to Photograph Birds in an Acrylic Aviary
Vonda of FinchAviary.com
birds in an indoor acrylic (Plexiglas) aviary has its challenges.
Although you do not have to concern yourself with the bars of
a cage, you do have to contend with reflections and image degradation
from the Plexiglas. In addition, an aviary is fixed, which means
you frequently have to contend with the poor quality of indoor
lighting, without the ability to move to a better location.
Although our aviary includes two shop lights loaded with full
spectrum bulbs (good quality light for keeping birds), it still
does not measure up photographically with the quality of natural
sunlight. Increasing the lighting in the room also increase
the reflections in the Plexiglas, so this frequently is not
an option. And remember, once you move your bird from a cage
to an aviary and give them room to fly, they will do just that.
A bird in a cage can't go anywhere. A bird in an aviary has
flight at its disposal.
get the best results when shooting birds, I recommend using your
camera's manual (or semi-manual) settings, if it has them. Today,
even many consumer level cameras (both digital and film), offer
you at least some manual capabilities. If not, they may offer
shooting modes that may provide you with some control over which
settings are used.
all photos of my birds were taken with a Canon Digital Rebel
(the exceptions that I know of are the pictures of Amelia
and of the Society chicks, which were frame grabs from our
digital camcorder). The Digital Rebel (aka, EOS 300D) is
a Digital SLR. SLR stands for single lens reflex, but what
it means to the lay person is that it uses swappable lenses.
I use the 18-55 mm zoom lens that came with the camera kit,
a 75-300 mm telezoom lens, and a 50 mm f/1.8 prime lens
(no zoom capability). The first two are inexpensive and
low end lenses, and my pictures may suffer somewhat because
of this. The last one is inexpensive but better quality
than the zooms (f/1.4 would have been better). Although
this camera takes very nice pictures, the photos on this
site have been greatly reduced and compressed to allow for
faster page loads.
have recently developed a passion for photography and my
birds have given me an excellent opportunity to practice
the concepts that I've learned. I've read several books
on the basics and frequent some good photography sites,
such as photo.net and
Landscape. But much of my knowledge is book-knowledge,
and photography is an art that requires practice, experience,
and criticism, all of which I am lacking. Therefore, I am
only an amateur - and a beginner amateur at that. Therefore,
I ask that you forgive the flaws in my photographs - I hope
to improve as time goes by - and that you take this article
as a summary of my experience photographing birds in an
indoor aviary setting.
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