E-book Review: Alan Murphy’s “Guide to Songbird Set-up Photography”

March 16th, 2010 , Comments Off

I recently had the change to read Alan Murphy’s “Guide to Songbird Set-up Photography”, an E-book written by Alan Murphy, one of the best bird photographers in the world and published by Arthur Morris’ Birds as Art Store.
Alan Murphy has become famous for all his amazing pictures of song birds and other species which he attracts to prepared perches.
This book, which is only available on CD, covers in detail how Alan does create his fantastic images. The only focus of the book is on how to create the perfect set-ups for attracting and photographing birds. It is not a beginners guide to bird photography. You should know how to handle a DSLR and a telephoto lens.

The title is not entirely correct as the book does not only cover song birds but also some other groups like hummingbirds, woodpeckers, ducks or grouse.

A few topics covered in the book are:
- Hummingbirds in flight
- photographing woodpeckers
- birds in a cactus
- photographing Bluebirds
- attracting birds to feeders
- using water or fruits to attract birds
- how to choose the right perches
- ground birds on stumps
- owls
- kingfishers
- water birds
- birds in flight

Every topic is explained in detail with pictures of the set-ups Alan uses and what he does to get the perfect shot. This all is illustrated with many of the best bird pictures ever published in a book about nature photography.

The writing style is very easy to follow and very inspiring.

On a little more than 100 pages, the book contains more practical tips than most other books on nature photography.
Don’t worry if you don’t live in North America. The tips and tricks can be applied everywhere in the world. I try to use a lot of Alan’s tips during this spring and summer and I already found a few places where I will create my own set-ups.
I live in southern Germany and there we don’t have all the species described in the books. But what works for Bluebirds in North America can also work for a European Robin, a Song Thrush or a Blue Tit.

Alan’s Book is one of the best publications on bird photography I’ve read. I highly recommend this outstanding E-book to every bird and nature photographer, no matter how experienced you are. You will definitely learn something from Alan.

More information:
Product Description at the Birds as Art store

Alan Murphy’s website. Be sure to visit. The Website has many amazing images and a very interesting blog. Alan also offers workshops where you can learn from the master himself.

New article: Choosing a digital SRL camera for bird photography

March 11th, 2010 , Comments Off

A new article about choosing the right camera for bird photography is now available:
Choosing a digital SRL camera for bird photography
This replaces an older article published earlier on this page.
There are many choices today when it comes to choosing the right camera for photographing birds. If you are interested in bird photography but don’t know which camera to choose, read the article!

You may also like:
Choosing a lens for bird photography.

Book review: Digital Landscape Photography by John and Barbara Gerlach

March 7th, 2010 , Comments Off

A while ago, I published a review about the book Digital Nature Photography: The Art and the Science by John and Barbara Gerlach. I really liked their book and found that it was one of the best books on digital nature photography available.
Recently I bought and read John and Barbara’s new book, called Digital Landscape Photography, which is simply fantastic.
The book has about 200 pages and is full of great information for the digital landscape photographer.
The book covers many topics, including:

  • Cameras, lenses and accessories
  • Exposure
  • Getting sharp images
  • Light and composition
  • HDR and panoramas

Everything is explained in great detail. The book contains a lot more text than many other books on landscape photography. Especially interesting was the chapter on getting sharp images. I often wonder when I meet photographers in the field with expensive cameras and lenses but not using a tripod or other techniques to get sharp images. This book tells you how to get the sharpest image possible and the author’s advice works!

The chapters on light and composition are equally interesting. Although I’ve read many books on those subjects already, I always learn something new in a good book. This is because every photographer works different and also composes his or here photographs in a different way.

The text is easy to follow and never gets boring. I finished the book in 3 days.

The images in the book are simply fantastic and a great inspiration. I always judge photography books by the quality of their images. How could you believe the text if the images are bad? In this book, every shot is stunning and perfectly executed. The authors really know how to take great landscape photographs.

There is nothing in the book I don’t like. It would have been interesting to know the technical details of the images (focal length, f-stop), but where really necessary, the authors mention those details.

I highly recommend this book to everyone nature and landscape photographer!

