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All photographs by David Lilly

Anticipating Action in Bird Photography

Bird photographers miss a lot of action photos because they don't anticipate what the bird will do next.

The two photos to the right is a simple demonstration of how to anticipate what a bird will do next - in this case, a Red-winged blackbird.

The Red-winged blackbird landed on a stick facing into the wind. I anticipated it would not stay long on the stick. I pressed the shutter as I saw a slight movement and was the correct timing. As I pressed the shutter it was as if the bird knew it was supposed to fly and it did. second photo.

The trick is to be ready. Set your shutter to a high speed in this case 3200sec. As it is a blackbird I underexposed by one F-stop using my EV. I did not want to overexpose for the shinny spots we sometimes see on blackbirds. I readjusted the exposure in Lightroom.

It is also important to have the sun in this case to your back.

In the two photos, you can see the different colours of blue in the sky.  On Nikon cameras it is almost imporrible to to get excatly the same blue. The two photos were photographed a second apart. A slight adjust mment in exposure and contrast can cause the difference. I do not worry about the difference.

Nikon D 500 with a 200 - 500mm Nikon lens.

Ducks in a Row

Photographing ducks in a row is not easy. It requires patience.

In the photo to the right you can see normal pattern for the young ducklings. They follow the mother in a group.

In the photo on the bottom the mother duck made a quick swim and the ducklings followed in a row. Not a perfect row but not bad.

Nikon D 500 with a 200 - 500mm Nikon lens.

Fall Colours For Backgrounds

Fall is short in Canada. But in Eastern Canada the short fall produces some amazing colours. So, for Bird Photographers photographing  your favourite birds with fall colours is a great way to show off your fall colours and some colours.

The Bluejay and the female Purple finch to the right was photographed in my backyard on a perch that I deliberately set up as to have the fall colours in the background.

I have many photos of the birds with other backgrounds, but the fall colours add another dimension to the photograph that is not possible in the other three seasons.

The trick is to make sure your perch for the birds is far enough from the trees/backgrounds. You only want the bird sharp and not the background. Try to find a fall background where there are no hot spots -  bright leaves. In the Bluejay photo some of the leaves are a little bright, but acceptable. It is a compromise for good light on the bird.

Nikon D 7200 with a 500mm F4 Nikon lens.

Thrushes  are hard to Photograph

Some of the most difficult birds to photograph are Thrushes.

Thrushes are ground feeding birds and as a result are most often found inn the darkest shadows. 

They never seem to stand still for a photograph. Also, they are the same colour as their surroundings, making them very hard to see.

My approach has been to sit still when I see a Thrush and wait to see if it will expose itself to some light. As you can see from the photos in this article that method has worked on several occasions.

So, it all boils down to one of the basic principles for photographing birds - Patience.

Nikon D500 with a Nikon 200 - 500mm lens.

Shorebird Migration in the Bay of Fundy

This fall I went to the Bay of Fundy just south of Sackville, NB.

It is estimated and I say estimated because there are too many birds to count of between three and four million shorebirds complete this migration every fall.

The Bay of Fundy is one of the major stops for food and rest before the shorebirds fly on to Southern wintering grounds.

The birds are spread out along the beaches and are watched closely by volunteers from various birding organizations to prevent people from disturbing their feeding and rest.

The photographs in this article were from a distance. It was very difficult to get individual bird, but I did manage some photos .

Latest Bird Photographs from my Backyard

All of the bird photos to the right were photographed in my backyard.

I have spent many hours photographing in my backyard. It is fun to photograph in my backyard for many reasons. 

I can keep an eye on the feeders  when I see some new bird come I can quickly go to the camera that is ready to photograph and capture the moment.

When the weather is not good outside I can be dry and warm and get good photos with overcast light.

I can practise getting birds in flight .

I don't use a flash  but I know when the light is the best - usually about two hours a day in my backyard. My house faces east/west so I have to wait until 11 AM before the light gets good. Even then it is side lighting.

I don't control the light but I do control my where I set the bird feeders and the peaches. The only factor I can't control is where the birds perch and which way they are  facing.

I see more variety of birds in my backyard then I do when walking around. So far I have had 40 different birds in backyard with many coming on a regular basis.

If you need advise for your backyard setup email me at