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Shooting through a Window


Jill Morgan
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I have a lot of bird feeders outside my kitchen doors.  I have nice big windows on the doors I can shoot through, but if I try to put the camera right up against the glass, the birds fly away and don't come back.  If I back up, the window really causes issue in getting sharp images.

 

Is there a good way to shoot through glass without pressing right up against it?

 

Jill

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3 minutes ago, Jill Morgan said:

I have a lot of bird feeders outside my kitchen doors.  I have nice big windows on the doors I can shoot through, but if I try to put the camera right up against the glass, the birds fly away and don't come back.  If I back up, the window really causes issue in getting sharp images.

 

Is there a good way to shoot through glass without pressing right up against it?

 

Jill

A polarizer maybe and to put the camera positioned in advance?

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1 hour ago, Jill Morgan said:

I have a lot of bird feeders outside my kitchen doors.  I have nice big windows on the doors I can shoot through, but if I try to put the camera right up against the glass, the birds fly away and don't come back.  If I back up, the window really causes issue in getting sharp images.

 

Is there a good way to shoot through glass without pressing right up against it?

 

Jill

 

When I was photographing birds in my back patio (yard) at my first house, I found that being still and in shadows tended to be useful in getting bird photos.  Leaving the doors open and sitting in a dark room might be useful.  Birds down here are hypersensitive to barrels being pointed at them, so minimum movement was required.  Other solution might be to construct a blind with a camera port for one of the doors, but I've never tried that.  I only shoot through aquarium glass and that's with fish that are tame who don't spook from flash (there's lightening in nature, after all).

 

Larger birds like vultures seem to be less spooky, also birds on wires in areas with lots of pedestrian traffic.   Sitting in a shady space near the feeders and moving slightly closer each day might also be useful.

 

Hummingbirds tend to be the boldest of local birds, but require flash setups to stop the wings.   Pigeons and English sparrows are second for being easy to photograph.

 

I've gotten photographs of ravens back in the US by staying in my car but rolling down a window and bracing the camera against the window glass.   One Nicaraguan town had white winged doves as fat as pigeons who were quite easy to photograph.

 

Don't know what length of lens you have but up to 800mm seems to work without shooting through too much atmosphere.  600mm seems to be fairly much standard.   You still have to get close with small birds or be able to crop a lot.   My 300mm lenses on Micro 43rds was the same angle of view as a 600mm lens on 35 mm equivalent. 

 

Where I live now, three cats insure that I don't have any birds coming into the courtyard. I've seen occasionally Cinnamon Hummingbirds checking things out from over the space.

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3 minutes ago, Rebecca Ore said:

 

When I was photographing birds in my back patio (yard) at my first house, I found that being still and in shadows tended to be useful in getting bird photos.  Leaving the doors open and sitting in a dark room might be useful.  Birds down here are hypersensitive to barrels being pointed at them, so minimum movement was required.  Other solution might be to construct a blind with a camera port for one of the doors, but I've never tried that.  I only shoot through aquarium glass and that's with fish that are tame who don't spook from flash (there's lightening in nature, after all).

 

Larger birds like vultures seem to be less spooky, also birds on wires in areas with lots of pedestrian traffic.   Sitting in a shady space near the feeders and moving slightly closer each day might also be useful.

 

Hummingbirds tend to be the boldest of local birds, but require flash setups to stop the wings.   Pigeons and English sparrows are second for being easy to photograph.

 

I've gotten photographs of ravens back in the US by staying in my car but rolling down a window and bracing the camera against the window glass.   One Nicaraguan town had white winged doves as fat as pigeons who were quite easy to photograph.

 

Don't know what length of lens you have but up to 800mm seems to work without shooting through too much atmosphere.  600mm seems to be fairly much standard.   You still have to get close with small birds or be able to crop a lot.   My 300mm lenses on Micro 43rds was the same angle of view as a 600mm lens on 35 mm equivalent. 

 

Where I live now, three cats insure that I don't have any birds coming into the courtyard. I've seen occasionally Cinnamon Hummingbirds checking things out from over the space.

 

I use all these methods during the good weather.  I even keep bean bags in my van for resting my long lens on the car window.

 

But as it is winter here right now, and today is -14C, leaving the doors open is not an option.  I'd like some nice winter snow images with the Blue Jays, Goldfinches, Woodpeckers etc but my windows are in my way.  I may try putting it up against the window and using he wifi setting to use from my phone or tablet, but sometimes I want to catch them on the moment and I can't leave my camera and tripod blocking the door. It may be my only option however.

 

Jill

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In that cold, maybe an insulated door cover with a camera port, but that's not a cheap solution.  Another solution might be a white camouflage snow suit :).  I forget that things are far colder up there.  The suggestion to try a polarizer might be in order.  I've used them with flowers occasionally to remove sun reflecting off petals dimming the colors.  If you're moving the camera, my understanding is that the filter needs to be rotated, but check a more experienced source than me.  Another thing is to put a bare branch near the feeders where the birds might perch to check the feeders for enemies and rivals and focus on that and set up the polarizer and focus appropriately.   I found when I fed birds in the US that peanut butter and sunflower seeds were especially popular.   Here it's bananas. 

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33 minutes ago, Jill Morgan said:

 

I use all these methods during the good weather.  I even keep bean bags in my van for resting my long lens on the car window.

 

But as it is winter here right now, and today is -14C, leaving the doors open is not an option.  I'd like some nice winter snow images with the Blue Jays, Goldfinches, Woodpeckers etc but my windows are in my way.  I may try putting it up against the window and using he wifi setting to use from my phone or tablet, but sometimes I want to catch them on the moment and I can't leave my camera and tripod blocking the door. It may be my only option however.

 

Jill

Jill, the way I did it was this. I stood to the side of the door out of sight, and quietly inched the door open just enough to accommodate the lens. Once rhe door was cracked, I had to show some of my body to get the camera straight, but if I moved slow enough, it worked for the most part. I found birds feeding with snow on the ground, or actively snow coming down, we’re hungry enough to be more tolerant. My birds would actually be in a feeding frenzy while it was snowing. 
Yes, it was a cold blast coming through that 6 inch gap, but better than sitting all bundled up freezing on the patio.

This image of a female House Finch was taken exactly like this. She perched on one of my patio chair backs about 6 feet from my door.

BJNEY3.jpg
 

This one, taken same day on same chair after more snow. Fine Art America.Male House finch with use of a texture.

 

https://fineartamerica.com/featured/christmas-card-8-betty-larue.html

Edited by Betty LaRue
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If you have curtains, and I'm aware that not everyone does, could you close the curtains, poke the lens through the middle and clip the curtains with something like a clothes peg or other clip above and below the lens?

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3 hours ago, Jill Morgan said:

I have a lot of bird feeders outside my kitchen doors.  I have nice big windows on the doors I can shoot through, but if I try to put the camera right up against the glass, the birds fly away and don't come back.  If I back up, the window really causes issue in getting sharp images.

 

Is there a good way to shoot through glass without pressing right up against it?

 

Jill

 

Many many years ago I had an assignment from Nat Geo Books to photograph a family of peregrine falcons high up on an office building ledge, in Baltimore,  where they were nesting.  My only option was to shoot through the office building glass.  What we did was to cover the entire window with black paper (like seamless paper you can get at a photo store).  We then cut little "windows" flaps in the paper and the birds barely noticed me. 

 

I wish I had one of these back then.  I just had a small rubber lens shade, but it worked.

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