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Thread: shooting birds in flight or motion!

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    shooting birds in flight or motion!

    hello everyone. Its almost been an year , i am playing hard with my camera canon 550d and 55-250mm lense, shooting mainly birds. since i want to click birds while in flight, with absolute clarity and what we call it appropriate DOF...some suggested me buy a canon L lense. so my question is very simple(a bit stupid i guess), do i need to spend money on buying new lense exclusivly for birds? or canon 55-250mm would work well? i haven't tasted success till now with this lense shooting birds in flight. may be i need to work on my skills?

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    Re: shooting birds in flight or motion!

    shooting birds in flight or motion!


    these are my few clicks of still birds. most of them are clicked with point and shoot.

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    Re: shooting birds in flight or motion!

    If you buy a better lens your errors will just be clearer. Practice you panning skills. Work with cars, bikes, birds whatever. Starting at the 55mm range of your lens and working up towards the top end will help you see where you are going wrong and the progress you make with practice. Also, watch for a predictable path of travel. Knowing where the subject is going to be and how they get there is a big part of knowing when to get the best picture. With birds, just before landing is about their slowest most stable in-air time.

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    Re: shooting birds in flight or motion!

    When shooting small birds the problem is getting them big enough in the frame. The simple option is to get closer. This usually involves a hide and a lot of waiting. You also have to have a bird nice enough to fly past your hide. This may involve a lot more waiting.

    As a means to avoid hiding the other option is to try subtle stalking equipped with a longer lens. Unfortunately this gets expensive. As a Canon shooter you have the following options for a low cost telephotos:

    400mm F5.6 L

    + Cheapest
    + Excellent image quality wide open
    - Some longitudinal chromatic aberration noticeable on high contrast edges
    - Poor minimum focus distance (0.12x magnification)
    - No image stabilisation

    100-400mm F4.5-5.6 L IS

    + Good wide open performance for APS-C
    + 2-stop image stabilisation
    + Very versatile zoom range
    + Good minimum focus distance (0.20x magnification)
    - More expensive

    300mm F4 L IS + 1.4x Extender

    + Excellent image quality wide open at 300mm
    + 2-stop image stabilisation
    + Excellent minimum focus distance (0.24x magnification). Good for butterflies etc.
    - More expensive again (including the extender)
    - OK image quality with the extender which will slow the autofocus too

    None of the above are cheap but they would be the best choices if you want to improve your lens. Here are my thoughts:

    If you are sure you will use the lens at 400mm 95% of the time in good quality daylight then get the 400mm prime.
    If you really want to stalk small insects then get the 300mm prime. It is excellent for getting close.
    Otherwise try and get the 100-400mm.

    In any case if you do not like the lens then the resale value will be good. Canon L lenses hold their value well. You should not lose more than 10-20% of the cost when reselling.

    Alex

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    Re: shooting birds in flight or motion!

    As per Andrew's comment, equipment will not help you out if you are in the wrong place or doing the wrong thing with your camera. But it is not that hard to get the basics right and then you will see a lot of benefit with a longer lens.

    Try the following:

    - Start with common birds that are not scared of people
    - Approach slowly with rest stops. If you do not appear as a threat then they will return. They may even come very close if you sit without moving
    - Keep the ISO high to ensure a fast shutter speed
    - Shoot wide open if the bird is far away and then stop down when it occupies 50% of the frame for better depth of field
    - If the birds are moving above and below the horizon try shooting with manual exposure to get consistency
    - Practice

    Here are some good BIF (Birds In Flight) tips from a working pro:

    http://www.johnstuartclarke.co.uk/ph...rds-in-flight/

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    Re: shooting birds in flight or motion!

    Hi Akshay, Like you I am still learning to shoot birds in flight but I have managed some nice shots of birds in flight with my Sony Alpha DSLR 75-300 mm and less so with my Nikon D80 (200-400 mm Tamron Lens).

    What I found helpful was to try using Aperture Priority (say F7 or F8) and Shutter Priority (Say 1000-1500), and fiddle with a higher iso (200-400 in bright sunlight) and Exposure +.3- +.1... Then I see what shots work and try the same settings on manual trying to fine tune to adjust for exposure... This helps me to learn the settings that work best for me.

    I was always fearful of using a higher ISO and I never thought to over expose the photos a little (I usually shoot birds in a bright blue sky) but a gentleman named Peter (I think) on this forum that suggested I try increasing my ISO and exposure and it works.


