Learning From The Best: Waxeye


Waxeye - thrumylennz

The Waxeyes have been loving the Kowhai tree right outside our window. They are cute little birds that flit around.


This shot is simply stunning. The yellow bird with the bright yellow foreground really makes you look twice! The colours are amazing and not too saturated, just enough for the image to pop! The focus is dead on the eye and beak of the bird too which is perfect - You don't want the focus to be on the body as there's a big chance the head then won't be in focus due to the shallow depth of field when using a 150mm-600mm lens.


Shooting any wildlife is hard but this is especially true when it comes to photographing birds as they’re quick, relatively small, and get scared easily. That’s why you can’t always frame your shots to the best of your liking.


The composition in this image is not by any means bad, but it could be improved in-post to make the bird stand out more and eliminate any doubt of what the focal point in the image is. Since most people tend to look more from left to right (because of how we read), placing the bird on the left side of the image would draw more attention to it – This can be done in-post by simply mirroring the image.


If you feel inspired to go out and photograph birds after seeing this wonderful shot, keep these top tips in mind:

  1. Make sure your shutter speed is faster than the birds' wings to avoid motion blur.

  2. Use a tight aperture to try and counter the already shallow depth of field from a telephoto lens.

  3. Try to keep your ISO as low as possible but don’t be afraid of bumping it to get a better shot.

  4. Always be in control of your autofocus by manually picking the focus points, using the eye, or if further away, the head as your focus points.

  5. It is best to switch to continuous focus in case the bird moves or turns its head

  6. Take every shot you can, even if you don’t think it will turn out good, a bird can always change its mind and fly away so take advantage of every second that you have it in your viewfinder!

© Excio