Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Birds of a feather

Green military macaw stares into the lens. I took a lot of photos of the parrots but i was happy with only a few

As I may of intimated before, If I had a choice on what type of photography I would concentrate on it would probably be  birds. The only thing that is stopping is opportunity(and patience, equipment,talent and money)

One of the issues is, in order to get a close up of our feathered friends, some decent long glass is helpful like a 400mm with a wide aperture(it is amazing how fast birds move, even when perching. They seem incapable of moving their heads in a slow movement like we do). However the price of such a lens would make even a premiership footballer pause before pulling out his credit card.

However there are some places where more modest glass can come into play. The garden is one, where a well provisioned bird table can often tempt birds into range. Another one is a zoo or bird gardens. 

So it was that I found myself off to Desford Bird Gardens . The ulterior motive was to meet my Aunt and Uncle, however I managed to sneak a camera and my 300mm zoom into my bag in the hope of sneaking off to photo some of the feathered residents

Some may think taking pictures of captive birds is cheating (although the parrots and macaw here are not strictly captive, just well trained ) and what I really should be doing is standing in a Bulgarian swamp up to my waist in stagnant water. But until I get the opportunity to take pictures of Java Finches in the wild, this is the best I can do. Anyway in the end the pictures does not  care where it is taken, be it an enclosure in deepest Leicestershire or the Indonesian rain forest. 

The stars of the show at Desford are undoubtable the parrots and macaw's, who are allowed to fly free and mug customers. While these are incredible photogenic, personally I was attracted by the woodland walk which contained a number of free flying tropical small birds such as weavers and zebra finches. With a little patience it was possible to get some nice shots. 

Although we are not taking pictures in the wild, many of the same techniques apply. Things like getting into the right position, understanding how birds behave, making sure the camera aperture and speed is set to get the best shot all apply. 

All these techniques can then be transferred to taking pictures of wild birds. In the mean time it means you can get great pictures on a budget without the danger of coming down with trench foot.

 A nice shot of a weaver bird. They were nest building and it was difficult to get a clear shot. They were also very aggressive, a number of times scaring of a number of other spieces.
 A Weaver bird close up
 Not sure what this bird is, but it was not shy, picking up insects from the grass close to the camera
 The day was so hot, staff sprayed the parrots with water. This is a green parrot getting a cool down
 The Java Finches loved taking a bird bath in the stream and I tried to get a good shot of them washing

 Nice close up of a Java Finch, puffing it's chest out. Handsome birds

Nice ripple effect as a Java Finch washes

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