This section is from the book "Complete Self-Instructing Library Of Practical Photography", by J. B. Schriever. Also available from Amazon: Complete Self-Instructing Library Of Practical Photography.
479. Especially during the late summer and fall, the camera user with a love for nature and natural history will find photographing sea birds a most fascinating branch of photography. If you have never tried it, you can understand nothing of the great amount of interest that is to be found in this pursuit, to say nothing of the health-giving and invigorating exercise which necessarily accompanies it.
480. In the first place, you will have to leave the seashore resort for that section of the coast seldom frequented by humanity. The lonely, but at the same time most interesting, districts along the cliffs and rocky coasts are where abounds your subject material, the birds.
Outfit For Photographing Sea Birds. It is not necessary to have special apparatus, although the telephoto lens, electric shutter, and various other appliances will come in very handy. The outfit possessed by the average amateur will answer every purpose for securing fairly good results. The first and most important item is to make yourself acquainted with the habits of the birds. The time spent in this study will not be wasted, nor will it be tiresome, even if you devote an entire season to it and do not expose a single plate. Make a point of ascertaining all you can about each variety of bird, its habits, its mode of feeding, and particularly the way and time it feeds its young. When you have obtained this knowledge you will be in possession of the most essential part of your equipment.
482. Careful stalking is another important item. Too much care cannot be taken in approaching any wild bird, more particularly those of a shy nature. As the bird's sense of hearing is most acute, be very careful and make just as little noise as possible. Don't smoke, don't hurry and above all, don't show your head. If you are using a hand camera, keep it, as much as possible, between your head and the bird.
483. Successful stalking is not always a very pleasant occupation. It frequently necessitates a long, tedious amount of crawling on the ground - snakelike - and many times over extremely uneven surfaces, but a good picture at from 6 to 12 feet compensates for the discomfort entailed.
Tripod Camera. When working with a view camera it is well to keep the head under the focusing cloth, using the slit between the baseboard of the camera and ground-glass as a peep-hole. Care must be taken, however, when approaching the flock of birds in this manner that the tripod legs do not cause your downfall. It goes without saying, that a stumble under such conditions is most fatal to success, as it is almost sure to frighten a bird within 150 feet and perhaps endanger a whole day's work.
Practical Details. A 4 x 5 camera, or even a 3 1/4 x 4 1/4 instrument, is of good size to use on a bird stalking expedition, and the common, rapid rectilinear lens stopped to F. 8 or F. 11, with the shutter working at about l-25th of a second and the ordinary plate, will render good, satisfactory results.