10 Suggestions for Capturing Unbelievable Pictures of Birds

Ben Knoot is a nature photographer and OM SYSTEM Ambassador whose ardour for wildlife images was born from his love of birds. The 26-year-old has traveled the world to doc avian life along with his OM SYSTEM OM-1 digital camera and shares his ideas for capturing this fast paced and infrequently unpredictable wildlife.

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All images on this article had been taken with the OM SYSTEM OM-1 and M.Zuiko ED 150-400mm F4.5 TC1.25x IS PRO lens. The lens can prolong the photographer’s zoom vary to 500mm (35mm equal of 1000mm) by flipping down the built-in 1.25x teleconverter. When the 1.25x teleconverter was engaged, it’s famous within the picture caption. Moreover, if the MC-20 2x teleconverter was used, additionally it is famous within the picture caption.

At a Look

Know Your Digital camera And Make It Work For You

A very powerful facet of capturing sharp, motion packed images of birds really occurs earlier than you permit dwelling, Knoot says. With any type of images, understanding the ins and outs of the digital camera is useful to photographers, however this could be most essential for chicken photographers. “With chicken images, being able to seize a picture within the blink of a watch is essential,” Knoot explains. “You could solely have a half a second to seize the right shot, so understanding methods to make lightning quick changes in your digital camera is a necessity. Typically, I want to have the ability to regulate my shutter velocity, aperture and ISO in a short time in an effort to seize the effectively lit chicken with a clear background earlier than it flies away.”

Agami Heron – Costa Rica. 438mm (400mm lens + 1.25x inner teleconverter), 1/60 sec, f/5.6, ISO 640

Knoot says that the extra follow a photographer can have in difficult conditions, the higher. Nevertheless, the changes made earlier than you even arrive at your capturing areas can provide you a right away benefit.

Resplendent Quetzal (feminine) – Costa Rica. 400mm, 1/500 sec, f/4.5, ISO 640

“Each photographer finds sure buttons and dials on their digital camera simpler to entry than others,” Knoot says. “Understanding which of them you might be most snug with permits you to customise these buttons and dials to be the settings you will have in a pinch. Contemplating that I shoot all of my chicken images within the OM-1’s guide mode, the 2 most essential changes for me are shutter velocity and ISO. I’ve the shutter velocity set to the again dial, so I can rapidly make the wanted changes with my thumb at nearly the identical time as my forefinger engages the shutter. I’ve personalized my ISO to be on the dial proper in entrance of the shutter button. The position of this dial in shut proximity to the shutter button permits me to rapidly regulate the ISO in between images.”

Three-wattled Bellbird – Costa Rica. 1,000mm (400mm lens + 1.25x inner teleconverter + MC-20 2x teleconverter), 1/320 sec, f/11, ISO 400

Knoot says that customizing your digital camera to have the ability to regulate focus factors and focus settings rapidly is simply as essential as understanding methods to regulate shutter velocity and ISO. “It doesn’t matter in case you have the proper shutter velocity if the chicken isn’t in focus. I’ve personalized my OM-1 to maneuver the main focus space utilizing the joystick. It takes follow, however with the ability to change your focus space with out eradicating your eye from the viewfinder will result in higher images. I like to recommend mapping this to a spot you are feeling snug adjusting with out having to look in the back of your digital camera.”

Trumpeter Swan – Ohio. 367mm, 1/100 sec, f/4.5, ISO 800

“Moreover, on my OM-1, I’ve the power to use 4 totally different customized operate modes to the dial, and I can assign these customized operate modes to buttons,” Knoot explains. “If I need to entry both of the ‘Professional Seize’ modes, Excessive Res Shot, or my customized Flight Mode, I do know I’ve 4 buttons set on the again of my digital camera to simply entry these with out having to enter any menus.”

