Wildlife on Timer - Nikhil Limaye
Recently when I moved into my new house, I saw that our backyard got a good number of birds in the morning. We got a bird feeder to feed them to enjoy the sight of these colorful birds.

My wife encouraged me to click some pictures of the birds and was even willing to sponsor the Canon 400mm lens so I could click some good pictures without getting to close to the birds / squirrels and scaring them away. However, I felt that $2500 seemed like a large investment for this.

Few years back I had purchased a Neewer timer which I thought of putting to good use in this case. I decided to mount my Canon 5D Mark2 with Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro USM lens on my tripod and attach it to a timer to click photos every 15s. Birds and squirrels are very active and to get some crisp photos one has to make sure to keep the shutter speed to ~1/250s. Also, disable image stabilization on the lens since we are already using a tripod. I placed this setup at a reasonable distance from my bird feeder and then put some seeds into it. After that it was a waiting game.

Tips
  • Use a timer. Set some initial delay to 5mins since birds will only come once they know that no one is around. It would be a waste to click empty photos if that delay is too less.
  • Keep shutter speed to less than 1/250s to get tack sharp images.
  • Use a tripod.
  • Set lens stabilization to off. If this is on, the lens stabilization mechanism will try to "stabilize" the image and instead cause blurring due to the motors.
  • Keep an eye on squirrels and birds to make sure they are not messing up the camera equipment.


In the end I was quite happy with the results!

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