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Photographing birds in flight



 
 
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  #1  
Old April 1st 07, 07:28 AM posted to rec.photo.digital
jmc
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 125
Default Photographing birds in flight

I've finally purchased a longer lens for my XTi - the Canon 70-300mm DO
IS ISM. Nice lens, the shorter physical length is a lot more stable in
my small hands. I have been getting some very good pictures with this
lens, so I'm quite happy with it, despite the high cost.

I've been practicing taking pictures of birds in flight - raptors, for
the most part.

Not surprisingly, all of the ones taken with the sky as background, came
out with very dark birds. Also, for non-soaring birds, I'm finding it
very hard to follow them, and get decent pictures.

Is there a tutorial on the 'net somewheres that'll help me learn how to
take better bird action photos? How much do I compensate when the bird
is silhouetted against the sky?

Pictures where the bird's not silhouetted against the sky come out better:

http://www.photosig.com/go/photos/view?id=1959314

Thanks for any advice or information!

jmc
  #2  
Old April 1st 07, 09:19 AM posted to rec.photo.digital
Dennis Pogson
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 257
Default Photographing birds in flight

jmc wrote:
I've finally purchased a longer lens for my XTi - the Canon 70-300mm
DO IS ISM. Nice lens, the shorter physical length is a lot more
stable in my small hands. I have been getting some very good
pictures with this lens, so I'm quite happy with it, despite the high
cost.

I've been practicing taking pictures of birds in flight - raptors, for
the most part.

Not surprisingly, all of the ones taken with the sky as background,
came out with very dark birds. Also, for non-soaring birds, I'm
finding it very hard to follow them, and get decent pictures.

Is there a tutorial on the 'net somewheres that'll help me learn how
to take better bird action photos? How much do I compensate when the
bird is silhouetted against the sky?

Pictures where the bird's not silhouetted against the sky come out
better:

http://www.photosig.com/go/photos/view?id=1959314

Thanks for any advice or information!

jmc


Set the camera to manual and expose for the shadows, always assuming your
new lens has a big enough aperture to allow a fast shutter speed plus a
large aperture. You can take a spot reading on virtually anything with the
same or similar reflected light as the bird's feathers, even your hand.

This will stop the sky from affecting your exposures.


  #3  
Old April 1st 07, 04:12 PM posted to rec.photo.digital
Annika1980
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 4,898
Default Photographing birds in flight

On Apr 1, 2:28 am, jmc wrote:

I've been practicing taking pictures of birds in flight - raptors, for
the most part.

Not surprisingly, all of the ones taken with the sky as background, came
out with very dark birds. Also, for non-soaring birds, I'm finding it
very hard to follow them, and get decent pictures.

Is there a tutorial on the 'net somewheres that'll help me learn how to
take better bird action photos? How much do I compensate when the bird
is silhouetted against the sky?


I usually start at +1 stop Exposuire Compensation and work from there.
Shoot in RAW mode and you can usually bring the sky back to where you
want it if it looks too bright.

As for tracking the birds that is a bit more difficult. With small
fast birds it is almost impossible unless you manually pre-focus to a
certain distance.

  #4  
Old April 1st 07, 05:46 PM posted to rec.photo.digital
Ron Recer
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 61
Default Photographing birds in flight


"jmc" wrote in message
...
I've finally purchased a longer lens for my XTi - the Canon 70-300mm DO IS
ISM. Nice lens, the shorter physical length is a lot more stable in my
small hands. I have been getting some very good pictures with this lens,
so I'm quite happy with it, despite the high cost.

I've been practicing taking pictures of birds in flight - raptors, for the
most part.

Not surprisingly, all of the ones taken with the sky as background, came
out with very dark birds. Also, for non-soaring birds, I'm finding it
very hard to follow them, and get decent pictures.


