Birding and Photography

Birding and photography go hand in hand.  That’s not to say that you have to be a photographer to be a birder.  But to own a camera of some type is a definite help in being able to identify bird species.  How exasperating it can be to see a bird that you don’t recognize, then try to remember what you saw while you are looking at you bird guides.  If you have a photo that has a decent image of the bird, it can be of great assistance.

Most cameras manufactured today, have some sort of zoom lens.  However, in my experience I would recommend for birding, you have a zoom of at least 300mm or equilivant.  You can find SLRs, (Single Lens Reflex) cameras or inexpensive point and shoot cameras.  You don’t have to spend a lot of money, but you want one that will give you a decent image, preferably close-up.

I,myself, use a pair of Canon 40D digital SLRs.  The 40D is probably classified a middle of the range in price.  It has all the features that I need, and some that are found in the high-end super-expensive cameras.  But having said that, I do use the top of the line super-expensive lenses.  That is because that regardless of the price of the camera, you have nothing if you don’t have good a quality lens.  It is the lens that make for great photographs.  The camera is just a tool to make things easier.  So if you have low to medium end camera that takes inter-changeable lens, think about up-grading your lenses before changing equipment.

Also when considering a camera or lens, check to see if there is auto-focus, or image-stabilization.  Both features make it easier to catch the action when the bird is about to fly, or if the light is so low that you need a slower shutter speed.

As I said before I use the Canon 40D.  My favored lenses are the Canon 100-400mm L series zoom, and the Canon 500mm f4 L Series super-telephoto.  The 500mm is not a zoom, but a fixed focal-length lens.  I can add a 1.4x teleconverter to lengthen it to 700mm.  If I add my 2x converter, it will be a healthy 1000mm.  Of course, with that big lens I use a heavy Manfrotto-Bogen tripod.   You can see that set-up in the picture at the right in the side-bar.

That’s it for the day.  Maybe the next time I will touch on photo-editing software.

Happy Birding!!


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