    I thought that a long lens would be great to have but I am finding it very hard to pan birds in flight and achieve clear focus... The long lens I have is heavy and big, and it is really hard to nail the focus with the long lens, so I've gone back to using my Sony for birds in flight...

    I practice on birds common to the area I live in... pelicans, frigates, gulls. Every chance I have.

    What I would like to learn to do better is to nail the focus and clarity... Really challenging to do with birds in flight...
    So I keep trying!

    (That is a great resource for birds in flight... Thank you Hebert..)

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    Re: shooting birds in flight or motion!

    Start saving up for the L, but practice everything you can until you know it's the L you need. If you're not sure if it's your technique or your lens, start on the technique.

    For me, I wrung every damn thing I could out of my el cheapo 75-300 III before I made the leap, and I've never looked back. But if your 55-250 IS is still working for you, I'd say stick with that until you're absolutely sure, because we're talking about US$1000-$1500 here, for a 400/5.6L, 100-400L IS, 300/4L IS w/a 1.4x TC, or the Sigma 120-400 OS, 150-500 OS, or 50-500 OS.

    Technique-wise a lot of folks have given you good advice, here's the tidbits I'd throw onto the fire:

    0). Fieldcraft. The better it is, the closer you might be able to get. But also, no shot is worth disturbing a bird so badly it abandons food, shelter, or its eggs. Learn to read the body language. Local Audubon societies rock. But understand you have a responsibility to the birds, too, here. Oh. And cars make terrific hides.

    1). Always always make sure your shutter speed is well over 1/focal_length, or whatever IS and your handholding abilities makes safe from camera shake.

    2). iso 800 and iso 1600 are your friends. Yes, even in daylight. Because of 1).

    3). Drawing a bead on a moving bird is a lot easier if you have both eyes open.

    4). Learn back-button autofocus. Master it. It really can make a difference.

    5). This is all about getting your reflexes and the AF to track and lock fast enough. Good timing and anticipation is more effective than burst mode. Burst mode just helps you get more shots in between other shots.

    6). Yeah. You're gonna want a 400mm L lens. Or at least USM.

    7). 400mm still won't be long enough. You will crop. Shoot RAW. Learn to sharpen.

    shooting birds in flight or motion!
    50D. EF 400mm f/5.6L USM. iso 800, f/5.6, 1/640s. Handheld. 7:23am, Dec. 11th.
    White-Tailed Kite, juvenile. Elanus leucurus

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    Re: shooting birds in flight or motion!

    thanks a lot everyone. well i totally agree with ur views that if i am damn sure about buying a longer lens then only i should buy it. moreover i think i haven't fully utilised 55-250mm to its full potential. so, i guess i should wait a bit more to gain surety about my photography skills as well as lens potential. 2nd thing what i really appreciated is using high iso, which i havnt tried much in daylight.

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    Re: shooting birds in flight or motion!

    i rented that 400mm prime from one of my friend for a day. it was actually difficult for me to carry and hold that stuff waiting for bird. therefore i have decided to wait a litle longer, save money, sharpen skills and go for L glass.

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    Re: shooting birds in flight or motion!

    I am not a bird photographer, but that doesn't mean I won't try to get a shot when the opportunity arises.

    1. Long lens of at least 400mm is a must, in my view. Birds are (relatively) small, so even when you get close, you need a long lens to fill the frame.

    2. A bird flying toward you is a bit easier to frame that a bird flying across your frame.

    3. Birds are moving relatively slowly when taking off and landing, and if you see them heading towards a particular target (nest), you can precompose and wait for the action.

    4. Figure out your expoure compensation ahead of time and set in the correction for the shot. Shoot RAW and tweak your exposure in PP.

    shooting birds in flight or motion!

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    Re: shooting birds in flight or motion!

    Here are some tips from Jim Nieger
    http://www.flightschoolphotography.com/FSP%20Bio.htm

    Jim Posted this information on several postings on another website. I copied it and pasted his information in one document which I assume is both legal and morally responsible. All of the following information is provided by Jim...

    I thank Jim for so generously providing the information.

    BIRDS IN FLIGHT
    Jim Nieger – Kissimmee Florida
    Photographing Birds in Flight #1 - Exposure
    ________________________________________
    I am a full time professional bird photographer. I specialize in birds in flight. I make most of my living conducting workshops where I teach other photographers how to photograph birds in flight. One of the keys to successfully photographing birds in flight is to be able to make consistently correct exposures. There are usually no second chances, so getting exposure correct is critical.