Fiery-throated Hummingbird – Costa Rica. 150mm, 1/2500 sec, f/4.5, ISO 1600

Knoot says out of the 4 customized modes he has created, the Flight Mode is his most used. By merely clicking on one button on the again of his digital camera, Knoot’s OM-1 robotically makes numerous changes that can assist him seize a chicken who has gone from static to in-flight rapidly. “With one faucet of the AF button, my focus space adjustments from middle level to huge and my shutter velocity goes to 1/4000. After I get the shot, I merely hit the AF button once more to return to the settings I had earlier than the chicken took flight. I can’t rely the variety of nice pictures that I’ve captured by utilizing this shortcut. With out having personalized Flight Mode in my digital camera, I might need missed a lot of these pictures.”

Nice Kiskadee – Costa Rica. 229mm, 1/8000 sec, f/5.6, ISO 800

Knoot makes a robust case that understanding your digital camera in and out, and investing the time to get snug utilizing it in fast paced conditions, is a very powerful facet of capturing sharp, action-packed images of birds.

Take into account the Commerce Offs

When photographing wildlife, most photographers see the shot and instantly take it with out considering of the larger image. Knoot explains that in chicken images, one should all the time contemplate the commerce offs that include totally different choices to {photograph} the topic.

“In contrast to panorama images the place your topic is massive, birds are small, and due to that small measurement, even micro changes to your composition can have main results on the ultimate picture,” he says.

Black-Crested Coquette – Costa Rica

Knoot says that when a photographer sees a chicken sitting calmly above them in a tree, the primary response is to often stroll nearer to it. “What they don’t take into consideration is how shifting nearer to the chicken will make your capturing angle greater, which could result in a photograph that reveals the underside of the chicken greater than the face,” Knoot explains. “And even worse, the chicken may seem towards a blown out sky. As an alternative of strolling nearer, contemplate how the picture may look should you acquired additional away. Possibly there’s a small hill behind you the place you may get a aspect profile of the chicken with a cleaner background consisting of colourful leaves. So the commerce off is growing your distance to the topic, however in the end, getting a greater perspective.”

Pacific Loon – Alaska

This similar commerce off can include gentle circumstances and backgrounds as effectively. “In the event you see the chicken you need to {photograph} with nice gentle on it, however a boring background resembling a constructing or a blown out sky, it’s good to resolve what’s extra essential in your {photograph}. For me, I’ll nearly all the time select the higher background over the great gentle. With right now’s digital camera know-how, you have got lots of room to make intensive shadow and spotlight edits within the RAW file that you just seize. However, you may’t add a lovely background to an already captured picture. For me, this commerce off is a simple selection.”

Know The Distinction Between Single Autofocus and Steady Autofocus

Nearly all trendy cameras may have each single autofocus mode and steady autofocus mode, and each could be priceless to chicken photographers. In single autofocus, a photographer will deal with one particular object within the body and so long as they maintain the shutter button pressed down midway, they received’t lose the main focus after they recompose. For chicken photographers, that is the best focus mode for static birds, resembling one resting on a rock.

Dusky Grouse – Washington State. 150mm, 1/320 sec, f/10, ISO 320

Nevertheless, since birds can fly at a excessive charge of velocity the place the space between the chicken and photographer is all the time altering, understanding methods to correctly use steady autofocus is critical to seize motion pictures.

“Relying on the digital camera a photographer is utilizing, steady autofocus could be hit and miss,” Knoot says. “For example, in case you are making an attempt to {photograph} a chicken flying close to timber, the digital camera may take the main focus off the chicken and put it on a static department.”

Fortunately for photographers, developments in autofocus know-how has made it simpler for wildlife photographers to get the motion shot with out dropping focus. AI Detection Autofocus with topic recognition and monitoring for birds and animals makes it doable for photographers to easily observe an animal resembling a canine, cat, or chicken and have the digital camera constantly regulate focus with the animal’s eyes and actions.

