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31 minutes ago, Seanbirds said:

I’m in this camp right now, so I can sympathize. 
 

I guess it’s just a combination of good gear ($$$) and LOTS of practice.

The money part is the problem for me. I've got an SX70 right now, which cost $500. It's okay, but birds have to be pretty close (~25 yds).

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34 minutes ago, Trevor L. said:

The money part is the problem for me. I've got an SX70 right now, which cost $500. It's okay, but birds have to be pretty close (~25 yds).

For less than $500, you could get a used DSLR + 300mm combo to get you started in the next level. Looking on Keh . com, I see a Canon EOS Rebel T5 for $213 and a Canon EF 70-300mm IS USM lens for $243. I had a similar set up a while ago and even now some of my favorite photos are from this super basic set up. The majority of my gear I've bought from Keh, by the way, and it's equipment that's lasted me for years and years. The T2i I bought used from there in 2013 is still going strong now.

The image quality of bridge cameras simply cannot compare to that of DSLRs and that is a hill I will die on. Not to mention the quick-focusing ability of DSLRs, increased aperture, and the ability to shoot in RAW (which I understand many bridge cameras also have, but the quality still is not the same).

I still love using my Canon SX50 because its lightweight and has some pretty impressive zoom. It's great for getting doc shots of distant birds that I know I wouldn't be able to get a good photograph of with my 6D + 400mm, yet I know not to expect great quality with it.

Getting a DSLR is truly a game changer. 300mm isn't much, but when you're close enough to a cooperating subject, it can make all the difference in the world. 

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12 minutes ago, Johnd said:

Go to the Lufkin zoo and see if the bald eagles are still hanging out by the small lake in front of the zoo entrance

That's where this was taken!! The Bald Eagles still have a nest in a tall pine on the side of the lake opposite of the zoo.

large.jpg

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1 minute ago, Liam said:

That's where this was taken!! The Bald Eagles still have a nest in a tall pine on the side of the lake opposite of the zoo.

large.jpg

Nice iv been there several times and still can't get a decent shot of that pair

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4 hours ago, smskelton said:

Knysna Turaco or Loerie from South Africa Garden Coast east of Cape Town.

One of the really beautiful things about this bird is that the entire outer 1/2 of its wings are the color you see in this picture.  I don't have any clear pictures if it flying as it was too quick for me and the camera I was using to get it focused.  These birds have the personality of quail and they are very jumpy and quick.  We were staying at a B&B where our host fed them so we could get very close, but at the slightest sound they would flush into the nearby forest.  A few minutes later they would be back.  If you search for images on line you will see their wing color.  Quite spectacular in the air.

Loerie.jpg

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I agree that DSLR's are better.  Not everyone can afford high end equipment.  My advise was to become an expert with what you can afford and are willing to pack around.  And you can correct almost everything except focus with good software.  When I go out now I take my Nikon kit.  If I was headed to Russia I'd probably pack my bridge camera.  It would be less likely to get stolen because I wouldn't be packing around $6000 on my neck.

 

 

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8 hours ago, Trevor L. said:

The money part is the problem for me. I've got an SX70 right now, which cost $500. It's okay, but birds have to be pretty close (~25 yds).

If you can afford it, get a DSLR with the longest lens you can. You won’t have as much zoom as a point and shoot, but some lenses are enough. If not, keep your point and shoot as a backup. If you can’t afford one, don’t push it. 
instead, follow these tips. 
lighting: shoot in good lighting no matter what gear you have. On a sunny day, the lighting is too strong in the middle of the day. When sunny, shoot early or late when the sun is low in the sky and warm colors. 
good lighting in sun: 2400?__hstc=264660688.c695a93e6745b82f45

bad lighting: 2400?__hstc=264660688.c695a93e6745b82f45

notice how the contrast is much greater in the second photo. Doesn’t the lighting in the first photo just look better? It should. 
 

cloudy days: shoot any time, but especially in bright, overcast conditions like this: 2400?__hstc=264660688.c695a93e6745b82f45

use a high shutter speed for a sharp photo, but don’t have too high of an iso where the image looks too noisy. Noisy image: 

