Monday, 5 March 2012

Cannock chase - First Ever Birding Shoot 26th Feb 2012

I have never really shot birds before , just the odd photo now and again.  but a flickr contact Julie encouraged me to have a go :).   so a trip to Cannock Chase in staffordshire was arranged where she said it would be a good place to see quite a few species.
When we arrived , a few other bird shooters were already there with perches already set up, John who i already knew from butterfly shooting was there and offered to lend me his canon 100-400L which was a real help as my 70-300 is a bit short on the full frame 5d2 body.  I also shot with my 450d crop sensor body with both 100-400L and my 70-300is.
The perch set ups consisted different branches and feeding pots to encourage the birds down into the area, and Julie had brought along peanut butter, which the long tailed tits in particular find irresistible! lol.

So starting with the 100-400 i was shooting hand held at iso800 & 640 with a aperture f5.6 - 6.3, but later on i managed to go down to iso 320 in the brighter conditions.

The first species to appear were the Blue Tits , always love to see these in the garden :)

I found it quite difficult relying on auto focus, as i very rarely use it in macro and landscape shooting!    and trying to get a focus point on the tiny birds eye was quite a challenge! 
A long tailed tit next image,  i call these  Poppits :D

One bird i always wanted to shoot made a brief appearance for just a few minutes, the Nuthatch , and i managed a few good shots :)

There was also a Teasel seed head set up, which Julie put a small amount of peanut butter on the reverse side to attract the birds :)     Coal tits and Long tailed tits loved it!!

Really like the light i got on this coal tit image :)

and a Blue tit taken around the same time with similar light

Later on a few birds were perching in a bush on the left of the feeders, this is a  Great tit .

A few times a bullfinch had been spotted flying around and he came down for a few minutes, and i luckily managed this single frame!  

In the early afternoon the light was getting alot brighter and the feeding activity increased , especially on the teasels,  here are a few really nice shots , the clean backgrounds really set the birds of nicely :D

                                                           "Poppits" are Sooo Cute:))))

a Blue Tit

Then a Chafinch appeared on the ground , and was displaying a threat pose!!!!!

"Come Back!!!  That's Mine! " 

a coal tit steals a blue tits  nut!!! Haha

Everyones favourite bird!  the ROBIN!  there must have been at least a dozen of them , constantly fighting with each other!  lol

Late in the afternoon, when the light was at its brightest , i tried shooting some bird in flight shots, which was extremely difficult, i just could not get them in focus Arghhhhhhhh
shooting on a tripod, in continuous mode, with all nine focus points activated!  and pressing the shutter as i watched the birds coming in to land!

they always seemed to be flying towards me, instead of flying in sideways to land on the teasel, but eventually i managed a decent shot, but it wasn't until i looked on pc screen that i realised how good an image  i had actually shot!!!!!!!!!!!!

My best shot of an incredible first ever bird shoot !!!!!!!!!!!

That was the end of a superb day, in which i learned alot!  i  need to have another try at shooting these soon:)

                                    Shots taken with Canon 5d2,450d, 100-400L & 70-300is


  1. That's fantastic quality for a first timer Phil

  2. For someone who's not photographed birds to any extent before, these are amazing images Phil. I can see where your experience in photographing bugs has been useful with backgrounds and composition etc.