Steady Autofocus with AI Detection AF for Birds Capturing a King Vulture in Costa Rica. 400mm, 1/4000 sec, f/4.5, ISO 640

“The chicken monitoring system within the OM-1 has fully modified the best way I take advantage of focus,” Knoot says. “I’m on steady focus full time, even when a chicken is static. With the unimaginable chicken detection on the OM-1, even when I’ve my focus level set to middle, the digital camera will override that when it detects a chicken in body, even whether it is within the nook. This lets me maintain my deal with steady, which permits me to get the shot if the chicken decides to take off all of a sudden. In case your digital camera doesn’t have chicken detection, be sure you have a simple to entry customized button that permits you to have the ability to rapidly regulate from single autofocus to steady autofocus. With follow, this fast maneuver will mean you can seize a dramatic shot of motion that you just weren’t anticipating”

Perceive the Totally different Sorts of Lighting

When most photographers consider gentle, it falls into two classes. Good and dangerous. Knoot, then again, says that it’s essential to grasp the 5 kinds of gentle chances are you’ll encounter when photographing birds.

Entrance Gentle

Knoot says probably the most wanted lighting scenario is entrance gentle, the place the daylight is coming from behind the photographer and lighting up the topic. “Nevertheless, because the solar strikes, the birds received’t essentially accommodate and place themselves in a entrance lit scenario, so you need to be prepared and keen to work with the opposite kinds of gentle,” Knoot says. “However while you do get photogenic entrance lit circumstances, I like to recommend aligning your shadow up immediately along with your topic. This reveals that the solar is immediately behind you, which gives you the absolute best gentle.”

Lesser White-lined Bat – Costa Rica. 400mm, 1/50 sec, f/5.6, ISO 3200

Again Gentle

Knoot says he has been seeing a rise in fascinating backlit pictures from his friends lately. “I really like the look of a backlit picture of an attractive chicken, however they aren’t simple to seize. With the solar behind the chicken, you need to perceive methods to most successfully use your digital camera to seize a photograph the place you might be capturing immediately into the solar. It is going to take trial and error earlier than you get the inventive shot that you really want. Deciding whether or not to overexpose or underexpose the picture is dependent upon the chicken, the encompassing panorama and the angle of the solar. I do know I’ve to work rapidly because the chicken might take flight at any second, so with the ability to see my changes take impact in real-time within the OM-1’s OLED digital viewfinder makes it simpler for me to get the shot earlier than it’s too late.”

Purple-throated Loon – Alaska. 500mm (400mm lens + 1.25x inner teleconverter), 1/4000 sec, f/5.6, ISO 100

Aspect Gentle

Knoot says that aspect gentle is one other tough lighting situation, however when captured accurately, it might probably yield some fascinating outcomes. “There’s a sure dramatic ingredient while you see one eye of the chicken in golden gentle, however the different eye is in intense shadows. Whereas this extra summary look isn’t for everybody, it’s an effective way to get distinctive pictures of an typically photographed species. With aspect gentle, I all the time expose for the brightest a part of the picture. When submit processing, the highlights are all the time tougher to decrease than it’s to lift the shadows.”

Purple-throated Loon – Alaska. 500mm (400mm lens + 1.25x inner teleconverter), 1/500 sec, f/5.6, ISO 500

Flat Gentle

Flat gentle happens when the solar is hidden behind a thick cloud layer or when the photographer is in a forest, making all the scene have even, but boring, lighting. “It is a very simple gentle to shoot in, as there aren’t any overblown highlights or deep shadows to cope with,” Knoot says. “Normally in flat gentle, I’ll overexpose my picture a contact if I’m photographing a black chicken and underexpose if I’m capturing a white chicken. You may have to bump up your ISO in a flat gentle scenario as effectively. With my OM-1, I really feel snug capturing at any ISO under 3,200 as a result of I do know I received’t have unmanageable noise within the picture, so even in flat gentle, I can nonetheless seize a chicken in flight with a quick shutter velocity.”

