I’m writing this from Socorro, New Mexico, home to Bosque del Apache, a fantastic location for photographing birds. I’m here attending a workshop with Scott Bourne, a bird expert and professional bird photographer. Scott and I have known each other for (going on) ten years, and ever since I heard his talk about one of his most famous photographs, Cranes in the Fire Mist, my interest on bird photography was piqued. So this year I decided to make the trip and see what it was all about.
We’re only on day two of the week-long workshop and I’m thoroughly enjoying the challenge of learning something new. Bird photography has a few “rules” that are opposite to what I have ingrained in my brain as a photographer. For example, the best light for photographing birds is direct sunlight. If my shadow is pointing at the bird then I’m in the right spot. However, deviating from that positioning by more than 5% is a not ideal. There are exceptions to this (such as photographing silhouettes), and photographing a different way not mean it will be a bad photo. But other factors, such as the weather, wind, and where the water is, are things that can help ensure that you are at least in the vicinity of where the birds will be, which is an important part of the process!
It is so beautiful watching—and hearing—the birds in such large numbers. And it’s even more amazing when they blast-off (when hundreds of birds fly overhead all at once). I’m sharing a photo or two per day, so if you would like to see more of the photographs I am making from this workshop, please find me on Instagram.
If you’d like to learn more about photographing birds, please visit Scott’s website