A Little Birding

As we learn photography, we try different types of image capture. In Sri Lanka, we took a few bird photos while looking for elephants while on safari in one of their parks. Now that we are home, we decided to try to build on that experience to photograph birds in a local park.

The following photo is a hawk who is fishing over a lake near our home. We learned several things while photographing him (or her). The first is that we need a longer lens. We use an EF-S lens on our Canon camera that has a maximum focal length of 250mm. That doesn’t let us fill the frame with the bird. A second thing we learned is that autofocus (at least point focus on our Canon 200D’s) is nearly useless when photographing against a featureless sky. By the time the camera would lock focus on the hawk, it would be out of the frame.  We had to switch to manual focus selecting a focus point about 1/3 of the way into the scene to avoid focus lag. Finally, we realized that we should have adjusted the exposure to prevent the bird from silhouetting. Fortunately, we shoot in raw format and this could be partly corrected by adjusting the shadows in Adobe Lightroom.

We think a lot of this could be solved with different camera settings but knowing those settings will only come with experience. We don’t know if bird photography is one of our long-term goals, but it is interesting to learn the difficulty and problems solved for those whose passion it is.


This photo was taken on April 11, 2018. Specs are:

Canon SL2, ISO 100, f/11, 1/250 sec, 250 mm