Calliope Hummingbird – Washington State. 800mm (400mm lens + MC-20 2x teleconverter), 1/640 sec, f/9, ISO 1000

Spot Gentle

Knoot describes how highlight is probably the most uncommon of the 5 kinds of gentle, however it would nearly all the time yield unimaginable images. “Concentration is going to happen in locations like a rainforest, the place the dense cover creates even gentle in many of the scene. However every now and then, the solar will shine by way of a gap within the cover and lightweight up a department with a ‘highlight’.

Collared Redstart – Costa Rica. 400mm, 1/200 sec, f/4.5, ISO 640

“Having a photogenic chicken in that location at that actual second could be very uncommon, so it’s essential to be ready. On this case, spot metering could be useful, as a extra normal metering mode may meter off the shadow areas that eat 90% of the body. Like aspect lighting, I all the time expose for the brightest a part of the picture in a highlight state of affairs.”

Use Movement to Seize Distinctive Motion Pictures

Typically, photographers want to freeze the motion in chicken pictures. Nevertheless, Knoot says that photographers ought to suppose exterior the field in terms of showcasing the motion of birds and their habitats. “Over time, we now have been conditioned to consider that any sort of blur isn’t desired in pictures,” Knoot describes. “Whereas this can be the case for the technical definition of an accurate publicity, this isn’t true when making an attempt to create a creatively right publicity, which places precedence on the inventive imaginative and prescient you have got for the picture. With chicken images, conveying the sensation of motion could make your pictures stand out. These are birds, in spite of everything, and birds fly. Many chicken species are colourful and fly on this sleek means, so with the ability to present that motion is each distinctive and difficult. Nevertheless, motion may also be showcased with surrounding panorama parts resembling rain or splashing lake water.”

Talamanca Hummingbird – Costa Rica. 300mm, 1/1600 sec, f/4.5, ISO 1600
Volcano Hummingbird (feminine) – Costa Rica. 500mm (400mm lens + 1.25x inner teleconverter), 1/400 sec, f/5.6, ISO 1000
Resplendent Quetzal (male) – Costa Rica. 325mm, 1/160 sec, f/4.5, ISO 500
Eared Grebe – Colorado. 500mm (400mm lens + 1.25x inner teleconverter), 1/800 sec, f/5.6, ISO 320
Barrow’s Goldeneye – Washington State. 500mm (400mm lens + 1.25x inner teleconverter), 1/1000 sec, f/5.6, ISO 250

Knoot says that one mustn’t anticipate their first movement {photograph} to be a winner. He stresses that capturing flying birds this fashion is difficult, however the rewards are effectively definitely worth the time invested in training. “To seize motion of a chicken in flight, first determine the shutter velocity that you’ll want to freeze the motion. From there, merely gradual the shutter velocity down a bit at a time. Slowing it down an excessive amount of will end in a really blurry picture, however discovering the right shutter velocity ought to show a slight motion within the wings whereas holding the chicken’s face sharp. In a effectively lit scene, I often discover that 1/2000 of a second will freeze most birds’ wings, besides a hummingbird, which often requires 1/4000 of a second. Once I need to embody the sensation of motion utilizing blur, I’ll progressively make it slower from the velocity I often use to freeze the wings.”

Violet-headed Hummingbird – Costa Rica. 406mm (400mm lens + 1.25x inner teleconverter), 1/3200 sec, f/5.6, ISO 2500

Elements resembling lighting circumstances and focal size will change what shutter velocity is required to create movement blur. With this in thoughts, Knoot recommends capturing the frozen images first earlier than you experiment with movement.

Don’t Overly Crop Your Pictures

Knoot says that whereas getting the up shut and private images of a chicken you have got been monitoring for hours can result in fascinating headshots, he stresses that it’s essential to additionally showcase the chicken’s habitat as effectively.

