5 Tips on Using the Nikon D850 for Bird Photography

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Taking pictures of whatever subject you have an interest in isn’t just something you can ace in a day. Being an ace bird photographer requires patience with a lot of hard work and practice. Your learning needs and troubles get doubled when your photography niche is something not many can dare to choose. There is no doubt that some kinds of photography are difficult and trickier than others. One such place of photography that requires a lot of practice and learning is birds’ photography.

Just like a toddler who you can never get to face the camera and pose precisely how you want, these residents of the skies aren’t in your control as well. You might look at a perfect white bird, all ready to take a flight with open wings and think of capturing it, but by the time you take a picture, it’s gone. Such drawbacks of shooting birds are what require a bird photographer to be extra vigilant and practice more.

As a ritual, many novice bird photography learners and photographers tend to invest in what’s usually labeled as Nikon’s most useful wildlife camera, the D850. With excellent battery life, easy usage, improved autofocus, faster burst mode, and improved megapixels, the Nikon D850 provides you with the best bird photo shooting experience.

Thanks to the 45.7 MP sensor and a modern 153-point autofocus system, no bird is going to be too fast for this camera’s shutter. It’ll help you capture nature in all its magnificent glory and in all weather conditions.

Here are some tips that you can use with this wildlife camera to improve your aviary photography skills

Use Auto ISO      

Birds are usually in a hurry, especially when we’re about to capture them. Very rarely do you get the opportunity to shoot a resting bird. Any photographer who has had enough experience capturing birds knows that you need to click the picture right when you see the bird. It’s either now or never. This puts the photographer under the need to ignore other camera settings on the spot right before taking the picture.

One such setting is the ISO level of the camera. With different scenes, you can quickly determine whether you need low ISOs or higher ones to get a better picture. However, setting them right before capturing the little birdie in front of you can give it a chance to fly away. Thus, you are under an obligation to trust auto ISOs for birds’ photography.

In fact, you must use it even if the bird in front of you is held in place and can’t fly away immediately. The auto ISO feature adds perfection to a bird’s shot, primarily if used with the manual mode.

You just have to set up the exposure and shutter speed, and the rest will take care of itself. On the other hand, if you fear intense lighting around making your camera’s auto ISO a little less effective, you can go for a combo of Auto ISO with aperture priority mode. In any case, you’d find some solution to get the camera to take a picture with the best ISO levels needed.

Thankfully, the Nikon D850 allows for easy switching between the auto and manual ISOs, so you select whatever you need. With extremely efficient sensors and fast speed, no matter which combination of auto ISO mode you use, you’d get great results.  

Get Close To The Subject

You can’t have a phobia of birds if you’re trying to become an aviary photographer or even if you’re trying it out just for fun. Getting as close as you possibly can to a bird is part of the job description. In fact, birds’ photography is an excellent means to let bird lovers know their favorite animals personally and up close.

As a rule of thumb, the closer a photographer is to the bird they’re aiming to capture, the better are the chances for the picture to come out perfect. Many photographers fear the overexposure upon getting too close to the subject. This makes them magnify the scene under focus to get a clearer bird picture. Doing so isn’t a great idea at all, especially if the camera you’re using isn’t great.

However, this doesn’t mean you can’t magnify or zoom in the frame at all. Instead, it’s better to get reasonably close to the bird you’re about to capture and then click the picture. Once done, you can zoom in a bit according to your needs.

A good idea is to be at a distance of around 300-400mm from the bird. This way, you can capture as much detail as possible. Such a close distance will reduce the need to zoom in too much, keeping the picture’s clarity and pixels intact.

If you’re a D850 user, you’d know how sleek and compact the body of this camera is. With such a lightweight camera in your hands, that too with great MPs, you don’t have to fear getting closer to your subject at all.

Get On Eye Level

This is something every expert bird photographer would tell you—most bird photographers dream of getting a picture with a bird’s eye being at the focus. If you want to ace being a bird photographer, bringing an intense eye-level picture of a bird should be on your list. This aim, however, can’t be achieved unless you practice with eye-level photography.

Try to position your camera where the bird can see directly in the lens. Such an eye-level shot also focuses entirely on the subject, thus canceling the background distractions altogether. This means you can get a tremendous and intense bird’s shot done with an even clearer focus and bokeh simultaneously just by aiming at the eye level.

The Nikon D850’s lightweight and sleek body can be placed at any angle from the bird without making the photographer feel uncomfortable even for a second. This, topped with the greatest possible exposure and shutter speed, make this camera a great tool to use when you want to capture the clearest eye-level pictures of birds.

Don’t Crop Too Much

Many novice birds’ photographers don’t know the usefulness of getting closer to the subject. This makes them take their shots with extra borders thinking that they can easily crop them out afterward. Where it’s true that birds’ photographers need to do some cropping, it also confirmed that the more they crop a picture, the more it loses its clarity and cleanliness.

No matter how great is the camera you use and how good its pixels are, there is no way you can retain the original picture quality after cropping it.  Even if you’re trimming the picture just by 20% or 30%, you’d have to lose some of the picture quality. That’s why you should try getting as close to your subject as possible, maintaining an angle that focuses on the subject instead of the background, thus reducing the need to crop.

 Another good idea is to save the pictures in RAW format to protect maximum image data. When you crop a RAW format file, there are fewer chances of the picture losing its clarity and pixels than when you trim the same photo by the same amount as it being in Jpeg format. Nikon D850’s smart and easy to hold body would help you here are well.

You can get closer to the subject and can set the best possible angle without having your wrists twitched or feel tired too much. You can also easily set up the savings in RAW format so that more of your photo’s data gets saved, thus assisting cropping even more.

Use Negative Space

Even when we’ve advocated the ideas of taking pictures up close and from an eye-level, ignoring the background mess as much as possible, we in no way want you to choose a frame with just a bird in it. Taking pictures with the bird filling up all the space is a little senseless for a photographer who wants his pictures to capture the attention of many. This attention can only be captured if you shoot the birds with some negative corners and empty spaces around them.

A little bit of sky or the terrain in the background can bring the entire focus more elaborately on the bird being captured, thus making it the center of the audience’s attention without making the picture looking to full.

Any picture with no negative spaces can confuse the audience to the extent that they completely disregard the image. This isn’t the kind of attention you want towards your shots, and this is why you must make use of Nikon D850’s grid settings and its crystal-clear LED to see if the frame you’ve set has enough negative space. Doing so before your press, the shutter is useful in terms of ensuring your picture’s perfect dimensions and will also reduce the need for cropping too much at the same time.