Words and image by Cheryl Surry
Photographing birds in flight is a skill that takes some practice to master. There are many good locations for practising the techniques needed to capture in-flight action shots. Some are surprisingly close to home!
Whether you live in town or by the coast there is a suitable subject on which to practice. In town then the local park will provide access to pigeons and magpies aplenty. At the coast make use of the abundance of seagulls. You may think this is not the same as your intended target and therefore of little use, but it will teach you observation skills and metering, which is especially important against a bright sky, and will allow you to practice using your kit without incurring great expense.
If you want something more challenging as you progress then visit a good falconry centre that offers plenty of variety in birds being flown, from the slower owls to the speedier falcons. The variety will help you learn that each subject flies at a different speed, often has different characteristics of flight and will help you to develop an eye for spotting these differences and modifying your technique accordingly.
If you live near a red kite feeding station such as Gigrin, then it is virtually impossible to do any better in having guaranteed action for a couple of hours against which to hone your skill. Remember though that this is generally a single species site and the behaviour that you observe whilst useful in building knowledge through observation is not applicable to all species.
You've read the article, now go take some fantastic images. You can then upload the pictures, plus any advice and suggestions you have into the dedicated Photo Month forum for everyone at ePHOTOzine to enjoy.