Nkorho cam is down. We are working on a solution.

photographing flying birds

12 posts / 0 new
Last post
Anonymous
Anonymous's picture
photographing flying birds

How do you do it ? :oops:

I mostly take my pics on "auto"... not so handy with all the other buttons on my camera.

When you take pics of birds in flight, how do you get it right ?
All i get is bluriness all over whenever I try to do it...

thanks.

achet (not verified)
Anonymous's picture

This comment has been moved here.

Brian (not verified)
Anonymous's picture

Examples :

Great egret

Gabar goshawk

Gerda (not verified)
Anonymous's picture

Thank you Brian !!!!

 

katja's picture
Offline
modsquad
Joined: Feb 17 2006

Thank you very much, Brian!

That's very helpful advice.

Brian (not verified)
Anonymous's picture

Three things affect bird in flight photography, exposure, focus and shutter speed.

Exposure is difficult because the camera will measure the light from the sky in the background, resulting in a dark silhouette of the bird with no detail.

 If you have exposure lock, point the camera at something on the ground about 20m away, lock the exposure and then try taking a pic of the bird, it will be correctly exposed.

If you do not have exposure lock, then point the camera at the ground, as above, read the shutter speed and aperture it wants to use, then set it manually to the same figures. Same result.

If you cannot read the exposure settings, but can set manually, then on a sunny day, using ISO100, set the shutter speed to 1/250th and the aperture to f8. It'll be a bit underexposed sometimes, but the detail should be there. You can always set exposure compensation to +1. On a cloudy or overcast day, set the aperture to f5.6. Don't confuse aperture with exposure Smiling Shutter speed, aperture and ISO all affect exposure.

The above works for a bird perched and silhouetted against the sky too.

Focussing is more difficult, since a camera with LCD viewfinder uses the sensor for focussing and is quite slow in doing this. Often the shutter will lock until focus is achieved, this is usually the reason people think they have "shutter lag". Following a moving bird may not allow the focus to lock on to the bird. It is always easier if the bird is flying from one side of you to the other, as then the distance from you to the bird doesn't change much, so the focussing system has a much easier job and good results are more frequent. It is easier with a DSLR, as the focussing system is entirely separate, using phase detection instead of contrast detection and fast focussing lenses are available. It still needs a lot of practice though Smiling

 Shutter speed can also affect the sharpness of the result, as a slow shutter speed can result in a blurred pic, with the outlines appearing as ghosted images. 1/250 or faster should be enough, unless you are taking pics of a peregrine falcon at full speed Smiling

In general, you have to "follow" the bird in the viewfinder and keep on doing so until after the picture has been taken. Try and keep it dead centre, that will made the focussing easier and the relative speed will be low. I.E., the camera is moving across following the bird at the same speed, so even a slow shutter speed will work once you get that right, great effect too, as the background is then blurred, giving the impression of speed.

 

Regards,

Brian

katja's picture
Offline
modsquad
Joined: Feb 17 2006

Thanks a lot, limpopo!

That will help a lot. Smiling

limpopo (not verified)
Anonymous's picture

Here are things I use... if I have time to get it right..on Canons.

For fast moving birds, one needs a fast shutter speed.

On most days, an ISO of 400 for both options below is usually good. On darker days, it may be necessary to go higher.

One can set the camera to "Shutter Priority" and then set the speed to /1000sec or higher. The camera will then choose the F-stop. This could be problematic on dark days, as these settings may not be good for available light and the camera will choose an F-stop that results in a very dark picture.

Or, one can set the camera to "Aperture Priority" and set the F-stop. The camera then chooses the speed. If the camera is wide open at lower F-stops (6.3 for mine on a long lens), the shutter speed can go up to 1/2000 on bright days. Problem with this mode is that if there is not enough light, the shutter speed can go way down, and in the case of hand-held photography, pictures may be blurry.

In both modes on the Canon, there is another feature known as "Aperture Compensation" that can be used to modify existing settings with positive or negative stop adjustments.

I have found that when shooting upwards on a cloudy day, one has to push the aperture up, otherwise the picture is too dark.

When shooting very white objects like egrets, the aperture should be "pushed" down (1/3, 2/3 or 1) stops to avoid overblown whites.

To know how much to stop up or down, take a picture, check the histogram and adjust accordingly (the highest peak should be somewhere near the center). After a while, one will have a better idea before shooting of what settings are best.

 

 

 

krukab's picture
Online
africlub
Joined: Feb 18 2006

try this - buy a one of these kits for your kids or grandkids they will love it then get them to throw the plane in the air over and over - you practice taking pics of the plane that way every one is a winner lol

http://www.turnertoys.com/G1/balsa_model_airplanes3.htm

put a single helium balloon on a string let some one let it rise up 10- 20 ft follow with camera repeat to your happy

paint a happy face on it or a bird which ever helps lol

krukab's picture
Online
africlub
Joined: Feb 18 2006

Quote:
How does one get the exposure right when it's a dark bird in a light sky? And how does one make sure the bird os in focus when it's constantly moving?

if you want to take a pic of a bird in a tree i would set camera on manual take a light reading of the ground and leave the setting thier- then i would take a pic of the bird in the tree that way you could see the bird clearly in photo and the sky would be over exposed - take a light reading of the sky - then the ground notice the big difference in the light - you dont really care if the sky has no color if you want a clear pic of the bird - notice how washed out the sky is in this pic 

http://www.flickr.com/photo_zoom.gne?id=530613834&size=o

it works for me

krukab's picture
Online
africlub
Joined: Feb 18 2006

here is somthing to try - if you have a modle air plane club near your town go to where they practice then shoot pics of the planes taking off landing flying over head set camera on auto and click away -i take pics of plane and chopper that fly over us allmost daily for practice - i hear them comming go out on deck and put lens on 100mm find plane zoom in focus click shutter half way down and click

ok now that you have practiced on the plane do the same with a bird

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.