I’m learning a lot with my bird watching expeditions this year. Some of those expeditions have been away from home and others in the scrub at the back of our property. Here is what I’ve learnt, in no particular order.
- Wear neutral or earth tone colours, not bold bright colouring. You need to blend into the environment, not stand out.
- Tread carefully and quietly – also slowly. Many’s the time I’ve disturbed or startled a bird (or other wildlife) by walking too quickly or noisily.
- With #2 in mind, keep your eyes peeled to the ground around you – not just ahead or above.
- When at or close to home, leave the pets inside. I have a cat who loves to follow me and winds himself in and around my legs when I’m walking through the scrub – he could trip me over, is definitely distracting and makes me miss seeing things till too late, and he probably upsets/disturbs the wildlife/animal life.
Other things I’ve been told by my peers at the Australian Photography Forum:
- Listening helps, listening for calls, moving branches, the crunching of leaf litter, etc will find you a lot more things than vision alone.
- Have the species and location sussed out well before you go spotting.
- Don’t be in a hurry.
- Having another set of eyes is very useful, i.e. a companion, daughter, son, friend, partner, etc.
I’m also learning which lenses work best, what settings to put them on and experimenting and trying things out. A monopod or tripod with longer lenses is definitely useful.
Finally, BEFORE you venture out – check your settings. There have been many times when I’ve been merrily clicking the button on my camera only to find part way through a shoot I have the wrong setting and I know those photos aren’t going to be as good as I hoped.