    Manual Exposure Mode:
    The first thing to learn is to use manual exposure mode. Manual exposure mode is virtually a requirement when photographing birds in flight. The reason for this is the likelihood of changing backgrounds. If you use any of the automatic exposure modes, the camera will decide an exposure for you. When a bird flies across changing backgrounds, the camera may calculate a different exposure for each frame depending on the background. If the bird is in the same light all during the flight, then we want the one correct exposure for the bird, not a bunch of different exposures all but one of which will be wrong. The only way to achieve this is to use manual exposure mode.

    Substitute metering method:
    To arrive at a correct exposure I use a method I developed that I refer to as substitute metering. By substitute metering I mean using something other than the subject to meter on. I don't usually meter on the subject bird because the subject bird is often not present at the time I am determining the exposure. Instead, I use a constant in the environment. Something that is almost always readily available. In Florida I use bright green vegetation that is almost always present. When I was in Alaska in winter, I used snow. The important thing is that it is readily available and something you are familiar with. The first step is to fill the frame with the constant in the same light that you anticipate your subject being in. I usually choose constant that is in direct light. (In the direction my shadow is pointing) Then I adjust my settings so that the meter scale reads zero while filling the frame with the constant. I use full frame EV metering so that my reading is not thrown off too much by small areas of shadow or bright highlight within the constant. It's too easy to hit a dark or bright spot with spot metering, so I don't use it. Step 2 is to compare the constant to the subject. This is a two part process. The first part is common sense. Determine if the subject is darker or lighter than the constant. This tells you if you need to increase or decrease your exposure. If the subject is darker, you need to increase exposure. If the subject is brighter, then you need to decrease exposure. The second part is to determine how much to increase or decrease exposure. This part is based on experience. If you do not have a relevant experience to call on, then you must guess. After you guess and make an exposure you can evaluate how you have done and then adjust if needed. This is how you build experiences to draw on in the future. Try to remember your experiences. This is sort of like keeping a database in your head. After doing this for a while, you will have enough experience to know how much to increase or decrease your exposure in pretty much any situation. One thing to consider is the intensity of the light and its effect on exposure. For example: If you use a middle tone green vegetation as a constant and you want to photograph a white Great Egret, common sense tells us that we need to decrease our exposure to avoid blowing out the white egret. We need to draw on experience to determine how much to decrease exposure. If it’s just after sunrise and the light is very soft, the amount to decrease exposure may be only 1/3 of a stop. If we photograph the same bird at high noon, the amount we need to decrease exposure by will likely be as much as 2 stops. You can see from the example how much the intensity of the light can impact compensation amounts. Once you have built a solid database of experiences in your head and you have become consistent in getting correct exposures, you can easily do things like adjust exposure quickly on the fly when the subject or light changes. This can be done by counting clicks on the adjustment wheels and without repeating the metering process.

    I hope this helps people get started using manual exposure mode for photographing birds in flight. I use manual mode about 99% of the time. There are many benefits of using manual mode. Manual mode will make you a better photographer in many ways, but it all revolves around increasing your understanding of light and its effect on your photography.

    Photographing Birds in Flight #2 - Settings
    ________________________________________
    The camera settings below are designed specifically for bird photography using long lenses (400mm or more) and hand held technique. The settings were designed to allow all types of bird photography without sacrificing anything and without having to change settings other than exposure while in the field. This means I can always be ready for any situation without having to waste time adjusting camera settings. These settings are for a Canon 1D Mark IV, but there are equivalent settings in most camera bodies.

    Camera Settings:

    1. Manual exposure mode. This is almost a requirement for BIF when you have changing backgrounds. There are many other reasons as well. See Part 1 of the tutorial.

    2. AI Servo AF - To allow AF tracking of moving subjects.

    3. High speed continuous drive. This allows me to shoot in controlled bursts to capture the peak action shots.

    4. Center AF point only for BIF against very busy and or close varied bgs. Center AF point plus surrounding AF point expansion for BIF against distant varied bgs or BIF against smooth sky or water backgrounds. When a variety of backgrounds are possible, I use center AF point only.

    5. Tracking sensitivity set to SLOW. This should be used with bump focus technique. I will discuss this in part 3 of this tutorial.

