Photography tip – How to shoot a Cardinal

All birds are cool-looking close up!

All birds are cool-looking close up!

Tip 1: Get as close as you can.

Tip 2: Take a picture.

Hahaha!  Long ago I decided that one picture I was after was a closeup of a female cardinal.  Viewed from a distance, they’re fairly non-descript … sort of brown and sparrow looking.  Up close; however, their bright orange-red beak really stands out.  That must be some sort of survival mechanism.  Perhaps the nestlings know to start begging when they see it.

Admittedly, I probably have a bigger lens than most people.  It’s a 600 mm that I use with a 1.6x tele-extender.  So, I put a little bird feed out at the feeder, sit on the ground with my camera/lens on a tripod, throw a camo-cloth over me and wait.  The best time to do this sort of photography is on a really cold day in the winter.  That’s when the birds really show up.

It’s best to get as low as possible to shoot birds that feed on the ground.  You generally want to shoot the birds at the eye level of the bird.  The problem with birds is that they don’t hold still, so take lots of pictures.  In this day and age with digital cameras, that’s not the problem as it was with film.  You will have a lot of out of focus pics, some with the bird partly out of the frame, looking the other direction, etc.  If you keep at it and carefully select the composition, you’ll get a few nice shots!

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One Response to Photography tip – How to shoot a Cardinal

  1. Jennifer says:

    That cardinal looks like she’s enjoying that sunflower seed!
    (steve r.)

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