Posted by: photographytuition | April 7, 2012

How to Photograph Red Kites

I regularly go to Gigrin Farm Red Kite Feeding Station in mid Wales where you can see as many as 600 kites a day!

In the £4.50 hide at Gigrin Farm.

As fast shutter speeds are essential it’s vital to go on a sunny day.

Red Kite. Nikon D80 with Nikon 300mm f2.8G ED VR II. ISO 250, 1/3000 sec f4.

You can photograph the kites from a variety of hides. The basic hides with rather narrow views are £4.50 per person – these are perfectly good for a first time visit. The next hide up is the Gateway hide at £10 which gives you a much wider opening and so is easier to photograph the kites when they are overhead. The hides for the wealthy and ultra keen are the photography towers at £15 and £20. I’ve never tried these as I’ve always felt happy in the other hides.

Red Kite. Nikon D80 with 300mm f2.8. ISO 250, 1/3000 sec f4.

I’ve found the best lens to use on a DSLR is a 300mm lens – preferably a fixed focal length 300mm but a zoom lens is fine. Any longer than 300mm and it gets extremely difficult to follow the birds.

My method of photographing  any birds or animals is to get an idea of how they behave first – try to work out their movements and that way you can anticipate where they are going to go.

All kites are different! It’s best to pick a large, well-marked kite without a plastic wing tag. Follow this bird as it circles and try to anticipate when it’s going to be in a good position to photograph. A good position being when the light is on the wings so it’s not just a silhouette against the sky.

Red Kite. Nikon D80 with 300mm f2.8. ISO 250. 1/4000 sec f2.8.

When you follow the birds around you’ll notice that at some point they’ll dive for the food. The trick is to frame your bird so that it is always at the top of your viewfinder so when it dives it moves into the centre of the picture. This isn’t easy and everything happens very quickly.

Red Kite. Nikon D80 with 300mm f2.8. ISO 250, 1/4000 sec f2.8.

I must emphasise that any wildlife photography is quite tricky – don’t expect to get great results first time as it takes years and years of practise.

If you would like to contact me my email is 

Or if you are interested in learning more about photographing Red Kites or improving your photography skills generally take a look at



  1. Absolutely wonderful shots of the Red Kite. It looks like a great place to visit.

    • Thanks for your comment – it’s definately worth a visit.

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