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Siân Lewis demonstrates how to get great shots of the birds in your back garden with a telephoto lens and the right disguise
How to conceal yourself and your camera, and get great shots of garden birds
You don’t need to travel far to get to grips with wildlife photography – there’s a world of attractive subjects in your backyard, local park or nature reserve. We’re going to show you how to take fantastic pictures of garden birds, and give you the lowdown on the best gear to invest in if you’re serious about snapping shyer wild animals.
We went to the St Fagans National History Museum in Wales, where Blue Tits, Great Tits, Nuthatches and Robins regularly come to feed, but if you’re lucky enough to have your own garden then it’s even easier to set up the perfect shot. Get started now by regularly replenishing a bird table or feeder with seed and water, and after a few weeks you’ll have regular visits from local birds. Make sure your feeder is a few feet away from a plain, natural-coloured background, such as a garden fence or a hedge, to give you a clean backdrop for your shots.
Even if birds are used to coming to the feeder you’re planning to photograph, you’ll still need to find somewhere to hide with your Nikon to
Make sure your bird feeder is a few feet away from a plain, natural-coloured background, such as a garden fence or a hedge, to give you a clean backdrop for your shots
avoid spooking them too much. A garden shed or even a kitchen window will do for this at a pinch. Alternatively, you could invest in a pop-up hide – these can cost as little as £50/$85, making them one of the more affordable pieces of kit for shooting birds.
If you aren’t sure which particular bird species visit your garden, there are some great apps you can download that will help you identify them. iBird UK has clear pictures and soundbites of common British bird calls (plenty of which you’ll also see and hear in mainland Europe), or you could try the Sibley guide to the birds of North America if you’re in the United States or Canada.
EXPOSURE 1/160 sec, f/5.6, ISO800 LE NS Nikon AF 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 ED VR