Buy the book from amazon:

amazon.com amazon.co.uk amazon.de

Robert Franz on the Canon EOS 7D and photographing birds in flight

March 1st, 2010 , Comments Off

Famous North American nature photographer D. Robert Franz recently published several posts about the Canon EOS 7D on his blog.
The last blog post is about photographing birds in flight.
Robert confirms what many other photographers – including me – also experienced: The EOS 7D is a fantastic camera for photographing birds in flight.
I have many keepers with the EOS 7D together with my Canon EF 4/500L IS and EF 4/300L IS lenses.
Keep in mind that the AF of the EOS 7D is a complex tool. It has many different options and it will take some time to master. Once you know how to handle the camera, it is only your imagination, creativity and passion that will decide what pictures you take with the 7D. Have a look at Robert’s blog post and see his amazing flight shots to get some inspiration:
Canon 7D and Birds in Flight

New article: Choosing a lens for bird photography

February 26th, 2010 , Comments Off

A new article about choosing the right lens for bird photography is now available:
Choosing a lens for bird photography.
This replaces an older article published earlier on this page.

If you are interested in bird photography but don’t know which lens to choose, read the article!

EOS 7D setup guide by Doug Brown – highly recommended for bird photographers

February 22nd, 2010 , 1 Comment »

I just came across a wonderful guide by Doug Brown on how to setup your EOS 7D with a special focus on photographing birds, especially birds in flight.

I think Doug has collected many great tips and a lot of information in this guide. I highly recommend reading this guide if you own a Canon EOS 7D and use it for bird photography (or any other photography).

Here is the link:
Setting Up Your New Canon 7D

Book review: Creative Bird Photography by Bill Coster

February 20th, 2010 , Comments Off

Birds are among the most popular subjects among nature photographers. But taking good pictures is not easy, one reason among many is that birds are often hard to approach.
Because of this, some people think that creativity is only for landscape or flow close-up photography but for birds it’s enough to get a sharp, correctly exposed and frame filling picture of a species.
But good pictures of birds can be as creative as landscape or close-up photographs. They can be art as well.
Bill Coster, a famous bird photographer from the UK, has recently published a great new book called “Create Bird Photography”. This is not another book that explains in detail what lens you need, how f-stops work or that a DSLR is better than a compact camera. True, there is a small chapter on technical requirements like cameras, telephoto lenses or tripod heads but all the rest of the book is devoted on how to make amazing bird pictures that are more than just sharp and correctly exposed.
The book covers the various aspects of bird photography and the daily life of birds and how to create good pictures in those situations. Topics covered are birds in flight, the life cycle of birds, action, behaviour, food and drink or taking shots during dusk and dawn.
In each chapter, the author shows many stunning pictures from birds around the world and explains the story behind the shot: Where is was taken, what equipment was used, which decisions the photographer made while taking the picture, why he used a certain technique, shutter speed, composition, etc.
For some pictures the author also explains what could be better. This is a great help, especially for beginning photographers.

For me, the pictures alone are a great inspiration but with the text next to the pictures the book becomes even more valuable and you can get many ideas for you own shots, whether you are on safari in Africa or photographing song birds in your backyard.

For me, this was one of the best books on bird photography I’ve read.

Highly recommended for bird photographers of all levels!

Buy the book from amazon:

amazon.com amazon.co.uk amazon.de

Moose Peterson about the best investment a photographer can make – Invest in yourself!

February 16th, 2010 , Comments Off

Moose Peterson, one the the world’s leading wildlife photographers has recently published a fantastic blog post called What’s the Best Investment?
Moose writes that the best investment you can make as a photographer is to invest in yourself. I completely agree and without further comments, I just recommend reading the great blog post by Moose Peterson:
What’s the Best Investment?

Rob Galbraith publishes analysis of EOS-1D Mark IV autofocus performance

February 13th, 2010 , Comments Off

Rob Galbraith has published an analysis of the autofocus performance of the Canon EOS 1D Mark IV.
The report is very detailed is should be of interest to anybody interested in getting Canon’s latest professional DSLR.

New article: Choosing a lens for macro and close-up photography

February 11th, 2010 , Comments Off

EOS 7D, EF 2.8/100 Macro

I just published a new article:
Choosing a lens for macro and close-up photography. This replaces an older article published earlier on this page.

Macro and close-up photography is a fascinating way to spend time with your camera. Subjects and be found everywhere, especially outdoors, but many also like shooting close-ups with arranged subjects in the studio.
For close-up photography, you don’t need a 6.000 $ lens nor do you have to travel to exotic places to find something to photograph. A meadow, a small piece of forest or even your garden will probably have enough subjects to photograph to fill a whole day.
Beginning macro photographers often are not sure what lens to buy. This new articles explain in detail what lenses are available for shooting close-up and macro images and will help you make your own choice.