I acquired my first camera at age 11, and was a semi-pro freelance nature photographer from the late 70s to about 2005. I never considered myself a bird photographer as such, but I tried. After the world went from film to digital, I switched to a Canon Rebel for a while until I was outperformed by a tourist with a tablet. For a few years I used a Lumix Panasonic, then two years ago I switched to a mirrorless Canon G3X, with a built in 24mm to 600mm zoom lens and, crucially, a one inch sensor. It can be zoomed up to 50X with acceptable quality. The whole unit weighs under 2 pounds and that is what I continue to use today. A reflex camera with a quality long lens will get you greater detail, but price and the weight are a deterrent for many.
(Editor’s note – Remember to click on images to enlarge them and experience the full attraction of Adrian’s images).
Photo #1 In summer, southbound Semipalmated Plovers huddle near beach debris on Long Beach to hide from aerial predators. A long lens gives us a view we don’t often get in the field. Canon G3X
Photo #2 This Marbled Godwit was photographed at Long Beach in late April. With birds, the most challenging aspect, usually, is getting close enough for an intimate shot. Canon G3X
Photo #3 Western Sandpipers at Jensen’s Bay, Tofino in early May of 2009. This picture is a reminder that not all bird photos need to be intimate, and that sometimes the background scenery plays an important role. Canon Rebel with 200 mm lens.
Photo #4 To get a closeup of this Long-billed Dowitcher I waded into a shallow pond among several feeding birds and with patience they forgot all about my presence. This one approached to within 8 feet of me. Panasonic Lumix DMC-F270.
Photo #5 Rarely do we get to see the full range of colours of the male Violet-green Swallow. This male was perched at eyel-level in full sunlight. The photo was taken at the Long Beach Airport. Panasonic Lumix DMC-F270.
Photo #6 The Black-bellied Plover in full breeding plumage is an undeniably handsome bird. A plain and uniform background without distractions enhances the image. It was taken in late April at Long Beach. Canon G3X.
Photo #7 A flock of Sanderlings photographed in mid-April on the south end of Vargas Island near Tofino. This photo depicts the classic behaviour of Sanderlings running before the incoming wave. Canon Rebel with a 200mm lens.
Photo #8 Photographers sometimes forget that even the most common birds can provide us with great shots. Look how handsome this Common Raven is. Canon G3X.
Photo #9 Not quite a perfect shot, but the uniform background in a similar hue as the bird enhances the photo of this Cedar Waxwing. This bird was shot at the Long Beach Golf Course. Canon G3X.
Photo #10 A flock of Surfbirds flies low over breaking surf at Long Beach on 1 January, 2008. More than anything, this photo depicts the bird’s habitat taken at a time of interesting light. Canon Rebel with 200 mm lens.
Photo #11 A Baird’s Sandpiper stretches its wing as if to demonstrate how long it is. Shorebirds have been my favourite subject of late. I prefer to photograph them from ground level. Staying low is also the best way to approach them without causing alarm. Canon G3X.
Photo #12 This Lapland Longspur in full breeding plumage spent a week in the vicinity of Long Beach in May of 2019, allowing for a number of photo opportunities . Although it could be argued that the Yellow Monkey-Flowers distract from the bird, I nevertheless find the image pleasing and compelling.
Editor’s Note: Adrian’s highly recommended book The Birds of Vancouver Island’s West Coast was published in April 2018.