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Mastering Bird Photography

The Art, Craft, and Technique of Photographing Birds and Their Behavior

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In Mastering Bird Photography: The Art, Craft, and Technique of Photographing Birds and Their Behavior, acclaimed bird photographer and author Marie Read shares techniques and stories behind her compelling images, offering fresh insights into making successful bird photographs, whether you’re out in the field or in the comfort of your...
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  • Print and eBook Bundle: $59.99
  • Print Book: $49.95
  • eBook: $39.99



Marie Read


340 pages


10 x 8in


Soft Cover - with flaps





  • Foreword by Tim Gallagher
  • Chapter 1: Getting Started in Bird Photography
  • Chapter 2: Equipment Essentials
  • Chapter 3: Focusing and Image Sharpness
  • Chapter 4: Getting Close
  • Chapter 5: Seeing the Light
  • Chapter 6: Exposure
  • Chapter 7: Composition Basics
  • Chapter 8: Capturing Bird Behavior
  • Chapter 9: Beauty Close to Home
  • Chapter 10: On the Wing
  • Chapter 11: The Big Picture
  • Chapter 12: Weather, Water, and Mood
  • Chapter 13: Shooting Outside the Box
  • Chapter 14: Basic Image Editing
  • Chapter 15: Bird Photography Hotspots
  • Chapter 16: Whats Next?

20 reviews for Mastering Bird Photography

  1. Well, birds are my favorite subject for portraits, so to say I eagerly awaited this book’s release is an understatement :-). And to cut to the chase, this book is the best bird photography book I’ve read to date — really. The author’s passion for birds comes through in the book’s introduction which bodes well — always helpful to photograph what you love. Not to mention that one of the very first photos is of two puffins touching beak-to-beak in an apparently affectionate way. Wow! The author humbly notes that luck had a lot to do with that particular shot. I love that for every photograph she gives not only the camera settings, but the equipment she used. Quite helpful! I noticed that she used flash on a photo of a duck in one of the first pics in the book and I’m eager to read later in the book how that works.

    I found very useful her advice on how to find out where birds are at a particular time. She gives website and other information on how to find out where the birds are when you want to photograph them. I much appreciate the time she spent explaining the strategy behind the autofocus system for photographing birds! It’s a complicated topic and she did a good job. I also heartedly agree with her recommendation to use back-button focus. Time well spent is the time the author describes for us how to stalk the birds, how to move so that you don’t frighten them and can get good pics. She also talks about types of blinds we can use to get closer. I didn’t even know there were types!

    Later in the book she discusses using fill flash to shoot birds and it’s one of the more helpful ways I’ve seen it discussed. In that section she points out that one reason to use flash is, if a bird has white feathers, it’s a much cleaner, brighter, more detailed result. So, now I think I’ll have to try it. She includes tips, among them head angles to look for in shooting a bird portrait, and I can say I have never seen that in another bird photography book. Especially her distinction between birds with binocular vision and those without because the angle you’re looking for differs accordingly. Who knew? I tend to shoot many of my birds in my own backyard so I appreciate her advice on how to attract birds as well as how to shoot ‘em.

    Of course any book and bird photography must have a section on capturing birds in flight but hers is especially informative. She explains how to configure the automatic focus system for flight pics and does it for Canon and for Nikkon. She also does quite a long section on pre-focusing which I haven’t seen before-usually it’s just a paragraph or two. Yay!

    At the end of the book she gives us a very welcome chapter on “ Bord photography hotspots“. She talks generally about where to find birds as well as giving many specific locations across the country. Got to make my travel plans!

    Again, after finishing the book, this is so far the best book I have read on bird photography. I look forward to reading other books by Marie Read.

  2. (verified owner)

    I bought the E Book this evening – couldn’t wait to get to reading it – can’t quite put it down – love, love, love all the spectacular images and explanations of how to do it! Great information and learning tool! Thanks!!

  3. (verified owner)

    Marie, what a gift you’ve given bird photographers with your new book, “Mastering the Art of Bird Photography”. Purchased the e-book and pre-ordered the hard copy from Rocky Nook using their discount code. After skimming through the e-copy, can’t believe the amount of information that’s in the book. There’s nothing like it out there, and I know, I have just about every book published on bird photography. The photos are gorgeous! Bird photographers would be foolish not to do themselves a favor and buy this book!

