When I started photographing birds, my primary goal was to get as close as possible. Later I realized that background and lighting are even more important. All this makes bird photography truly challenging. Nevertheless, the internet is already full of beautiful bird images, so it’s time to make something different. This is not an easy task, but by using feeders for bird photography, even the most difficult ideas can become reality.
Before enjoying bird photography, some preparations are needed. First of all, choose a location for a feeder: decide which species you want to photograph and find an area where they live. Don’t look for a distant location−your backyard can be the perfect place. Forest birds had long interested me, so I chose a local forest. When searching for the exact setting, I mainly consider the amount of light and the quality of back- ground blur. For a soft background, it’s best to find a location with distant bushes or trees and try a few test shots using manual focus at about 14 feet.
Once you have found the place, you need a blind. Although various temporary blinds can be used, I prefer a permanent blind since birds understand it as a part of their environment and I don’t need to wait while they get used to it every time I’m there.
Build your blind from whatever materials you prefer. I used branches that I found around and they also worked as protection from the northern sparrowhawk (a nimble bird of prey) providing a shelter for my feeder’s visitors. One time this allowed me to see the predator from very close−while chasing lesser birds, the sparrowhawk flew into my blind!