Photo of the Week – Go away now, bird, go away!

Posted on Sat June 18, 2016.

This fantastic image of a go-away bird was taken from the sunken bird hides at Indlovu, by our guest Margie Botha. Capturing birds can be a tricky business, which is certainly made much easier by t the hides at Indlovu being sunken beneath ground level.  This creates the opportunity to get very close to the birds, and capture them at a unique angle.

Even so, to assist the continual process of optimising your birding photography, here are a few recommendations, by Nasim Mansurov:

  1. Shoot at high shutter speeds of 1/800 and above to freeze the bird. For birds that are not being active, you can use slower shutter speeds of 1/250-1/800 and lower ISO for better image quality.
  2. Always focus on the nearest (to the viewer) eye of the bird. It is acceptable to have a blurred tail or other parts of the bird, but at least one eye always needs to be in focus and sharp.
  3. Choose your background carefully to achieve a smooth bokeh.
  4. Be patient and wait for the bird to act naturally.
  5. Shoot lots of images. I typically shoot a single image first, then take a look and make sure that the images are sharp and in focus. If everything looks good, I will shoot the bird in bursts of 5-10 frames at a time. Having a fast camera that can handle 5-6 frames per second is very helpful. I then go through hundreds or sometimes even thousand of pictures at home and delete the images that I do not want.
  6. Try to position yourself with your back towards the sun. Sometimes having the sun to the far left or right is OK, but having it behind you will give you the best light.
  7. Shoot either early in the morning or closer to the evening. You will find that early morning or later afternoon provides the best opportunities, because the birds are hungry and are looking for food. I personally prefer to shoot early in the morning – that’s when the birds are most active.

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For more information on our sunken hides and Photographic Safaris at Indlovu, please click here, or contact Louisa at:

Lodge: +27 (0) 15 383 9918 or email: reservations@irl.co.za