I take a lot of photos of birds in flight using my 10D and Canon 100-400
f4.5-5.6L IS USM lens. I turn off the IS and set the camera for ISO 400, Av
usually at f8 but less if the light isn't sufficient for a shutter speed of
1/2000 of a second or faster (1/2500 is better), focus set for center point
and AI Servo, drive mode set for continuous, metering at partial (although I
often forget and leave it set on evaluative). I turn review off. Make sure
the sun is at your back if possible. I always shoot in the RAW mode and can
adjust dark images when using BreezeBrowser to convert the RAW image to a
TIFF file. I take a lot continuous frames (up to 9 at about 3 fps with my
10D) as long as I can keep the bird in the frame.

Then you take lots and lots of photos. If there are obstacles around you
will find that you often take the photo as the bird goes behind the post or
whatever. You will also get a lot of photos with only part of the bird in
the frame or perhaps the whole bird but it is in one corner of the frame.
At times the background will be in focus instead of the bird, because you
didn't keep the center focus point on the bird. Keep taking more and more
photos. The more you take the better you will get in following the flying
bird. The smaller the bird, generally the harder it will be to photograph
it in flight. Practice, practice, practice!

Ron

Is there a tutorial on the 'net somewheres that'll help me learn how to
take better bird action photos? How much do I compensate when the bird is
silhouetted against the sky?

Pictures where the bird's not silhouetted against the sky come out better:

http://www.photosig.com/go/photos/view?id=1959314

Thanks for any advice or information!

jmc



  #5  
Old April 1st 07, 07:03 PM posted to rec.photo.digital
Paul Mitchum
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 478
Default Photographing birds in flight

jmc wrote:

I've finally purchased a longer lens for my XTi - the Canon 70-300mm DO IS
ISM. Nice lens, the shorter physical length is a lot more stable in my
small hands. I have been getting some very good pictures with this lens,
so I'm quite happy with it, despite the high cost.

I've been practicing taking pictures of birds in flight - raptors, for the
most part.

Not surprisingly, all of the ones taken with the sky as background, came
out with very dark birds. Also, for non-soaring birds, I'm finding it
very hard to follow them, and get decent pictures.

Is there a tutorial on the 'net somewheres that'll help me learn how to
take better bird action photos? How much do I compensate when the bird is
silhouetted against the sky?


You don't want to compensate; you want to meter. Put your camera in
manual mode, find something to meter off, and then leave the exposure
settings alone. This way, you won't have to change any settings whether
you're shooting against the woods or against the gray-blue sky.

You could also try spot metering, if you're sure the bird is in the
center of the frame, but this will limit what you could shoot.

Pictures where the bird's not silhouetted against the sky come out better:

http://www.photosig.com/go/photos/view?id=1959314


Lovely.
  #6  
Old April 1st 07, 07:13 PM posted to rec.photo.digital
Ken Lucke
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 845
Default Photographing birds in flight

In article , jmc
wrote:

I've finally purchased a longer lens for my XTi - the Canon 70-300mm DO
IS ISM. Nice lens, the shorter physical length is a lot more stable in
my small hands. I have been getting some very good pictures with this
lens, so I'm quite happy with it, despite the high cost.

I've been practicing taking pictures of birds in flight - raptors, for
the most part.

Not surprisingly, all of the ones taken with the sky as background, came
out with very dark birds. Also, for non-soaring birds, I'm finding it
very hard to follow them, and get decent pictures.

Is there a tutorial on the 'net somewheres that'll help me learn how to
take better bird action photos? How much do I compensate when the bird
is silhouetted against the sky?


Try [some combination of] this: Make sure you are in evaluative
metering, using only one (usually the center) auto-focusing point, and
over-expose by a stop or so using your exposure compensation. Or set
to continuous shooting, set to auto-bracket by a stop or so, and shoot
three-shot bursts (you have to continue to follow through with the bird
even though the shutter may be blocking your viewfinder between shots).
You may have to boost the ISO to bring your shutter speed back up if it
becomes too slow. Also, (you probably realize this, but...) try get
into a position that you can shoot the birds when the sun is at your
back, so it's highlighting the birds, rather than cross- or back-
lighting them.