  4. (verified owner)

    Some of the images in this book are really beautiful, but I have to say most of them are just so stunning that you will find yourself exclaiming out loud, so don’t try to read this in a public place unless you are prepared to share it. This book provides so much information from start to finish and will definitely give new and aspiring bird photographers a solid grounding in all aspects of the craft, from where to go to get the shots, how to shoot, what to shoot, what to consider in composing images, and what to do with the images afterward. More experienced photographers will benefit as well and greatly appreciate understanding Marie’s approach and techniques because after seeing her images, you will certainly want to be doing whatever she is doing. I can’t wait to purchase the actual book so I can flip through it whenever I need refreshing or inspiration. Thank you, Marie, for sharing your amazing talent with us and doing it in such a beautiful, thorough and easy to read way.

  5. (verified owner)

    Whether you’re new to bird photography or have been at it for a while you are sure to find something in Marie’s book that will help your work. She discusses equipment needs, how to find hotspots and get close to birds, camera exposure and composition techniques, bird habitat and behavior, and image editing, and on and on. And before you think that this might be a dry technical read think again. Marie presents the material in a very enjoyable to read and easy to comprehend manner. She also has included many outstanding photographs to illustrate and explain her points. Highly recommended!

  6. (verified owner)

    The book is gold. Loaded with valuable information and no filler.

    I like Marie’s writing style and her photos are inspirational. It’s probably one of my favorite photography books.

  7. (verified owner)

    This book…this awesome, talented lady! If you are serious in bringing your wildlife photography (or any subject for that matter) to the next level, this book is beyond amazing not only in being a feast for your eyes with Marie’s stunning photos, but the educational, instructional, and philosophical content is unmatched in quality and usefulness. This is by far the best book on photography I have read. I could write a book on just how wonderful this book is! Buy it!

  8. (verified owner)

    I bought the e-book and the hard copy edition. I read the e-book as soon as I bought it and was amazed at the range of topics Mary covered; and she covered them so well. Today I received the hard copy. The print quality and finish is impeccable. This book is a gold-standard for bird photography. Hands down.

  9. (verified owner)

    Of the many photography books I have read over several decades, Marie Read’s “Mastering Bird Photography” stands out from them all. She brings a clarity and depth of detail to the subject, energizes it with her passion, illustrates it with uniquely beautiful images, and draws the reader into her thoughtful and analytic approach to both simple and challenging situations. The more technical concepts are explained in the manner of a master teacher, accessible to the novice, yet admired by the experienced who wish they could have explained things as well. I recommend this book to photographers of all levels and interests, and I have no doubt that many will be inspired to expand their work in this fascinating area that connects our art and craft to the wonders and spirituality of nature.

  10. (verified owner)

    I was really looking forward to receiving the book, but I sure didn’t expect it to be as good as it is! It is loaded with gorgeous photos! Even though I haven’t had time to read it all, (I’ve had it two days.) I am thrilled with all the useful information. Her writing is very professional, but also very personal! My future experiences and efforts to get good bird shots will be much more rewarding!

  11. (verified owner)

    The photos in this book are incredibly beautiful. It is written in first person and personal manner, which makes it so much easier to read and understand than many other books that I have purchased. I love that each of the photos demonstrate the concepts that the author is explaining. She gives a lot of tips and tricks within the book. I find the personal nature and quality of the photos mesmerizing and can’t wait to spend some time reading this more in depth! Great read and a definite must have!

  12. (verified owner)

    Yet another superb book from rockynook. I already own ‘The Handbook Of Bird Photography’ which is a brilliant book but i think that ‘Mastering Bird Photography’ is as good if not better. Marie Read has produced an informative tome full of excellent photographs. She covers everything you need to know to enable you to improve your bird photography. The images are well captioned and beautifully reproduced in this book. I heartily recommend this book to all bird and wildlife photgraphers. Well done Marie Read and well done rockynook.

