
Dec 16, 2006
Messages
20,971
Location
South Florida
Your 70-300VR should be fine for these shots. The bokeh is very good. Second shot is excellent.

The woodpecker needs a little crop for composition. I would take out the empty space on the right. Also, try to focus on the eyes if possible, else on the body. Standing birds are not that difficult once you get the hang of it. BIF and also white birds on bright sunlight is tough.

Last, whenever posting more than three images, please number them for easier reference.
 
Joined
Jul 30, 2009
Messages
1,265
Location
North Fork of Long Island, NY
You are off to a really great start with a nice variety of subjects! It looks like you are already paying attention to background. Try to keep possible distracting elements in the frame to a minimum, so only the bird draws our attention. A longer, faster lens will make a big difference, and you should consider a better beamer flash setup as well.
Thanks. We've had quite a variety of birds come through from the finches to sparrows and wrens as well as 2 types of woodpeckers, red winged blackbirds, and even some Baltimore Orioles which I wasn't able to capture (I even set up an Oriole feeder with no luck bringing them down to where we are). I must admit I haven't tried using flash with the birds, I do have an sb-600 so maybe I'll give that a shot next time I'm out looking for them.

Your 70-300VR should be fine for these shots. The bokeh is very good. Second shot is excellent.

The woodpecker needs a little crop for composition. I would take out the empty space on the right. Also, try to focus on the eyes if possible, else on the body. Standing birds are not that difficult once you get the hang of it. BIF and also white birds on bright sunlight is tough.

Last, whenever posting more than three images, please number them for easier reference.
Thanks for the feedback. It's funny you mention the numbering, I was just lecturing a friend on another forum about the same issue (and that he also doesn't space his images so they're just a large blob) :m72: don't I feel silly now. The 70-300 is the older non VR version so it's a challenge using it at 300mm holding it by hand (I should just use my tripod, or invest in a monopod). I see what you mean about the woodpecker, he is definitely a bit lost especially since he is partially blocked by the feeder, I'll have to go back to some of these images and maybe re-crop them (none had any PP other than cropping/resizing done).

Thanks again for the comments and feedback :smile:
 
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