I am going to use this thread to share what I've learned since only starting with photography since 2008. My first DSLR was a Nikon DX40 with a 200mm telephoto lens. This camera's 200mm lens started acting crazy the week before we left on our 2010 trip to Wyoming and South Dakota, so I invested in a Nikon D300S with a 300mm zoom lens, which gets me closer to the subject and also has video! here are some of my tips:
- my friend Rita LOVED this tip that I thought of all by myself: I take a "place" picture when I go out birding so that it is in front of the nature pictures I take digitally. Then, when I'm going through my pictures, I don't have to remember where I took the picture! I'll take a picture of the "Metzger Marsh" sign, or my path to my meadow.
- I take both cameras with me because you never know when one will not work correctly due to hardware or operator error! I usually have one on each shoulder and my binoculars around my neck. If I'm on my scooter, the DX40 is usually hanging from the handlebar and my foot touches it so it doesn't bang around. camera equipment can be very touchy if bumped.
- I have a lens cloth hanging on each camera so I can wipe the lens off before use (gently). When I'm not using the cameras, the lens covers are on.
- some birds are very fast and hard to photograph (Chickadees, Kinglets, etc.). and some birds are very curious. When I'm sitting on my golf cart in my meadow, I listen first to see what's around. 95 times out of 100 I'll hear a Cardinal or Finch. but the other 5% of the time you will hear something out of place. it's then that I just sit and listen and try to get closer to the subject. Sometimes the birds are so busy eating that you can sit and photograph (burst photography or one picture after another) without disturbing them. A tip I learned from Kenn Kaufman in Birds and Blooms magazine is that sometimes the migrating birds will hang around with the local birds to find food. So one day in 2012 I heard a Chickadee and stopped to listen and up popped a Black-throated Blue Warbler and also a Tennessee Warbler! they are in my 2012 pics identified as yard birds (I keep a list of those too!).
- my friend Fern gave me a bean-bag for resting my camera on the side of the rolled-down car window that I use to rest my camera on when birding from the car. I keep it in the car with me (as I travel with at least one camera always) and it works to steady the camera.
I will add more to the list as the thoughts go through my head :) Happy birding!