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Thread: My Garden Birds Project

  1. #1
    AndyB1975's Avatar
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    My Garden Birds Project

    It seems like there are quite a few on here who enjoy photographing birds so I thought I would start my own running thread and share mine as I go along. If anything it will be a nice record for me to see the progress I make throughout the year and will also push me to not give up when it gets too hard.

    I really enjoy watching the birds visiting my garden and feeders of which I have 5 or 6 dotted around that are getting visited regulary. This has given me a good insight into the various birds behaviours and visiting/feeding habits which I hope will now put me in a good position to get some good shots.

    The largest lens I own is a 70-300mm so I will be relying on my gained bird knowledge to put me in the right place at the right time and be able to get close enough to get the shot I want, although as most will know, birds can be very un-reliable to say the least. I do not want to take feeder pictures and prefer a natural look.

    The current list of birds that visit my garden throughout the year is as follows (and still growing):

    Great Tits
    Blue Tits
    Long Tailed Tits
    House Sparrow
    Dunnock
    Green Finch
    Gold Finch
    Blackbird
    Robin
    Wren
    Starling
    Wood Pigeon
    Ferral Pigeon
    Stock Dove
    Collard Dove
    Sparrowhawk (rare visitor, only seen twice)


    My aim (personal goal) is to have a good quality picture of each species (ideally a male and female example) by the end of the year. I am starting to find that this may be hard going, but I will certainly give it my best shot.

    I have already spent many hours trying for not many results, but it's all good fun.

    This first picture of a Starling gives a good idea of where I am with my photography at the moment. I am not happy with this picture due to the long grass across the body and that single shiny leave in front of his breast (I knew I should have mowed my lawn). I am not competent enough at PP to remove these at the moment so I will just concentrate on getting that shot straight out the camera.

    So, this is the first picture of the thread, hopefully they can only get better from here on:

    My Garden Birds Project


    Thanks for looking and feel free to C&C where ever you like, good or bad, as it all helps me to learn and improve and achieve my personal goals.

    Regards

    Andy

  2. #2
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: My Garden Birds Project

    Hi Andy,

    Quote Originally Posted by AndyB1975
    My aim (personal goal) is to have a good quality picture of each species (ideally a male and female example) by the end of the year. I am starting to find that this may be hard going, but I will certainly give it my best shot.
    I commend your attitude, mine ran out a while ago, I made a start with a parent album just for birds on pbase, but I have some poor images and lots of gaps, although I wasn't limiting myself to garden visitors (very wise).

    I would say "cut the grass", but mine hasn't been cut for well over two weeks now, due to frequent rain showers and you're close enough to me to likely have the same problem!

    With regard to your starling (?) picture, in addition to the points you have noted, I would suggest it is perhaps a tad over-exposed, the green and possibly red sensor channels may be showing signs of clipping.

    Cheers,

  3. #3
    AndyB1975's Avatar
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    Re: My Garden Birds Project

    Thanks Dave. Yes, I have the same issue with the grass, it just keeps on raining! Still, the resevoirs need it.

    The over exposure is down to my PP. I felt the original was nicely exposed but with lots of green and a dark bird it just looked a bit much. I brightened it up a tad and also decreased the green a little. Thanks for your comments, I'll have another play with it. Ideally I will get a better pose when the grass has been cut

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    Re: My Garden Birds Project

    Hi Andy , I am doing something very similar, I found that I like the shots without feeder better too. I placed my feeders in locations that had natural perches very close . Them trimmed all the twigs and shot killers back, to better present my bird , I will include an example. look forward to seeing more of your garden birds.My Garden Birds Project

  5. #5

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    Re: My Garden Birds Project

    Nice and sharp Andy, were you laying on the ground to obtain this low angle? We have those same birds here and they do a great job at eating the bad bugs that leave in the grass. And yes, since monday, we have rain as well! Imagine how green the grass will be by the week-end!

