Birder's Guide

DEC 2014

Birder's Guide is the American Birding Association's newest publication. Each issue focuses on a key subject, providing tips from experienced birders on a wide variety of topics like Travel, Listing & Taxonomy, Gear, and Conservation & Community.

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Page 29 of 43

28 Birder's Guide to Gear | December 2014 M any discussions of improving one's bird photogra- phy center on equipment upgrades. I'd like to ad- dress what I believe is equally important: Making the most out of whatever rig you have. There is an ever-increasing array of photographic options suitable for bird photography ranging from fve-fgure DSLR + big-glass rigs to smartphones held up to a spotting scope's eyepiece. More-modest (in heft and price) DSLR rigs are ever more common to see slung op- posite someone's bins, and super-zoom all-in-one cameras are making major inroads in quality bird photography. Whatever the weapon of choice, the modern ease of ripping a burst of digital pics doesn't change the fundamentals of great photography, which go back to the days of pricey flm and patience-trying waits for developing. I once heard someone say, "Nobody ever asked Picasso what brushes he used…", and that statement still resonates with me. After all, it isn't the camera that takes the picture but the photographer. Like brushes and paints, a camera is a tool for artistic expression, and even if everyone had the same gear, the results would still be amazingly and pleasingly diverse. There's nothing wrong with comparing rigs and dreaming of the next camera lens or body upgrade, but even the best professional rigs can take crummy pics while a modest setup in the hands of someone who makes the most of it can pro- duce stunning images. Whatever you are shooting with, I pro- pose a few considerations to get results that will please you. Purpose Having a purpose in mind for your photography—or for a particular photo session—focuses your attention and can pro- duce better results. Years ago, I noticed a phenomenon affect- ing my bird photos: I often had better pictures of scarce and Getting the Most out of Your Camera

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