Why Your Gear Matters Most for the Ultimate Photography Genre

Why Your Gear Matters Most for the Ultimate Photography Genre

Bird photography is arguably the most demanding genre. The equipment quality, the photographer's camera skills, and their ability to create a narrative are pushed far beyond any other genre. Here’s what I discovered about cameras, lenses, and bird photography.

I’ve always wanted to delve into bird photography. Around six months ago, I spent a lot of money buying a top-quality long lens. I found that it helped me get photos that I previously thought impossible. Coupling it with the new camera that I had in advance of its later official release in April, my bird photography has been revolutionized.  

With all other genres, the photographer has greater control over the photograph than when photographing birds. Studio photography is usually entirely staged. Sports photographers know where the start and finish line are or where the goal mouth is. Landscape photographers can plan where to stand at what times. Not so with birds.

Sandwich Tern emerging from underwater with a fish.
ISO 2000, 375mm, f/5.6, 1/3200

Although some behavior can be anticipated, there’s no directing a wild bird. You can’t insist that it perches on a particular branch or dives for food right in front of you at a certain time. It’s not going to turn its head on demand, so the catchlight is in its eye. Furthermore, birds can move from being in deep shadows to flying against a bright backlight in a fraction of a second. Most birds are small, often moving quickly and randomly to evade predators.

I am not saying that shooting landscapes or studio portraits don’t require a high level of proficiency, and I am certainly not running down any other genre. However, a bird photographer must learn how to predict a bird’s behavior, have gear that will cope with their speed and size, shoot without disturbing the subject, and have enormous patience waiting for the action to happen. Furthermore, they still need the creative ability to take compelling images.

Wood Pigeon. ISO 5000, 500mm, f/7.1, 1/3200
OM-1 Mark II and OM SYSTEM M. Zuiko 150-400mm f/4.5 TC 1.25 IS PRO Lens

Buying the Right Equipment

I wanted a decent wildlife lens for a long time, especially for photographing birds. But I was dithering over what I should get. I’ve always only bought things I can afford and, at the same time, the best my budget can manage. Some sad personal circumstances led me to receive a modest inheritance last year. That meant I could buy a lens I previously had not considered viable.

Most camera brands produce premium-quality telephoto zooms. I bought one that works with the system I use.  I chose it for multiple reasons, but primarily for its outstanding performance. I realize it’s beyond the budget of many photographers. However, some features are worth looking for on lenses you buy to fit your camera.

It’s Not All About Reach

Good-quality telephoto lenses are essential for good-quality wildlife shots. That’s not solely about reach, the lens's ability to get the sensor filled with the bird. Most importantly, the lens also must gather sufficient light to achieve a fast shutter speed. Plus, it needs sharpness to show the fine detail.

Yes, the ubiquitous 75mm – 300mm f/4-f/5.6 lenses are far more affordable, but they are also slow to focus and suffer from poorer image quality that you will find in lenses costing a little more. Many years ago, when using a different system than the one I use now, I owned such a lens. It was unusable beyond 200mm because it was just too soft. I swapped it for a 50-200mm f/2.8 professional lens and although it was shorter, I had far greater success, and the images were crystal clear.

My new lens has a constant fast f/4.5 aperture throughout its 150-400mm focal length range. This is clever engineering because as a lens’ focal length increases, the size of the aperture should be proportionately smaller. Usually, the F-number increases because the focal length is divided by the aperture. As a result, one must usually compensate by either decreasing the shutter speed, thus potentially getting movement blur, or increasing the ISO, which will lead to more noise in most circumstances. With a constant aperture, this is unnecessary.

Sandwich tern. In poor light, having a fast lens with a constant, fast aperture helps bird photographers capture action. ISO 2000, 375mm, f/5.6, 1/3200

Reach is Still Important

Although secondary to its light-gathering capacity, a lens’ reach is important. Although I got good results with that 50-200mm f/2.8 lens, it was too short. Being able to zoom to 400mm gives me much more scope, especially as my Micro Four Thirds cameras give me effectively more reach than I would fitting a similar unit to a 35mm-sensor camera. Importantly, having extra reach means that a photographer is less likely to disturb the subject, and the creature’s welfare is of paramount importance.

My lens also has a built-in teleconverter that multiplies the focal length by an extra 1.25, giving a maximum reach of 500mm. Though I am not a fan of such comparisons, on my camera, that is the equivalent focal length of a 1000mm lens on a full frame 35mm camera. It’s worth noting that teleconverters do reduce a lens’ f-number. By activating the switch adds an extra stop to the lens. Furthermore, fitting an additional 2x teleconverter, like the OM System MC-20, gives a huge 1000mm reach. That’s 2000mm, equivalent to a 35mm camera.

