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I would like to improve my ability to take bird hunting related pictures.  My photos never seem to turn out with the same detail or appeal of many that appear on this site.  I am sure much of this has to do with my lack of knowledge and technique.

 

I have a canon dslr EOS rebel t3i.  It is approximately 7-8 years old.

 

A few quick questions..

 

1.  Would the quality of my pictures improve if I invested in a more expensive lense?  I am sure I just bought whatever was cheapest at the time or came with the camera.  If so, how much "zoom" would you suggest?  Any brands to look at?

 

2.  I am sure technology has improved since the purchase of my camera.  Would I see a significant uptick if I purchased a newer camera?

 

3.  How can I learn more about taking better outdoor photos?  Any tips?  Online articles etc.

 

Thank you in advance for any help.

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1 hour ago, Setter58 said:

I would like to improve my ability to take bird hunting related pictures.  My photos never seem to turn out with the same detail or appeal of many that appear on this site.  I am sure much of this has to do with my lack of knowledge and technique.

 

I have a canon dslr EOS rebel t3i.  It is approximately 7-8 years old.

 

A few quick questions..

 

1.  Would the quality of my pictures improve if I invested in a more expensive lense?  I am sure I just bought whatever was cheapest at the time or came with the camera.  If so, how much "zoom" would you suggest?  Any brands to look at?

 

2.  I am sure technology has improved since the purchase of my camera.  Would I see a significant uptick if I purchased a newer camera?

 

3.  How can I learn more about taking better outdoor photos?  Any tips?  Online articles etc.

 

Thank you in advance for any help.

 

 I enjoy taking and posting photos and appreciate "likes" for some and dis-heartened sometimes when other photos don't garner the same - but so be it. I've sold a number of photos along with "outdoor" articles to a variety of local and regional outdoor publications including two big city newspapers. I don't regard myself as much of an accomplished photographer - just a lot of point and shoot , hope for the best and sometimes pleased with the end product and often displeased.  Surprisingly I've found that when I stage a photo and take numerous shots from different angles, distances etc. - the first photo most often seems to work best - why ?????

 

Having said all that -

 

To your questions #1 and # 2  - absolutely not. It's not the equipment but rather your ability to compose a photo and to pay attention to detail , perspective and background. 

 

Here's two photos of the same scene:

 

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and

 

50576410213_7c949d298d_k.jpg

 

In my opinion the first photo portrays not much to ponder but the second photo with the inclusion of some spindly plant growth adds definition, depth  and perspective to the scene and it's a nice silhouette against the blue sky. 

 

Two photos of the same cluster of marsh marigolds:

 

This first photo is  much too busy, it's just a melange of yellow and green,  with little definition and nothing specific to draw the viewer's eye - just a bunch of yellow flowers fading off into an ill-defined background and a lot of forefront distraction - so what.

 

50964464297_8275552786_k.jpg

 

This photo presents a much better presentation of a clump of marsh marigolds , good detail and fulfills what the photographer wanted to show - a clump of very pretty marsh marigolds with little too distract the viewer  :

 

50963651918_7713c7e67c_k.jpg.

 

Also be wary of absolutely centered photos especially with scenic photos - sometimes it works but often it doesn't.  I probably took 8 - 10 photos of this abandoned building but liked this one best - it's slightly off center and the broken fence post with the barbed wire adds some depth and perspective to the photo. Pay attention to details like that - details that aren't always readily apparent. 

 

49656084158_7ada86b831_k.jpg

 

All this of course is very subjective. When it comes to bird hunting photos the absolutely grungiest photo - IMO - is a pile of dead birds - spread across the tailgate of a pick-up truck. When appropriate I always try and add a little narrative to my posted photos - it adds a bit of human touch to the event and try and think of your  photos as "events" .

 

Hope this helps, Good Luck.

 

Ruger 1

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Youtube has a ton of short tutorials for outdoor/nature photography. I'm sure Cannon does too. I hunt in the open so a shotgun sling doesn't hang up, giving me both arms to steady the camera. Sometimes I carry an expandable shooting stick for the same purpose. The only time I ever ran into whooping cranes while hunting I did not have that shooting stick. Probably 30 mph wind and nothing to steady the camera. Blurry pics.  VR helps but there is no substitute for a good rest.

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Brad Eden

Here is a Topic I started a few years back that may help you. Particularly your number 3 question. This Topic is mostly about taking good field photos of dogs and birds etc. As far as a camera....the average person has a very good camera built into their smart phone. Remarkable images can be achieved with those. IMO
 

 

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Greg Hartman

My very basic and generic tips are included in the thread Brad cited above.  Do you have a website or something where we could view your work and maybe provide some more targeted suggestions?

 

As far as equipment, I am often asked “You have such nice pictures - what kind of camera do you use?”  As if buying a Whizz-Bang camera can make you a good photographer.  Makes me chuckle.  

 

It’s like guns - as long as the equipment is functional, 99% of the image comes from the Indian, not the arrow.  Give a lousy photographer the very best equipment and you’ll still get lousy images; just like giving a lousy shot a Purdey - he still won’t hit anything.

 

Even a crappy cell phone camera can give good results.

 

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C9B7C48B-1E29-4A13-BB61-6A13AAD7DA5C.thumb.jpeg.7a8d03dd71b588f97e7c63d2affc2bef.jpeg

 

 

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thank you all for the info.

 

to answer gregs question, i do not have a website or anything, maybe someday after I digest this information!

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On 2/21/2021 at 9:33 AM, Greg Hartman said:

 

 

As far as equipment, I am often asked “You have such nice pictures - what kind of camera do you use?”  As if buying a Whizz-Bang camera can make you a good photographer.  Makes me chuckle.  