Pictures where the bird's not silhouetted against the sky come out better:

http://www.photosig.com/go/photos/view?id=1959314

Thanks for any advice or information!

jmc


--
You need only reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a
reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating
the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for
independence.
-- Charles A. Beard
  #7  
Old April 3rd 07, 05:12 AM posted to rec.photo.digital
Roger N. Clark (change username to rnclark)
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 1,818
Default Photographing birds in flight

Ken Lucke wrote:
In article , jmc
wrote:


I've finally purchased a longer lens for my XTi - the Canon 70-300mm DO
IS ISM. Nice lens, the shorter physical length is a lot more stable in
my small hands. I have been getting some very good pictures with this
lens, so I'm quite happy with it, despite the high cost.

I've been practicing taking pictures of birds in flight - raptors, for
the most part.

Not surprisingly, all of the ones taken with the sky as background, came
out with very dark birds. Also, for non-soaring birds, I'm finding it
very hard to follow them, and get decent pictures.

Is there a tutorial on the 'net somewheres that'll help me learn how to
take better bird action photos? How much do I compensate when the bird
is silhouetted against the sky?



Try [some combination of] this: Make sure you are in evaluative
metering, using only one (usually the center) auto-focusing point, and
over-expose by a stop or so using your exposure compensation. Or set
to continuous shooting, set to auto-bracket by a stop or so, and shoot
three-shot bursts (you have to continue to follow through with the bird
even though the shutter may be blocking your viewfinder between shots).
You may have to boost the ISO to bring your shutter speed back up if it
becomes too slow. Also, (you probably realize this, but...) try get
into a position that you can shoot the birds when the sun is at your
back, so it's highlighting the birds, rather than cross- or back-
lighting them.


I'll describe how I do things differently (this is my
strategy; yours make work best for you).

When following moving animals (birds or 4-legged critters)
the mere fact they are moving often means the light is changing.
Thus I do not like manual. I would rather use exposure compensation
to adapt to the situation. An example is an animal moving
between shade and sun, another is rising or setting sun where
light levels are changing fast.

Second, auto-bracketing, assuming 3 shots means only one is correctly
exposed. That means you have 2/3 chance of missing the peak
action.

Autofocus point should be set on the animals eye(s), not necessarily
the center (and in my style rarely the center) autofocus point.
(Exception: f/8 on pro bodies only focuses on the center AF point,
except maybe the new 1D Mark III--I hate this limitation.)
Center AF often means in my experience non-ideal bull's eye
composition, or poor composition requiring the center focus on the
eye and cutting off feet, wings, or tail (of course this depends
on how much the subject fills the frame).

My strategy for action wildlife photography:
AI servo mode, continuous shooting, IS on (even on a tripod, mode 1 IS).
Fastest shutter speed; I usually shoot wide open, unless light
is really bright, which is rare. It is rare for me as I usually
shoot near sunrise or sunset when light levels are lower.

I usually try and get a few frames in the environment and check
the histogram so I know how the meter is responding, then I adjust
exposure compensation as needed. During action, I follow
the subject, constantly shifting the AF point to keep a good
composition, and adjust exposure compensation as needed
and keeping the AF point on the eye(s).
I also keep monitoring the exposure time and adjust ISO
up or down as light levels rise or fall. I use the lowest
ISO that the conditions will allow. You need to know
your camera well in order to do this in a split second,
never removing your eye from the viewfinder while following
the action.

I also don't agree with the "need" to have the sun behind you.
While this is a fine strategy in many situations, lighting
can be more dramatic and show texture better when the sun is
not directly behind you. It does become more of a challenge
to keep the eyes well lit if the sun is not behind you,
but I feel many images are more interesting this way.

One rule I try to maintain (and you will see a common theme
in my galleries): nice view of the eyes and the eyes must be
in focus. The pupil of the eye should be clearly visible in the
full resolution image (unless a big flock of birds that
are too distant).

Other guides: the photo usually has more impact if the animal
is moving toward you. For birds in flight, this means the
bird's near wing is behind the body center. Also, the head
should be directed more toward you than away.

