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birds in flight

hotwings 12 3 United Kingdom
10 Jan 2011 7:17PM
hi everyone , i have a canon 50d with a 70-200 non is l series lens and x2 extender i know its not a new topic but i am a new member and would love to have a few tips can anyone give me some advise please
hotwings 12 3 United Kingdom
10 Jan 2011 7:21PM
birds in flight is the topic sry forgot to mention that
csurry 21 9.2k 92
10 Jan 2011 7:38PM
What species of bird?

Advice can be different based on many factors and species would be one of those. There is an article on my website about photographing red kites at gigrin for example.
hotwings 12 3 United Kingdom
10 Jan 2011 7:51PM
raptors mainly, i have a family of buzzards at the back of my house in a small wooded area i feed them with chicken wings which they take from my shed roof but never seem to get a really clear image not sure where i am going wrong
Big Bri 22 16.7k United Kingdom
10 Jan 2011 8:24PM
I've found photographing herons is a good start as they're like me - large and slow Smile

I'm off to Cheryl's website for a read.
Big Bri 22 16.7k United Kingdom
10 Jan 2011 8:37PM
Cheryl, great article - I haven't been to Gigrin, but I have been to one further south, which was just a couple of makeshift hides on the edge of a field.

I would love some more technical advice. Do you meter off the grass in manual mode and leave it set ? What's the best way of locking on focus ? Any advice on the best type of tripod head ? I've been photographing birds handheld for years but the results I got from using my tripod at Slimbridge convinced me I should be using it more.
LensYews 14 1.3k 1 United Kingdom
10 Jan 2011 11:59PM
I'd like to hear the locking focus tips as well, but I would guess it's going to be mainly experience and skill to marry up the combination of a long lens, shallow depth of field and erratically flying bird (even if they do follow similar patterns).

I really must give it a go one day, to date my only BIF that I'm pleased with were some at the Barn Owl Centre with the trained and slow flying buzzards and Eagle Owls. Smile No idea how you keep something like a kite in frame, let along in focus.
NeilSchofield Plus
16 1.8k 1 United Kingdom
11 Jan 2011 9:57AM
If you go to Gigrin you will find fast moving birds all over the place, not just kites, I managed to get a static picture of a Heron, Buzzard, Raven, in a tree and a red kite flying in front of them, there was also a "kamikaze " cat skulking around on the ground looking for scraps of food.

With so many birds whizzing around you need to pick one out (preferably unmarked) and follow it, shooting in AI servo, fast frame rate, and a quick focusing longish lens helps, but be aware of the backgrounds, alternatively you can pre/focus on the ground action and fights between the flying/diving kites and grounded buzzards, all great fun.

When the action stops and folk disappear, don't because it normally starts up again after about 20 mins and goes on for hours, take plenty of memory, and it will be a magic day out.2-img-1460.jpg
meercat 14 278 United Kingdom
11 Jan 2011 10:13AM
Not sure If I am allowed to post a link but I up-loaded an article to my site in our how to shoot section last night about birds in flight Birds in flight By David Hemmings, he talks about it being similar to clay pigeon shooting, you have to aim just ahead of the bird.
Big Bri 22 16.7k United Kingdom
11 Jan 2011 11:50AM
If you aim ahead of the bird, how do you focus ?
Freila 12 107
11 Jan 2011 11:54AM
Well I never know that.... Just look on David web site on shooting birds and learnt all about the Changing of the AF modes and what they are for, and theres me been chasing birds round in 'one-shot' mode so thank you for that.
whipspeed 18 4.2k 22 United Kingdom
11 Jan 2011 12:29PM
Another site to look at is Richard Bedford Bird Photography He specialises in birds in flight and only shoots wild birds. I used to work with him and he is extremely knowledgeable about birds and if you put a question in his guest book he will usually help you. Think there are some articles on there as well.
One of his images on there is a sparrowhawk catching a snipe, which is something to see.
ChrisJD 13 100 Scotland
11 Jan 2011 5:54PM
Hotwings, sell the 2x converter. I know that will lessen your range but I bet it's the converter making your pics fuzzy. 2x converters aren't very good.

With the money you get for the 2x, buy a hide which will get you closer and leave it set up in your garden for the birds to get used to. When they do, get a flask of tea and be prepared to sit in there a while! Tripods are unnecessary - hand hold at a fast shutter speed and set the camera to "machine gun mode". You'll delete 95 shots out of 100 but you'll get some good ones and that'll do your confidence no end of good. Then you can slow down and think about technique. Good luck.

NeilSchofield Plus
16 1.8k 1 United Kingdom
11 Jan 2011 6:36PM
You could check this hide out, camo and pop up, you should have loads of change from the tc
lawbert 16 1.8k 15 England
11 Jan 2011 7:09PM
Some nice pictures in your portfolio,

Set your 50d to AI servo and select all focus points....Half depress shutter button and track the Buzzard for a couple of seconds to let the focus lock and fire away..(in high speed shooting)....Dont go above iso 400 as the 50d doesnt do high iso well, If its an f4 lens you have set it to f4 to creat reasonably high shutter speed...You will get a few keepers if they come to you daily and then you can work on light, aperture settings etc....Just a thought but if your already doing this then use the af calibrate function on your 50d to check that camera and lens are focussing correctly.

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