Atlantic Puffin (Fratercula arctica, Macareux moine, ATPU) Vertical PuffinScape latrabjarg, Iceland. Image Copyright ©Christopher Dodds www.chrisdoddsphoto.com All Rights Reserved. Canon EOS 1DsMKII, 17-40 F4 @21mm. 550EX Flash manual mode. ISO 250, F10 @1/250s Manual mode. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE A PRINT or LICENSE IMAGE FOR PUBLICATION.
I hear it all the time: "I could make some great bird images, if only I had a 500mm Lens" or "wow, look at that lens, I bet you get some great shots with that".
There's nothing better than the resulting dramatic storm clouds from bad weather to add drama to a wide-angle image of a bird in it's environment, and I love being out in the rain or snow to increase my chances of creating artistic images. The problem during a recent trip to Latrabjarg in Iceland was that the better part of the first half of the trip was plagued with very heavy rain and a featureless, dark and less than pleasing sky. I first visualized this image shortly after arriving, so I was ready the moment the clouds started to lift, and become more appealing. Pre-visualization and planning is key when conditions are likely to change.
Think wide, think different and think environment. The lens of choice among bird photographers is the 500mm F4, but don't limit yourself to close-up "bird on a stick" images. The lens you choose is probably the single most important decision you make while trying to create unique images. While out in the field, I strive to capture compelling, artistic images of birds, often including the environment that my subject lives in and the weather they often endure. Try to step back and visualize unique, wide images that give a sense of place to your subject. I love being out in foul weather, and stormy clouds certainly add emotion to wide-angle captures. Some of my favorite bird images were made with the Canon 17-40mm F4 and the 16-35mm F2.8 Lenses.