Step 2: Feeder Placement

Some locations in your yard may be better then others for attracting birds.

A  bird feeder in the middle of open ground can put small birds at risk of hawk attacks. Too close to the ground or a fence provides easy access for cats to pounce.

Still, we want a suitable location for photographing our feathered friends. Think about where you will sit with your camera and then consider the following factors.

First, the more light, the better. Stopping motion requires fast shutter speeds. The faster the shutter speed, the less light enters the lens. More on that later, but, unless you have very expensive low light lenses, place your feeder in good light. You want as sunny a spot as possible. Relatively low sun in the morning and evening, (still bright and rich in color) allows you to have your back to the sun and the light on the birds.

The second consideration is the background. Conventional composition suggests a non-distracting background and one with contrasting colors that complement the subject. To present a natural setting, avoid absolutely straight lines. For the most part, absolute straight lines do not exist in nature and suggest man-made objects, even when blurred. A shallow depth of field will have the subject in focus while blurring a distracting background. A wide open aperture will provide that shallow depth of field.

Third, place the feeder near convenient natural perches that the birds will land upon and pose for you. Iron brackets, plastic poles and store bought lumber that support your feeders detract from that natural look. Attach cut branches for perch enhancement. Change these branches often for variety in your photos.
Thank you for sharing your photography tips. I visited your site on Flickr and loved your photos. The owl is amazing too. Did it visit your backyard?
<p>Too bad you didn't get a photo of the rare &quot;Thunderbirds&quot;. They tend to fly in perfect formation and hang around air bases with air shows. You can recognize them by their glisteny red, white, and blue feathers. Their call is similar to a loud roar to scare off predators. On occasion you hear them squawk at each other to coordinate their flight.</p><p>Joking aside, those are very nice photos. Your patience is admirable.</p>
If you only want photos of Black Capped Chickadees, try the food in one hand, camera in the other technique... <br> <br>((Fujifilm S4500, point and shoot)
This patience, how much does it cost and where can I find it?<br><br>joke...<br><br>I'll be sure to try this out when spring finally hits, still got tempertatures of -30C something depending on which week :(
thanks. very helpful. Wish I had read this a few years ago !
hahaha i love the pic with the cat staring at the bird feeder waiting for an unsuspecting bird to just fly by....
I tried this with Humming birds on my old Olympus E-410 a while back. I figured it would be good practice and cool to catch them in action. I soon learned that i had to use auto focus and freehand the camera to even have a chance at catching them. I was shooting from indoors, we had a feeder on a large window, so I could get pretty close before they got spooked by my movement but the lighting wasn't so great.<br> Some of my favorite <a href="http://s12.photobucket.com/albums/a225/gloorp/Birds/">bird shots</a> with my E-410
Just got my Nikon D3000, and I found this to be very helpful! One thing that I did to help practice was to head to a fish store. Fish are constantly moving, each tank has its own light environment, and the subjects are pretty! Oh, and they're in a tank, so they won't go too far. =D
Thanks for taking the time to go through it step by step ,being new to wildlife photography you have answered alot of my questions .thanks keep up the good work <br /> <br /> J
Thanks for commenting and good luck with the photography. I scored another decent owl picture the other day.<br />
nice wink! hahaha thats cool
Great Instructable! I have to try this someday.<br />
very nice images.&nbsp; I can make one recommendation.&nbsp; Make a simple blind to hide behind.&nbsp; We set up a tent in our front yard, but you can make something very simple out of PVC and some old sheets.&nbsp; This will encourage some of the more shy birds to approach.<br />
I still need to learn how to fully use my camera. This took about 30 tries to find the right setting. <br /> <br /> Canon Powershot SX1 IS<br /> <br />
Good start and congratulations, you now know a lot more about your camera then you did yesterday!<br /> <br /> It looks like you have a lot of subjects to practice with.&nbsp;Using flash is another art/science that needs to be addressed and is a good technique for capturing hummingbirds in flight.<br /> <br /> <strong>A tip&nbsp;about humming birds</strong> - when they finish feeding, they fly backwards a few inches and then hover for a second before flying away. Time some shots for that &quot;hover&quot; moment.
I like the nyjer feeder - I'll be making something similar.&nbsp;I&nbsp;made the more traditional type last year and found that a coupleof goldfinches or siskins would monopolise the holes and not give theothers a look-in.<br />
If you have a Canon PowerShot, you can use CHDK&nbsp;and a motion detection script to catch the birds.<br />
Absolutely. And there is an 'ible to construct a motion detector too.<br /><br />In my case, many birds are flying in the area all around the feeder but I am only photographing a small area next to it. As I become accustomed to their flight and landing patterns, I get good results by anticipating when they will be in the zone.<br /><br />Good technique for nature photography&nbsp;can combine technology, intuition and experience.
In general, the VR algorithm is always applied to your photos.&nbsp; On a tripod, your focus is probably just where you want it.&nbsp; Applying any algorithm is more likely to 'muddy up' the focus than to improve it.&nbsp; But, Nikon's VR technology claims to be able to detect that you're using a tripod, so it may be OK to leave VR on when using a tripod.<br />
Thanks. That makes sense.<br /><br />The manual for the Nikon 70-300 lens recommends to switch the VR off when using a tripod. I am told Canon says you may leave&nbsp;it on.
Don't steal my photo.<br /><br />My birds name is Rocky.<br />
Nice colors. What kind of parrot is that?
He is a Jenday Conure I got when he was 9. He doesn't talk so he doesn't fit the full definition of a parrot.<br />
Excellent instructable!&nbsp; I've had to learn most of these the hard way - our backyard attracts some birds rare to my region (mostly due to a running waterfall pond and a nice garden), and we have a resident chipmunk on which I would practice my photo skills.&nbsp; Although I have to admit it looks rather hilarious lying face-down on the dirt to get a shot of a 'munk or birds feeding in the grass.&nbsp; For some reason though I never thought about using the remote to my camera when its up on the tripod...<br />
Thanks. Dirty knees are often the price paid for good pictures!
Incredible picture!

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