Creative Bird Photography: Essential Tips and Techniques

Creative Bird Photography: Essential Tips and Techniques

by Bill Coster
     
 

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This beautifully illustrated, inspirational guide to bird photography is packed with practical advice for how to photograph birds presented in an informative but accessible writing style. Creative Bird Photography offers a fresh approach to its subject, looking closely at how to photograph specific aspects of birds’ lives, such as eating and…  See more details below

Overview

This beautifully illustrated, inspirational guide to bird photography is packed with practical advice for how to photograph birds presented in an informative but accessible writing style. Creative Bird Photography offers a fresh approach to its subject, looking closely at how to photograph specific aspects of birds’ lives, such as eating and drinking, courtship, and flight. The author gives examples, demonstrating particular points and approaches for taking great shots of all of these daily bird activities as well as taking "mood" photographs at dawn and dusk. Each shot is accompanied by detailed technical data, information about locations, and advice about other challenges that will need to be surmounted in order to achieve the perfect shot. Coster also shares fascinating anecdotes about his encounters with the birds featured. There are also up-to-date sections on bird photography basics, including equipment and storage of digital images.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"...all working and wannabe bird photographers will benefit from Bill Coster's Creative Bird Photography. ...while the photos are enough to make us get off the couch and run outside with our camera, it's the text that makes this such a valuable book."— New Scientist

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781553659327
Publisher:
Greystone Books
Publication date:
01/15/2011
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
160
Sales rank:
941,106
File size:
11 MB
Note:
This product may take a few minutes to download.

Read an Excerpt

Introduction

My interest in the natural world goes back to when I was child, although being brought up in the East End of London was probably not the best environment for searching out wildlife. No one in my family was interested in nature, so where or how I become so fascinated with it is a mystery, even to me. In the urban environment of my youth, it was small creatures such as insects that first caught my attention, mainly because there was quite a diverse range of them around, even in a cityscape. As I grew up and travelled further afield, my interests broadened while I encountered a much wider variety of animals and plants, particularly birds.

Photographing wildlife started as just a way of recording what I had seen, but gradually took over completely, until my trips away were centred around what I could photograph, rather than on how many different species I was likely to see. One aspect of bird photography particularly fascinated me — birds in flight. In the early days of slow films and manual focus there was not an abundance of flight shots around, and I discovered that I had a knack for taking them. This enabled me to carve out a niche in the market, getting published in bird magazines and eventually signing up with one of the top natural history agencies in Britain.

While all this was going on I was working in the IT industry, so I was at rather a disadvantage to many of the full-time photographers my pictures were competing against. As my sales increased, I finally decided the time was right and gave up the day job, something I have never regretted, even for a second. Now I travel the world to photograph landscapes, mammals, plants, insects and of course birds. This is a lifestyle I would never have dreamed of as a boy, searching for caterpillars on the waste ground between houses in London.

Bird photography is a surprisingly broad subject, covering not only different aspects of birds’ behaviour, but also different ways of capturing this with a camera, from simple portraits to impressionist visions of the birds in their environment. To try and cover such a large subject matter in one go would be very confusing, so to simplify things I have divided the main subject of bird photography into several categories, thus allowing us to concentrate on one aspect at a time. One chapter is devoted to each of these categories, using examples of pictures that are further split into the different aspects of the subject under discussion. So, for example, the chapter on flight photography contains sections on take-off, landing and flocking, with different images used for each aspect.

The book is loosely based on a series of articles I wrote as a photographic consultant for Birds Illustrated entitled ‘Being creative with your camera’. A magazine article is necessarily quite brief, so the book contains not only many more pictures, but also more categories and much more information. Although there is a chapter with advice on camera and computer equipment based on my own experience, the main thrust of the book is about using that most precious piece of photographic equipment — your creativity. There are quite a few books on the market that deal with the nuts and bolts of how to use your camera to get pictures of birds, covering the practical side of bird photography. In recent years, with the advent of digital photography, we have learned a whole new skill-set to make the most of digital images using software packages such as Adobe Photoshop, and there are countless books on this subject. It would be pointless to repeat this information in here.

Every image in the main section of the book includes exposure details where available, and the text contains information about the circumstances surrounding the making of each picture. The main focus of the book is on creating good images of the birds you meet, going about their often complex and fascinating lives.

Photography, like any art form, is very subjective, and what one person likes another may not. There are certain general ‘rules’ about composition, and I refer to some of them while discussing the pictures in the main part of the book. However, I’ve never been a great stickler for rules in many aspects of life, and over the years have developed an instinct as to what works and what doesn’t. Viewed in this light, ‘rules’ can be seen as simply advice that could help to improve your pictures. They are not to be treated as tablets of stone, handed down from on high, but as gentle reminders that can help when starting out in the fascinating field of bird photography.

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What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"...all working and wannabe bird photographers will benefit from Bill Coster's Creative Bird Photography. ...while the photos are enough to make us get off the couch and run outside with our camera, it's the text that makes this such a valuable book."— New Scientist

Meet the Author

Bill Coster is one of the UK's leading wildlife photographers, and his work frequently appears in national bird and wildlife magazines and journals. He also has a regular monthly column in Birds Illustrated. He leads bird photography tours in North and South America and has travelled to every continent on earth in search of memorable images. Coster has lived in Essex, England for over 20 years, and it is from here that he sets out in pursuit of photographs of the natural world.

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