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Next month we’re getting creative with the Bird Aware Art Fest. It’s all about building connections with coastal birdlife through arts and crafts.

If you’re visiting the coast, why not take a picture or two while you’re there?  You needn’t be a professional photographer; you can take stunning landscape shots using just your mobile phone.

Taking photos of wildlife and wild places is an opportunity to gain a deeper appreciation of the natural world, but the welfare of wildlife must come first.

Here is Ranger Charlotte’s guide to wildlife friendly photography and her top tips for taking great photos.

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Observe your subject

One of the best ways to improve your photography is to get to know your subject. Spend some time watching the birds and observing their behaviours. They’re more complex than you might think.

Think about lighting

Good lighting is key, and one of the best times of day is in the ‘Golden Hour’ – the period of daytime shortly after sunrise or before sunset when the sun is low, giving a warm colour temperature. It can also be a good chance to take flight shots as some birds will be moving around at this time, coming or going from their overnight roost sites.

Brent geese flying past the Portsmouth skyline during a sunset
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Time your visit carefully

Think about the tides, not just for your own safety, but because birds will behave differently depending on whether the tide is in or out. At low tide they will be busy feeding and high tide is for resting. These are important times for the birds, and by keeping our distance we can give them the best chance of survival.

Get the right kit

If you want to take close-up photos, you will need to invest in decent zoom camera or a long lens so that you aren’t in danger of disturbing wildlife. Alternatively, if you have a spotting telescope and a mobile phone, you can try pointing your phone camera into the eyepiece of your scope –there are even special mounting adapters to help you do this – it’s called ‘digiscoping’.

Consider a distant shot

Not all wildlife photography needs to be close-up, sometimes a wider and more distant view can have an even greater impact.

The Solent landscape
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Finally – learn and appreciate

The more we learn about wildlife the better our understanding and appreciation will be, which in turn is reflected in good and responsible wildlife photography. We are so lucky to have such a variety of birdlife around our coasts, so let’s remember to share the shore so that we can all enjoy our wonderful wildlife.

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Share your photos with us!

Send us a photo via email: info@birdaware.org

Or on social media:
Instagram: @bird_aware_solent
Facebook: Bird Aware Solent
Twitter: @BirdAwareSolent