  6. #6
    ktuli's Avatar
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    Re: My Garden Birds Project

    Quote Originally Posted by AndyB1975 View Post
    I do not want to take feeder pictures and prefer a natural look.
    Andy,

    One thing I have read repeatedly is that you may want to setup some 'natural' looking perches near your feeders. As the birds visit, they will often times stop on the perches to survey the scene - or queue up if another bird is already at the feeder. This is your opportunity to get the shot you are looking for without the feeder in the shot.

    Hope this helps!

    - Bill

  7. #7
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    Re: My Garden Birds Project

    Andy, the garden is where it starts! You are soon to be hooked. lol I agree with Dave on all points. Although I will say if this is of your forst attempts....you have done quite well. Focus is good and it is easily recognised. Keep it up and you will soon be venturing out to find more! Though you do have a nice selection in your garden.

  8. #8
    AndyB1975's Avatar
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    Re: My Garden Birds Project

    James - Thanks for the advice. What a lovely bird that is in the picture, I would be very excited if something as nice as that landed in my garden! Great picture.

    Louise - This was shot from a low chair. I have it set up under a tree ready to photograph the Green Finch, but they never turned up so this was an opportunist shot as it landed on the grass. The Starlings look even better when all flocked together doing their wonderfull evening flying display.

    Bill - Thanks for the info. I have a couple of trees that the birds like to hang around in so I have many areas to get a good picture without the feeders. I also have a log with some holes drilled in ready to go. I can either push bits of fat balls in to the holes or stick dried Teazal into it and can then place anywhere in the garden, but that is a last resort.

    Paul - I have already started venturing! lol. I keep seeing a Blackcap in a local forest in the same area, plans are already being hatched for him I decided to just aim for the garden first as that is a task in itself, anything else will be a bonus along the way.

  9. #9
    AndyB1975's Avatar
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    Re: My Garden Birds Project

    This really is the most frustrating project! The birds in my garden seem to know as soon as I have my camera in hand and avoid me at all costs. Many many many hours later and I finally have a few shots I am happy to add to here

    This time its a recently fledged female House Sparrow. Have added 4 pictures as I can't decide which I like the best so comments very welcome as always. I don't think my PP skills have done them justice but overall I am quite chuffed with these


    My Garden Birds Project


    My Garden Birds Project


    My Garden Birds Project


    My Garden Birds Project
    Last edited by AndyB1975; 20th May 2012 at 11:35 AM.

  10. #10
    AndyB1975's Avatar
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    Re: My Garden Birds Project

    Since posting these I have found out the picture number 2 is not a recently fledged bird asking to be fed, but an adult female showing her self off as being available and ready for mating. For some reason I think that makes the picture even more interesting now.

  11. #11
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: My Garden Birds Project

    Hi Andy,

    I missed these when first posted a couple of days ago

    A good addition to the project and your PP skills haven't actually harmed them either
    (may have ruffled a few ...)

    I think #2 is my favourite, but that's nothing to do with smutty thoughts, because it was before I read the follow up post.

    Cheers,

  12. #12
    jeeperman's Avatar
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    Re: My Garden Birds Project

    I missed these as well! Looks like you are comming along. I also like #2. I liker it best for the contrast, sharpness and color. It seem slighttly better than the rest for me.

  13. #13
    AndyB1975's Avatar
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    Re: My Garden Birds Project

    Thanks Dave and Paul.

    I think number 2 is my favourite too now (I just wish I had brushed off that bit of poop!).

    No 1 was a quick hand held shot and was from then on I realised a couple of birds kept landing in the same area so managed to get the tripod set up for the rest. Number 2 was at a perfect time in the afternoon, and she had landed on a better part of the fence and she actually stayed put for longer than a few seconds and let compose things a little better. 3 and 4 had different lighting and I had to push the ISO up to 800 to keep any sort of shutter speed.

    Green Finch are next on the list, well, thats the plan

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