BA55ABC5-88C5-4AD7-ABFC-8D36D9984892.thumb.jpeg.8824b10fdb57d722485b32f7ec1c9645.jpeg

see all the grain? That’s called noise, and you don’t want it. It’s caused by a too high iso. So, on a bridge camera, don’t go beyond iso 800, but have the fastest shutter speed possible as long as the photo is correctly exposed. It’s very easy to underexpose by doing that. The lower the iso, the better. 
make sure your autofocus is working. It’s poor on my point and shoots, so if you find it struggling, try manual focus( if you have it). If not, just wait until it focuses right. 
Exciting: not everyone wants too, or had the time to, but if you can edit your photos! You don’t need to spend $100 on Lightroom or photoshop, but pay $35 to use Adobe photoshop express. It’s worth it. Just make sure if your gonna edit, shoot in raw mode, not JPEG. You’ll pul, out way more detail. 
Raw file, before edit. 
6A560DAF-2623-43F7-A4CF-FECFFA22A767.thumb.jpeg.27ca58170b65b0f755593490f4495e22.jpeg

Edited: 2400?__hstc=264660688.c695a93e6745b82f45

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One of the most efficient soaring raptors.  The Turkey Buzzard has a body weight in the range of a falcon, but a very large wing structure.  They have weak feet so they can't kill like hawks and they don't have the speed of falcons, but they are natures cleaners.   You have to admit, they are beautiful in the air.415284766_TurkeyVultures.thumb.jpg.ee77e1034941d152043cfd0fefb11c45.jpg

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10 hours ago, IKLland said:

If you can afford it, get a DSLR with the longest lens you can. You won’t have as much zoom as a point and shoot, but some lenses are enough. If not, keep your point and shoot as a backup. If you can’t afford one, don’t push it. 
instead, follow these tips. 
lighting: shoot in good lighting no matter what gear you have. On a sunny day, the lighting is too strong in the middle of the day. When sunny, shoot early or late when the sun is low in the sky and warm colors. 
good lighting in sun: 2400?__hstc=264660688.c695a93e6745b82f45

bad lighting: 2400?__hstc=264660688.c695a93e6745b82f45

notice how the contrast is much greater in the second photo. Doesn’t the lighting in the first photo just look better? It should. 
 

cloudy days: shoot any time, but especially in bright, overcast conditions like this: 2400?__hstc=264660688.c695a93e6745b82f45

use a high shutter speed for a sharp photo, but don’t have too high of an iso where the image looks too noisy. Noisy image: 

BA55ABC5-88C5-4AD7-ABFC-8D36D9984892.thumb.jpeg.8824b10fdb57d722485b32f7ec1c9645.jpeg

see all the grain? That’s called noise, and you don’t want it. It’s caused by a too high iso. So, on a bridge camera, don’t go beyond iso 800, but have the fastest shutter speed possible as long as the photo is correctly exposed. It’s very easy to underexpose by doing that. The lower the iso, the better. 
make sure your autofocus is working. It’s poor on my point and shoots, so if you find it struggling, try manual focus( if you have it). If not, just wait until it focuses right. 
Exciting: not everyone wants too, or had the time to, but if you can edit your photos! You don’t need to spend $100 on Lightroom or photoshop, but pay $35 to use Adobe photoshop express. It’s worth it. Just make sure if your gonna edit, shoot in raw mode, not JPEG. You’ll pul, out way more detail. 
Raw file, before edit. 
6A560DAF-2623-43F7-A4CF-FECFFA22A767.thumb.jpeg.27ca58170b65b0f755593490f4495e22.jpeg

Edited: 2400?__hstc=264660688.c695a93e6745b82f45

You need to write a bird photography book!!

Edited by Seanbirds
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19 hours ago, Liam said:

Canon SX50

I use to have one of these! I had quite the love hate relationship with it. It was great for three things-it took awesome bug photos, it took good pictures if the subject was close and didn't have a messy background. It was good for getting terrible but identifiable photos of birds too far away to id with the naked eye or even sometimes binoculars. I hated hated hated that it did not have an eye piece so you had to use the screen. Which was a nightmare sometimes trying to find your subject. Glare on the screen.......! I ended up giving it a gal who was always taking pictures with her phone and sharing them on social media. Usual bad photos but she showed promise. She couldn't afford a real camera. I had a new one so....Sadly, she always had an excuse not use it/post the photos... and then ended up passing away. Any way I posted many a horrible photo from that camera back in the day here on Whatbird hoping for help with an id. You were one of those people who often responded with that help. I kind of wish I still had it for bug photography. Otherwise I do not miss it at all.

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Aricari Toucan, San Ignacio, Belize.  What do you think when you see  your first Toucan?  1) Holy Cow!  What is that?  2) I think the Humming Bird feeder is safe?  3)  I bet it has a strong neck?  4)  Wait a minute while I get Charles Darwin on the phone? or, 5)  Looks like someone took the gene pool and put it in a blender?Tucan.thumb.jpg.d963160573e869837cb62c8c81a518ed.jpg

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