During the last years I have concentrated more and more on photographing water birds. Every year hundreds of thousands of birds spend the winter in Switzerland. Many of them spend the winter in the Drei-Seen-Land. So right on my doorstep. On my way to school alone, I can observe up to five different duck species. No wonder that this group of species is particularly appealing to me. On the one hand I am fascinated by the great diversity, on the other hand photographing water birds can be a challenge. Most species are rather shy and are difficult to reach because of their habitat.
But what is a water birds actually? There are many different definitions. Some even suggest, that a few duck species belong to a different group. I myself define water birds as birds that live in or near water and feed on animals from the water. However, a certain grey area remains. According to this definition, white-throated dippers and kingfishers would also belong to the group called water birds. But because they behave much differently, in this this blog series I’ll concentrate on photographing ducks, gulls, grebes and loons.
It takes a lot of luck to photograph these species. However, with a little knowledge and experience, you can help your luck a bit. My best advice for a beginner would be to start with tame ducks. Visit local ponds or parks. Often, you’ll find tame mallards, mute swans, coots and more. Depending on your location you might even find some more rare birds that have adapted and now behave as tame as the more common birds. With those tame water birds, you’ll be able to improve fast and develop your own style.
I hope you enjoy reading these articles and I wish you success with your own photography!
Where to find waterbirds and which ones to photograph. The advantages and disadvantages of different locations and how to take advantage of them.
Why photographing waterbirds at eye level often works out the best and what effect a low camera position has on the final image.