Be a Tree!

Remember when you were in the grade school play? Perhaps your role was to be a tree. Stalking birds for photography is no different. Become a tree. Actually, I am not advocating wearing camouflage clothing, or taking the extensive time to build a blind (not bad ideas). However, if you think of your body as an immobile tree, it will help you get closer to birds.

I used the process given below to get close to this Great Egret. My problem was I actually was too close that when he popped up to strike at a small fish, his head ended up higher in the photograph than I would have liked. Thus, I should have zoomed out a bit, but it proves the process.

Here is the process:

  • Find a bird
  • Plant yourself a comfortable distance from the bird
  • Do not move for a few minutes. Let the bird notice you.
  • Slowly extend your arms directly in front of you with your camera mounted on a monopod. Become a tripod with your camera!
  • Pause for a minute or so
  • Very slowly step forward. Do not pick up your feet. Slide them.
  • Pause for a minute or so
  • Repeat the process many times

Whenever I pause I refocus the camera, and move my finger back to the shutter release … ready for burst mode shooting.

043b-Birds-365-Snowy-Egret-Strike-Pose

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