Bird photography ethic
You are wildlife photographers or naturalists? Please behave like ones, and respect nature and its wild inhabitants. Each species has its unique behaviour, which distinguishes it to a higher or lower extent from any other species. Act as professionals and make yourself familiar with what can be expected. Be good to nature and do not forget that others after you will also want to take photos of the same bird species.
The good photograph is not only a result of a good photographic technique, heavy tele lenses and a fast camera. Very often the in-depth knowledge of the species’ behavior is of crucial importance for achieving the ‘perfect shot’. Knowing their behavior could allow us to approach the animals closer without disturbing them. This could also help us choose or predict where the bird would perch (which branch or stick), what direction it will take upon danger, where to locate ourselves for a better background and so on.
Remember that shooting ‘at any cost’ most often does not lead to the desired result. In these cases, the position of the bird looks anxious, it behaves unnaturally and in the worst-case scenario we can scare it so seriously, that it leaves the nest and abandons the eggs or fledglings. Do not forget that birds are wild creatures which take care of their offspring, protect themselves from predators, forage or drink in order to survive, while we are there to take photos only for our own pleasure or money!
General rules and guidelines for taking photos of wildlife in Bulgaria
- Avoid taking photos in an immediate vicinity of nests. Exceptions to this rule exist only if there is a hide, which the birds have accepted and are used to the presence of people. You can inform yourselves about this at the start of your tour or from your tour guide.
- If you notice injured birds, fledglings fallen under the nest or a damaged nest, inform immediately your guide or the tour manager.
- If the birds demonstrate that they are uncomfortable with your presence, move further and use a higher magnification lens.
- When using a tent-type hide, find a moment when the birds are not in the area and put the hide in the chosen place a few hours before using it, to allow the birds to get accustomed to its presence. Waiting in the tent during a long hot day is boring and tough, but in this way you guarantee yourselves that when the light becomes appropriate, the birds will be calm and will perch more often in front of you and most importantly – will behave naturally!
- When taking photos of anxious and suspicious species, it is advisable to go inside the hide in the dark before sunrise, not to stress the birds in the daylight while you are opening up the tent or making noise. In this way you secure yourselves longer time for photos and the birds are calmer.
- If you find out that someone has already taken the photo position you have previously chosen, do not approach to ask who he or she is, or if their session is successful or not. Doing so you can ruin someone’s preparations, which have taken days.
- When your tent has been in a position for a while, do not move it during the session if you change your mind regarding the chosen position. If you move it you will inevitably stress the birds, and they will not come to perch in front of you for a long time. From the tent we usually do not have visibility and often cannot see if the bird is on the tree behind us and is just a matter of time for it to perch in front of us.
- Do not go out of the hide during the session. The birds associate your presence with a threat and they will not come back any time soon.
- Avoid talking aloud in the hide, pointing with your hands, and moving too much.
- Visit the toilet before going in the hide.
- When taking photos of plants, do not pick up or damage them in order to arrange them in a different environment or a studio. Many plant species are protected and/or very rare.