Take better bird and wildlife pictures in the winter months by following these top tips.
• If you have a garden it’s relatively easy to attract wildlife, especially birds. Planting fruit trees, shrubs that give berries, and other bird-attracting flora is a good way to get birds visiting.
• During the winter months a bird table, bird feeder or fat-ball will provide much-needed food when the ground is frozen. Hang or place them on or near a tree at least 10 metres from your house, but within sight of a window.
• If there isn’t one nearby, fix a twig near the food source that the birds can stand on en route to the food. Photographing them here rather than at the food will produce a more natural image.
• Fix your camera to a tripod and position it by a partly open window, using a long tele lens focused on the twig.
• Select a wide aperture and fast shutter speed to avoid subject movement and blur any distracting background detail.
• Wait patiently. Keep still, as your movement may frighten birds away. Drawing the curtains and working through a small slit may help.
• When a bird lands in the right spot shoot liberally. Subtle changes of pose, angle and expression can make all the difference.
In changeable light, fix a grey card to a nearby branch so you can meter off it.