Isolation of the subject is usually best. That means out-of-focus
background, and few enough animals (like one or two).
As animal count goes up, the image just looks cluttered until
the animal count gets huge, like hundreds.

Finally, there are exceptions to all rules.

Examples:
No exposure compensation needed, AF on bird's eyes, and
a good example of the impact of the animal directing its
vision towards the camera:
http://www.clarkvision.com/galleries...8715b-700.html

Dark background: needed -0.5 stop compensation:
http://www.clarkvision.com/galleries...107.b-700.html

No exposure compensation, sun 90 degrees away to maximize shadows:
http://www.clarkvision.com/galleries...stall-600.html

A good example of shooting into the sun, when you don't
want the sun behind you (and you don't see the eyes):
http://www.clarkvision.com/galleries...lho.c-600.html

White bird on dark background: I metered the scene before
the bird took off from its nest, so I was ready at meter -0.5 stop:
http://www.clarkvision.com/galleries...ght.f-600.html

Birds with white can be difficult if you don't want to blow
the highlights. On this bald eagle, I took several exposures while
it was sitting, so I knew I needed -1/3 stop for this flight shot:
http://www.clarkvision.com/galleries...717.b-700.html

Example of dramatic side lighting. This Palm-Nut Vulture, Vulturine Fish-eagle
was photographed at sunrise. Sunrise was to the left, about 90
degrees. I should have used a fill flash, but a little work in
Photoshop on with the shadow/highlight tool compressed the shadows
so they are not too dark.
http://www.clarkvision.com/galleries...7182b-700.html

An exception to some rules: Bird's eye's not only
not seen, you barely see the head, and it is moving away:
http://www.clarkvision.com/galleries...336.b-600.html

Another exception: high animal count, e.g. thousands;
you can't see the eyes:
http://www.clarkvision.com/galleries...504.b-800.html

More dramatic side lighting: these kissing herons at sunset
on their nest had the sun about 90 degrees away.
The background is pine trees in shade, and this was the lest few
seconds of light. The light was changing fast and manual mode
would have missed the exposure. I knew from the previous
minute's worth of images that -1 stop made a perfect exposure.
As the light level fell with the setting sun, exposure compensation
tracked the light perfectly, so when the male bird flew in to the
nest, I was ready. Fortunately, he flew in and did the kiss
in last few seconds of peak sunset light.
http://www.clarkvision.com/galleries...149.f-700.html

Roger
  #8  
Old April 3rd 07, 05:39 AM posted to rec.photo.digital
Ken Lucke
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 845
Default Photographing birds in flight

In article , change username to rnclark
wrote:

Ken Lucke wrote:
In article , jmc
wrote:


I've finally purchased a longer lens for my XTi - the Canon 70-300mm DO
IS ISM. Nice lens, the shorter physical length is a lot more stable in
my small hands. I have been getting some very good pictures with this
lens, so I'm quite happy with it, despite the high cost.

I've been practicing taking pictures of birds in flight - raptors, for
the most part.

Not surprisingly, all of the ones taken with the sky as background, came
out with very dark birds. Also, for non-soaring birds, I'm finding it
very hard to follow them, and get decent pictures.

Is there a tutorial on the 'net somewheres that'll help me learn how to
take better bird action photos? How much do I compensate when the bird
is silhouetted against the sky?



Try [some combination of] this: Make sure you are in evaluative
metering, using only one (usually the center) auto-focusing point, and
over-expose by a stop or so using your exposure compensation. Or set
to continuous shooting, set to auto-bracket by a stop or so, and shoot
three-shot bursts (you have to continue to follow through with the bird
even though the shutter may be blocking your viewfinder between shots).
You may have to boost the ISO to bring your shutter speed back up if it
becomes too slow. Also, (you probably realize this, but...) try get
into a position that you can shoot the birds when the sun is at your
back, so it's highlighting the birds, rather than cross- or back-
lighting them.