    6. * button set to AF Lock. I use this when shooting still subjects. It allows me to remain in AI Servo AF and center AF point, but still be able to compose images of still subjects in camera. This way I am always ready for action without compromising my ability to compose images of perched birds. I use the shutter button to focus.

    7. Contrast set to -2 - this only affects the jpeg used in the camera display. It does not affect the RAW file. This allows you to expose to the right a little tighter. It doesn't affect the RAW file, but does affect the decisions we make about exposure that are based on the LCD image, histogram, and flashing highlight alerts.

    Lens Settings:
    1. Lens focus limiter switch set to the longest near focus distance. This helps speed up AF in many situations.

    2. IS ON - Mode 2

    Photographing Birds in Flight #3 - Acquisition Skill
    ________________________________________
    Here is what I teach people in my workshops to do to develop a skill that I call Initial Acquisition Skill. By Initial Acquisition Skill I mean putting the bif in the center of the view finder and then focusing on it for the first time.

    First of all look at the subject. There is a straight line of sight between your eye and the subject. While you are looking at the subject, quickly pop your camera and lens up to your eye in shooting position, and do it so that the imaginary line running from the camera sensor down the middle of the lens barrel lines up with your line of sight to the subject. Make sure you are looking at the subject when you try this. With practice, you can put the bird right in the middle of the view finder every time. Start praticing with static subjects and work your way up to small fast moving subjects. It is possible to get to the point where you can go from a rest position to focused on a bif almost instantly. It takes lots of practice though and the difficulty increases with focal length. If you pre-focus at a similar distance the camera will focus quicker than if you are pre-focused at a very different distance than the subject.

    How to Photograph Birds in Flight #4 - Tracking
    ________________________________________
    After I initially acquire the flying bird (see tutorial #3), I begin tracking and possibly photographing the bird. While tracking the bird I use a technique I call "bumping the focus".

    Bump Focus Technique: To quickly focus or let off and refocus. There are three uses for the bump focus technique:

    2. When I am tracking a BIF against a varied bg and I miss and focus on the bg I will bump the focus to quickly return focus to the bird. Bumping the focus overrides the delay set by the tracking sensitivity custom function. I set tracking sensitivity to slow to get the longest delay possible. This helps when you are focused on the bird and want to avoid focusing on the bg, but it hurts when focused on the bg and you want to return focus to the bird. Bumping the focus overrides the delay allowing you to use the long delay when it helps and override the delay entirely when it would hurt, thus getting the best of both worlds.

    2. This is the most important use of the bump technique. Most photogs will aquire focus on a bif and then try to continously maintain foucs while they are tracking and watching the bif in the viewfinder. They tend to focus continuosly waiting for the moment they wish to make a photograph. Often while watching, tracking, and waiting for the moment, the photographer will miss and focus on the bg. This is extremely easy to do when the bif is flying against a varied bg. This is the reason it is so much more difficult to photograph BIF against a varied bg as opposed to smooth sky bg. When the focus grabs the bg, then the photographer needs to re-aquire focus on the bif. This may take too much time causing the photog to miss the critical moment. I try to avoid this by only focusing on the BIF when I'm sure I'm on target and during the critical moments when I'm actualy making images. So, what I will typicaly do is aquire the bif initialy and focus on it. Then I will let off the focus and just watch it in the viewfinder while tracking it visualy only. As the distance changes, the BIF will start to go out of focus. When that happens I bring it back in focus by quickly making sure the AF point is on the bird and then I bump the focus to get it in focus again. I do this repeatedly as I'm visualy tracking the bird. When the BIF gets to the spot I want to start making pictures, I will focus and shoot all at once. I shoot in short controlled bursts trying to time the critical moments with the best wing positions, etc. Because I have bumped the focus along, the focus is very close to where it needs to be when the moment to make pictures arrives. Then when I focus and trip the shutter it happens very quickly. If I tried to focus constantly while the bif approached I would likely miss, focus on the bg, and miss the critical moment. My goal is to keep the bird close to in focus and in the viewfinder without focusing on the bg and to do this up until the critical moment arrives. Then I try to maintain the focus while making great pictures. Bumping takes lots of practice, but if you develop this skill, it will make your keeper rate go way up.

