Water Photography

Canada Goose bathing

You have to love the effects that can be captured when you photograph birds on the water.

After spending countless hours observing different species, you get to understand and anticipate their behaviour.

Coots fighting

In late March the Coot finds it’s nesting area, and if a stranger ventures near another nest site then the action will begin.

I was standing just in the right area when three Coots all flew in at the same time.

Getting down as far as I could gave the image a better feeling that you were there in the thick of it.

This can’t always be achieved, but getting down to the water level makes for a lovely image.

Young Great Tit taking a bath

Rivers, lakes and ponds are great for finding many birds that will be drinking and bathing.

Reflection on water at a certain angle can really mess with the image.

After filming a Great crested Grebe in Stanley Park near Blackpool, at first I could not get any images that were usable. The images were all slightly out of focus which was very upsetting as some images I captured were ones I had never seen before.

It was all down to my position with the camera – as I crouched down closer to the water level I found the focus of the camera stayed on the Grebe. It still wasn’t quite right, but with a few adjustments my keeper rate was a lot better.

The Greebe Mating Dance

Fast forward five years and digital camera development and focusing technology now give you a better option depending on what your photographing, however it is down to the photographer to capture the subject perfectly.

Menu systems in the modern day camera are very complicated but most things stay the same for me when taking a picture: Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO.

Tufted Duck

This Tufted Duck was captured by resting the camera and lens on the lake bank to get this effect.

This is what I love about nature – it gives you a different opportunity all the time; you just need the imagination and speed of thought to react to the situation.

Great Crested Greebe

Some days you capture an image that just brings a big smile to your face.

I had tried years to capture a Greebe flying across the water but was never in the right place at the right time.

This image of the Greebe landing in watre was captured when I observed a Coot getting close to the nest of the Greebe – I knew it would chase the intruder away.

I checked my settings and got ready.

Greebe in action

I will continue to photograph our amazing birds – you never know will happen when you get down to the water and what image you’re going to capture next.

My tips for getting a water great image are:

> Getting the right light and reflection

> Anticipating behaviour

> Camera settings need to be spot on with a shutter speed of at least 1/2500

> Getting the right angle and position

> Patience

> Quick reactions

Written by

I am 63 years old and and since a boy have had an interest in wildlife and in particular birds. I help my Dad with the rearing of young finches and other birds. I had many small birds as pets and as i got older and joined the Military i purchsed my first Camera, and fold out Kodak. Over a 22 year period i enjoyed many countries outside the uk and observed many species of birds. When i left the military in 2000, i bought my first digital camera a Canon 450D with a Tamron 70-300 and started my journey on capturing images of birds and animals. I quickly learned that there was a lot more to getting a good image of a bird, so i started to research the best settings for my camera in order to capture a better image. Over a 12 month period i realised that needed to invest in a better camera and lens and after research bought a Canon 50D and a 100-400 Lens. It was 2013 when i really got to grips with the setup and came across a lovely Short Eared Owl. From that meeting i started to concentrate on Owls as they fasinated me. From Canon to Olympus i recently jumped ship again to Sony. The variety of birds i have captured over a 10 year period is vast and at present i have a wildlife hide in lancashire where most of my images are captured.

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