Exposure Tips for Bird Photography
- Using your spot meter while shooting birds is impractical. For example, when shooting a bird in flight, the sky will likely be the brightest part of the photograph, and getting the sky right may make the bird all wrong. And moving birds have a tendency not to care whether or not they are in the part of the frame where your spot meter is collecting data.
- Your main concern most of the time (shooting bird silhouettes is an obvious exception), you are far more concerned with making sure the bird is properly exposed than you are with the bird's surroundings. And birds often do not stay put for you; you must make adjustments quickly, it must become intuitive as you're preparing to shoot.
The most challenging thing for me in this setup is remembering to put my exposure compensation back to its "home" position. I can't tell you how many times I've set my exposure compensation for a dark bird and then forgotten to put it back. When the next Great Egret flies by I over expose him. So when you finish shooting one bird, make sure you put your exposure compensation dial back where it belongs.