Steller’s Eider – Alaska. 500mm (400mm lens + 1.25x inner teleconverter), 1/4000 sec, f/5.6, ISO 640

“Pictures as an artwork is expressed in a different way from individual to individual, so everybody goes to have a unique opinion on methods to compose a picture, even when that picture isn’t of a chicken,” Knoot says.

Humpback Whale – Alaska. 500mm (400mm lens + 1.25x inner teleconverter), 1/2500 sec, f/5.6, ISO 400

“My choice is to depart just a little additional area across the topic. For me, chicken images is a lot greater than the birds themselves. I really like to inform a extra detailed story by displaying the habitat that these birds name dwelling. This helps to set a scene and may typically be extra fascinating to your viewers. Due to the sharpness within the massive information which can be generated from right now’s cameras, you may crop in whereas enhancing if the nearer composition is extra to your liking. It’s all the time higher to have an excessive amount of than too little. With the OM-1’s 20.4 Megapixel sensor, I really feel snug cropping my pictures at 50% or extra earlier than posting to social media, so having the extra location parts in my images offers me quite a few choices on how I would like the ultimate picture composition to look.”

Nice Inexperienced Macaw – Costa Rica. 500mm (400mm lens + 1.25x inner teleconverter), 1/320 sec, f/5.6, ISO 500
Mountain Bluebird – Washington State. 918mm, (400mm lens + 1.25x inner teleconverter + MC-20 2x teleconverter), 1/320 sec, f/11, ISO 800
Purple-naped Sapsucker – Washington State. 500mm, (400mm lens + 1.25x inner teleconverter), 1/200 sec, f/5.6, ISO 400

Knoot describes {that a} photographer ought to be considering of the three totally different tales that may be advised, relying on the focal vary the images are captured at. ‘Birdscapes’ embody panorama parts and are usually taken with a mid-range zoom, often within the 100-300mm vary.

Golden-browed Chlorophonia – Costa Rica. 300mm, 1/160 sec, f/4.5, ISO 1000

“The usual ‘portrait’ vary is 300mm to 500mm and could be efficient for each static birds and birds in flight,” he continues.

Purple-necked Grebe – Washington State. 335mm, 1/320 sec, f/4.5, ISO 320
Steller’s Eider – Alaska. 500mm (400mm lens + 1.25x inner teleconverter), 1/4000 sec, f/5.6, ISO 400
American White Pelican – Colorado. 500mm, (400mm lens + 1.25x inner teleconverter), 1/2500 sec, f/5.6, ISO 1000

“A focal size of over 500mm can provide you element and headshots,” Knoot continues. “Whereas I’m photographing a chicken with my favourite lens, the M.Zuiko ED 150-400mm F4.5 TC 1.25x IS PRO, I can use the built-in 1.25x teleconverter, which provides me just a little additional attain at 500mm. If I need to get actually up shut and private, I’ll add the MC-20 2x teleconverter. Having each teleconverters engaged will give me a focal distance of 1000mm, or the 35mm equal of 2000mm.”

Yellow-throated Toucan – Costa Rica. 500mm, (400mm lens + 1.25x inner teleconverter), 1/160 sec, f/10, ISO 800
King Vulture – Costa Rica. 500mm, (400mm lens + 1.25x inner teleconverter), 1/4000 sec, f/5.6, ISO 1000
Nice Currasow – Costa Rica. 500mm, (400mm lens + 1.25x inner teleconverter), 1/250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 250
Volcano Hummingbird – Costa Rica. 500mm, (400mm lens + 1.25x inner teleconverter), 1/500 sec, f/5.6, ISO 400
Black-necked Stilt – Costa Rica. 400mm, 1/500 sec, f/4.5, ISO 800
King Eider – Alaska. 400mm, 1/2000 sec, f/4.5, ISO 250

“This focal vary of 150mm to 1000mm permits me to seize all of these tales with one lens and one small teleconverter. I often begin with the ‘birdscape’ and portrait ranges earlier than I take advantage of the teleconverters to get detailed headshots,” he concludes. Knoot says that with the ability to rapidly regulate between these three ranges will show you how to get all kinds of images that inform an entire story of how your topics reside.

