Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Bird on Stick (BOS)

by Dale Neill

Along with the most famous of all boring images - red roses in middle of frame and sunsets with no foreground and a burnt out yellow ball along comes the categories of most boring wildlife shots - the infamous 'Bird on Stick' (BOS) shots.

The point here is that ANYBODY can photograph a Bird on Stick (like a stuffed bird). Not many people can successfully photograph a bird in action.

Bird on Stick images remind me of Donald Trump. He said 'Sometimes your best investments are the ones you don't make'. Sometimes the best decision in bird photography is not to press the shutter.

So many big game shooters, armed with 400mm lenses and 5FPS cameras feel so proud of shooting a BOS. Unfortunately, they become so common place that they drive judges to drink.

So lets examine the most boring bird shots and give them a score adjustment. So whatever score is given for the image, the adjustment is then made.


  • Bird on Stick (BOS)     -5
  • Bird on Rock (BOR)    -4
  • Bird on Water (BOW)  -3 
  • Bird in Nest (BIN)         0
  • Bird in Flight (BIF)       +1
  • Two Birds in Flight (2BIF)   +2
  • Two birds in Foreplay (2B4P) +3
  • Two Birds Mating (2BM)   +4
  • Bird in Flight with food in beak (BIFWF) +2
  • Adult Bird feeding Young (ABFY) +3

Perhaps, when you are on your next bird shooting expedition and you see the classic 'BOS' you may think twice and pursue something a little more adventurous.

Learn how to use the creative and manual controls on your camera in Dale Neill's UWA Intermediate Digital workshop. Also, during this class Dale gets you to do a night shoot, learning how to photograph lightning and fireworks (but definitely no BOS's!!!).

Thanks to Peter Lambert and Nye Evans for inspiring me to write about BOS!


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