Avian Photography

Steve Clause


Avian photography has been, is, and will continue to be an art form, and is at best, difficult. This of course is the challenge of photographing birds. Bird photography is also useful when there is a need for study prints or documentation of a particularly important avian activity. So we can generate much usefulness from this type of photographic work; art prints and study prints.

The winter months are a perfect time to practice the art of avian photography, both domestic and wild.

The show season is just ending for some types of birds and many fanciers have their animals in prime condition. That is, in perfect feather, clear of eye, and steady from being shown in a confined area amidst confusion and excitement. This is the bird that makes a good photographic subject.

The breeding season is just beginning for some species, such as cockatiels and lovebirds. These birds are also in peak condition and beginning to select mates. This is the time to try for photographs of the courtship process and even of the actual mating, but you had better be on your toes since these birds almost never pose for their photographs.

For those of you whose birds are into the hatching to fledgling stage, remember that baby pictures are irresistable. Even the baby hookbill with a face that only a mother could love, is adorable to the aviculturist. And what about documentation of spoon feeding an orphan, some of our readers may never have seen this procedure.

Those of you living in snow country may keep a wild bird feeder during the winter months. Can you capture the feeding frenzy of these birds at the feeder on film?

Patience as well as practice will help you get that once-in-a-lifetime photograph. And once you've got it, share it! Enter your photograph in the AFA Watchbird photographic contest. But you've got to start now with the photography (I know that many of you would have entered last year's contest but you just got too late of a start and missed the deadline). The various categories are black and white prints, color prints and slides. Monetary prizes are offered for lst, 2nd or 3rd place. All photographs are judged before the convention starts and these photos are displayed at the convention. Then the photographs are run in the Watchbird issue after the convention.

This column will, in upcoming issues, cover many points useful to the novice as well as the experienced avian photographer, but if you just can't wait or if you have something that you can share with all of us, please drop me a line c/o Watchbird, attention Steve Clause •


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