7 Feb 2008

Bird Photography Websites and Some Unwelcome Visitors to my Bird Feeders

81. Green Winged Teal (Belfast Harbour)
82. House Sparrow
83. Red Throated Diver (Killard)
84. Eider Duck
85. Dunnock
86. Gadwall
87. Kestrel
88. Bullfinch
89. Iceland Gull
90. Whimbrel
91. Jack Snipe

Peregrine's Bird Photographer Recommendations

My First Recommendation is an Italian Bird Photographer by the name of Daniele Occhiato. His website is here and this image is one of my favourites.

I have a number of birdfeeders outside the front of my house and I feed peanuts and sunflower hearts. I attract Bluetits, Coal tits,Great Tits, House Sparrows, Greenfinch, Robin, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Dunnocks, Black Birds , Starlings, Collared Dove, Pheasant and once in a while a Redpoll or Siskin and the occasional passing Sparrowhawk picking up a snack as it goes past!!

But the other day I looked out and I had four rats clinging to one of the feeders.

My wife thinks I should put out traps for them but I can't see that they are doing me any harm so am going to leave them be for the moment.

In my previous post I had said that I was going to Kenya at the end of February. Obviously this plan has now changed and we are going to go to Namibia instead. So my last six months of trying to learn the names of birds in East Africa has been wasted (I suppose not really) and now I am having a crash course in Birds of South Africa. We are going to hire a four by four and travel to about four different areas over twelve days. I cannot wait!!!!

As Bird Photography is my thing I have decided to recommend a Bird Photographer every time I publish a blog. Hopefully there will be some that are new to you.

I visit a number of Bird Photography forums on a regular basis. The one I would go to first is the UK branch of the Naturephotographers.net UKNP Various Photographers post nature related photographs and other members critique them. It is a good forum sometimes I think that there isn't enough critique as you can see a particular image has 50 views and not a single comment negative or positive.

My Second place that I would visit is the Naturescapes.Net website and its Birds Forum. This is where I think that the best Bird photographs are posted on the web. I would say that it is predominantly American Photographers with a few Asian , European and Antipodean Photographers thrown in. The critiques are a to be taken with a pinch of salt as there is alot of "Your'e the Man " type of comment. There is also a prevalence for certain well known photographers to get loads of comments on sometimes fairly ordinary images. It also has a Digital Forum which can be quite interesting and certainly if you have problems processing photos or even computer problems you can get responses re your question fairly promptly. Also up until fairly recently in the Landscape section they have not allowed anything to do with man in the image. So for example the tree lined road leading upto your Tuscan Villa would not be regarded as a Landscape. They have recently relaxed this a tiny bit but still in my opinion absolutely barking mad.

I would also visit Birdguides Picture Gallery this is mainly Birds from the UK and the rarities turning up in the country. Birdguides.Com is the most visited Birding Website in the world and well worth paying the subscription.

I would also visit the Gallery in Birdforum. There is an ecletic mix of photos of Birds from all over the world posted here some good and some pretty awful.

More recently Artie Morris the celebrated American Bird Photographer has set up another Forum in direct competition to Naturescapes and Naturephotographers. His site is called Birdphotographers.net. Initially I was quite impressed with it but now I think its really just a marketing tool for Artie to sell equipment IPT's etc. Artie posts a photo and everybody seems to fall over to post comments especially the team of moderators and if there is a criticism it is very quickly countered. I admire Mr Morris for his guidebooks on Bird Photography. But as a friend of mine said he's a Big Bird Photographer and in Florida in particular you can get really close to them unlike here in Europe.

Bird Photography in the Digital Age isnt difficult. If you have the camera and decent quality glass(lenses) and the patience to get close to them its really quite easy. Even if you expose incorrectly you can fix it in photoshop. Also with digital if you take five hundred shots the probability that one or two of the images will be good is quite high. When I was taking photos of the Purple sandpipers below I filled a 4Gb memory card and kept about 15 out of 392 photos.

So i dread to think how many I am going to take in Namibia!!!