Turnstone witha mucky bill. ISO 640, 1/500, f/5.6, 1/1000
OM-1 Mark II and OM SYSTEM M. Zuiko 150-400mm f/4.5 TC 1.25 IS PRO Lens

I find that having a lens with far more equivalent reach than most people have with 35mm full-frame cameras with the equivalent lens gives distinct advantages when it comes to photographing birds. With this lens, a subject that was a meter long would need to be 23 meters away to fill the frame horizontally, and the depth of field would be 0.44 meters. With a 35mm full-frame camera with a 400mm lens, the subject at the same distance would be approximately half the size in the frame, and the photo would have double the depth of field.

Shot at 500mm with the lens' teleconverter activated, this grey heron was about 55 meters (60 yards) from me.

ISO 5000, 500mm, f/5.6, 1/3200

OM-1 Mark II with OM SYSTEM M. Zuiko 150-400mm f/4.5 TC 1.25 IS PRO Lens

Other Useful Features

One useful feature to have is a focus limiter switch. That speeds up autofocusing by restricting the focusing range to fall within certain parameters. For example, I can make my lens focus only between 1.3 to 6 meters, or 6 meters to infinity. I can, of course, select the entire range too. Although available with this lens via a switch, my camera also has a focus limiter built within the menus. It’s worth checking your camera menus to see if it has a focus limiter.

A related feature is having buttons that will prefocus the lens on any distance you have set it to. Again, this speeds up acquiring the subject. Not every lens has it, but speed

You should also be able to switch quickly between manual focus and autofocus on the lens. Check the robustness of this switch as it may be something you use a lot. With many of the professional OM System lenses, this is not a switch but what they call a clutch. The entire focusing ring can be pulled back. That changes the lens to manual focus and, at the same time, reveals the focusing distance scale.  Manual focus is something you may find evermore useful when you focus on the eye of a bird that’s otherwise hidden deep in the foliage.

If your camera's autofocus cannot lock onto a semi-obscured bird, then being able to quickly switch to manual focus is important. Most good cameras will halso have a setting allowing you to override the autofocus by turining the focus ring. ISO 4000, 500mm. f/5.6, 1/3200

Having the zoom and focus rings close enough together to be operated with the finger and thumb tips of one hand is essential. You also want those rings to have exactly the right amount of resistance. Furthermore, they should start turning smoothly and not suddenly jerk when you begin to rotate them.

My lens has a switch that turns off the beep, telling you the camera is in focus. That is so as not to disturb wildlife or other photographers. Again, this feature is usually also available in the camera menus.

Image stabilization is another essential feature of any wildlife system. My lens provides up to 4.5 steps of image stabilization (IS). Moreover, when partnered with the OM-1 Mark II’s In Body Image Stabilisation (IBIS), it increases up to 8.5 steps of IS, allowing you to hold the camera steady at very low shutter speeds. More useful still, I find, is its ability to counteract the movement of a boat or withstand me being buffeted by strong winds; I live in the windiest county in England.

Most wildlife photographers turn off IS when capturing birds in flight. In my camera, it is possible to engage image stabilization in just one direction. For example, when tracking birds in flight, I turn off the horizontal IS and keep the vertical turned on.

Puffin in front of a lighthouse, shot from a boat on the sea. ISO 3200, 445mm, f/5.6, 1/3200

OM1 Mark II and OM SYSTEM M. Zuiko 150-400mm f/4.5 TC 1.25 IS PRO Lens

Other things to consider are a carbon-fiber lens hood that helps keep the weight down, strap mounting eyes on the lens, and an Arca-Swiss compatible tripod mounting foot.

Although lenses improve image quality far more than camera bodies, any system is only as good as the weakest link. There is little point in buying a superb camera if your lens is slow and soft. Similarly, a fast, ultra-sharp lens will be held back by a camera that has low performance. Also, the conditions you shoot in can affect your images too.

ISO 3200, 306mm, f/4.5 1/800. Shot in low light and at -20°C, the lens started to freeze when photographing golden eagles in Finland earlier this year.
OM-1 and OM SYSTEM M. Zuiko 150-400mm f/4.5 TC 1.25 IS PRO Lens

The weakest link could, of course, be the photographer. I know this is contentious, but I believe in giving novices tools that will not restrict them but enable them to take the best possible images right from the start. Cameras that are a delight to use are far more inspiring than cheap plastic lumps found on the shelves of supermarkets. Give a beginner a camera with AI bird tracking and a fast lens with quick, accurate focusing, and they will walk away with better photos than if they use cheap, so-called entry-level gear.

