How To Photograph Water Birds Near the Shoreline

9 July 2014 At Your Leisure

Heron and Loon

It isn’t easy to take great pictures of shorebirds, waterfowl, and water birds at the cottage. Photographers need patience, a sound strategy, and a bit of luck to get the best images of herons, loons, geese, ducks and other birds that frequent the cabin shoreline.

Photo techniques for water birds along the shoreline

A number of birds spend their feeding time searching for fish, frogs, and insects along the shoreline near the cottage.  These birds tend to be skittish and a well-planned approach is needed to get the best pictures.

Follow the following tricks to get great photos of water birds at the cabin.

1. Plan the photo
Great blue herons often return to a particular spot to feed at the same time each day.  Once you know a bird’s schedule, you can test a number of vantage points to get the best shot.

Ducks, geese, loons and other waterfowl with babies will move around depending on the availability of food and access to shoreline cover for the young ones. These water birds also make their rounds on a certain schedule.

The ideal time to take the photo is early in the morning or later in the day when the sun offers the best chance to catch some of the bird’s beautiful colours.

2. Go ground level
Getting great photos from the dock is certainly possible and definitely a more appealing strategy. Lying on the ground, however, will often produce the best photo, but the technique will also be the most uncomfortable.  Battling the insects could be the biggest challenge.

3. Use a canoe
Sometimes you need to be out on the water to get close enough for that ideal shot of a mother loon and her young ones. A canoe is a great option for stealth. It is also easy to park in the middle of the weeds while waiting for the birds to arrive.

4. Be prepared to wait
Once in position, you may have to wait for a long time.  Pack a snack, wear the proper clothing, and bring protective cover for the camera in case it starts to rain.

5. Use a tripod for stability
Stability is the key to getting a great shot. You probably have to use a long zoom lens so any movement of the camera will compromise the photo. If a tripod isn’t handy, look for a rock or a log to stabilize the camera.

Go to the Hummingbird Photo Techniques page.

Go to the Wildflower Photo Techniques page.

Go to the Beginner Photo Equipment Tips page.