Birding Photography is the sub-genre of wildlife photography. Depending upon the concentration on birdwatching and photography technicalities, patience is the key to acquiring higher levels of experience in birding photography tour. Birding Photography Tour requires attention and focus because it is challenging enough to be considered a separate sub-type of wildlife photography. The genre can hold contradictory principles when it comes to observation and camera technicalities. It demands the ability to be both observant and aware of the camera visuals and the exposure triangle. While wildlife photography covers the entire spectrum of the flora and fauna, the sub-genres like photographing insects require macro lenses, long focal length lenses for birding photography tour and underwater cameras for marine life photography.

But before we get into the depth of the birding photography tour, there are few things that one should cover up before beginning with the birding photography tour.

  1. Bird Watching
  2. Observation
  3. Communication
  4. Equipment

The birding photography tour didn’t catch much attention in the olden days. The sole reason was the expensive requirements for the genre and profession. Not everyone was able to afford the required equipment. Earlier, the perception of success in birding photography tour was possible only through high-technical and expensive technology and camera. Until people realised the other principles of this genre, more and more eye-catching art and photographs started to emerge.  The result of a good birding tour photograph is totally depending upon the right time at the right place by understanding the behavioural pattern of the animal so that one can anticipate these creatures to capture the right image.

History of Wildlife Photography, Birdwatching and Birding photography tour

Birdwatching became a common hobby and sport by the 20th century. In the 19th century, the bird watchers would first shoot the birds and then study the different and rare species of birds by studying their corpses. By the development of optical aids like binoculars, birdwatching became very easy without harming the species. It also enabled them to observe the behavioural pattern and the livelihood of these species, which made the theories and observations more accurate and easy.

The interest started to reach its peak starting from the 1880s. It was most popular in European countries like the Netherlands, Germany, Scandinavia, Switzerland and the other parts of the British Commonwealth. Not only this, but this interest also stimulated the publications of books based on birds by Gilbert White named ‘Natural History of Selborne’ and John James Audubon’s ‘Birds of America’. Birdwatching is not very expensive as it requires only a set of binoculars and skills in communicating with the birds. Whereas if someone wants to capture a picture, camera pieces of equipment might be an investment for many. birding photography tour took off as a new profession from the 1930s, primarily started by amateur birdwatchers.

Wildlife Photography started with picturing only pets and street animals and the animals in the zoo. For example, the photos of the last Quagga (a zebra specie) by Frank Hayes in the late 1800s. Earlier it was very difficult to capture the wildlife species, especially fauna, because of the slow lenses and the low sensitivity of the photographic media. After the development of the cameras in the 1880s, wildlife photography started to emerge. The first leads on wildlife were taken by German Ottomar Anschutz in 1884. By 1906, National Geographic published its first wildlife photos. The photos were taken by George Shiras III, a US representative from Pennsylvania. A few of his pictures were clicked from the first wire-tripped camera traps.

Understanding Bird and Wildlife Photography

Understanding the exposure triangle is very important. Especially the ISO, it is said to be kept at the automated settings and let the camera detect that part by itself. Wide-angle lenses can make birding photography a little next to impossible. A 200mm or 300mm lens can do a fine job. Or if we go for a rough estimate like around 150mm-600mm lens. Mostly, photographers prefer keeping a tripod to give that support to heavy camera lenses for crisp and clear images.

But before directly jumping to birding photography tour and investing a lot on purchasing the expensive equipment, one has to understand the entire build-up structure and concept of birding photography tour which is very important. Since it is the sub-genre of wildlife photography, to reach the birding part, one has to first research and practically starts with wildlife photography. It is considered only after the aspiring photographer has some experience in wildlife photography. But before completely getting into photography, one has to learn about wildlife observation and know how to communicate with the animals and birds, learn how to locate the right animal or bird at the right time.

Here are a few pointers that are to be kept on mind before starting and while clicking animals or birds:

  1. Mark the keywords- Research > Observation > Communication > Practice > Patience > Determination > Preparation > Knowledge > Skill   
  2. Before starting with actual exotic bird species, it is suggested that you should start with the local birds, be it in a village or the city or near your balcony or terrace.
  3. Remember to capture the eyes of your subject or to just accentuate their eyes. Eyes have a great power to directly communicate with the subject.
  4. While you’re trying to click a picture of a bird, make sure to keep an eye on the camera frame. Because it is easy to get distracted if you lose sight of the bird that you might have spotted.
  5. Have patience, look for the best time, capture the picture of the bird. It will be very complex in the beginning but once when the level of required patience is attained, you can have great potential and guarantee in acing a birding photography tour.   
  6. Binoculars are an important source of equipment that is mostly required to spot the birds from great distances.

Notable Recognitions in Birding Photography Tour

Social Media like Instagram has set a platform for the young aspiring generation to seek inspiration and get access to the world of art and photography is one of them. Photographers like Rathika Ramaswami, a Chennai based wildlife photographer has it all. She specialises in mostly in bird photography and has travelled to various wildlife forests and national parks and sanctuaries across the country to capture rare species of birds. She has also published a book on a birding photography tour containing some of her best works on the genre. In the year 2014, she published her second book called ‘The Best of Wildlife Moments’ featuring her works on other rare wildlife species and bird species. You can look her up on Instagram and she is also one of the most searched wildlife photographers.

