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Photography Question 
Kathy J. Cooper

Photographing Farm Birds

I have a friend who cares for ornamental birds: pheasants, chickens, etc. He would like me to take some pictures of them. I'd appreciate any and all tips, as I've never tried anything like this before. I'm assuming that they are in pens and that I'll be outside the pen (hope so, anyway!!). I used to know how to make the cage wire "disappear" but not sure anymore how that was done. It was an f-stop setting I'm sure - but larger or smaller? Any ideas? Thank you.

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3/9/2005 3:27:11 PM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/18/2000
  The things that will make the fencing less apparent are:
Getting closer to the fencing. Using a wider aperture. Using a longer focal length.

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3/10/2005 6:31:12 AM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
  I'm seeing how this Google advertising thing works. At this moment, above the question, there's an ad for "McMurray Hatchery", "Game Bird Farm and Hatchery", "Raising Chickens", and "The Hidden Lives of Chickens".

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3/10/2005 9:20:18 AM

Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/17/2003
  On small enclosures, getting the front fence to disappear is easier than the one behind the birds. Since you are being asked to take the photos, your friend probably won't mind you hanging some kind of material over the fence in the background. Follow Jon C's advice to throw the front one out of focus. If done properly, it should look like a slight overall softening ... barely discernible.

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3/11/2005 2:24:53 AM

Robert Hambley
I might be overstating an obvious solution. Since the owner is asking you to photograph his birds, you might be able have them removed from the cages altogether and photograph them in a "staging" area. This might give you more options for shooting ... i.e., angles, lighting etc.
Ask him if he knows when the birds are more subdued - like mornings or evenings? Before or after meals? Then set up a place to photograph them away from the cage, when they are naturally inclined to just "sit" there.
Don't worry about the birds being loose with you; they will probably be much more afraid of you than you would be of them. But if they attack: Don't be afraid to use the tripod. (I knew there was a use for one.)
Good Luck,

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3/11/2005 9:57:48 AM

Sharon L. Weeks
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/4/2002
I spent a day at a farm shooting chickens and the best shots I got were while laying quietly on the ground ( in chicken doo) and letting the birds strut back and forth checking me out.
Am attaching a copy of one of the best - I think this ole gal had training! :)
You can see by the look on the goats that they were wondering!

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3/15/2005 12:02:17 PM

Sharon L. Weeks
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/4/2002

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3/15/2005 12:11:13 PM

Scott Pedersen   Here, take a tip from a farmer. Just set up inside the pen if you can. Phesant pens do have a top on them however. At least the ones my friends had did. Depending on how wild they are it might be possible to take one out and shoot up in the yard but lock up the dog! Also wear an old pair of jeans and bring along a different pair to put on when you are done. You will be working on your knees and well you know what birds leave in the grass. Geese can take after you so watch em! and have fun.

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3/16/2005 4:36:10 AM

Scott Pedersen   Say Kathy let me rephrase my post. Phesants have a top on the pen because they will fly away. You wont be able to take them out. The pens usually are four feet high on the sides and have mesh top that goes up higher in the middle. Sort of like a mesh tent. You will have to get on your knees inside (wear old jeans!) You should be able to hang a blanket or some kind of background in one spot on the inside of the pen. As the pens are built in a shaded area and you have that top additional lighting might be necessary. you could of course take the individual birds out and put them in a suitable confinement to photograph also. It will have to have a top. Never try to use a like a fishing line or similar to try and hobble them or restrict their movements. Chickens and turkeys are only capable of flight between the ground and roost. You could probobly take one up to a garden or nicer background to photograph. But dont expect them to cooperate and let them catch you. As a rule people have been raising phesants for the purpose of releasing them. (repopulation) I wouldnt encourage you to feed them bread scraps as that will make them dependat on humans. In fact its quite possible that there are half wild ones in the trees around the farmstead or even out in a pasture for you to photgraph. ask where this person releases them and go for a hike. Be advised that you can just about step on one before they will get up out in the brush. You will be startled. Sounds like you are going to have a fun photo shoot to me.

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3/16/2005 6:37:06 AM

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