Kathrin Swoboda

Animal & Wildlife | Last Updated: January 5, 2021

Hello, I am Kathrin Swoboda. I love to photograph all wildlife, but birds are my favorite subjects.

I started photography about 8 years ago, in my backyard in Virginia where I can photograph hummingbirds, bluebirds, woodpeckers, among a large variety of birds.

Since winning the 2019 Audubon Grand Prize, I have started a photography business. I sell my work on my website and at local exhibitions.

I have always used Nikon, and I am a huge fan of my reliable Nikon D500. This camera shoots at 10 frames per second with a fantastic buffer, so I can always follow the action.

I also love the Nikon D850, which focuses fast and has a high-resolution full-frame sensor. The D850 excels in flight photography. I use it when I work from a blind.

I prefer Sony 120GB G Series XQD memory cards because they are fast and reliable.

My favorite lens is the Nikon 500mm f/5.6. It only weighs 3 pounds and is sharp and fast. I also use the Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6, which is a very versatile zoom lens – and sharp, too.

I go for my Nikon 300mm f/4 lens when I need close-focusing capability. The 300mm lens is usually paired with my Nikon TC-14E II teleconverter.

Finally, my Nikon 70-200mm f/4 lens is sharp, light, and perfect for capturing environmental shots and larger animals.

My lightweight camera tripod is the Gitzo GT3541L with the Wimberley WH-200S Sidemount, which allows excellent stability and control to photograph birds.

Even though my lenses are light and can be easily hand held, I usually try to take my tripod along.

I find that when I am anticipating a behavior, I am much more likely to be ready for the action. The birds are less alarmed when I don’t have to lift my lens. I can also answer the phone or sip my coffee while shooting with one hand.

At times, I use fill flash with the Nikon SB-700, which is easy to use and reliable. I use a Wimberley Combo 6 Sidekick flash bracket that attaches to the tripod foot of my lens and the Nikon SC-28 coiled remote cord to trigger the flash with my camera.

I use a Think Tank Airport International V2.0 which is a sturdy roller bag that fits my 2 cameras, 3 lenses, and more. It rolls easily and fits in the overhead of the plane.

I process on a 15.4-inch Macbook Pro with Touchbar via Adobe Lightroom Classic and Photoshop on a BenQ SW2700PT 27inch monitor. I use Topaz DeNoise AI and Skylum Intensify Pro presets.

I travel with Seagate 4TB Backup Plus and I use an OWC Thunderbay 4 16TB Four-Bay Thunderbolt RAID Array at home to store all of my photos. I back up with Backblaze cloud storage.

Wildlife photography is rewarding and fun. My approach is to scout and plan in order to be ready for the shot. My photography goal is to capture animal behavior that otherwise might be missed by the naked eye.

www.KathrinSwobodaPhotography.com | @novanature

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  1. Carter Elbon on July 8, 2021 at 1:53 pm

    I do like the Vaping Black Birds. The time it took, let alone the correct moment to get the condensed breath with the back lighting. Many see a beautiful photo but few realize the needed set up, the time waiting to get that one moment.

    Well done.

    Carter Elbon

  2. enri on April 18, 2021 at 12:32 am

    Total fan of your photographs . You can see the soul, happiness and worries of the beautiful life forms.

  3. Barbara Ferrini on March 6, 2021 at 5:58 pm

    Thank you for sharing this. Bird photography isn‘t for me but I admire your work and was wondering how much I would have to invest to try my hand at taking pictures of my local birds

  4. Jesse Taylor on January 12, 2021 at 8:51 am

    Very nice photos. Thank you.

  5. Bob Beal on February 23, 2020 at 12:57 pm

    Kathrin, Thanks for sharing this info, good to know what tools an exceptional photographer such as yourself uses to capture such incredible images.

  6. Jim Fairchild on February 20, 2020 at 3:29 am

    I’m not a big fan of bird photography, but these photos are exquisite. I can see why you won the Audubon award.

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