Book Review – Alan Murphy’s Songbird Setup Guide

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Making good image of songbirds is probably one of the hardest things to do in bird photography. Considering the size and natural habitat of these birds it is pretty hard to get them on clean backgrounds with interesting perches. Living in Florida and spending majority of my time on wading and shore birds, I often overlooked these little birds with pre-conceived notion that they are hard to photograph and requires lot more time and effort. After reading Alan Murphy’s book and 5 full days of song bird setup photography I changed my opinion and now looking for another opportunity to revisit South Texas.

I first saw Alan Murphy’s work on naturescapes.net in mid 2006. Since then every song bird image he produced was both artistically and technically perfect in my opinion. I have never seen an “OK” or “So-So” image from Alan and I hope someday I can meet his standards. When I decided to take a trip to South Texas last year first thing I did was purchasing Alan’s book and studying it. From my experience it is a valuable resource in song bird photography and played a key role in making my South Texas trip productive.

What I really like about this book is it is simple, real practical and “Step-by-Step” instruction guide. It does not take much time to understand the content and putting it into practical use. This book covers how to setup perches efficiently using tools available in local hardware store. All it took for me was a trip Lowes and couple of test runs in my living room before the trip to make sure setups were complete and ready.

Another key element I noticed in the field was attracting the birds to setups and controlling their approach and direction. This book provided lots of useful info on baiting birds, perch setup and access control to make birds sit on pre-defined location on the perch.

In few words a real practical guide to song bird photography as described and authored by one of the best avian photographers I have seen. Thanks to Alan for such a wonderful resource.

You can purchase the E-book(download) from AlanMurphyphotography.com

PS: Click on the image below for more images from South Texas on my 500px.

3 comments


  • Nice review Sid. I too like Alan’s work. The only detraction for me is the perches. Many are good but some look like they come out of a florist’s shop and do not make botanical sense to me. Some more attention to this aspect and we would have close to perfection.

    June 21, 2012
    • John,

      Thanks for taking time and commenting. Perch setup is an art I would love to master someday. More practice I guess.

      June 27, 2012
  • Most birdwatchers, myself included, already own several bird guidebooks and bird song CDs. I’ll be using the DVD to test and refresh my ID skills before Spring comes around. And I like to have the no-narration slideshow section playing as background music and eye candy. The soundscape track takes you on an indoor field trip to different habitats dripping with birds (such as a marsh, forest and grassland) and is especially nice in Winter when the birds aren’t around.

    January 12, 2013

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