    3. The third reason to bump the focus is to prefocus. The first task when photographing a BIF is to aquire it in the viewfinder and focus on it. (see tutorial #3) It is beneficial to be able to do this as quickly as possible. When using long focal lengths, the bird may be so out of focus that you can't see it in the viewfinder even if it's there. Then when you do get it in the viewfinder it may take much longer to focus on it if the focus is set to a drastically different distance. To overcome these issues, I will prefocus at the approximate distance that I anticipate for my subject. Then when the subject arrives, I can find it and focus on it quickly. I prefocus the camera by pointing the camera at something at the desired distance and then I focus on it. Now I'm ready for a BIF at a similar distance. If I need to switch the distance I will simply point the camera at something at the new distance and bump the focus. This will prefocus the camera at the new distance. Photogs that use a tripod will often prefocus manualy. Since manual focus is difficult hand held with big glass, I use the bump to prefocus.

  12. #12
    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Re: shooting birds in flight or motion!

    Thank you. Great information which I will print so I can digest the details at my own pace..

    Can anyone address ISO for birds in flight/motion/action in greater detail...?

    For example, stock photography companies (based on my experience) prefer/recommend using low ISOs to limit noise (photos are viewed full size)... So I try to shoot action photos of birds in on bright sunny days and I can usually get away with using ISOs of 200-400 on some birds typically pelicans and egrets (but not high contrast birds like black bellied ducks or green parrotlets (or small birds)) without blurring and with good clarity.

    If I use ISOs of 800 or more, there is too much noise in the photo and I don't have the editing skills (yet) to get rid of the noise produce a nice photo with good clarity nor do I have the means to upgrade my camera at this time.

    ie; is it really essential to use ISOs of 800 or above for birds in flight? Or can you work around it using the techniques (as advised here) and the lighting conditions you choose to photograph in?

    Here are some samples of my bird photos using ISO 100 or 200, editing likely to increase light or highlights. And now that I look at them, after seeing all the fabulous photos on this forum, yes, they could be sharper, but surely I don't need to use an ISO of 800 or above to achieve this?

    shooting birds in flight or motion!

    shooting birds in flight or motion!

    shooting birds in flight or motion!

  13. #13
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    Re: shooting birds in flight or motion!

    Of course, if you have enough light, you don't need to be at iso 800-1600, but angled light tends to look better, so shooting in the early morning or late afternoon/dusk is something you might want to try (not to mention, for me, those are the times of day that the raptors are going to thermal along the canyon ridges I shoot from), and at those times of day, you won't have the same amount of light you would in the middle of the day, and not everybody is shooting where there's tons of sunlight.

    With noise and high iso settings, a lot of it comes down to a) proper exposure, b) post-processing tools/skills, and c) not pixel-peeping.

    I'd say if you like what you're getting at the iso settings you're using, then you're fine. But if motion blur, either from camera shake or from subject motion is causing your shots to be less sharp than you'd like, you're going to need to increase your shutter speed, and that's probably going to require going up on the iso settings, because you probably don't have much room left on the aperture.

  14. #14
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    Re: shooting birds in flight or motion!

    Thank you Kathy... Good to know. Indeed trying to get a good shot of birds in flight/action in the early morning hours is where I am experiencing challenges, and I was hoping that there was a way to do so without going above ISO 800... And yes, I'm having challenges with photos not being as sharp as I'd like them to be.

    Just this morning I shot a bunch pelicans at ISOs as high as 800 (early morning, cloudy), to test out the higher ISOs with plans to practice my editing skills on one of these shots... I'm new to editing and finding it very time consuming and also very difficult to do without ruining the photo but I'm learning a lot from everyone here.

    I'm also working very hard on obtaining proper exposure, and I'm learning that higher ISOs are necessary.

    What is pixel peeping?

    Thank you.

  15. #15
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    Re: shooting birds in flight or motion!

    Quote Originally Posted by Christina S View Post
    What is pixel peeping?
    If you enlarge your photo to the size where you can see individual pixels you are peeping. This is where the image will look the worst.

    Some people do this for fun. Don't get into that. The demand for perfection is endless.

    Reasonable people consider the final target size for their photo and make sure that at the output size you cannot see pixels from the viewing distance. And since we tend to look at bigger pictures from further away it is actually possible to print an image quite big and get away with it.

    As long as you do not enlarge the image enough to see individual pixels at the final output size then you should not have to worry about higher ISOs on your camera. The noise you can see at the pixel level will be lost. This is especially true of digital images downsized for the web since the resizing process will interpolate the image and smooth noise.

