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Categorized | Articles, Ethan Meleg

Bird Photography Tips — Basic Camera Body Settings for Bird Photography (preview)

©Ethan Meleg Common loon feeding chick Settings: Canon 1Ds Mark III, EF 500mm f/4 lens.

©Ethan Meleg
Common loon feeding chick
Settings: Canon 1Ds Mark III, EF 500mm f/4 lens.

The action often happens quickly in bird photography. One moment the bird is sitting motionless and then suddenly it launches off – wings outstretched with head pointed to the sky. Your opportunity to create an amazingly dynamic image is all over in a split second. When you scroll through the photos on your LCD screen afterwards, did you bag the photo or did you end up with an overexposed, out-of-focus blob?


I can’t count the number of times that the latter scenario was my reality when I was getting started out in bird photography. In most cases, the culprit was that my camera settings were way off. When I finally figured out a standard set of basic camera settings tailored to shooting birds and began venturing out with my camera ready to capture the action, my success ratio took a huge leap.

These days, I have one main “default” mix of basic settings for all-purpose bird photography and a modified version for shooting birds in flight. If you bump into me when I’m photographing birds, check out my camera settings. You’ll find they’re set up as per below about 95 percent of the time, so I’m ready to get the shot …

To read more of Ethan Meleg’s column and other great how-to articles please pick up the Summer/Fall 2014 issue of OPC today, or subscribe!

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