(Click on the images for larger views)
Birds in flight photography is difficult enough during the best of conditions., we all struggle to get sharp images. for the most part, I do not even bother trying unless the conditions are pretty close to awesome.
Since I never use flash, and I refuse to crank up the iso unless the situation is so cool I can't resist, this past weekend (Oct 1st and 2nd, 2011) were definitely challenging. Very low clouds, and heavy!
We were shooting at the Canadian Raptor Conservancy, two workshops, (with several guests cancelling due to poor conditions!) so the bunch of us that turned out gave this our best "shot!".
Depending on the bird, its speed, the background, etc., I shot mostly manual exposure, wide open aperture, and iso 640 - 800. These perimeters left me with shutter speeds anywhere from 1/400 - 1/1000 sec. Using the D300 and my 200-400 at f4, I was looking forward to cleaning up a bit of noise, but it really wasn't too bad.
A bit of noise on the background is easy to clean up, separate the bird with the quick selection tool, and blur the background. I applied no noise reduction to the the birds in these images. The key to getting sharp images is good panning, and a steady hand. also, proper AF settings.
Af continuous with the Nikon Cameras, and AI Servo with Canon is a must., many times, with high contrast backgrounds, I use single sensor., and try like heck to keep it on the bird. also, one key setting is to close off the shutter AF actuation with the front button, and use AF ON button for all focusing activation. Separating these two functions is critical.
There are many other factors, and setting for birds in flight photography., I try to teach all this during my workshops, and hope to release a CD soon.
Each type of bird, background, flight pattern, location, distances, size in the frame, tones, etc requires a different approach, all of which will be explained in the CD.
This CD will sell for $24.95, and will be released on December 1st, 2011, just in time for Christmas!
Pre-orders are available for $20.00 USD, just email me here...
email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org