Although very detailed and jam packed with technical jargon only the ‘very serious’ amateur could possibly understand, How To Photography Birds by Nasim Mansurov is nonetheless way up there as one of the most simplified ‘How To’ guides you’re likely to come across for capturing wild birds in flight. This ‘is not’ an article for the newbie Photog as the lingo alone will have one running back and forth to a photography dictionary.
That said, if you’re serious about bird photography you had better have some very deep pockets and, secondly, a marketing system set up to sell your fine art photography so you can get reimbursed for the ‘pay out’ necessary for the top notch equipment essential for this photography genre.
Mansurov goes to great lengths chatting about appropriate equipment for shooting birds, and leaving no stone unturned about what is good or not good for this fast-action activity. This is certainly no point-and-shoot goings-on and the ‘grandma type’ consumer digitals just simply won’t do.
Any advanced SLR Camera and Lens combination will do just fine, but since Manurov is an admitted Nikon user, it’s almost as if he was writing (exclusively) for users of Nikon equipment and Lens. But, he wasn’t. However, if you just happen to be a Nikonian, such as the author readily admits, then you should feel especially honored that this ‘How to Guide’ was written by such a dedicated Nikon User.
All of the information is so very useful, but particularly telling was his recommendation in the section on Camera Settings which I thought was most important and quite unique indeed as the camera mode I use most for my bird photography is the “Shutter-Priority” mode:
The camera mode I use the most for my photography, including birding is “Aperture Priority”. Nikon users are blessed with an Auto-ISO feature that automatically adjusts the ISO based on light conditions. You can set a minimum shutter speed, which can be set to a high number for bird photography and maximum ISO to retain the detail. This feature is very useful and I use it all the time, setting the Auto-ISO to on, maximum ISO to 800 on DX sensor and 1600 on FX sensor and minimum shutter speed to 1/800 of a second. The latest generation of Canon DSLRs also has the Auto-ISO capability, but it is not as versatile as Nikon’s.”
As an added value for Nikon Users ONLY, the author also provided in this article on How To Photograph Birds, a ‘blue-print’ of his personally recommended Nikon Camera settings for shooting birds. You can’t ask for much more than that.
Finally, pay very close attention to the section on ‘approaching birds’ because it could make the difference between whether or not you get to master this photography genre. The eleven recommendations he offers in this article should really make you think twice by not assuming ANYTHING when you’re in the field photographing birds.