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Image by kind permission of  Sias van Schalkwyk

The early morning is arguably the best time to photograph birds, although this can obviously be influenced by other factors such as the state of the tides. Birds tend to feed in the two or three hours following first light because most do not feed during the night.

The light during the early hours of the morning is fresh and warm, but not so harsh that dark shadows are produced. These conditions may be repeated in the final two hours before sunset although the birds may not be so active at this time of day. Try to build in to plans any other relevant environmental factors such as the tides and weather conditions. Coastal wading birds tend to feed as the tide begins to fall and fresh mud flats are exposed in creeks etc. An early morning on a day when the tide is high may therefore not be a good choice for photography.

The weather may be a factor if only because of the discomfort suffered by working in low temperatures, heavy rain or strong wind. However, good images can be obtained under poor conditions. Ducks sliding on ice-covered ponds, swans in the snow and birds feeding in pouring rain can all make excellent subjects.


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