Photography: Birds & Bees

I live in the middle of suburbia, between Pretoria and Johannesburg – a very densely populated area. And yet, surprisingly, there is still a wide variety of bird-life that manages to survive around here. All the more amazing considering I have two cats who regularly deposit an “offering” of dead bird at my bedroom door….

We have a small but densely planted garden – aloes, cycads, proteas, clivias, ferns and a few trees, and a pot with water flowing out of it that is a favourite spot for the garden birds to come and have a splash in the late afternoons.

The Aloes are flowering at this time of the year, attracting the sun-birds – we have two varieties that visit our garden almost every day:

Canon 60D with 300mm zoom lens, f/5.6 1/60 second, ISO 100

Canon Power Shot SX30 IS, 150mm, f/5.8, 1/80 second, ISO 400

The sun-birds have to compete with the bees – I’m very glad to see we still have a few bees! I haven’t seen any around for ages…. These two photos were taken with a macro attachment on a Lensbaby Double Optic lens. I really LOVE the very shallow depth of field – but it does mean you have to get really close… I was worried about being stung. The things I have to do for my Art 🙂

Canon 60D with Lensbaby Double Optic & 10x macro lens,1/250 second, ISO 100

Canon 60D with Lensbaby Double Optic and 10x macro lens, 1/250 second, ISO 100

The Sparrows seem to be confused because it’s so warm – even though it’s mid-winter. I caught these two mating:

Canon 60D with 300mm zoom lens, f/5.6, 1/200 second, ISO 100

Our little Cape Robin is still waking us every morning with his beautiful songs – he doesn’t seem to mind the early morning Highveld frost at all.

Canon 60D with 500mm zoom lens, f/6.3, 1/100 second, ISO 400

This little guy is totally unafraid of humans – he comes around every day, asking for cheddar cheese! No wonder he’s getting FAT.

Canon PowerShot SX30 IS, F/5.8, 1/40 second, ISO 400

I was very fortunate to get this shot of an Ibis taking off from my neighbour’s roof and flying directly at me:

Canon 60D, 225mm, f/5, 1/8000 second, ISO 6400

In general, when photographing garden birds I use a zoom lens, and just sit quietly and wait for the shots to come to me.