I've been learning bird photography one bird at a time, starting with the most common and accessible species like this mallard.
ISO 1000, 400mm, f/4.5 1/3200 OM-1 Mark II. OM SYSTEM M. Zuiko 150-400mm f/4.5 TC 1.25 IS PRO Lens
Ivor Rackham's picture

Earning a living as a photographer, website developer, and writer and Based in the North East of England, much of Ivor's work is training others; helping people become better photographers. He has a special interest in supporting people with their mental well-being through photography. In 2023 he became a brand ambassador for the OM System

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I agree bird photography is demanding and requires skill and patience but that goes for a lot of genres. I think concert photography is one of the most demanding , the light constantly changes, the subjects can move fast in low light (especially at smaller venues )and there’s always things in the line of sight like mic stands , monitors etc (drummers are mostly the hardest to capture )it requires an ability to quickly react to changes and opportunities. It also requires good equipment, fast lenses and sensors that can capture a lot of light. And to top it off at big concerts you get three songs to get your shot in a pit full of other photographers.

Thank you for already saying what I came here to say.

Subjects in motion in low light are the most challenging of all. The usual answer to low light is long exposure. The usual answer to subjects in motion is short exposure times. When both are combined, neither solution works without raising ISO to levels that kill dynamic range, which works against the constantly changing light and the bright lights inside the same frame with darker performers.

Thanks Ruud. Yes, concert photography poses its own challenges as you eloquently point out. Would you agree that bird photography can have similar low-light issues, flora and moving fauna getting in the way, plus restricted time windows to photograph fast-moving subjects?

Yes I can agree to that, and as I said bird photography is a challenging genre. Time restrictions are less pressing than three songs, but at concerts you usefully don’t have to carry a 600mm lens around (unless you are forced to shoot from the soundboard).

It is hard to compare bird photography to concert photography because not only are the conditions so different, but the expectations are so different.

Many times, in bird photography, we are trying to capture images of such high technical quality that each filament of each feather can be seen, clearly and distinctly captured.

When people photograph concerts and other such events, they are not trying to take photos so detailed that each thread in each person's garment is clearly resolved. No one is zooming in to look to see if the stitching around each buttonhole in the musician's shirt is clearly and distinctly resolved. But in bird photography, our images are often scrutinized at the pixel level to assess how perfectly we resolved each and every tiny little detail.

I am not saying this to make a point that bird photography is more difficult than concert photography. I am saying it to point out that the genres are so different that it is really not reasonable for anyone to compare them and say that one is harder than the other, unless one has spent years and years doing each of them at a very high (professional) level.

If someone gets 12 of their photos on the covers of nationally circulated concert magazines, and then also gets 12 of their photos on the covers of nationally circulated bird or wildlife magazines, then that person is qualified to say whether one is more difficult than the other. Otherwise, anything anyone says is "just some guy talking".

I totally agree. It’s impossible to say what genre is the hardest unless you’re a master at all of them

As someone who often shoots birds, I will agree that there are some aspects of it that can be quite challenging, but I think it's kind of absurd to consider it the "most demanding genre".

My main focus is portraits, and as I type this in my studio waiting for a model to show up. I have a conceptual shoot created where I custom created an entire set. There are 5 lights all set up with very specific purposes and various modifiers to create the scene I'm after. When the model is on set, I will be working with her and the team to create a very specific look while also ensuring that I coach her into a natural pose. These skills took be over a decade to hone to a point where I can captain a shoot like this and I'm still miles from calling myself a master. The combined effort for the shoot will be north of 100 hours to create maybe 5-7 images using tens of thousands of dollars worth of gear. (Not saying portrait is the most demanding either, its just something I know so easy to contrast. If I had to guess I'd probably say "war photographer" is the most demanding. Being able to make incredible images AND survive while bullets are flying all around you in wretched weather conditions sounds like quite a tremendously difficult thing)

In contrast. After buying a 500mm lens, I went out for a walk at sunset and came back with a ton of bird images that look like they could be in a magazine. I was an experienced photographer already but completely new to birds and it just sort of was easy. I'm not saying I'm making images on par with elite wildlife photographers but to just be a "bird" photographer and get decent images is pretty easy. All you need is some patience and the ability to point a long lens towards a bird in good light at a good angle. Where the truly great wildlife shooters set themselves apart is the ability to find, and capture rare species doing exciting things. For example, bird on on a stick in nice light is very easy to do. Kingfisher in a dive about to hit the surface of the water takes tremendous skill, timing, luck, and patience. There is a reason "birding" is so popular amongst casual hobbyists. Its because it doesn't require crazy levels of commitment to get good results. You can do it casually and so long as you as have some basic skills and know how to work with your camera you can get some really great results. If I had to define the most important factor for wildlife photography (including birds), it is just frequently being in a position to make a great shot at the right time. If you are out in nature during good light, you will get great opportunities, its just a matter of patience.

