I have two passions outside sailing: bird watching and nature photography. In a way these go hand in hand.
Bird photography is a big challenge. Just think: a moving target, and more often than not a moving platform on Take It Easy. To date the zoom lens I have used to capture bird images with my Canon 60D camera has been a Tamron 18 to 270mm. Although this is my favourite all-purpose lens and is great for travelling and cruising, it is far from sufficient for bird photography.
I sometimes capture pleasing shots, as long as the birdies are not too far away, not too small, not too fleeting… However when I look at my collection of bird images, few are crisp, in focus, and close enough to fill the frame. Lots of cropping is required, which often reveals more sins than I would like.
Bird Photography – The Gauntlet
I have given myself a lofty challenge to remedy this. Firstly I have just acquired a better lens, fit for purpose: a Canon EF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM lens – second-hand so as not to break the bank too much. Wade has christened it ‘the beast’. This is a high performance lens designed for serious wildlife and sports photography. Research done, purchase made, now let’s learn how to use the thing!
So here comes the second part of the challenge: I am committing to feature a bird photo with some information about the chosen feathered friend each fortnight. “Only fortnightly ?” I hear you comment… Well I am still working, which does not leave a lot of time for extra-curricular activities. No point being overly ambitious and not delivering!
This challenge will achieve a few things:
- get me using my camera and new lens often
- give me a focus for my shots – avian behaviour and habitat
- and finally get me posting regularly on our website
Since our trip to France, I have posted every week. I aim to continue doing this, but alternate between updates on our adventures, and the bird photography challenge.
For now, here are a few favourites from our existing collection.