Canon 1DX / 600mm 1.4X / 1/1600 sec @ F/8.0 / Bar-headed Geese

Streamlining Your Bird Photography Workflow: Part 2

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Continued from Streamlining Your Bird Photography Workflow: Part 1.

Step Four: Optimize Your Time in the Field

When it comes to having the right kind of light, you really only have a short window to get the quality images you are looking for. On a typical day, I get up very early because birds are most active as the sun is coming up and late in the afternoon as it’s going down. Those are the times that they are feeding or preening or feeding their young ones. They like to stay in the shade when the sun is high up, so that is not the best time to shoot.

Canon 7D / 100-400mm / 1/4000 sec @ F/8.0 / Laughing Dove

Canon 7D / 100-400mm / 1/4000 sec @ F/8.0 / Laughing Dove

So let’s say I’m doing silhouettes in the early morning, and I want the bird in the image to be right in front of the sun. I’ll get to the location that I researched a day or two beforehand and set myself up based on that goal. The key here is to stay focused on your vision instead of allowing your mind to be diverted somewhere else because you think some other action might be happening.

Step Five: Start Culling Your Images Right Away

I typically get done around 10:30 or 11 in the morning when the light starts to get harsh and the birds begin to dissipate. At that point, I’ll go back and download all the images I’ve taken that morning and decide which ones I’d like to keep and which ones need to be deleted. In bird photography, it’s very easy to shoot 1000 images in an hour, especially when you’re shooting birds in action or in flight. You start pressing the shutter as a bird goes by, and before you know it, you have a couple hundred or even a thousand images. So it’s really important that you download your images right away and start culling the ones you don’t need so that you don’t lose track of everything you have.

Canon 1DX / 600mm 1.4X / 1/1600 sec @ F/8.0 / Bar-headed Geese

Canon 1DX / 600mm 1.4X / 1/1600 sec @ F/8.0 / Bar-headed Geese

As the afternoon approaches – around 3:30pm – I’ll get ready to go out again to the park. First, I’ll look around to see where the activity is, and, as always, I have a plan in mind. In the morning I may have done silhouettes. Late in the afternoon, I might decide I want to do flight photography. So that’s how I’ll situate myself.

To be continued…Streamlining Your Bird Photography Workflow: Part 3.

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.