This time of year, when the temps begin to fall, I find myself struggling a little more with the desire to get out of the comfort of my bed and warm covers just to go and shoot. Too bad to because this is one of the best times to go.
Not only do you get great colors of the changing leaves here in New York (and many other places)…
but you also get migrating birds that are stopping over for a time before moving further south.
I have come to learn that some of these migratory birds will actually stay here for the winter and then move on. Besides these guys though, there are the usual suspects that are here all year and no less fun to photograph.
Where is the best place to find our fine feathered friends? For me, right here in New York City. Of all the parks here, Central Park is probably the best. It’s certainly the easiest. Many of the birds here you can get pretty close to which is really nice for the photographer who is on a tight budget and isn’t able to throw cash down on at $8000 lens!
Central Park has areas that offer great fall foliage to photograph as well. You just have to be willing to walk around and explore. Other areas to note here in the city for colors and migratory birds are Forest Park in Queens, Prospect Park in Brooklyn and New York Botanical Garden in Harlem. While these areas are easy for landscape photography they can be more challenging for bird photography. This is where that nice big lens comes in handy. What is the best focal length for birding? The 600mm lens is probably the most common but you could get by with a 400mm lens coupled with 1.4 extender. Of course, if you are shooting with an APS-C size sensor then that 400mm lens becomes the equivalent to a 600mm lens without an extender. You could save a ton of money by going with a 300mm lens and an extender with that size sensor and you’ll have plenty of reach as well.
Of course, you still have to get yourself out of bed despite temps in the 30’s, if you are hoping to get the colors or the birds! Don’t procrastinate though because the orange, red and yellows will be gone much fast than the those feathery flighty critters. Good luck shooting (photographing)!