The Joys of Bird Photography!

By Mridula Dwivedi March 4, 2015 26 Comments , ,

Before I bought a 75-300 zoom lens (and that was a long time ago) I was blissfully unaware of birds! I was of the opinion that there were no birds in Gurgaon. I could probably identify a sparrow even then but all that is a thing of past now. One day I was saying something softly to Chhavi and she turned around and whispered, “why are you speaking softly, is there a bird around?” That is the current state. I have such a love hate relationship with bird photography. I love it when I am able to capture a decent picture, but that happens so very rarely.

oriental-white-eye
An Oriental White Eye

Before I discovered the Burst/Sports, mode bird photography used to be literally painful. I distinctly remember trying to photograph a green bee eater at a close range. Freezing anything with a single shot for a bird was almost impossible. And yet I tried till I got a crick in the neck. And then I saw (or rather heard the continuous click of the camera) someone at Bharatpur shooting in burst mode, and it dawned on me that the mode existed for a purpose!

That leads to my next favorite subject. As I have only a puny 75-300 zoom to use for my bird photography, I need to creep closer to the bird. So my modus operandi is something like this, which I have perfected after many trials and errors. I start clicking as soon as I spot a bird. I now shoot birds in continuous modes only. Then I try to inch closer to the spot as quietly as I can. If Chhavi is with me, it is well impossible to do so. She is capable of scaring a bird away from a mile when she tries to keep quiet. Otherwise she can scare them away from 5 miles at least.

landscapes
Thank God that Landscapes Don’t Fly Away!

There have been times when I am happily shooting landscapes, god bless them, they never fly away. I will have a wide angle lens on my camera and right next to me, I am sure they do it on purpose, an exotic bird will come and plonk itself. Now I get all in tizzy. I creep softly to where my zoom lens is lying, I try to change it at a breakneck speed. and as soon as I turn back, the bird has but of course flown away.

Then I have tried tracking birds in flight. The less said about it the better. If it is difficult to click them when they are sitting, it is outright torture to try the flight bit. I can never locate them in my viewfinder to begin with. If by some miracle I do locate them, it is even a bigger miracle if I can track them as well. And when I see the shots, they are all blurred.

blue-throat
A Beautiful Blue Throat

And yet when on a rare moment I am able to take a half way decent shot, it is sheer magic!

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26 thoughts on “The Joys of Bird Photography!”

  1. Birding is fun but with my puny 300 mm lens I just prefer to watch them through binoculars… This little guy is sure handsome… ( I am assuming guy due to blue 🙂 )

  2. I believe it is the moment that make picture priceless not picture itself and i do agree with Prasad, that little guy is really looking cool. 😉

  3. Hi Mridula – those are lovely shots. I have the 300 mm too . Can’t invest in more lenses at the moment so, I click all my bird pics with it – a few turn out really well and a few don’t. I guess one has to make do with what one has.

    I have a daughter too, who like yours, accompanies me on most such trips. 🙂

  4. Awesome photography! Whenever I saw your bird photography, I have been thinking I am the only person in this world not to be able to take bird photography… I have almost done everything like you did, but the difference is, you got at least handful of good photographs…

  5. Write-up is so lively. All the pictures are image of the moment. Like the captions you give, they are best. Would sum up , award-winning travel writer and naturalist travel photographer par excellence. Good luck to you!

  6. Lovely captures… So candid you talked about Chavi- She is capable of scaring a bird away from a mile when she tries to keep quiet. Otherwise she can scare them away from 5 miles at least.
    I am so far from these lens world, yet trying to love the beautiful things around with my smartphone and a Nikon non-DSLR camera.

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Mridula Dwivedi

I started my India travel blog, Travel Tales from India in 2005. In 2016 I realized Travel Tales from India and Abroad better reflected my writings. I love to walk and ride in metros around the world. I have not been everywhere, I am not even close, but it is on my list. I also quit my job as a professor in 2015, it was a happening year! I did a Ph.D. from IIT Kanpur ages ago!

If you wish to collaborate with me, please check out my media kit. You can write to me at mridulablog@gmail.com

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