10 Essential Bird Photography Tools for Success – Part 2

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Continued from…10 Essential Bird Photography Tools for Success – Part 2

Canon IDX / 1/1250 sec @ f/8.0 / Beanbag

Canon IDX / 1/1250 sec @ f/8.0 / Beanbag

Beanbag – If you think a good tripod and a gimbal head are all you need for your camera setup… think again. When you’re shooting from inside your car or getting down on the ground to be at eye level to your subject, a tripod is fairly impractical. A useful tool for these type of scenarios is a U-shaped beanbag. Many times, getting out of your car isn’t advisable because getting closer may stress the birds; a beanbag can be used from the window to steady your long lenses. An apex U-shaped beanbag can also be turned over and used on the ground to rest the lens for eye-level shots.

Filters – Because bird photography is getting extremely competitive, creativity is the key to making unique and pleasing images. Although filters have always been key tools in all forms of photography, they are often overlooked in bird photography. The front element of large prime lenses are so big that it seems impractical to attach a filter to them. This is why these prime lenses, such as those made by Canon, have a backend slot for a 52mm drop-in circular polarizer or a ND filter. These filters are extremely useful when shooting during the day and slow shutter speeds are needed for making images that have a creative blur effect.

Canon IDX / 1/400 sec @ F/8.0

Canon IDX / 1/400 sec @ F/8.0

Sensor Scope – A sensor scope is a handy tool to have, especially when shooting in dusty conditions. This scope has a high magnification power and is fitted with LED lights which allow you to safely examine your DSLR’s sensor for dirt and spots. Some prior knowledge of sensor cleaning is required in order to use this device.

Lens rain cover – Even for beginners, bird photography is an expensive hobby. Needless to say, protecting equipment when shooting in rugged, cold, dusty, or wet conditions is of prime importance. Protecting your lens with a good quality rain cover (such as those made by Optech and LensCoat) provides you with good shooting opportunities in extreme conditions.

Camera Bag – While the market today is flooded with a variety of carrying cases for differing needs, I prefer backpacks that are light, sturdy, and able to hold a range of long lenses, DSLRs, and all of the required accessories. Gura Gear and Think Tank are few of the many brands that produce high quality bags. Remember, the key is to remain light in the field.

About Author Gaurav Mittal

Gaurav Mittal is a professional bird photographer and a blogger who grew up with a passion for nature and wildlife in his native birthplace of New Delhi, India. Gaurav migrated to the U.S. at the age of fifteen. After completing his college, he pursued a career in tax consulting in the Washington D.C. area. It was, however the love for the birds that eventually brought the focus back in his life and a determination to follow his heart, to be a bird photographer. Gaurav’s passion for photographing birds began in 2011 in Bosque Del Apache, New Mexico where observing the Sandhill Cranes brought a sense of harmony and a new vision to him. A moment he captured and fondly calls, “Kissed in The Mist” left him with a vision to continue on further and explore and learn about birds and how he can present their beauty through photography. His desire to be a top class bird photographer has led him to places such as Bharatpur, Bosque, Alaska, New York, Costa Rica and Florida.