I'll describe how I do things differently (this is my
strategy; yours make work best for you).


First off, Roger, don't take any of my comments below as arguing with
you - I agree with virtually everything you said (for someone of your
skill level), I just want to clarify and perhaps justify the reasons
why I said what I did.

When following moving animals (birds or 4-legged critters)
the mere fact they are moving often means the light is changing.
Thus I do not like manual.


Agree 100% here - it's too hard (at least for me) to be adjusting that
AS you're tracking and panning and trying to keep up with an animal.

I would rather use exposure compensation
to adapt to the situation. An example is an animal moving
between shade and sun, another is rising or setting sun where
light levels are changing fast.

Second, auto-bracketing, assuming 3 shots means only one is correctly
exposed. That means you have 2/3 chance of missing the peak
action.


I guess that's true - unless you've got the 1D Mark III at 10fps g.

I still do it myself, and I only have 3fps - so I get one chance per
second, which is OK for me at this point. However, this (as were most
of my suggestions) intended to help him get a feel for whaqt settings
are going to work for him - then he can stick more closely to just
those - with exceptions, of course.

Autofocus point should be set on the animals eye(s), not necessarily
the center (and in my style rarely the center) autofocus point.


I was thinking of his trying learn to track and pan, that it would be
easier to keep the bird centered with the center autofocus. Your
skills are much higher than his (or mine) at this point, so you're good
at switching autofocus points and tracking and panning all at the same
time - that's definitely a learned skill, and the tracking and panning
are probably the parts he should learn first, IMO.

(Exception: f/8 on pro bodies only focuses on the center AF point,
except maybe the new 1D Mark III--I hate this limitation.)
Center AF often means in my experience non-ideal bull's eye
composition, or poor composition requiring the center focus on the
eye and cutting off feet, wings, or tail (of course this depends
on how much the subject fills the frame).

My strategy for action wildlife photography:
AI servo mode,


Oh, yeah, I forgot to include that in my list of things.

continuous shooting, IS on (even on a tripod, mode 1 IS).
Fastest shutter speed; I usually shoot wide open, unless light
is really bright, which is rare. It is rare for me as I usually
shoot near sunrise or sunset when light levels are lower.

I usually try and get a few frames in the environment and check
the histogram so I know how the meter is responding, then I adjust
exposure compensation as needed.


Yeah, this is critical, too.

During action, I follow
the subject, constantly shifting the AF point to keep a good
composition, and adjust exposure compensation as needed
and keeping the AF point on the eye(s).


This is the hard, learned part that you've obviously got down pat, and
probably should be the secondary step for him.

I also keep monitoring the exposure time and adjust ISO
up or down as light levels rise or fall. I use the lowest
ISO that the conditions will allow. You need to know
your camera well in order to do this in a split second,
never removing your eye from the viewfinder while following
the action.

I also don't agree with the "need" to have the sun behind you.
While this is a fine strategy in many situations, lighting
can be more dramatic and show texture better when the sun is
not directly behind you. It does become more of a challenge
to keep the eyes well lit if the sun is not behind you,
but I feel many images are more interesting this way.


That was meant to address his "dark body against a light background"
problem with the underexpsuure of the bird's body - I agree it's not a
necessity, but it I thought it might help him out a little with that
problem. Didn't really mean to make it sound like an absolute.

One rule I try to maintain (and you will see a common theme
in my galleries): nice view of the eyes and the eyes must be
in focus. The pupil of the eye should be clearly visible in the
full resolution image (unless a big flock of birds that
are too distant).

Other guides: the photo usually has more impact if the animal
is moving toward you. For birds in flight, this means the
bird's near wing is behind the body center. Also, the head
should be directed more toward you than away.

Isolation of the subject is usually best. That means out-of-focus
background,


Which is easy when you go with wide-open, or nearly wide open, to get
the highest shutter speed possible for the ISO/light combination.

and few enough animals (like one or two).
As animal count goes up, the image just looks cluttered until
the animal count gets huge, like hundreds.


