I wasn’t very interested in photographing birds until I became friends with some bird photographers. After my first really good shot (with borrowed equipment) I was hooked. Now I look for birds everywhere when I’m travelling and at home. My friend, Bruce Finocchio, owns a cabin in the Central California coastal mountains between Carmel and Greenfield where he does a lot of bird photography from blinds and leads bird blind workshops. He built some ponds and the birds, and other animals, come down to drink and bathe. Blinds are set up next to the ponds and photographers sit in the blinds patiently waiting for a bird to show up and when they do shoot like crazy until it flies away. I’ve also photographed fox, rabbits, chipmonks, deer, snakes, bugs and wildflowers at the Ramrod Ranch.
In addition to the blinds, bird photography requires additional equipment which I bought in order to get better photographs. Equipment:
- A longer lens – Mine is an 80-400 Nikkor zoom lens and isn’t really the best lens for shooting birds from a blind but is versatile. I can use it to photograph other wildlife and it is small enough to carry and travel with easily.
- A good tripod and head – I’m still working on the tripod head. I want a Gimbel-type head that allows the lens to be balanced and swing easily but stay where you aim it without holding it or having to twist a lot of knobs. These things can be expensive! My tripod is a Manfrotto.
- External flash and extender – I have a Nikon SB800 and a Better Beamer flash extender (a unit with a lens that attaches to your flash to make the light travel further.
There are other things that people use, but that is what I use with my Nikon D300 camera.
Bird Photography friends websites:
Dream Catcher Images by Bruce Finocchio
Randy Herz Photography
Christine Humphreys Photography
Bird Blind Photography Workshops