Get Used to Utilizing Burst Mode

As any chicken photographer will let you know, it’s important to have loads of high-capacity, high-speed reminiscence playing cards out there. Birds in flight transfer rapidly, and Knoot recommends utilizing your digital camera’s burst mode to seize as many images of the motion as doable.

Larger Prairie Rooster – Colorado. 500mm, (400mm lens + 1.25x inner teleconverter), 1/6400 sec, f/5.6, ISO 1600

“There isn’t a draw back to capturing as many pictures of a chicken in flight as doable, which provides you loads of picture choices to select from while you arrive dwelling,” he says. “Having your digital camera on the prepared within the highest burst mode doable gives you the very best likelihood of capturing motion images. Relying on the scenario, I’ll even use the brand new Professional Seize characteristic on my OM-1. It is a game-changer for wildlife and chicken photographers, as we not have to seize the second because it’s taking place. With Professional Seize, I can merely monitor a topic with out urgent the shutter button, and if the chicken does one thing that I would like captured, I can hit the shutter button as soon as after the very fact. Doing it will inform my OM-1 to jot down the final couple of seconds of my monitoring to my reminiscence card as particular person RAW information. It’s primarily burst mode, however initiated after the motion has already occurred.”

Professional Seize 1 Sequence at 120 frames per second of the Brown-hooded Parrot – Costa Rica. 272mm, 1/6400 sec, f/4.5, ISO 1000

There are two settings with Professional Seize, with each having its execs and cons. With Professional Seize 1, the OM-1 is locked into fastened metering and autofocus, however will seize a staggering 120 frames per second. Professional Seize 2, nonetheless, captures 50 frames per second, however the autofocus will monitor with the topic and the metering will even regulate based mostly on the scene.

It’s higher to have too many flight images than to have too few, so Knoot recommends training methods to monitor topics successfully whereas photographing in burst mode.

Don’t Be Afraid to Use Slower Shutter Speeds in Low Gentle Circumstances

In Knoot’s time main chicken images excursions, he has observed that digital camera know-how has superior at a quicker tempo than the photographer’s mindset. He says a traditional instance of that is when photographers don’t use the superior picture stabilization that trendy cameras and lenses present.

Band-tailed Barbthroat – Costa Rica. 400mm, 1/50 sec, f/4.5, ISO 1250

“Nowadays, you may take handheld images at remarkably gradual shutter speeds and nonetheless get tack sharp images,” Knoot explains. “For me, the mixture of the OM-1 and my go to lens, the M.Zuiko ED 150-400mm F4.5 TC 1.25x IS PRO offers me a formidable eight stops of picture stabilization. I’ve observed the mindset of many photographers make them attempt to preserve a shutter velocity at the very least 1/250th in a darker scene, resembling a cloud forest. With a view to accomplish this, nonetheless, you need to bump up your ISO to make up for lack of gentle attributable to the quicker shutter velocity. The upper the ISO, the extra noise in your picture. While you have a look at the photographs in your digital camera’s LCD display, they might look nice. Nevertheless, you received’t begin seeing the adverse results of noise till you edit the picture in your larger pc display.

Laughing Falcon – Costa Rica. 500mm, (400mm lens + 1.25x inner teleconverter), 1/50 sec, f/5.6, ISO 3200
Emerald Tanager – Costa Rica. 400mm, 1/50 sec, f/5.6, ISO 1000

Knoot explains that whereas he’s snug capturing at ISO 3,200 and under, he’ll solely improve his ISO when completely vital. “I’m all the time making an attempt to restrict my ISO every time doable, so profiting from the the OM-1’s 7-stop Picture Stabilization, in addition to the added stabilization on the 150-400mm lens, I do know that I can get sharp pictures of a static chicken at a shutter velocity of 1/twenty fifth of a second. In actuality, I’m fairly snug capturing handheld at most zoom on that lens with a shutter velocity of just one/tenth of a second. Modern-day picture stabilization is simply that good. However, most individuals don’t understand that or reap the benefits of it. When you do, nonetheless, you’ll begin to discover that your pictures look cleaner, because of not solely a pointy topic, however much less ISO noise all through all the picture.“

