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Bird Photography -Small Birds- Part 1

Showcasing Vicki’s Scarlet Red Robin

Wildlife photography always has its challenges and Bird Photography is no exception. Small birds in particular are so much harder. Finding them is only easy if you know the bird your photographing  and its behavior. That is step one- locating the bird.

Once you know the small bird that you are photographing and you know the habits of the bird, the next massive challenge is getting close  enough to be able to fill the frame as close as you can.

There are many ways in which you can photograph birds and many different techniques. This is one way that works for Vicki.

One of the least expensive ways is to be very still, walk and look for them. Sounds tricky I know but what you will see below are images that Vicki has taken of these birds which are so so tiny. How did she do this?

She did it by being quiet, knowing where there birds hang out and literally standing still and being so quiet and waiting for that opportunity to photograph them. That is what she did and below are the results.

For those who know their birds will fully appreciate how difficult it is to photograph small birds and to get close enough to be able to fill most of the frame. It is not that easy.

The Scarlet Red Robin is such a tiny, tiny ,tiny bird and while Vicki was off getting the Scarlet Red Robin , I snapped a very ordinary picture of the female Scarlet Robin on a fence post so you can actually see how tiny it is. Once you see how tiny it is and you know these birds just don’t stay very still for  more than a few seconds, if that at all,then you’ll know how incredible Vicki did in capturing them.


As you can see by the ordinary snap I took, how small they are. That was the purpose of the picture above. Click on the pictures to make them bigger.

Vicki’s images of the Scarlet Red Robin came about not through luck, not through guess work, but through patience and doing her homework.

In order to do wildlife Photography effectively, your lens should start at 400mm. Anything less than that, then you will struggle, particular when it comes to small birds. Vicki’s Set up is the 7d mark 2, which is a APCS Sensor which is ideal for wildlife Photography with the crop sensor along with Canon’s 100-400mm mark2 version. At times she will use the 1.4 teleconverter.

The important thing to remember, particular if you are someone starting out. What you put on the end of your camera will determine how sharp it is. If you know you want to be a wildlife photographer, or to be photographing birds as your hobby or occupation, then having sharp lens is vital.There are no ifs and butts about that point.

You don’t have to mortgage your house to get great sharp lenses but we don’t want to make the mistake to buy very cheap lenses that in the end, you will end up replacing if you are serious about your bird photography.

The aspect that helped Vicki immensely was that she was able to identify the various bird sounds and the Scarlet Robin’s sound along with others .The Scarlet Robin  is a sound that stood out from the rest and she knew straight away that this bird was in this area.

Bird photography does require a lot of patience. Rarely will you arrive at a spot and it all falls into place.I need to stress, all of these pictures that you see in this blog of Vickis, were all taken either standing up, or sitting down. She had no photo blind or camouflage gear over here or the camera.

There is nothing wrong with Photo Blinds for doing bird photography as we do use them which you’ll see later on. In this case I wanted to highlight how these images were taken with Vicki and it is possible to photograph birds without blinds etc if your budget doesn’t allow for it.

When I look at Vicki’s wonderful pictures of the Scarlet Robin, I’m amazed at not only how small the bird is but also how skinny the legs are. Those skinny legs have all of the blood veins etc running through them . How small must they be. It’s a marvel at what we have before our eyes .

Vicki’s passion for wildlife photography and bird photography is a delight to see and I just love how excited she gets when she gets time to spend with God’s wonderful acts of creation, the birds and animals.

Pete 🙂

Pete Dobré

Author Pete Dobré

Pete's photography is self taught. As a young child photography was an interest. His passion for the varying landscapes of Oz comes from frequent visits as a youngster, to his Gandparent's sheep farm in Barmera, a small country town in South Australia. Pete Dobré is a Freelance Photographer who blazes the trail for 6 months each year, capturing awe-inspiring images. Pete's work expresses his creative flair, emotions and love for the natural scapes of Australia. He remembers the hot day when he was 8, leaving town for the farm. His parents had an old car. Within about 2 kilometres of reaching the farm gate, they were bogged on a small red sand dune. The flies were buzzing continuously and the heat was beating down. Sticks, leaves and branches were wedged under the back tyres, to get the car moving. His mum was in a panic but Pete thought that it was exciting. From that moment he knew that he loved being out in creation, with the sense of adventure in the wild. This is where Pete's passion began. Photography for Pete is an expressive means for visual communication. He says, 'There is never a boring moment in my work. There is always something to photograph and I love being creative. The only limit to creativity is a lack of creativity.' Pete's aim as a photographer is to present images that provoke and stimulate the mind, to capture God's awesome creation and to share this with others. If Pete can do a little justice to God's creativity, then he is quietly satisfied. As a photographer Pete's inspiration and passion for his work comes from knowing God who created everything in the beginning. Knowing God, the Creator gives more substance and meaning to what he captures on film. Pete sees his role as freezing a moment in time and history which will never be repeated exactly the same again. The light, clouds and seasons will always be different. Pete's love for natural conditions at different times of the day, displaying varying moods and cloud formations makes his work very special and eye catching.

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