 

 

 

 

Yes, it's like saying to a carpenter, "You must have a really good hammer."

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On 2/20/2021 at 7:01 PM, Setter58 said:

 

 

A few quick questions..

 

1.  Would the quality of my pictures improve if I invested in a more expensive lense?  I am sure I just bought whatever was cheapest at the time or came with the camera.  If so, how much "zoom" would you suggest?  Any brands to look at?

 

2.  I am sure technology has improved since the purchase of my camera.  Would I see a significant uptick if I purchased a newer camera?

 

3.  How can I learn more about taking better outdoor photos?  Any tips?  Online articles etc.

 

Thank you in advance for any help.

 

A few quick answers:

 

1. Yes, of course better lenses produce better photos, but if you aren't trying for publishable/saleable images, it's probably not worth the many thousands of dollars you'd have to spend. Of course, if you have the spare cash...

 

2. See answer #1. I always tell aspiring professional photographers to spend their money on glass rather than camera bodies. Bodies are consumable items, good glass is always good glass if you take care of it. I still shoot a Canon 500mm f/4 lens that was made in 2009 because it's still tack sharp. But again, if you're not trying to make a living at it the $9000 price tag for a new 500mm L series lens isn't realistic.

 

3. The replies others have given you are right on. Youtube is a great source for instructional videos and all the big e-retailers (B&H, Adorama, et al., have online tutorials.)

 

fwiw, you can see some of my published work at https://www.crowleyimages.com/index/G0000yUbWw6aGFqc/thumbs

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Brad Eden
10 minutes ago, KCrowley said:

 

Yes, it's like saying to a carpenter, "You must have a really good hammer."

Yes, it’s like saying to a professional Graphic Designer, “You must have a really good computer”.

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On 2/20/2021 at 6:01 PM, Setter58 said:

I have a canon dslr EOS rebel t3i.

 

I "stole" my wife's Canon Rebel EOS  Rebel SL3 with an 18-55mm kit lens for a trip last hunting season - mainly wanted to try out the video function.  I mounted it on a Manfrotto monopod, slipped a shotgun sling on it, slung it over my back and fired away when opportunity presented itself.  I thought it performed ok especially with me not really paying any attention to what I was doing with regards to settings.  I might have dialed in some manual generic landscape settings for landscapes.

 

IMG_0139.jpg.03d0e441d678f555abb7e3d3ceeff86f.jpg 

 

IMG_0166.thumb.jpg.c40f4b914d4915cd5e4b86b6d4bf790f.jpg

 

IMG_0178.thumb.jpg.ced8d0221698faa9939134fba1aa6454.jpg

 

My "good" camera I usually shoot is a 2007 Sony A700 with lenses from same time - a dinosaur.  My editing software of choice is 2015 Premier Elements.   Basically my "good stuff" is all really old stuff!!  ;) 

46219764254_50c43bccb6_b.jpg

 

46934647582_735b5c37df_z.jpg

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Ah ha, so Setter58 has the right gear, no excuse now. ^^ Great pics!

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Greg Hartman

Well, maybe we've gone a bit too far with the "equipment doesn't matter" theme.  Again, it's like guns.  Give a good shooter a rusty Mossberg and he'll beat the tar out of a mediocre shooter with a new Perazzi.  BUT, give a good shooter a top notch gun, perfectly fitted to both him and to the situation he is dealing with (birds, skeet, clays or whatever) and that good shooter will do even better.  As with guns, there is a "horses for the courses" concept.  You wouldn't use a single bbl trap gun to hunt quail, given any choice. I don't like to carry a big, heavy interchangeable lens camera (ILC) and bag of heavy lenses around with me in the field - I use a tiny compact camera about the size of a pack of cards for almost all of my upland photography.  

 

So, once a photographer with an eye for art has mastered the basic technical skills of creating images with a camera and post-processing, better equipment that is suited to the circumstances will give him better results.  Just a few recent examples follow.

 

This image, for example, required special equipment - an ILC and a high quality, long (600mm equiv)  telephoto lens:

 

2-19-21 - WhiteThroated Sparrow - 2

 

 

This one, where I wanted to create both a sunstar and the extreme detail of every tiny snowy twig (most of which cannot be seen on the much reduced resolution images I post here), required a full-frame, manually adjustable camera that I could take down to F22:

 

 

2-20-21 - 14 degree morning

 

 

This action shot (actually taken of me by Nancy) required a camera small and light enough that we were willing to carry it in the field (i.e. not a big ILC or full-frame camera) with very fast focus and a very high burst rate (24 frames per second) to catch the gun smoke, the bird being hit, and my ejected 28 gauge hull in the air:

 

 

1-27-21 - Training Day - Me taking a bird with the 28 gauge

 

 

This shot of Bliss looking out at a snowy day required both a camera capable of being set up to very quickly take multiple shots, each with a different exposure; and then post-processing to blend the images together.  Otherwise, the camera would expose for the inside and the outside would just be blank white; or it would expose for the outside and the inside would be a black silhouette.  I shot five images in about one second - one exposing for the scene outside the windows, one exposing for the inside of the house and the other three in between:

 

 

2-3-21 -Bliss in the morning

 

 

This one required an ILC with a wide angle lens that I could adjust to include exactly what I wanted in the scene:

 

10-2-20 - Stark trees - 2

 

I could go on, but you get the idea.  Simple situations can be handled with simple equipment, like just a cell phone.  Better equipment can help with complex or difficult situations and give better image quality (only really important for things like making very sharp large prints or displays) IF the photographer knows how to use it.

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