An optimal situation when backyard birding is to have feeders on a high porch right below a tree line. My photo of a male cardinal (shown above) taken in Deep Creek Lake was the result of such circumstances.
I laugh when I remember my first attempt at backyard bird photography. I would always train my camera on the feeders and be totally oblivious to what was going on in the trees above.
One can definitely get some good photos in and around feeders, but as time went on, I became frustrated as the feeder hardware took up most of the photos.
Then one snowy morning I looked up to see a woodpecker working its way up a pine tree.
I realized, the bird really was not that much further away than the birds on the feeder and was within easy reach of my longest lens.
I like the look of the photo above because it captures the cardinal is in its own environment which should be the primary goal of all nature photos.
Another trick I have picked up just in the last few years is using the shady white balance setting on my camera when shooting under clouds or tree covered forests. It gives a little oomph, boost, to the colors in the photos, which in this case was particularly helpful for the cardinal’s red and the green in the leaves.