LOW ANGLE BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY BY EVAN LIPTON
There is one rule of bird photography that I almost always follow when dealing with a bird on the ground or in the water. This rule is to get down as low as you can, often creating an eye to eye view of your subject. I tend to get low enough so that I can still see the feet of the bird (if they are visible). It is often easy to get too low and cut off your subjects feet, especially when photogra- phing sandpipers on a beach.
This one simple rule can turn an ok picture into an artistic statement. It works well for long lenses, but sometimes works even better for short lenses. If you have a trusting bird, try getting as close as you can with your camera at the level of the subject and take your picture, making sure you have aquired focus on the bird. This can make a great shot, with a close bird in a setting which includes the entire background. Remember to be on the lookout for a stressed bird, it is always better to let a trusting bird make it's way towards you as opposed to vice-versa.
A Virginia Rail comes in close, offering some great eye contact in an eye to eye portrait. Leaving so much room to the right of the bird gives the subject room to breathe and allows for some context with the grasses. Low morning sun provides the perfect amount of saturation.
A drake Wood Duck rests on the ice of Leverett Pond in Brookline during a bout of freezing temperatures. Getting low for this shot was as easy as lying flat on the ice to get the dark band of the edge of the pond in the picture.