Avian Photography And A New Camera

A group of King penguins make their way up on to the relative shelter of a beach on South Georgia Island.

Avian Photography and a New Camera

Avian or bird photography is one of the most challenging disciplines a photographer can pursue. Being small, the subjects are usually quick moving, shy and somewhat protective of their personal space. Being unable to communicate with or direct the subject we have to rely on it being nearby, within the range of our lens, at a time when the light illuminates it in a satisfactory manner. By comparison portrait photography seems so much easier.

I photographed this waddle of King penguins as they made their way up on to the relative shelter of a beach on South Georgia Island.

A very shallow depth of field (DOF) allowed me to isolate the main subject from the rest of the group. The direction of the light brought out the texture of the bird’s feathers and highlighted its eye.

Nothing Succeeds Like Success

Avian photography is not my speciality. My camera kit is not ideal for that particularly photography genre but, more importantly, I don't have the passion to explore animal behavior at anything more than a fundamental level. Nonetheless, whenever I make a good image I want to do more. What does that tell you? We are motivated by successful outcomes.

When it comes to photography being prepared and choosing to photograph scenes and subjects that are not terribly challenging is a good approach for the beginner. Build on your success, over time, with more difficult assignments.

Compare that with the person who buys there first decent digital camera, a day or so before and important event (e.g., child’s school concert or overseas skiing holiday), only to be frustrated by the technology and come home disappointed with the results.

We Create Our Own Reality

We are just as responsible for our failures as we are for own success. We are all intelligent and talented, but how often do we make decisions that set us up for failure? What a low opinion of ourselves must we have to make the kind of choices that set us up to fail?

I hope photography provides you with an abundance of fun and joy. It should be rewarding and the harder you work at it the more rewards will follow. But be careful not to kill the chance of joy with unrealistic expectations or being sucked into photographing jobs you’re either unable or unwilling to complete.

Be careful not to let your brand new camera become the goose that fried the golden egg.

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru