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Tips in shooting birds in flight


WalidD300 e2
6 68 1 Scotland
20 Apr 2009 9:43AM
It was a sunny day yesterday and decided to to more practice with D300, so tried to shoot birds in flight.

Most of my over 50 shots were soft and out of focus, I used different shutter speeds and apretures but they were all the same, well most of them were soft. I also used 51 focus points with contineous focus and matrix.

My question is what can be done in terms of AF, Apreture, Shutter speed,...etc. please

responses will be much appreciated.

Thanks

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guidoa e2
13 1.4k United Kingdom
20 Apr 2009 11:43AM
what lens were you using?
20 Apr 2009 11:53AM
I tend to opt for centre weighted metering, continuous low speed, and 21 points for the focusing. I get a pretty high hit rate, in fact my last attempts were 9 out of 10 for focus and all metered correctly.

Shutter speed will depend on what you are after and what lens you are using. A 300mm lens and freezing the action would maybe require a 300-500sec shutter speed. A 200mm lens with some blur of the wings, maybe 100th second. Obviously it depends on the speed and size of the bird also!

You need to pan as you would when shooting, and follow through after you've clicked the shutter. And try to be selective, don't just point and fire off 6fps.

It does take practice though!
WalidD300 e2
6 68 1 Scotland
20 Apr 2009 12:57PM

Quote:What lens were you using?


I used sigma 150mm f2.8
18-135mm 3.5
70-300mm VR
Graywolf e2
7 999 United Kingdom
20 Apr 2009 4:43PM
If you are shooting against the sky you will need to be careful about the exposure. If you shoot against a blue sky, you may not have too much problem but against clouds you may will need to deal in some over-exposure otherwise you may lose detail in the birds but get well exposed clouds.

Personally I have the centre focus point active and track with that with the shutter set to the lower of the machine gun settings. I am also learning to keep both eyes open. The left keeps an eye on the general situation and the right looks through the view finder. I'm just getting the hang of tracking the lens to the right point to coincide with what my left is seeing.

You'll be pleased to note that with all this expertise my flight shots are generally pretty crap.
WalidD300 e2
6 68 1 Scotland
20 Apr 2009 4:49PM

Quote:If you are shooting against the sky you will need to be careful about the exposure. If you shoot against a blue sky, you may not have too much problem but against clouds you may will need to deal in some over-exposure otherwise you may lose detail in the birds but get well exposed clouds.

Personally I have the centre focus point active and track with that with the shutter set to the lower of the machine gun settings. I am also learning to keep both eyes open. The left keeps an eye on the general situation and the right looks through the view finder. I'm just getting the hang of tracking the lens to the right point to coincide with what my left is seeing.

You'll be pleased to note that with all this expertise my flight shots are generally pretty crap.



Give your techniques and I will be the happiest photographer,

I did check your PF and it is an amazing one, the birds in flight shots are amazing.
well done
NeilS e2
7 940 United Kingdom
20 Apr 2009 6:21PM
You need to be shooting with high shutter speeds normally 1/1600 for big birds but 1/5000 for the quick smaller ones.

If your camera auto focus/lens focusing ability is not quick enough, then you could try to manually focus on a particular plane and capture the bird at the correct time as it passes through using your maximum frame rate burst

I managed to get some good pictures this weekend of small birds in flight using this technique shooting with manual preset focus plane, 1/5000 shutter speed and f3.5, raising the ISO to get sufficient light, and it worked quite successfully
StrayCat e2
10 15.5k 2 Canada
20 Apr 2009 10:08PM
Look through the bulletin archives here. The settings used, and why, are under each photo. No drooling please.
Graywolf e2
7 999 United Kingdom
21 Apr 2009 8:58AM

Quote:Quote: the birds in flight shots are amazing.
well done



Ah yes, for the ones in the portfolio I adopt my own very special technique, honed over years, which involves closing both eyes, turning mu head to the left, holding the camera as high above my head as possible and hoping for the best. About 1 in every 20.000 comes out reaasonably well but it's murder on the shutter.

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