One chilly winter day I visited one of my favourite beaches. As I stood on the edge of the water I noticed bird tracks in the snow, the lake was extremely calm, and I heard these Geese in the distance. Their calling got louder and as they flew overhead the lake reflected their presence. Something from that trip sparked this curiosity inside of me. For the following weeks into Spring and Summer, I continued to get outdoors and photograph the local birds.
At first, photographing the birds was by opportunity, if I happened to be at the beach or park I would photograph the local wildlife.
As I wandered around different parks and areas I saw a great variety of bird species - European Starlings, Red Wing Blackbirds, Sparrows, Swallows, Woodpeckers, Osprey, Eagles, a whole variety of duck species! Every time I ventured outdoors I encountered new bird species.
So my curiosity specifically for birds grew and I started researching and seeking out specific locations and times where I might find different birds.
How I’ve Been Enjoying It
I’ve really been enjoying bird photography for several reasons:
Birds reconnected me with nature: When I was struggling to get outdoors, going to the park and listening to the chirp of the Kingfisher, the mating calls of the Red Wing Black Birds, calls of the Osprey, it helped me reconnect with nature and slow down.
- It challenged me to learn the ins and outs of bird photography: I want to be respectful to the wildlife so venturing into this new realm of photography challenged me to do my research and learn from what to do and what not to do.
- It introduced me to new landscapes and perspectives: I naturally gravitate towards the beach and mountain views, however, bird photography got me to explore new locations and perspectives that I never would have normally visited such as wetlands and marshes.
- It's been fun and challenging: It was beautiful in the mornings to listen to the birds chirping, to watch them flutter their wings, perch nearby. They were also extremely challenging to photograph because they’re fast, which means you have to be fast too!
Shooting with Olympus
I love my OM-D E-M1 Mark II and my other gear for bird photography for a number of reasons:
Lightweight and Compact: I will say this repeatedly, I love how lightweight and compact the Olympus camera systems and lenses are. They’re great if you like to remain flexible and if you’re travelling far on foot because it’s not too heavy to carry.
Image Stabilization: With Olympus’s image stabilization you don’t need a tripod. In the Spring there were some extremely windy days and because of the camera’s image stabilization and lightweight design, I was able to hold the camera up against the wind and still get a sharp image.
Fast Auto-Focus and Pro Capture or Sequential High: The E-M1 Mark II has an extremely fast auto-focus. Paired with the features of Pro Capture or Sequential High, you won’t miss a moment with these birds.
Articulating Screen: Depending on the location of the bird I love getting the camera extremely low to the ground so it’s eye level with the bird. With the articulating screen, I can maneuver the camera and the screen to perfectly compose.
Customization: Due to Olympus’s design you have a lot of freedom to customize your camera buttons and layout to how you function. Having these shortcuts on your camera system is great to have when you’re taking photos during fleeting moments.
M.Zuiko Lenses: I love the M.Zuiko lenses, they are lightweight, compact, and also extremely sharp. My go-to is the M.Zuiko 40-150mm F2.8 PRO. I like how I can achieve a tighter frame if I choose or go wider to incorporate more of the landscape in the photo.
When I was venturing into bird photography these resources from the Learn Center helped me get started:
The Olympus Guide to Bird Photography by Scott Bourne
15 Bird Photography Basics by Mike Amico
Using the OM-D E-M1 II Focus for Bird Photography by Scott Bourne
I’ve had a wonderful time getting out in nature and doing bird photography. What was once a subject that I would photograph by opportunity is now a subject I seek out. I look forward to continuing my exploration with Olympus’s equipment and my adventure into bird photography!
Robynne is an aspiring travel and landscape photographer based out of Kelowna, British Columbia. When she was a little girl she loved her yearly family fishing trips to the Pacific Coast, which grew her love for travelling and experiencing new places. She maintains her own blog and her ultimate goal is to travel the globe and create thought-provoking, inspirational photos of our world. When she’s not photographing the landscapes she loves exploring the Okanagan with her fiancé, spending time with her family, or cozying up on the couch with her furry companions.