For those of us that look forward to winter bird season or any bird season. I thought that I would give you some tips to make your shooting a little more productive and fun.
Before you get to your location set you lens on infinity. Many of your subjects will be either at or close to the infinity setting. There is no reason in having your lens focused on 5 feet. It will take way too long to go from 5 feet to infinity. Many times I will leave my lens on manual focus at infinity. I know that my subjects will be at that distance so why have the camera do any focusing.
Set your ISO to a higher setting. Don’t try to shoot a moving subject with a low ISO. Most times you will be getting blurry images. Better to get a sharp image and a little grainy, than a blurry image without grain. With newer cameras 1600 is actually pretty grain free and even 3200 is not hat bad.
If you are using a big lens, 300mm or above, then try shooting in Shutter Priority. Keeping the shutter speed above the lens maximum MM’s. (300mmlens use at least 1/300 of a second. Another trick is to use Aperture Priority and set your lens one or two stops slower than your lenses best aperture. For instance if you have a lens that is a F4 then shoot at F5.6 or F8. Each will give different results and only by trying will you find which one works for your style of photography. Also you can try using auto ISO in manual mode, I have seen some cool shots doing this.
Be patient. Some days will be very productive and others will be a wash so take it one day at a time.
Get comfortable for shooting. This is not a survival test. The other day was so cold I was on the ground with a thick sleeping bag & a heavy winter coat. I was nice and warm, maybe not a fashion statement but warm. I could have shot for several more hours but ran out of light.