Ochre-bellied Flycatcher – Costa Rica. 400mm, 1/25 sec, f/5.6, ISO 2000

Know the Fascinating and Undesirable Poses of Birds

With over 18 years of expertise photographing birds, there are particular aesthetic poses that Knoot will gravitate to when culling by way of his pictures in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom.

“The accuracy of the OM-1 chicken detection whereas capturing in burst or Professional Seize mode permits me to not fear about particular positions of the chicken when they’re in flight,” he states. “I can simply monitor the chicken and seize picture after picture till the second has handed. For me, the artwork of chicken images doesn’t finish as soon as I arrive dwelling. Understanding which pictures to edit and share is a important a part of telling the story of the expertise being amongst these stunning birds.

American Wigeon (two males) – Arizona. 500mm, (400mm lens + 1.25x inner teleconverter), 1/6400 sec, f/5.6, ISO 640
Vermilion Flycatcher – Arizona – Arizona. 316mm, 1/4000 sec, f/4.5, ISO 1600

“Instantly, I’ll all the time skip over any picture that has the chicken’s wings intersecting or masking any a part of its face. The chicken’s face reveals its character, particularly when they’re in flight, as they’ll get a extra intense and decided look, so I need to see that in as many pictures as doable.”

Montezuma Oropendola – Costa Rica. 168mm, 1/6400 sec, f/4.5, ISO 1000

The primary pose that Knoot is drawn to is when the chicken’s wings are going through ahead, revealing the shoulder and the scapula feathers. On the other aspect of the coin, he additionally recommends searching for images which have the chicken’s wings absolutely again, which might present any colour within the armpit.

Brown-hooded Parrot – Costa Rica. 272mm, 1/6400 sec, f/4.5, ISO 1000

Knoot often avoids sharing images the place the chicken’s wing is angled immediately on the digital camera. The look, he says, typically makes the chicken look wingless.

“Eye contact is unimaginable when you may get it,” Knoot recommends. “It seems to be particularly dramatic while you get a head tilt at the side of eye contact. Lots of chicken photographers speak about ‘the glint.’ It’s mainly an outline of the chicken making eye contact with the digital camera, particularly when the chicken is entrance lit. I really like these pictures, and so they actually assist viewers really feel related to the topic, very like I do once I seize these moments.”

Osprey – Washington State. 293mm, 1/1600 sec, f/5.6, ISO 1000

Knoot says that capturing a novel physique place can even result in fascinating images. He describes certainly one of his favourite being when a chicken seems to be over its shoulder and backwards. This doesn’t occur typically, however he says the chicken might look backwards if a noise or individuals speaking catches their consideration.

Steller’s Jay – Washington State. 1,000mm (400mm lens + 1.25x inner teleconverter + MC-20 2x teleconverter), 1/160 sec, f/11, ISO 640

“I all the time attempt to seize birds when they’re hanging onto a department in an unconventional means,” Knoot recommends. “Typically, birds might have their total physique contorted with their talons hanging on because the chicken leans off of the department. Or chances are you’ll discover them resting on fauna that hardly seems to be prefer it might maintain their weight. I really like how stunning these awkward positions and distinctive scenes translate on digital camera.”

