How to capture stunning images of your favorite birds

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How to capture stunning images of your favorite birds

Mastering Bird Photography: The Art, Craft, and Technique of Photographing Birds and… by Marie Read, Rocky Nook, US $49.95, Pp 340, March 2019, ISBN 978-1681983622

Birds have captivated and inspired humans since the dawn of human history. Birds are colorful and musical. They add color and bring signs of life around us with their musical sounds. But the true embodiment of birds’ spirits is that most enviable of powers: flight. Human beings watched birds flying by and wondered if they could also fly. Finally, there came a day when human being also started flying although not the same way as birds. In Mastering Bird Photography, Marie Read tells us how to capture stunning images of the birds we have always loved to watch. She says their fascinating lives unfold just in about every habitat on Earth. In frigid Polar regions, sweltering rainforests, stark deserts and, increasingly, in our cities and gardens. Some live life high in the sky, others dive deep underwater. Most share the human love of daylight but a few emerge only under cover of darkness. Mastering Bird Photography will teach you to photographs birds in practically every situation.

Bird photography has become immensely popular because it offers us humans — ever yearning for freedom — a way to capture some of that boundless avian spirit. Read writes, “It is as if we subconsciously hope that the essence of bird-ness holds the secret to lifting our spirits and liberating us too.” Bird photography follows closely behind bird watching as one of North America’s most popular pastimes. Much of North America is strongly seasonal, and the changing seasons usher in various stages of a bird’s annual life cycle. She says that you can find birds at any time of year but if your goal is to photograph particular species in peak breeding plumage, or performing activities such as courtship o migration, knowing the right time of the year is vital. Being there at the right time is much easier if you shoot locally. Scouting out your local hotspots regularly throughout the year lets you plan ahead in anticipation of birds’ seasonal activities. Like in central New York, autumn sends certain year-round resident species, such as Blue Jays, into a frenzy of food hoarding for the coming winter. Timing is important for short-lived opportunities.

Marie Read rightly says that a beautiful bird portrait can be a piece of art that captures our hearts. An action shot can leave us with a sense of awe at the drama of the natural world. Portrayed in its environment, an image of a bird can be a powerful force of conservation of an ever more vulnerable Earth. Captured in an imaginative way, a photo can surprise us an even make us chuckle. She advises, “Whatever goals you envision for your work, strive to strengthen your technical skill, develop your artistic vision, and tell stories with your images, always with the well-being of the birds as the first priority. Take risks, be creative, be persistent, and above all, have fun.”

Bird photography is a difficult field but Mastering Bird Photography will make it a lot easier. It is packed with a clear and easy-to-understand explanation of techniques to capture bird images under different conditions of lights, distance, and backgrounds as well as in different regions of North America. It is without a doubt a comprehensive field guide to bird photography. This is a must-read for both amateur and professional photographers. If you are an amateur photographer, your photograph will look professional and, if you are a professional photographer, your photograph will certainly be better than other professionals. There are not many good books that teach bird photography, Mastering Bird Photography is perhaps one of the few best books on the subject.

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