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Nick Tennick

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Nick has always loved the outdoors and never turns down an opportunity for an adventure. After finishing high school in Johannesburg, where he grew up, Nick spent a gap year in the Zimbabwean bushveld which truly sparked his love for wildlife and conservation ...

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on Mastering Bird Photography: My Top 5 Tips

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Terrific tips Nick. There are so many spectacular birds to see in the property and oftentimes it’s just as exciting to just sit and observe them in lieu of trying to capture an image. Saying this however, I’ve enjoyed progressing from a non-birder, lacking confidence to take a photograph, to one who now enjoys searching for and capturing memories of these stunning birds , especially those I’d not seen on previous visits. I’ve continued to practice photographing birds thanks to the tips I received from Kirst.

Hi Denise, Thanks for the comment! Firstly its refreshing to hear that you have gone from a non-birder to an optimistic photographer searching for the next opportunity to photograph birds! this sounds like progress and the only way you will get better at it is by continuing to try and get that perfect shot.

Oh my goodness! Wonderful tips, Nick. I have also become much more appreciative of the myriad of birds who flock to Londolozi. But I rely on others to master the photographic intricacies. I’ll just sit and savor.

Thanks for the comment Willa. I hope you can try use some of these tips next trip or on the other hand just sit and enjoy the marvellous bird life we have here at Londolozi.

Thank you Nick for your tips on how to photography birds. I need a telephoto lens and I am still learning the Aperture, Shutter speed and ISO techniques. We stay on a reserve and I have been taking photos of the antelope, bush pigs, and giraffe with my Nikon D5100 with a 70-300 lens. But desperately need a telephoto lens for the stunning birds we have here. Did you take a photographic course Nick, because it is not always easy to establish which ISO and not to talk about the Fstops.

Hi Valmai, thanks for commenting. It is worth trying out the Aperture and Shutter priority settings on your camera to get a feel on how the ISO, shutter speed and Aperture adjustments impact the exposure triangle. Especially with taking birds, shutter speed is most important in order to capture the fast moving subjects nice and crisp.
I have always been very interested in photography but reading up and watching Youtube videos has further enhanced my understanding of photography.

Thanks for the great tips, Nick. The photos you have used to explain the settings are amazing.
Bird watching and bird photography is so interesting and also demanding but very enjoyable.

It’s a pleasure Christa. I hope you can apply some of these back home or on your next safari!

Senior Digital Ranger

Great recommendations. I just returned from Londolozi and was able to capture a surprising number of your beautiful birds.

That is great to hear Mark. Enjoy editing your pictures and bringing them to life!

NIck, fabulous pictures, thanks for sharing. Photographing birds is a skill I do not currently have. Like many things practice, practice, practice is what it takes to perfect your skills.

Thank you, William. Could not agree more! Practice and having the courage to try new things will get you to achieve greater things.

This makes me want to wipe the dust off my “real” camera and practice photographing more birds. I don’t do it enough to feel confident making split-second changes to my settings, but every so often I get lucky. I loved the image of the oxpeckers and the stork with the misty river in the background.

Thank you Chelsea! It is definitely worth getting the real camera up and running again! Next time at Londolozi, your guide will be very assisting in using the correct settings to help you get that perfect shot.

Very useful tips and superb pictures thank you. The Flycatcher looks so pretty!

Thank you, Francesca.

Senior Digital Ranger

Nick…pro photographer here in Atlanta…couple of additional suggestions (your recommendations are excellent)…applies to birds primarily but animals also. So often as you know, birds are back lit (perched on a limb against the sky background, or BiF)…results are indistinct eyes which along with poor focus kills an otherwise good bird shot…The backlit photos posted in various places are mediocre because the eyes are in less detail or indistinguishable. My solution is to use flash with a modifier to throw the flash such as a Mag Mod…Light up the subject even at a distance beyond the normal reach of a flash…you may be familiar with this approach. Works great for back lit or for this dark or shadows so often encountered with leopards late in the day. Second recommendation is to set up a custom (C 1-3) mode to quickly go to BIF burst mode without having to adjust individual settings…again, you are undoubtedly familiar with that…photography (Sean et al) from all the Lond group is impressive. I spend a month each year in TZ but am tempted to be with you and your outstanding facility soon. Jim

Senior Digital Ranger

Nick, did not mean to imply your shots or those from others at Lond are mediocre because of being back lit but rather photos in general on various places on social media. Your stuff is quite good. J

Hello Jim! thank you for the comment and suggestions regarding shooting birds that are back lit. I will certainly take a look at setting up a custom mode to switch over to BIF burst mode. I haven’t explored this option yet. Thank you!

Enjoy Tanzania but hopefully we get to see you at Londolozi Soon!

fantastic tips., thanks for sharing….. I wish I had read this post while I was at Londolozi last week, it would have helped me immensely

Thanks Samantha! Poor timing of the blog! I hope you can use the tips back home.

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