  13. (verified owner)

    The exceptional photographs in this book alone are well worth its price. When you add the text and instructional material its value greatly increases. The book contains tons of useful and detailed information and explanation. The captions on the photos all include camera type, settings and location of the shot. Even though her expertise is centered around canon an nikon and I use Olympus, it is not difficult to make adjustments using the Olympus menu system particularly the ability to adjust the sensitivity of the auto focus for capturing images of birds in flight. Another recurring topic is in describing composition techniques as related to birds which improves the quality of the photo. This is another gem from rockynook. And like the camera guide to the Em1-II, this book will not be buried on the shelf but will be used regularly as a reference book

  14. This is, without a doubt, the best book on bird photography I have ever read.

    Marie Read is an accomplished author but more important she is an accomplished photographer and storyteller. This publication is expertly presented in its composition, layout and imagery.

    I have spent a quarter of a century photographing wildlife and birds in their natural habitat and I learned a lot from Marie Read. This is a MUST book for any photographer’s library, just make sure you read it from cover to cover!

  15. (verified owner)

    I’ve been following Marie’s photography for some time and she is always so helpful with providing information about her techniques and settings. Therefore, when her book came out, I knew immediately it would be just as informative. As other reviewers have mentioned, it’s hard to put this book down. Marie shares a wealth of tips without overwhelming the reader. You feel as if you are sitting with your best photographer friend and you are sharing all your favorite gear and settings. I’ve been a hobbyist photographer since I was a child but in the past five years, I’ve avidly pursued my passion of photography, especially birds. My love of birds was encouraged when my mother put Maynard Reese photos in the window panes for me. Today I have Marie Read! Thank you, Marie, for an amazing book!

  16. (verified owner)

    This is the book you want if you are into photographing birds! I always buy both the hard cover and digital editions. Using PDF Expert i can easily highlight sections of the book for reference, while also using the hard cover edition for reference when needed, as I am old school too – I love to hold a book and read it.

    Marie is a great writer and this book truly showcases her abilities to instruct and provides numerous fantastic photos to illustrate what she is teaching. it’s one of the best “bird” books I’ve got. A great investment of my time. It’s worth of every penny I paid for it!

    The book itself is really nicely produced – Rocky Nook is top notch when it comes to this – every one of their books that I have are of the highest quality printing and paper. The company itself is quick to respond – when buying the digital edition, once payment is made you receive links to download immediately. It can’t be any better than that. The hard cover editions are sent shortly thereafter and are packaged properly for shipment to eliminate any damage to the book.

  17. Beautiful book and very well illustrated!
    This book is beautifully illustrated and has a great binding with front and rear flaps to mark your place. This a huge comprehensive book that covers all aspects of bird photography. The author is an award-winning birder and her photos demonstrate that she really knows her birds.
    The chapters in the book are broken up by topics such as equipment, focus, hotspots, weather and shooting close to home. While you could read cover to cover, the book is set up to read chapters in the order that fits your experience.
    My favorite chapter was the one on capturing bird behavior. If you are knowledgeable about birds and their behavior, it will help you to anticipate what they are going to do next. Bird photography is one of the more difficult types of photography and you really must understand your camera, its’ focus and how to use it on a fast-moving subject. The author gives tons of tips and shortcuts. Another cool chapter is on bird hot-spots and some of the best places to find different birds.
    I wish that I would have had this book fifteen years ago as it would have saved me tons of time and blurry images. It is geared toward beginner to intermediate photographer, but I think almost everyone could learn something from it.
    Highly recommend!

  18. (verified owner)

    Beautiful book and incredible work.
    All the images are of the highest quality
    Everything you need to know about Birds photography
    Highly recommended

  19. (verified owner)

    As others have already summarized the contents of this book, I shall be succinct.

    If you have ever tried photographing birds, you KNOW it isn’t an intuitive process. This book is worth every penny given the plethora of advice you’ll find within.

  20. (verified owner)

    I have a lot of photography books and have taken a lot of bird photos, and lots of bird in flight photographs. Some of them I am very pleased with. So did I need yet another book telling me how to take bird photographs? I thought not but read a review saying how good the book is. I bought the book. It really is that good and covers just about everything. If you have a great camera and lens and access to wonderful birds, this is the book for you. If you have a not so good camera and lens and access to ordinary birds, this is the book for you. If you take photos in camera, this is the book for you. If you do a lot of post processing, this is the book for you. The book explains how the settings work on your camera. The book explains which settings are best for which type of photograph. A book cannot make you a great bird photographer, but this one certainly helps. By a long way the best bird photographer book I have seen.

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