One day while photographing on the beach I wanted to do something different. I saw some birds near some tall grass and I realized it would make a nice foreground. So I walked over, sat down so that the grass was in front of me, and just waited.

The point was so that I could include a bit of the “landscape” in the shot, along with the bird. So often I get caught up just trying to shoot really tight shots of wildlife. And don’t get me wrong… that’s probably my go-to shot and my preferred photo that I personally like seeing.

But, at the same time, sometimes it gets a little monotonous. Especially when you’ve photographed the same thing over and over again. For me, it was challenging just watching and waiting. I sat there for a solid 20 minutes waiting for the bird to fly. Because the wind was at my back I had a pretty good feeling it would fly toward me, and I could get an interesting shot. Plus, the sun was mostly to my back so the light was decent.

After about 20 minutes I was getting kind of bored. But then I got lucky, and the bird decided to jump and fly away – and that’s when I captured this shot.

Sony Alpha 1 + 200-600mm | f/6.3 | Auto ISO which was at 800 |1/3200th sec.

I once heard photos like this called “Birdscapes”. A mix of bird photography and landscapes. I encourage you to give it a try if you haven’t done it yet. Find a nice setting and then try to work a shot where you can get some wildlife in it. My shot is still pretty tight. I see lots of wider photos with more landscape and they look great as well. But I still like a semi-close-up shot of the wildlife so I decided to crop this one tighter. Close enough to really see the bird and the action, but far enough to see some of the surrounding area. As you probably know, there is no “right way” to do it. Experiment, have fun and I bet you come away with something a little different and very sharable.

Gear, Settings and Post Processing

I used my Sony Alpha 1 with the 200-600mm lens for this one. I had my camera set to AF-C. I was using Zone Auto Focus (center position) and the Bird Eye feature was engaged at the time.

I was on Manual Exposure mode at f/6.3, Auto ISO which was at 800, and 1/3200th sec.

Post processing was done in Lightroom for exposure, cropping, color and toning corrections and a quick trip to Topaz DeNoise AI for some noise reduction. (more on Topaz here)

As always my editing is covered in my Wildlife Editing Secrets Course. Also, you can find links to all of my gear, computers, hard drives, etc… over on the Gear page which can be clicked on in the top menu (or just click here). And it’s always appreciated if you use the links on that page (even if you’re not purchasing that specific item) when buying anything. It doesn’t cost you a penny and it’ll help me out a bit ?

And if you want to learn more about actually photographing the birds, check out “Matt’s Guide to Bird Photography”. People absolutely LOVE this course!


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