Cindy Smith News :: Song Bird Photography on Perches

Posted: 8/28/2014 3:05:06 PM   Page Views 6536   Comments 0

One of my favorite photographers is Alan Murphy. Alan specializes in bird photography and has developed many different techniques to get songbirds up on to perches. These techniques allow the photographer to control where the bird lands and what is in the background. Alan has spectacular images of songbirds on beautiful perches, with creamy out of focus backgrounds.

Being a long time birder and a photographer, I wanted to try my hand at songbird photography using Alan’s techniques. Though Alan’s workshop are out of my price range, he does offer a series of CD’s and ebooks outlining his techniques. I spent the latter part of the winter gathering some props, such as a Christmas tree stand, various logs, bird feeder trays and small speakers, to be ready for some spring bird photography.

I started with the easiest avenue into bird photography, my home bird feeder. I set up a feeder and some props outside of my sliding glass door. I made sure to put them far enough away so that my 600mm lens would be within minimum focusing distance and then spent a few mornings trying to capture images as birds came into the setups.

The most challenging part I found was to get interesting and varied setups. After getting the setups in place, another challenge was to keep them looking fresh. I used wet paper towels around the base of some setups and tried the flower water vials that you get from a flower shop around thinner branches.

The birds I photographed I am sure have been photographed a thousand times before, but my goal was to get experience with setting up props and getting familiar with how the birds responded to the props. No need trying to run when I hadn't even learned to walk yet.


In the field:

My next challenge was trying to get warblers to come to perches in the field. This proved a lot more challenging and frustrating. I headed out several mornings to my favorite birding spots and set- up perches according to Alan’s instructions. In the beg

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