Flight sequence of birds
Getting good birds in flight photographs are difficult. They move fast. Camera autofocus systems sometimes struggle to keep up. These systems perform well if the bird is photographed with a blank sky behind them. But cameras struggle more if the bird is in front of messy backgrounds. Then the bird does not stand out and the autofocus has to hunt to find the bird. So what can we do to maximize our success rate?
Let's look at a sequence of a bird in flight. The bird was close to me, sitting on a perch.
Even though the bird is sitting still, the camera is setup for fast action. The moment the bird flies off, the camera is ready and focus is already locked onto the bird. Now we just wait. We watch the bird's behavior. The goal is to look for cues that the bird is going to take off. Then we fire away in a burst, hoping that we were right and that the bird indeed flies off. Without knowing what these clues are and finding them, your success rate will be greatly diminished. Our reaction time is just too slow. When we see the bird take off it takes us a second to realize it and another moment before we press the shutter. By then the bird is gone.
Some signs that the bird is about to take off are:
When you see any of these actions shoot.
Most people under-estimate a bird's wingspan. Thus they zoom in too tightly on the bird. When the bird opens its wings and flies off the wings are often clipped. Rather allow a bit more space than you think you are going to need and crop later than clip a bird.
Good luck while you go shoot some bird in flight sequences.
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