1. Don’t wear white.
Birds are highly visual creatures, and some colors trigger instincts to flee (some birds retreat to yellows and reds – the color of a coral snake!) Tip: Earthy colors are best (think camo!).
2. Get a large enough memory card to hold lots of pictures.
Scoring a great bird picture is often a rule of percentages – take enough pics and you’ll get some good ones.
3. Consider time of day.
Within three hours of sunrise or two hours before sunset. This is when the birds are most active and the lighting is best.
4. Don’t use camera flash.
Best way to do this is approach the bird with the sun to your back, which will also improve the lighting on the bird.
5. Start taking pictures from your initial approach.
You never know when you might snap a twig that will scare the bird off, so better to keep taking pictures as you inch closer and closer.
6. Be patient. Be quiet. Be still.
7. Keep it natural.
A telephone pole in the background is not the nicest backdrop. Eliminate as much human-made objects as possible.
8. Aim for the eye.
The eye of the bird should be your center of focus, but be creative and try different angles and elements (ex. unfocused branch in the foreground with focused bird behind).
9. Know the bird – be the bird.
If you’re seeking a specific bird, do a little research and find out some of its behaviours and habits, which can help you know when and how to set up the right shot.
10. Keep your lenses clean!
This doesn’t mean spit shine with a wipe of your sleeve. Invest in a little kit to clean your lenses – you will be amazed at the difference it will make.
11. Camera Specs.
If you’re serious about bird watching, make sure you invest in a camera with a low shutter lag. There’s nothing worse than clicking the button on a perfectly composed picture and your camera takes a second to snap and the picture is lost. Also, if you’re taking pictures of a particularly jumpy bird, switch to sports mode or a high shutter speed.
12. Bonus Tip: Only share your best photos.
At the end of the day, you’ll probably have a full memory card. Delete the bad ones and keep the good ones. Only show your best ones.
Looking to try out your skills with a birding tour in St. Lucia? We can help arrange a wonderful excursion with a great birding guide.
-Lauren, Oasis Team