Photography for the Birds

For those of us who live in South Florida we look in awe at all of the fall color images that flood the web this time of year.  With the exception of the Cypress we are pretty much devoid of most deciduous trees.  However, now is the time of year when we really start looking forward to the winter and what that brings us.  Each winter many of the North American birds start heading south and where do you think South Florida is located?   You got it.  It is time for the invasion of the birds and I am here to help you get ready.

Gear Considerations:

  • Tripod - This is a must for any serious bird photographer (or any serious photographer at all).  
  • Camera with decent ISO performance.  This one isn't a must but birds are most active in the morning when they head out to start looking for food.  Having a camera that is capable of producing good images at decently high ISOs allows you to get more action oriented shots than you might otherwise be able too.
  • Big/Fast Lenses - It is hard to have too big or too fast a lens for birds.  Last year I used an 80-400 f4.5-5.6 and that got me pretty close but it always seemed just short of what what I wanted.  But, if you have the extra pixels feel free to crop in...  I won't tell anyone.
  • A Book on Birds - Knowing the habits of these critters is important because then you will know what to expect.  Plus, if you are like me you don't have all the names memorized.
  • A place to Go - There are several places here in South Florida that you can go for bird photography.  Just do a bit of research and find out what people are seeing at what places.  Just to name a few within the Everglades National Park:  Anhinga Trail, Eco Pond, and Shark Valley
  • Someone to Go With - This one here is a shameless plug.  Take a look at what workshops I am offering in 2016 or take the option for a private workshop.  I know all these locations and I am a licensed and insured guide for the Everglades.  Photographing alongside like minded individuals is always a good thing so if you don't take a workshop find another photographer to go with.
  • Food and Water - You might find yourself out there for long periods of time and there is nothing like an empty stomach to make you leave too early. 
  • A whole lot of patience - I could certainly use more of this because you have to set there and wait on them to do something interesting.  There are only so many shots of a blue heron just standing there that you can get.
  • Last but not Least:  GO - You'll never get any bird photos if you set on your couch!