I started this for exercise mainly. And it just blossomed into a very enjoyable hobby for me.
Strange how things play out. I have been threw three fazes of birding photography so far.
1: Buying a cheap camera and lens and going out and trying to figure it out. Getting exercise and having fun.
2: Getting interested and reading everything I could about the hobby.Getting exercise and having fun.
3: Trying to put it all together.
Getting exercise and having fun.
One of the things I started doing recently and now have stopped. Is going to the Photo sites that show how to photograph birds? After you put it together, and start taking pic's ( properly exposed ). After that is it a learning experience that is so enjoyable and fun. You will find your self changing and trying new things.
The thing I have seen and I really do not like anymore is all the photos are alike on most of the so called professional photography sites. Very plane and boring in my opinion. It's like you take the pic wash it rinse it and repeat? I just don't get it. I really enjoy seeing the stick in the background And other object that make it a one of a kind shot. I am trying to think of a pic that has really hit home and I cannot remember one. They are all beautiful pics with no substance or appeal for me.
Anyone getting into this as a new birder I envy. I have a few pointers I think would be of interest to me when I started.
1: If you enjoy it, you will get better. Read the MANUAL. Do not buy how to books. Do not go to professional sites and start buying all the latest and greatest how too books, and equipment. It is a wast of money that could be spent on lenses and it does not help IMO. What so ever.
2: Read the internet and sift threw good birders sites that give some excellent advice. And are sincerely interested in the hobby.
3: Start slow and play with it and enjoy it everyday! And I mean if just for 10 minutes. Go take some pics of something. I am amazed at the pics I get with just one more trip around the yard or lake. Or what ever. If you are out you will get the shots. You cannot get the shots reading this or other sites.
4: Don't get discouraged! It is easy to do. Believe me one more time trying will get you one step closer. It does no one any good to quit. Yourself especially.
5: Look on the internet for Photoshop lessons. On anything. I am amazed at the things I learn from a tutorial that has nothing to do with birding. I can think of only one time I looked at a birders Photoshop exercise?
6: Don't take advice or read something from another birder and think it is the only way. IT IS NOT. I have seen more absolutely useless information coming from so called professionals it is amazing. Really just a joke IMO.
When I really stopped looking and listening is when one guy. Who states he is a pro. And highly regarded in some circles. Said, and I quote. 300 mm is to small a lens to use and take good bird pics period....? At this point probably 50% of all of my shots are with a 300 mm lens. An essential part of my kit.
I have read where guys use extension tubes to shoot birds? To shorten the focal distance to shoot close up. I use a 300 mm lens with outstanding results. It just goes on and on into complete hogwash.
You are not going to make any money at this. IMO It is a personal experience that needs to be enjoyed by you and no one else.
My latest work is at www.flickr.com/photos/avianphotos
Go there to see my best shots. As of this date.
My famous last words, get out and take a pic. Enjoy the hobby. Go birding...