IT is fun photographing people, but if you are taking portraits of your family, it gets a bit distracting if the subject talks too much. Comments like ''I don't want my picture taken - I haven't done my hair'' or ''Make sure you get my best side'' or simply ''Don't take too long about it'' can distract the photographer and reduce your chances of producing a photographic masterpiece. So why don't you try photographing birds in Hongkong for a change? They are just as much fun as people, and they don't answer back! You need a sturdy tripod and a cable release; a slow speed film for best resolution (100 ASA or less); any reliable 35 mm, camera with a good long focal length lens (say 300 mm or 400 mm) and a lenshood. But, above all, you need patience. Dress in dark-coloured clothes, wear soft shoes, move quietly and don't talk. When you find a suitable spot where the birds nest or feed or bathe, set up your tripod and camera in a nearby concealed spot and wait. Eventually patience will be rewarded with a lovely picture of the bird preening itself or bathing in a puddle. And while you are waiting for the right shot, you will be able to admire the feathers, markings and colours of the birds through your telephoto lens. Try starting with a common bird like a tree sparrow or a crested mynah or a Chinese bulbul. Whichever birds you choose, they won't care which side of their face you photograph and they won't answer back! Have fun!