Even then, I love the images where the camera is zoomed in on one
animal in a packed herd of hundreds or thousands, with one animal
picked out and the rest of the bodies pressed around it. Zebras
epecially look good this way - maybe some day I'll get to go shoot one
of those images myself.


Finally, there are exceptions to all rules.

Examples:


snip of huge number of envy-inducing images

Roger, your pictures always make my efforts seem so lame. :^(

--
You need only reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a
reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating
the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for
independence.
-- Charles A. Beard
  #9  
Old April 3rd 07, 01:07 PM posted to rec.photo.digital
jmc
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 125
Default Photographing birds in flight

Suddenly, without warning, Roger N. Clark (change username to rnclark)
exclaimed (03-Apr-07 1:42 PM):
Ken Lucke wrote:
In article , jmc
wrote:


I've finally purchased a longer lens for my XTi - the Canon 70-300mm
DO IS ISM. Nice lens, the shorter physical length is a lot more
stable in my small hands. I have been getting some very good
pictures with this lens, so I'm quite happy with it, despite the high
cost.

I've been practicing taking pictures of birds in flight - raptors,
for the most part.

Not surprisingly, all of the ones taken with the sky as background,
came out with very dark birds. Also, for non-soaring birds, I'm
finding it very hard to follow them, and get decent pictures.

Is there a tutorial on the 'net somewheres that'll help me learn how
to take better bird action photos? How much do I compensate when the
bird is silhouetted against the sky?



Try [some combination of] this: Make sure you are in evaluative
metering, using only one (usually the center) auto-focusing point, and
over-expose by a stop or so using your exposure compensation. Or set
to continuous shooting, set to auto-bracket by a stop or so, and shoot
three-shot bursts (you have to continue to follow through with the bird
even though the shutter may be blocking your viewfinder between
shots). You may have to boost the ISO to bring your shutter speed back
up if it
becomes too slow. Also, (you probably realize this, but...) try get
into a position that you can shoot the birds when the sun is at your
back, so it's highlighting the birds, rather than cross- or back-
lighting them.


I'll describe how I do things differently (this is my
strategy; yours make work best for you).

When following moving animals (birds or 4-legged critters)
the mere fact they are moving often means the light is changing.
Thus I do not like manual. I would rather use exposure compensation
to adapt to the situation. An example is an animal moving
between shade and sun, another is rising or setting sun where
light levels are changing fast.

Second, auto-bracketing, assuming 3 shots means only one is correctly
exposed. That means you have 2/3 chance of missing the peak
action.

Autofocus point should be set on the animals eye(s), not necessarily
the center (and in my style rarely the center) autofocus point.
(Exception: f/8 on pro bodies only focuses on the center AF point,
except maybe the new 1D Mark III--I hate this limitation.)
Center AF often means in my experience non-ideal bull's eye
composition, or poor composition requiring the center focus on the
eye and cutting off feet, wings, or tail (of course this depends
on how much the subject fills the frame).

My strategy for action wildlife photography:
AI servo mode, continuous shooting, IS on (even on a tripod, mode 1 IS).
Fastest shutter speed; I usually shoot wide open, unless light
is really bright, which is rare. It is rare for me as I usually
shoot near sunrise or sunset when light levels are lower.

I usually try and get a few frames in the environment and check
the histogram so I know how the meter is responding, then I adjust
exposure compensation as needed. During action, I follow
the subject, constantly shifting the AF point to keep a good
composition, and adjust exposure compensation as needed
and keeping the AF point on the eye(s).
I also keep monitoring the exposure time and adjust ISO
up or down as light levels rise or fall. I use the lowest
ISO that the conditions will allow. You need to know
your camera well in order to do this in a split second,
never removing your eye from the viewfinder while following
the action.

I also don't agree with the "need" to have the sun behind you.
While this is a fine strategy in many situations, lighting
can be more dramatic and show texture better when the sun is
not directly behind you. It does become more of a challenge
to keep the eyes well lit if the sun is not behind you,
but I feel many images are more interesting this way.

