I’ve always loved birds and appreciated their company while chilling in the backyard of my family home. The 2020 winners of Bird Photographer of the Year (BPOTY) bring the fascinating world of birds even closer to us. In this article, we bring you the overall winner as well as category winners. The selection of marvelous photos shows the birds’ behavior, their wonderful and quirky features, and their interaction with the environment.
With lockdown restrictions starting to be eased in various parts of the world, many will want to get back into shooting photography outside of their home again. One excellent worthwhile genre you can cover that still lets you follow the social distancing guidelines which are still in place for most of us is bird photography, particularly when they’re in flight.
In this video, Steve Perry teaches us just about everything we could ever want to know to get started photographing birds in flight. As you’ll see, it presents a lot of great challenges. And learning how to overcome those challenges can also be useful in many other types of photography, too.
Itamar Campos is a Brazilian landscape and nature photographer whose “birds sitting on long lens” images have caused marvel among his peers and photographers in general.
The bird images are captured inside the Atlantic Forest which is 70km outside the city Curitiba, where Itamar resides. The city is located in the Parana state in the southern parts of Brazil.
Itamar tells DIYP that it is only during the coldest winter days that he heads out for bird photography. His secret spot is a small ranch in the middle of the Atlantic Forest. Eight hours of bird watching may result in as much as 2,000 to 3,000 images, but, according to Itamar, only 10 to 15 of them yield a satisfying result. A great image with which he is happy equals a good composition and a variety of birds on and around the Canon 400mm lens. How he manages to have up to five bird species in the frame is Itamar’s well-kept secret.
When you photograph birds, their beauty really gets in focus against a clean and simple background. But when you’re out there with your camera, it can be pretty difficult to get a nice and clean background in bird photos. In this video, Jan Wegener shares a couple of simple tricks that will help you raise your photos to a whole new level.
Last year I joined my local photography club. The club holds regular competitions and I was amazed by the quality of the bird and wildlife photographs. I’ve never been much of a natural history photographer. So it’s not surprising that my own photographs did very poorly in competitions. In particular, a judge criticised a woodpecker photograph that I submitted because it was clearly on a bird feeder. “Hand of man!” he said as he dismissed my attempt.
If you have ever observed birds flying, I guess you’ve noticed interesting formations and flying patterns they follow. But have you ever imagine what these birds would draw with flaps of their wings? Barcelona-based photographer Xavi Bou has, and he has turned bird flights into a series of almost surreal photos. His project Ornitographies turns something so ordinary into something extraordinary, and he has shared some of his exquisite photos with DIYP.
We see photo shoots and videos all the time with clickbaity titles like “amazing”, “insane”, “you won’t believe…”, etc. And they rarely live up to expectations. Photographer Mark Smith, however, did capture something pretty amazing. Many of us dream of having bald eagles in front of our lens. But Mark saw not one, but a whole bunch of them hunting and even fighting.
Out with his Nikon D850 and 500mm f/4 lens, he had the perfect opportunity to shoot some great images of the magnificent birds, and he did exactly that. But unlike most videos, this one’s actually narrated by Mark, with a very cool story of the day, what he saw and how he felt.
The practise of using bait to attract owls and other wildlife is a controversial topic. On the one hand, it can remove the fear of humans from rare and protected species, putting them at risk. On the other, how is it any different to putting out a feeder for wild birds in your garden? Then there’s also the chance that the humans can put themselves and others at risk as more dangerous species lose their fear of people.
NPR reports that earlier this winter, photographer Michael Furtman was driving along the North Shore of Lake Superior. He was looking for Great Grey Owls. Several of them had flown down from Canada in search of food. When he pulled off onto a dirt road where he’d seen them the previous night, he saw one, along with a pair of people recording video of it.
The Nikon 600mm f/4 E FL ED VR is a great bird photographer’s lens (and a super-pricey one). But Kai Wong wanted to check whether it’s better for shooting birds than a shotgun. So, he teamed up with Paul John Bayfield and they created a shooting challenge. Paul used Nikon F5 and the 600mm lens, while Kai tried his shooting skills on the gun.
It took three rounds and some clay disks to shoot (figuratively and literally). And the question is – can the 600mm lens get more in-focus shots than the shotgun can hit?
You know that old saying, “Take nothing but pictures, Leave nothing but footprints, Kill nothing but time”, it is the motto of Baltimore Grotto (caving society) and something most nature photographers live by. It shows both respect for nature and respect for fellow photographer.
What is the opposite of this motto? Singaporean magazine Mothership reports that they received a video allegedly showing bird photographers stuffing live fish with air and styrofoam so they stay afloat and bait endangered Grey-headed Fish Eagles. Once the eagle came closer for the helpless-yes-very-close fish, they could snap some very cool photos of the eagle.