I'd also add that while the cost of wildlife lenses make it seem really expensive, it really isn't because that's all you need. A camera and a single lens. You don't even need a $20k exotic. You just need a reasonably reach tele with decent image quality and you are set. Where as I look at my studio photo kit. No single lens or tool costs what a wildlife lens does, but cumulatively, I could have 3 of the best exotic wildlife lenses for less than I spent on all the gear in this studio. (And I'm not even using pro stuff like Profoto. its just C-Stands, modifiers, lights, etc add up really fast when you start taking inventory. Hot take but I'd argue that photography in general is a reasonably cheap "business" to start. We like to think its expensive because as a hobby its expensive but consider how much it costs a mechanic to start his business. He easily needs $100k in tools, lifts, etc, and that's a humble blue-collar business.

TLDR: Bird photography is quite easy to get good results with and requires a fraction of the commitment that many other genres demand which makes it a great hobby for casual photographers. The lenses can be expensive if you want top gear but it isn't necessary to get good results.

Are you kidding me? Bird photography requires 2 ingredients: time and money. Any dentist who can afford a 600mm f/4 lens, flagship camera and the free time to watch birds can capture "BIF" images.

I don't entirely agree, in fact, that dentist probably would make better images with something like a 400 4.5. Wielding a massive flagship lens effectively in the field is surprisingly difficult because of its weight and just how telephoto it is. Without a lot of practice hefting that thing and aiming at a small songbird in a split second is quite difficult.

I didn't have respect for quite how hard it is to shoot like a songsparrow filling the frame at like 800mm when you only have 3-4 seconds to get locked on before it moves to the next branch until I had to do it.

That said, in the great big scheme of photography, birding is pretty easy to develop the skillset for. (That said, the vast majority of bird photographer never figure out how to make a shot that does not look like a snapshot)

Excellent bird photography typically requires much more than time and money. Sure, with a lot of time and a lot of money, one can get some "good" results. But one can get "good" results in almost any photographic genre with a lot of time and money.

To get excellent results in bird photography, and to get them with any consistency, requires a heck of a lot of fieldcraft, knowledge of each species being photographed, and an artistic sense of what looks good with respect to background, supporting elements, composition, perspective, placement of the elements within the frame and their arrangement relative to one another.

"The equipment quality, the photographer's camera skills, and their ability to create a narrative are pushed far beyond any other genre."

Weddings, especially story-telling semi-doc coverage. Combines all the skill requirements of street, fashion, portrait, theater, architectural and food photography, including lighting on the fly and the ability to use camera controls in the dark and without hesitation. If there's one kind of photographer I'd trust to tackle almost any other genre of photography, it's a good wedding photographer.

I mostly do corporate events, which is challenging enough, but I also do weddings, and it's the wedding work that stretches my boundaries and keeps me constantly learning.

With birds one can often come back tomorrow, or next week, or next month to catch the shots one blew the first time. There's no such luxury with weddings, sporting events, concerts, etc. You either get the shot the first time or it's gone. Forever.

Yes, I am a wedding photographer and it's easier to get that right first time, every time. If a photographer can't, then they should not be shooting weddings.

Good article. Agree with most regarding equipment. Disagree a bit with skills needed for birds. From what I have observed bird photos are a dime a dozen. Other wildlife is far more difficult as you actually have to put a lot of effort to find it before you can even begin to photograph it.

My personal necessities for the "Ultimate Genre" include a camera, quality lense(s), control over aperture, exposure time, ISO, color temp settings, and light. While autofocus and histogram features can simplify things, they're not essential. However, what truly matters should be a commitment to improve your craft.

Ivor asked,

"What's the Weakest Link in Your System?"

For bird photography, that would be autofocus speed. Why? Because the components I can afford are old discontinued DSLRs and third party lenses, particularly the Sigma 60-600mm for Canon EF.