One rule I try to maintain (and you will see a common theme
in my galleries): nice view of the eyes and the eyes must be
in focus. The pupil of the eye should be clearly visible in the
full resolution image (unless a big flock of birds that
are too distant).

Other guides: the photo usually has more impact if the animal
is moving toward you. For birds in flight, this means the
bird's near wing is behind the body center. Also, the head
should be directed more toward you than away.

Isolation of the subject is usually best. That means out-of-focus
background, and few enough animals (like one or two).
As animal count goes up, the image just looks cluttered until
the animal count gets huge, like hundreds.

Finally, there are exceptions to all rules.

Examples:
No exposure compensation needed, AF on bird's eyes, and
a good example of the impact of the animal directing its
vision towards the camera:
http://www.clarkvision.com/galleries...8715b-700.html


Dark background: needed -0.5 stop compensation:
http://www.clarkvision.com/galleries...107.b-700.html


No exposure compensation, sun 90 degrees away to maximize shadows:
http://www.clarkvision.com/galleries...stall-600.html


A good example of shooting into the sun, when you don't
want the sun behind you (and you don't see the eyes):
http://www.clarkvision.com/galleries...lho.c-600.html


White bird on dark background: I metered the scene before
the bird took off from its nest, so I was ready at meter -0.5 stop:
http://www.clarkvision.com/galleries...ght.f-600.html


Birds with white can be difficult if you don't want to blow
the highlights. On this bald eagle, I took several exposures while
it was sitting, so I knew I needed -1/3 stop for this flight shot:
http://www.clarkvision.com/galleries...717.b-700.html


Example of dramatic side lighting. This Palm-Nut Vulture, Vulturine
Fish-eagle
was photographed at sunrise. Sunrise was to the left, about 90
degrees. I should have used a fill flash, but a little work in
Photoshop on with the shadow/highlight tool compressed the shadows
so they are not too dark.
http://www.clarkvision.com/galleries...7182b-700.html


An exception to some rules: Bird's eye's not only
not seen, you barely see the head, and it is moving away:
http://www.clarkvision.com/galleries...336.b-600.html


Another exception: high animal count, e.g. thousands;
you can't see the eyes:
http://www.clarkvision.com/galleries...504.b-800.html


More dramatic side lighting: these kissing herons at sunset
on their nest had the sun about 90 degrees away.
The background is pine trees in shade, and this was the lest few
seconds of light. The light was changing fast and manual mode
would have missed the exposure. I knew from the previous
minute's worth of images that -1 stop made a perfect exposure.
As the light level fell with the setting sun, exposure compensation
tracked the light perfectly, so when the male bird flew in to the
nest, I was ready. Fortunately, he flew in and did the kiss
in last few seconds of peak sunset light.
http://www.clarkvision.com/galleries...149.f-700.html


Roger


I should snip this, but everything is such great advice, and Roger, your
pictures are just absolutely awesome!

I think your style for the most part might work better for me, 'cept the
shifting autofocus bit. I'm still learning my camera, and definitely
can't manage that without looking. So I've been using the center
autofocus. Good point about the eyes, but for now that's a bit beyond
my skill with moving animals, I'm happy if I can just keep the birdie in
the frame.

Thanks to both of you - I have a couple of methods I can experiment with
now, to see which works best for me.

Guess I'm going to need bigger CF cards if I'm going to use continuous
shooting. Filled up my 2GB pretty fast trying to photograph raptors...

Roger, thanks again for the examples - it's so much better to actually
*see* what you are talking about, and how your techniques relate
directly to photographic results.

::sigh:: I gotta lot to learn...

jmc

  #10  
Old April 3rd 07, 04:49 PM posted to rec.photo.digital
Ken Lucke
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 845
Default Photographing birds in flight

In article , jmc
wrote:


snip

::sigh:: I gotta lot to learn...

jmc


Don't we all... (it never ends) g


But that's part of the fun of it.

--
You need only reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a
reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating
the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for
independence.
-- Charles A. Beard
 




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