Widespread Yellowthroat – Michigan. 459mm (400mm lens + 1.25x inner teleconverter), 1/400 sec, f/5.6, ISO 800
Ruby-crowned Kinglet – Alaska. 400mm, 1/500 sec, f/4.5, ISO 1000
Hooded Warbler – Ohio. 500mm (400mm lens + 1.25x inner teleconverter), 1/200 sec, f/5.6, ISO 3200
White-throated Magpie Jay – Costa Rica. 500mm (400mm lens + 1.25x inner teleconverter), 1/160 sec, f/5.6, ISO 1600
Yellow-breasted Chat – Ohio. 500mm (400mm lens + 1.25x inner teleconverter), 1/250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 1250
Sooty-capped Chlorospingus – Costa Rica. 350mm, 1/80 sec, f/4.5, ISO 3200

Tail flares are additionally one thing to search for in your images, Knoot recommends. A tail flare is when the chicken spreads their tail feathers, and it’s particularly stunning on birds with vibrant colours. Knoot says his favourite tail flare images typically include eye contact and a fascinating wing place, if they’re in flight.

Spruce Grouse – Alaska. 400mm, 1/800 sec, f/4.5, ISO 3200

“I are inclined to not be interested in images of birds flying with their wings fully parallel,” Knoot concludes. That doesn’t really feel very dramatic to me.”

Ringed Kingfisher – Costa Rica. 400mm, 1/4000 sec, f/4.5, ISO 640
Barrow’s Goldeneye – Washington State. 400mm, 1/4000 sec, f/4.5, ISO 1000

“I desire to see the wings all the best way up or down, as these present the motion of the scene higher. These wing positions look particularly beautiful when the chicken is banking in direction of you. For me, these are the pictures that present the fantastic thing about a chicken in flight the very best.”

Persistence…and Persistence is Key

Knoot has been documenting birds within the wild for over 18 years, and over that point, he has discovered that some of the priceless property to have when photographing any sort of wildlife is endurance. “With chicken images, the extra time you may spend with a species, the extra you’ll perceive its habits, which is able to show you how to seize higher pictures over time,” he says. “Once I discover a topic that I need to seize that isn’t in a really photogenic location or doing one thing fascinating, I visualize the picture that I would like. This enables me to be ready when the second does come. I discover that if I don’t visualize the picture first, when the chicken does one thing fascinating like exhibit the meals it’s about to eat, I’m scrambling to make the shot and I don’t get the very best composition and background. However, don’t be too affected person that you just lose the power to adapt if the chicken doesn’t do what you anticipate. Have the shot you need in thoughts, however be able to rapidly adapt to seize one other shot, as birds are very unpredictable. You may want to maneuver and adapt once more, after which once more. So not solely is endurance key in chicken images, however persistence is as effectively.

Golden-browed Chlorophonia – Costa Rica. 500mm (400mm lens + 1.25x inner teleconverter), 1/160 sec, f/5.6, ISO 1600
Yellow-throated Vireo – Ohio. 406mm, (400mm lens + 1.25x inner teleconverter), 1/250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 1200

“I’ve been photographing birds 12 months spherical for almost all of my life, and to this present day, this type of artwork can strive my endurance. It isn’t a simple style to grasp, and I don’t consider I ever will really feel like I’ve. However one factor retains me coming again, time and time once more. There isn’t a larger feeling than getting an unimaginable picture you had pictured in your thoughts as you spent all day crouched within the mud, behind a tree, in a heavy downpour, simply ready for the best second to return. I’ll by no means get bored with that feeling.”

Purple-necked Grebe – Washington State. 500mm (400mm lens + 1.25x inner teleconverter), 1/400 sec, f/5.6, ISO 400
Jap Screech Owl (crimson morph) – Ohio. 500mm (400mm lens + 1.25x inner teleconverter), 1/100 sec, f/11, ISO 1600
Lineated Woodpeckers – Costa Rica. 500mm (400mm lens + 1.25x inner teleconverter), 1/640 sec, f/5.6, ISO 640
Black-and-white Owl – Costa Rica. 213mm, 1/60 sec, f/4.5, ISO 2000

Extra from Ben Knoot could be discovered on his web site, and Instagram.

Full disclosure: This text was dropped at you by OM SYSTEM Cameras

Picture credit: All images by Ben Knoot

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