I have found that on Canon bodies, Canon lenses reign supreme for super snappy autofocus acquisition. But at this point I can not afford to buy a Canon brand lens of 600mm or longer for my EF mount body, so I have the Sigma zoom. Plus, I really prefer a zoom with a very wide range, and Canon doesn't make anything comparable to the 60-600mm.

Myt Sigma lens is quite sharp - a "tack driver" at all points within the zoom range. But it is really slow to acquire focus. The drive motors just don't zip those heavy glass elements back and forth as fast as Canon lenses do. So I can't do much good bird in flight photography, and tend to shoot more portraits and behavioral images of birds, which don't require very good autofocus.

I will say that my Sigma zoom autofocus is plenty good enough for mammals, reptiles, and amphibians, but birds in flight are truly more challenging, from an autofocus perspective, so that is the only part of wildlife photography where my Sigma falls far short of my needs.

My Canon 100-400mm v2 was GREAT when it comes to autofocus speed and accuracy! And for that reason I loved using it for BIF in those rare instances where 400mm was enough reach. But after dropping that lens on rocks so many times over the years, the insides of the lens are messed up and I can hear loose parts rattle around inside of it, and the AF sometimes works and sometimes doesn't. Very unreliable now due to the years of hard use and unrepaired damage.

So I don't really have any lens that is good for birds in flight at this time. Could be a long time before I have a few thousand extra US dollars sitting around to use for a new 600mm+ first party lens. So the near future of my bird photography will be limited to those kinds of images that do not require ultra-rapid and precise tracking autofocus for rapidly moving birds. And that's okay, because I really enjoy the other types of bird images. There's a whole lot more to bird photography than just the in-flight pics.

Funnily this author's musings often find themselves at odds with other people's experience. It shouldn't be that way. But this time I concur completely. From what I've seen, wildlife photography is a lifestyle. It includes getting up very early, travelling far and wide, bird feeding, using a floating tent to stand in water waist deep or more for hours and using other equipment, and lots of it, putting clothes and footwear before lenses and cameras, learning animal and bird habits and patterns of movement, and sometimes taking risks for one's health and life. A lot. As for bird photography and the importance of equipment, it was already possible when IS was not yet around. That's just one aspect, of course.

Normund, you show great insight when you say, "wildlife photography is a lifestyle".

To do wildlife and / or bird photography at a high level, it does require that it pretty much be the main point of one's life. And what you say about learning the habits and patterns of the animals is right on the money - just that part alone can take thousands and thousands of hours of research and observational field time, not to mention the tens, or even hundreds, of thousands of miles of travel one will need to do over the years to get to where the target species are,

I recall a trip I took from my home in Washington state to the Wichita Mountains of Oklahoma, a drive of 3,000 kilometers (1,800 miles) in each direction, in March, to scout for Collared Lizard opportunities. That's right - just a scouting trip.

This species is still dormant in March, so there was ZERO chance of seeing a lizard. But a scouting trip was important to get to find the right areas of habitat, so that when they emerged a few months later, I would know where to find them. And of course there were the emails and phone interviews with government herpetologists, wildlife photographers in that area, etc. Lots and lots of hours and dollars invested before even seeing the animal I wanted to photograph. When I returned to the area in June, to actually photograph the lizards, I already had a lot figured out, and that is what led to the marginal success I had. Then another trip to the area 3 years later resulted in better images, a higher degree of success. That's what it takes.

The photography itself is really only the tip of a very big iceburg. The meat and potatoes of wildlife photography is the staggering amount of research and planning that precedes the shoot itself, as well as the years and years of actual shooting each species that leads to better and better images, due to the acquired experience.

Probably, the further you're away from being a jet set photographer doing it for fun because you can finally afford it, the more you need to convert the pictures into money. Then it really becomes a way of living with high travelling and shipping costs (e.g. if you go on an expedition to a remote location) and with no guarantee that you'll really be able to monetize your images.

I have spent thousands of dollars and weeks and weeks of time in pursuit of Collared Lizard photographs. But I know full well that there is almost zero market for photos of this species, and the most I will ever get paid for Collared Lizard images is, like, maybe an accumulated $100 US dollars over the course of my lifetime.

Most of the really hard core wildlife photography that involves thousands of dollars in travel expenses and weeks and weeks of time is not done with any thought of making money. It is done because we love the species that we are pursuing, we love the adventures, and most of all we love the final images that we capture. It is not about monetization, although we certainly want images that are good enough to go to market and be published around the world. Not gonna put all that work and effort into something and then be satisfied with so-so images. That would just be foolish.

