Mastering Bird Photography

Book description

In Mastering Bird Photography: The Art, Craft, and Technique of Photographing Birds and Their Behavior, acclaimed bird photographer and author Marie Read shares techniques and stories behind her compelling images, offering fresh insights into making successful bird photographs, whether you’re out in the field or in the comfort of your own backyard.

In this richly illustrated book, you’ll learn how to be in the right place at the right time and how to obtain tack sharp portraits. Marie then teaches you to take your skills to the next level in order to capture action shots, illustrate birds in their habitats, and portray birds in evocative and artistic ways.

Building on basic technical topics such as camera choice, lens choice, and camera settings, Marie reveals how fieldcraft, compositional decisions, and knowledge of bird behavior contribute greatly to a successful bird photograph. Captions for the over 400 images contained in the book provide details on the equipment used, as well as camera settings. Throughout the book, bird behavior insights provide bird photographers of all skill levels a wealth of essential insider information that will help you produce images that stand out from the crowd.

Topics include:

  • Equipment and accessories
  • Focus, exposure, and light
  • Composition and creativity
  • Bird photography ethics
  • Capturing bird behavior
  • Storytelling images
  • Action and in-flight shots
  • Backyard photo studio
  • Weather, water, and mood
  • Top bird photo sites in North America
  • Basic image editing
  • And much more!

Foreword by Tim Gallagher, Editor-in-Chief Emeritus, Living Bird magazine.

Table of contents

  1. Cover
  2. Title
  3. Copyright
  4. Contents
  5. Foreword
  6. Introduction
  7. Chapter 1 Getting Started in Bird Photography
    1. Be There
    2. Be Prepared
    3. Be Aware
    4. Be Lucky
    5. RAW Power!
    6. Basic Photography Concepts
  8. Chapter 2 Equipment Essentials
    1. Cameras for Bird Photography
    2. Lenses for Bird Photography
    3. Tripods and Other Supports
    4. Accessories
    5. Into the Field
  9. Chapter 3 Focusing and Image Sharpness
    1. The Autofocus System
    2. Basic Settings: Shutter Speed, Aperture, and ISO
    3. Long-Lens Technique for Stability
    4. Evaluating Sharpness
  10. Chapter 4 Getting Close
    1. Location Matters
    2. The Slow Stalk
    3. Become Part of the Scenery
    4. Blinds for Bird Photography
    5. Your Vehicle: The Ideal Movable Blind
    6. Photographing from a Boat
    7. Attracting Birds in the Field
  11. Chapter 5 Seeing the Light
    1. Reading Natural Light
    2. Light Quality
    3. Light Direction
    4. Catchlights
    5. Combining Natural Light with Flash
  12. Chapter 6 Exposure
    1. Taking Control of Exposure
    2. Exposure Modes
    3. Metering Modes
    4. Making and Evaluating Exposures
    5. Solving Real-World Exposure Issues
    6. Going Forward with Exposure
  13. Chapter 7 Composition Basics
    1. Quick-Start Guide to Better Composition
    2. Framing the Image
    3. Avoid Random Amputations
    4. Where to Place the Subject
    5. Background Check
    6. The Lowdown on Low-Angle Shooting
    7. Aperture, Depth of Field, and Background
    8. Head Angle
    9. Visual Rhythm
    10. Cropping to Improve Composition
    11. Follow Your Vision
  14. Chapter 8 Capturing Bird Behavior
    1. The Power of Knowledge
    2. Feeding Methods
    3. Plumage Care: Bathing, Preening, and Flapping
    4. Behavior Cues and the Decisive Moment
    5. Courtship and Mating Rituals
    6. Parents and Young
    7. The Ethics of Nest Photography
    8. Migration and Flocking
    9. Aggression and Conflict
  15. Chapter 9 Beauty Close to Home
    1. The Bird-Friendly Backyard
    2. Take Advantage of Existing Plantings
    3. Backyard Setups
    4. Attracting Bluebirds for Photography
    5. Elaborate Sets to Capture Bird Behavior
    6. Feathered Families: Autofocus or Manual Focus?
    7. Backyard Drama: Fight and Flight
    8. Photographing Hummingbirds in Flight
  16. Chapter 10 On the Wing
    1. Optimize Camera Performance for Birds in Flight
    2. Prefocus-and-Wait Strategy for Flying Birds
    3. The Active Approach: Practice and Skill Building
    4. Anticipation! Reading Birds’ Preflight Behavior Cues
    5. Flight Paths and Behavior Patterns
    6. Wind Direction
    7. Wing Position
    8. Flocks in Flight
  17. Chapter 11 The Big Picture
    1. Include the Habitat to Tell a Story
    2. Birds in the Landscape
    3. Big Picture Artistry
    4. The Composition Process
  18. Chapter 12 Weather, Water, and Mood
    1. Snow
    2. Rain
    3. Frost and Ice
    4. Fog and Mist
    5. Including Water in Bird Photos
  19. Chapter 13 Shooting Outside the Box
    1. Develop Your Creative Vision
    2. Creative Use of Shutter Speed
    3. In a New Light
    4. High-Key Approach
    5. Natural Patterns
    6. Break the Rules!
    7. Creative Editing
    8. Take Risks!
  20. Chapter 14 Basic Image Editing
    1. Image-Editing Software
    2. The RAW Advantage
    3. Workflow
    4. A Word about Sharpening
    5. Photoshop Tips and Tricks
  21. Chapter 15 Bird Photography Hotspots
    1. General Tips
    2. Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve, California
    3. Bosque Del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico
    4. Ritch Grissom Memorial Wetlands (Viera Wetlands), Florida
    5. Fort De Soto Park, Pinellas County, Florida
    6. Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, Titusville, Florida
    7. Rio Grande Valley Photography Ranches, South Texas
    8. Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, Utah
    9. Cape St. Mary’s Ecological Reserve, Newfoundland
    10. St. Paul, Pribilof Islands, Alaska
    11. Nickerson Beach Park, Long Island, New York
    12. Other Good Bird Photography Locations
    13. Your Local Hotspot Anywhere!
  22. Chapter 16 What’s Next?
    1. Displaying and Sharing Your Work
    2. Photo Contests
    3. Giving Back to Nature
    4. Be a Writer (or Team Up with One)
  23. Afterword
  24. Acknowledgments
  25. Appendices
  26. Captions for Chapter-Opening and cover images
  27. Resources

Product information

  • Title: Mastering Bird Photography
  • Author(s): Marie Read
  • Release date: December 2018
  • Publisher(s): Rocky Nook
  • ISBN: 9781681983646