Tip for Photographing Little Birds in Leafy Trees


I photographed this White-Eyed Vireo this weekend on the Alligator Alley trail of the Circle B Bar Reserve. I used fill flash to illuminate him deep within a tree.

I recently started training myself to use a new technique for focusing on these little birds who love to flit in and out of small trees. Using autofocus can be challenging, as the camera often chooses the leaf or branch in front of the bird as its autofocus point, leaving the bird nice and fuzzy in the shot. I set up my Canon 7D camera to allow me to push the * button to freeze the focus. Now I get the focus where I want it, then leave my thumb on the * button as I take my picture. Fewer fuzzy birds!It’s getting to be second nature to do this, although I suspect it’s easier on a tripod than if I was hand-holding.

Want to learn more about nature photography at Circle B Bar Reserve?

Check out my Circle B Bar Reserve page with more information about the location, map, website, photography tips, etc. It is archived by date so you can see my images from previous visits. Maybe you'll be inspired for your own trip!

Planning a trip to Florida? Don't miss my Central Florida Bird Photography Locations reference guide!