Weekly theme 11th February 2019 - Birds

(Helen Hooker) #1

Morning everyone! I’ve managed to find some time earlier in the day this week, so you’ll have a few more hours to come up with your image for this week’s theme. Let’s get straight into it….

This week’s theme is Birds

This is an idea that @unicornlover suggested when I asked for ideas a while back. Given that my latest article over on the Photoblog learning pages is all about bird photography, it seemed a timely choice! If you want to pick up a few tips about bird photography, why not pop over here and take a look?

Bird photography is one of those genres where having the right gear can make a big difference. That said, the longest lens you have is often never quite long enough when photographing birds, so you have to get creative sometimes! If you’re not a regular wildlife shooter and don’t have a long telephoto lens, please don’t assume this isn’t a theme you can shoot for - with a little ingenuity you can even do it with a wide angle lens. Let’s take a look at the options…

Using a long lens

If you’re lucky enough to own a really long lens, the world is your oyster with bird photography. Having a long focal length at your disposal allows you to bring the birds closer and you can capture some wonderful close ups of their activities. For instance, Richard Lee has shared a beautiful in flight shot of a Short Eared Owl, by using a 400mm lens.

Moderate telephoto lenses

Don’t worry though - you don’t need to go and take out a second mortgage to buy a really long lens to do some great bird photography. If you have a moderate telephone lens (perhaps a 70-200 or 70-300) you can still capture pictures of a bird in its environment. Often this will tell more about birds and their activities, so this is a good thing to do sometimes, even if you do own a really long lens!

This beautiful wintery shot by Hessey Sossah shows a bird in its environment and was photographed at just 200mm.

Shots like these are great fun to create if you have a bird table or feeding station in your garden. The birds will be used to seeing humans around and will probably let you a little closer.

Shorter lenses

Don’t be disheartened if you’re more of a wide angle shooter - there are still plenty of possibilities out there. Pop down to your local park armed with some tasty snacks and you’ll be surprised how close the birds will often come. This cute duck marched straight up to me when it realised I had some grain to offer it. I shot this at just 40mm - definitely not the sort of focal length you usually associate with wildlife photography!

If you’re going to try this though, please do think carefully about the food you take along. Bread really isn’t good for ducks, but there are plenty of other options - a few handfuls of grain, some frozen peas or leftover veggie scraps. For garden birds, such as robins, mealworms are always popular, or sunflower hearts.

So there you have some ideas as to how you can get involved in our bird theme without buying a new lens. Of course, if you want to use the theme as an excuse to splash out, who am I to say you can’t?!

I’m looking forward to seeing this page filled with our feathered friends over the week, and with the promise of some sunshine here I’m definitely going to get out and take part in this one myself. Have a great week!

How to participate:

  • Please submit your photo by midnight GMT on Sunday 17th February
  • To submit a photo, hit the Reply button below and upload your image(s). Please limit each post to one image.
  • Please try to also share your picture on your page over the main Photoblog platform and encourage others to visit the theme thread to participate and vote.
  • To vote, click the :heart: heart icon.
  • If you post your picture early in the week don’t forget to pop back to see what others have shared and to cast your votes!

Winner of the last theme

We had some wonderfully atmospheric pictures entered for last week’s ‘sense of mood’ theme - you really pulled out the stops! Our winner is @Camellia with this beauty, which has so much mood to it - I don’t think it would look out of place in a Hollywood movie! Congratulations Camellia!

(Russell Smith) #2

Black and White Warbler .

(Jon Fitton) #3

Sea Booby, Bequia SVG.

(Kenny H) #4


(Lakshmi Bhat) #5

Bulbuls eating the seed of a flowering plants which we call ‘karaveera’ in my language, Kannada.

(Berckmans Peter) #6

This one is taken with my old Panasonic bridgecamera in a zoo. They are not kept there but these birds come every year back to nest there.

(Bethany Plonski) #7

Northern Mockingbird

(Lisa Britton) #8

(Lisa Britton) #9

(L A Magee) #10

(Berckmans Peter) #11

Decided to publish a second entry. These are very common here, sometimes they are considered a plague

(Laurie Madsen) #12

Cardinal in Snow

(Bastien Lebrun) #13

Hummingbird in the Californian mountains

(Camellia Staab) #14

Thank you Helen and those who voted. It was one of those shots where I was heading the other direction and thought if I don’t stop now and turn around I wont be able to get it the next time around. Basically a spur of the moment shot through the car window, praying that no cars would drive behind me while I was trying to line everything up. I appreciate your vote of confidence and thank you again :smile:

(Pat Lee) #15

(Helen Hooker) #16

A bit late, as usual, but how could I not share this photo I took of Rocky, at Rainham Marshes on Friday? He’s an incredibly tame robin who lives in the old cordite store there. This shot came after he’d hopped onto my hand and stuffed himself with mealworms!!

(Gianluigi Gg) #17