Bird Photography Technology Makes Great Images Possible

Bird Photography Technology Makes Great Images Possible

Lisa is not a professional photographer. She started taking photos and learned about photography because she started watching birds and wanted a way to document it. She’s originally from Germany and moved to the US with her American husband. She lives in Michigan now, and although the landscape and weather is similar to what she experienced in Germany, the wildlife, especially the birds, differ quite a lot. 

She shoots with a Canon Rebel T5 DSLR mostly, but wanted to get closer to the birds. She found the Bird Photo Booth, a Kickstarter project that recently went live. The booth includes a 4K HD Motion-activated Wi-Fi camera with custom built-in motion detection. It's also possible to fit different cameras with an interchangeable casing that comes included. 

The birds are most active during the morning and that's when she says she gets most of her shots. But, it all depends on the weather. She even hand-feeds too if she feels like it, and says some birds are quite fearless towards humans, especially the red-breasted Nuthatches, Titmice, and Chickadees, and notes that it is key to not force it.

By looking at the images, it’s almost as though the birds are curious about this box that provides them with the seeds they enjoy which makes for epic images.

Initially she captured photos as well as videos and shared it on a closed bird-watching Facebook group. The members liked it so much and asked her to make it public. Since then her posts had more than 40,000 shares on Facebook. 

It really took her by surprise and I myself, not a birder or bird photographer at all, enjoyed the colors of these flying creatures, their expressions, and even the personalities of each bird. 

Bird photography has been improved by technology and creativity. We can now get textures of the feathers, close ups of their eyes, beaks, and details we wouldn't ever have seen on a free, live bird. 

The Bird Photo Booth can now also be found on Amazon.

In our discussion she confessed a secret. Her dad is a professional photographer and she knows how much work and knowledge goes into making great photography. She doesn’t see herself as a professional, but that photography was rather a means to capture the birds in the best way possible. She does minor post production on the images she posts to her social networks and blog. Because of the amount of images she captures, it’s the selection and the style of edit that gives her her unique eye.

This made me wonder whether photography was a means to capture what interested me, or whether I am more passionate about the experience of photographing someone or something more than what I am photographing. I suppose it is a combination of the two, but the more I think about it, the more I realize how much I don’t know, which makes photography even more interesting and evokes even more enthusiasm about the medium.

You can check out the Bird Photo Booth’s Kickstarter page here and the Bird Photo Booth website here. 

You can also follow Lisa's work on her Tumblr Blog here


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gabe s's picture

Is it her saying that Michigan weather is like Germany's or are you saying so, because based on experience, it's not.

Michael Rapp's picture

There's a lot of weather going on in Germany. Snow in the bavarian Alps is somewhat fiercer than in the northern parts, near the Netherlands. Although, Michigan's weather can be kind of moody, too. :-)
But I agree on the variety on birdlife.

Bill Peppas's picture

this is "photography" ? really ?

Spy Black's picture

If someone firing off 14 frames a second for several seconds in hope of getting "the shot" is photography, then yes, this is photography.

Wouter du Toit's picture

Spy, most sports photographers and wedding photographers shoot stills at fast frame rates and then select the best shots back in the studio. I don't think its done with 'hope of getting the shot', and rather making sure you have the option of selecting which one captured what you wanted to get from it. Certain photography industries need it. So I agree, this is photography, regardless of the amount of frames it took. in my opinion your style is defined by the shot you choose during the selection process, the one that you decide as being 'the shot'.

Spy Black's picture

Yeah, except that you then realize that any robot can do the same job. Where does that leave you?

L L's picture

Deciding where to put the robot, composing the shot, dealing with any other details. Such as, in this case, acclimating the birds to the device (something a lot of wildlife photographers face).

Pushing the shutter button is only a tiny fraction of what photography is. So yes, this is photography, and these are delightful shots!

Spy Black's picture

Not if the robot is autonomous and well programmed. :-) However I'll argue that this is photography more so than firing off 14 frames a second for several seconds in a crap shoot.

Wouter du Toit's picture

Bill, first I'll need to ask you what photography is to you, and then state that your definition will be very different from another photographer. Capturing a moment, your interests, being there and getting the shot, all of it will define it and with the Bird Photo Booth all of these definitions succeed. Yes, it is photography. Really.

Bill Peppas's picture

So... setting up a camera with a TriggerTrap next to a bird feeder is what you would call "photography" ?

There's nothing "photographic" here.
No composition.
No thought on settings.

I believe you understand the difference between "bursts" for a reason ( wildlife photography, birds in flight, etc ) and "spray and pray" while you aren't holding the camera nor composing.

Christopher Smoot's picture

Setting up a camera with a movement based trigger isn't photography? Better go tell the big cat photographers that...

No composition? Better tell all the sport and bird photographers that use the center focus point for the subject and crop in post that they aren't real photographers.

No thought on settings? Well I guess using a pinhole camera doesn't count as real photography anymore...let alone cell phone cameras...

Does her method require as much technical skill as others? No. But neither does using a mirrorless camera with EVF in comparison to a large format view camera. Photography is painting with light. That's it. There are no other requirements for it to be "photography". How much effort it takes to create the photograph has absolutely no impact on how good it is...

Anonymous's picture

uh oh, don't tell scott bourne about this.

Thomas D. Ker's picture

Today's technology makes possible to put cameras easily to everywhere. Hence we start to get pictures like never before. There is one more cool bird photography device being made. takes also close-up pictures of birds. You can see little bit more images on their Facebook page

Ralph Hightower's picture

That BirdCam TLR is cute.

It wasn't birds, but deer that got my dogs worked up News Years 2017. I heard our dogs barking in the back yard and noticed one deer walk across our front yard. I decided to get my camera out and bring it to the front bedroom. A little while later, our dogs were making another racket and I saw a heard of deer eating in the front yard. I grab my camera, open the front door and fire off three shots of 5-7 deer.