Praphat Rattanayanon loves shooting the colourful local birds of his native Thailand
My obsession with taking shots of local birds started when a camera-mad friend took me out in search of the common kingfisher a few years ago. I absolutely loved coming home with bright and colourful photos of those attractive little birds, and I haven’t stopped since.
As I’ve taken wildlife photography more seriously, I’ve learned that Thailand is a haven for bird lovers. There are so many beautiful varieties in all of the country’s different regions, and amazing locations where you can look for them – in the stunning Kaeng Krachan National Park alone there are more than 400 different bird species co-existing, as the area is so rich in biodiversity.
Patience makes perfect
I’ve gained a bit of know-how in my endeavours to photograph the locals. It’s essential to visit locations in the right season, and I usually read up on the behaviour, flight patterns and feeding times of my favourite birds before I travel to a location, but it’s normally far more important to be incredibly patient and just wait.
There are days when the weather or simple bad luck mean I come home without any shots I like, but that doesn’t deter me, as it’s great just
In the Kaeng Krachan National Park there are more than 400 different bird species co-existing. The area is so rich in biodiversity
getting to be outside in such wonderful places.
When I’m on a shoot I’ll usually switch between the Nikon D7000 and the Nikon Df, depending on the light conditions. My favourite lens is the Nikon 300mm f/2.8 telephoto, together with my TC 1.7X teleconverter, as it gives me a fast maximum aperture and beautifully crisp shots.
The birds I most enjoy shooting are kingfishers , not just because they were my first subjects but also because they look so delicate yet are so powerful in flight, even though they’re quite small. Spotted owls
 are another favourite, as they have hilarious expressions!
I doubt I’ll ever stop photographing birds, as there are more than a thousand types in Thailand. I’m also planning to visit Nepal this month to see how many new species I can tick off my list. 02 spo tted owls Nikon D7000, Nikon 300mm f/2.8 lens with 1.7x TC, 1/125 sec, f/5, ISO200
03 Hoo ded pittas
Nikon D600, Nikon 300mm f/2.8 lens with 1.7x TC, 1/60 sec, f/4.8, ISO800
04 Black-backed Kingfisher
Nikon D600, Nikon 300mm f/2.8 lens with 1.7x TC, 1/40 sec, f/4.8, ISO800
01 Silver breasted Boardbill Nikon D7000, Nikon 300mm f/2.8 lens, 1/40 sec, f/3.5, ISO200