Then there are other notable wildlife photographers like Sandesh Kandur, an award-winning photographer Sudhir Shivaram, Amoghavarsha who is widely known to be working with National Geographic and the BBC.  

Collaboration with the Bird Photographer

Aarzoo Khurana, a photographer by passion and an advocate by profession, has been part of this field of photography for the last 4 years. Wildlife Photography has become a crucial part of her life. Her work mostly revolves around the experiments with light and shadows. Now, that fulfils the technical part of wildlife and birding photography tour.

Then comes the observation and communication part. It is important to interact with the birds up-close. And Mr Saumitra Shukla was there to be a part of this journey and help us explore the clean and fine aspects of wildlife photography. Mr Shukla has been an expert in tracking birds for the past 6-7 years now. He has been constantly going for birding every morning and holds great knowledge of different species of birds and animals.

Birding Tour in Bharatpur, Rajasthan

The Birding tour in Bharatpur, Rajasthan was 4-days and 3-nights photography and birdwatching camping workshop, with Aarzoo Khurana as the mentor and the photographer and Mr Saumitra Shukla as the communicator and the tour facilitator and guide. The start date of the tour was commenced on 22nd January 2020 till 25th January 2020. The birding tour happened in Keoladeo National Park, Bharatpur. The tour was sponsored by the lens partner Sigma and the studio Future Forward Studios. Zayed Ahmed was monitoring and representing the Chiiz Photography Magazine in the birding tour.  There were in all total of 6 participants. For the details and itinerary of the tour, please visit https://events.chiiz.com/aarzoo-wildlife-photo-tour/

The event covered the topics circling around wildlife photography followed by birding photography tour. The technicalities which include the framing, and the light. The concept of creation and communication and bird spotting was also part of the expedition.

Keoladeo National Park

Keoladeo National Park, also called Keoladeo Ghana National Park is a world heritage site. It was formerly known as Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary. The season to capture birds preferably starts from December till February. Keoladeo National Park is home to more than 230 species of birds. It is also a major tourist attraction spot for ornithologists, a branch of zoology which studies the bird species.

The national park is a man-made and man-managed wetland which protects Bharatpur from frequent floods. The place is locally called Ghana. Beside the bird species, it is also the resident to other diverse species 379 floral species, 13 species of snakes, 7 amphibian species, 50 species of reptiles, 7 species of turtles and other varieties of invertebrates. Keoladeo National Park is considered to be one of the world’s best bird areas on the planet.   

Kutch Photography Expedition

The workshop on wildlife observation and photography tour is an upcoming project handled by Chiiz Photography Magazine. The planned expedition is taking place in the Little Rann of Kutch, Gujarat. The tour will have Avishek Roy as the photographer and mentor. The tour is commencing on 13th March 2020, Friday and will end on 16th March 2020, Monday. It’s a 4-days and a 3-night photo tour. The tour will be sponsored by our lens partner Sigma and our studio partner Future Forward. The workshop will not only focus on the birding tour and photography workshop but it will also feature the class for concept on the entire wildlife observation and photography.

About the photographer: Avishek Roy is a successful entrepreneur by profession and a wildlife photographer by passion. His captured images have been recognised and presented in various exhibitions. Roy began the art of photography as a hobby like so many others. And after that, there was no looking back. Photography became an integral part of his profession. He tries to express the art of storytelling through photography and travelling.

Just like the previous one, the event will cover the topics circling around wildlife photography followed by birding photography tour. The technicalities which include the framing, and the light. The concept of creation and communication and bird spotting was also part of the expedition. But this time it will include the entire spectrum of wildlife photography including all the other sub-genres like reptiles and birds and insects.

For more details on the bookings, registration and the itinerary on this upcoming expedition, please visit, https://workshop.chiiz.com/kutch-photography-expedition-by-avishek-roy/

Little Rann of Kutch, Gujarat

Home to the Indian Wild Ass, the Little Rann of Kutch in Gujarat is the chosen destination for the nest project and expedition. It is a salt marshland and is part of the Rann of Kutch in Kutch District of Gujarat. The only refuge to the Indian Wild Ass, has also been declared as the Indian Wild Ass Sanctuary. The place had caught the attention of the various photographers, mentors and wildlife conservationists and enthusiasts influencing them to enhance the beauty of this plain yet a very safe haven world of animals. Rich in biodiversity, this place is not only home to the wild ass but also birds like flamingos, cranes, ducks, pelicans, eagles, falcons and other wild animals like nilgai or blue bull, blackbuck, chinkara. Reptiles like the lizard, red and common sand boa, saw-scaled viper, cobra, dhaman (rat snake) can also be spotted. It is also a biosphere reserve and considered a world heritage site.

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