Texas Hill Country Images: Photographing Birds in your Backyard – Part I

Its no secret that I love nature!

I decided to try and set up a hidden bird feeder in my yard for some new bird photography!  I enjoy watching nature, but I need to try and bring the birds in close.    I remembered my good friend, & very talented wildlife & bird photographer Bill Drake, had once shared with me his tips on how he sets up his shots.  He’s a full time award-winning wildlife photographer – traveling across the country to get wildlife shots, and I’ve primarily been a portrait photographer.  I decided to try and set something up… if you build it, they will come! (hopefully)

I asked my hubby if he would hollow out a small tree limb for me, and I went out in our woods and found a limb that was about 4-5″ inches across and about 4-5 foot long.  It was just laying on the ground, rotting away.   He grabbed a couple tools and SHAZAM!  Within a couple minutes he had the log trimmed and hollowed out several inches down. Whata guy!

It just so happens that we have a forrest snuggled right up to the north side of our house, and the fall colors are looking great right now!

We vertically set our tree trunk up along the fenceline, tying it with some wire just outside my window … it actually looks like a regular fencepost.

I cleared up nearby vines, and small limbs, creating a little space without distractions, to encourage the birds to land on the post itself.

I picked the north window which is located in my studio room.  I can edit images one my computer, or paint at my easel, while glancing out the window waiting for birds.

Next, I removed the window screen and thoroughly cleaned the glass (inside & out).  

I prefer using a tripod, and set it up just above the window ledge with my longest lens (70-200mm), 1.4x teleconverter, and plugged in the shutter release.  

I opened the window, pre-focused my lens on top of the post, switched it to manual focus mode, & set my camera on rapid fire.  I also set it on aperture priority with a shallow depth of field to blur out the background as much as I can, in camera. (more on that in Part 2) 
Batteries are charged and its ready to go!


You can tell by the photo that I’m not a full time pro wildlife photog with that 70-200mm lens, but it’ll work for this project.

Can you see the pile of bird seed on top?

It didn’t take long.  Within a day I noticed a visitor!
A Tufted Titmouse.


Such a sweet pose!
The word was quickly getting out in the bird world, and more birds were starting to adventure closer to our house!
Read more  –  PART 2…

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