Have to agree, it's likely the genre where gear matters most. "Good gear" or "expensive gear" typically makes it easier to get the shot because of better autofocus, longer reach, faster shutter speeds. Most other genres can be accomplished with pedestrian gear and a good understanding of composition and your command of your subject. There's really no substitute for reach - you can spend the money on a duck blind and hope the heron lands in range of your 70-200, or you can go big. You still need those other competencies, but you'll get way more keepers by going big on glass.

Thanks all.

Ivor strikes again!
Bird photography can be very difficult if you are trying to shoot great images, but that also applies to every other photographic genre, as taking and making great images is certainly not easy regardless of the genre. All require their own unique set of skills and associated knowledge.
I think if you were to make your point then including some good quality images of birds might have helped. Not to be snarky but the images you have included don’t really cut it as far as quality nature images go that say something about the bird. None of them would rate a second look in any wildlife competition that’s for sure. I’ve been an active bird photographer for a number of years motivated by the excellent nature photographers in my club and while having good quality modern kit helps it’s certainly not the only requirement. I use a Sony A7R5 with 200-600 plus 1.4 extender when the light allows mounted on a gimbal for BiF. I also shoot in APSC mode for that extra reach you mention. The APSC mode giving 26 MP images. But that is just where it starts. Great kit does not equate to great images. Knowledge of both subject and the environment they inhabit is crucial. Knowing your subject, its movements and behaviour are basic requirements that can’t be purchased but need to be learned. Having some feeling for the bird and how it relates to its environment is also important. For example the photograph of the turnstone on a man made wall in my opinion says little about the bird as It’s a fairly unnatural image with the bird not in its natural setting. Its a bird I have regularly photographed as fairly large numbers over winter on the estuary near where I live. They are busy little feeders while on the ground, hence the name, and amazing formation flyers when in flight.
A great photograph of a turnstone or any other species for that matter requires more than having a fancy camera. It requires something that can’t be bought and that’s a love, feeling and empathy for the subject and the ability to capture a meaningful moment in its life that you can share with anyone who views the image. In my opinion the images you selected say little about the birds and do nothing to justify the title of the article. The content also says to me you don’t really understand what wildlife photography is really all about.
A fancy camera and a big lens does not a wildlife photographer make!

We have a story where I live about a jealous wart hog. It is trying to prove it is better than other animals by trying to run them down. he tells the eagle it cant see, tells the cheeter it can't run and tells the hyena it is not funny. Then he tells the leopard that he has an ugly coat. The leopard eats well and gives the warthog skin to the hyena to laugh at, the eyes to decorate the eagles nest and throws the warthogs balls for the cheetah to chase. Your bad comments always remind me of the warthog. You never find anything nice to say. And you are wrong. I can see the passion and skill in the photos If you can't it is your limited mind.

While his delivery might be a bit rude, he isn't wrong.

I would really like to see some of your bird pictures, Eric. You say: "I think if you were to make your point then including some good quality images of birds might have helped." Would that not be true for you also?

I don't do bird photos but will when I retire, if there are any birds left. I love wildlife as clearly you do from your pictures here and your Instagram. Very useful information.

Why would there be no birds left? Are you immortal and intend to not retire for another 100,000 years?

According to this article, 12% of bird species have gone extinct over the last 130,000 years. There is no evidence whatsoever to suggest, even on any level, that birds as an entire genus will go extinct in the next 100,000 years, let alone within the next few decades.

Thank you to everyone who has commented so far. It's great seeing that some disagree with one of my assertions and mostly do so respectfully. I usually try to reply to each comment individually, but am enormously busy with event photoshoots and workshops.

And I appreciate writers who reply and acknowledge our comments. If there's a video link here in an Fstoppers article to the author's YouTube channel, I suspect the author's main objective is subscriber views... not discussion.

Thanks, Edward. I enjoy the conversations but they take a lot of time to reply to. I don't get paid for the replies, though I do for the articles. It's gratifying when people add to the conversation, even if they disagree with me. Not so much so when they include insults, which usually says much more about them.

We photography writers still have to earn our livings. For some, it may be a choice of earning money to buy food or spending time replying. I understand why some don't reply because of that. Most are also incredibly busy.

Photography and writing are rarely occupations we can get rich at but we do them out of love for the art form.

Thanks again for the comment.

A simple thank-you goes a long way toward keeping a good, solid relationship with customers, which is still the foundation of any business, regardless of whether we have one or a million customers. That much I know for sure.