Sleeping birds

First of all, happy new year to all!!

What is the best way to photograph birds while they are sleeping or resting on one leg? One might think that a flock of birds sleeping does not offer much photography opportunities, but there is a way to make a few nice creations!

Sanderling sleeping - Florida shorebird photography workshops

Sanderling sleeping – Lido Beach, Florida.
ISO 2000 | f/7.1 | 1/4000 sec. | Manual mode | AI servo rear focusing
This photograph was created with the Canon 600mm f/4 L IS II USM lens (Canon 600mm f/4 L IS II USM review) with the 1.4x extender, the Canon EOS 5D mark III on a gimbal head over tripod. Have a look at the equipment I typically carry with me.

This is what I call sleeping on a cloud! This Sanderling photograph was created at Lido Beach, Florida, the day after Christmas day while visiting my mother in law.
First off, it usually yields better results to have the subject parallel to your camera. So, in this case a head angle parallel is better than a few degrees towards you. Second, try to have the head in one corner of your viewfinder for better framing. Third, wait for the bird to open its eye, which they usually do every so often wile resting. Note that I am not disturbing the bird, simply wait… Do you know how I created that dreamy part under the bird? It looks like it sleeping above a haze… Reach for a low shooting angle, and the out of focus sand between you and the subject should do the trick.

Oystercatcher - Shorebird in Florida

American Oystercatcher sleeping – Fort Desoto, Florida.
ISO 400 | f/7.1 | 1/3200 sec. | Manual mode | AI servo rear focusing
This photograph was created with the Canon 600mm f/4 L IS II USM lens (Canon 600mm f/4 L IS II USM review) with the 1.4x extender, the Canon EOS 5D mark III handheld. Have a look at the equipment I typically carry with me.

This American Oystercatcher was created at Fort Desoto. On this one I created a mirror effect by having a second subject blurred in the background. When dealing with a flock, try to work on the sides so that it will be easier to isolate subjects. If you cannot, try to look for an interesting composition.

Botswana and the Victoria Falls instructional photography tour / $9,800 / limit 6 people / Sep 2014:

This is the very best African safari package you will find out there! And I know the good spots…
African safari in Botswana

Spoonbills and shorebirds instructional photography tour / $980 / limit 5 people / Mar 2014:

Alafia Banks alternated with Fort Desoto makes for a killer Spoonbill in breeding colors / shorebirds photography combination.
Wildlife Photography Tour - Spoonbills & shorebirds

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Steven

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3 Comments

  1. ANDRE BOUDREAU

     /  January 2, 2014

    Hi Steven

    I thoroughly enjoy looking at your pictures and the information that you provide about each shoot. Marvellous!

    We were in Paris in Sept and spent time with Anita, Christophe, Justin, Benedicte and we plan to return for a month this Sept. We will find a small apartment in the 5e because it offers so much and we can spread out from there.

    I bought Suzanne a new Canon T4i last year with two lenses and a nice 50mm 1.8 for some extra reach. I still use my Canon AE ( before you were born ) to work on black and white architecture shots. Each to his own.

    We are in Daytona but we need to go to Naples in Jan to visit some friends. Is there any chance to meet up for a coffee or a lunch to catch up on your news etc ?

    André

    Reply
  2. Stunning photos, as always, Steven! I will have to take one of your tours someday…really need to learn your techniques.

    Reply

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