    Printing often does not downsize an image so the noise is still present. However the pixels can be printed much smaller than the pixels you see on the screen. This is effectively does the same thing since the noise becomes invisible.

    When shooting high ISOs just try and keep a good shutter speed. If you have a low shutter speed then your image may seem blurred because you are moving. 1/Effective Focal Length is the benchmark. On a APS-C crop camera this would be 1 / 1.5x Focal Length for Nikon, 1/ 1.62x Focal Length for Canon. E.g. above 1/450 for a 300mm lens. Do note that if you want to crop your image then the effective focal length is higher. If you crop an image 2-fold your 300mm lens has become effectively 600mm. Of course you should use a high shutter speed when things move fast even with a short lens. Around 1/1500 for small birds, 1/750 for bigger birds.

    If you have plenty of light then you can lower the ISO. If the light is poor quality then you can push the ISO higher. Coupled with this is the need to constantly check the ISO and the exposure. You want to make sure that you do not underexpose an image. If you do then when you later make it brighter on the computer the noise will be made brighter and more visible.

    Alex

  16. #16
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    Re: shooting birds in flight or motion!

    Thank you... Very helpful...

    Can you please explain further I don't understand what you mean by this statement (I have my photos printed so it sounds to me like noise needs to be minimized)
    Printing often does not downsize an image so the noise is still present. However the pixels can be printed much smaller than the pixels you see on the screen. This is effectively does the same thing since the noise becomes invisible.

    Okay... here are just a few of my really bad shots from this morning.
    Nikon D80 F8 SS 1250 ISO 800 Exp +.75' 400 mm (Nikon D80 Tamron lens 200-400 mm)

    To me the noise looks really bad, and the shots are still too dark and not sharp... If I shoot at a higher shutter speed the photos will be even darker and if I increase the ISO noisier, and if I open the aperture I will have more purple fringing (seen on the tips of the wings of the pelicans and around the neck of the duck)

    shooting birds in flight or motion!

    shooting birds in flight or motion!

    shooting birds in flight or motion!

    Thank you.

  17. #17
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    Re: shooting birds in flight or motion!

    Actually, to me, the noise looks like the least of your issues. The shots are low contrast, but they don't look particularly noisy to me, given that they're a tad underexposed to my eye. It looks like your main issue is nailing focus. This is where the Tamron may be letting you down. The third shot, in particular, looks like it's back-focused. How much are you cropping? How are you focusing? full matrix? center-point? Are you doing back-button autofocus? Does the 200-400 have a focus limit switch? You may just need to wait a little bit for the AF to catch up with you.

  18. #18
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    Re: shooting birds in flight or motion!

    I can't add much more than what Richard has said. I basically use the same technique.

    The one thing I will say is that there is very good reason top bird photographers use top of the line camera bodies and lenses. These cameras and lens combos will help you nail the autofocus as quickly as possible and help you to maintain focus on the bird as it moves. I am looking forward to trying out my new 1dx body using its ability to automatically track the subject within the frame. Up to now I have used a 1D mark iv witha 400mm prime and it has helped me get some fantastic results. Even 400mm is not enough at times! My brother (a bird fanatic) uses a 7d with a 500mm prime giving an effective focal length of over 750mm. As Richard says, manually operating the camera is essential. I find that shutterspeed is my main concern. It is very very easy to use a shutterspeed that is way too slow. I also often use the auto ISO setting on my camera. IOW I set the shutterspeed to at least 1/500th and the aperture depending on what sort of DOF I'm looking for and then I let the camera adjust the ISO to get the exposure correct. This works very well. The only problem a lot of Canon (I don't know what the Nikon bodies do) shooters face is that in anything other than 1 series bodies the auto ISO setting defaults to 400! (not exactly auto).

    In truth if you don't have a top end rig you are probably going to struggle to emulate what you see in Nat Geo. These top end combos will set you back $15K. This doesn't mean you can't get great shots with other cameras. It just makes getting consistently good results more difficult.

    shooting birds in flight or motion!

    shooting birds in flight or motion!

    shooting birds in flight or motion!

  19. #19
    Markvetnz's Avatar
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    Re: shooting birds in flight or motion!

    Quote Originally Posted by inkista View Post

    shooting birds in flight or motion!
    50D. EF 400mm f/5.6L USM. iso 800, f/5.6, 1/640s. Handheld. 7:23am, Dec. 11th.
    White-Tailed Kite, juvenile. Elanus leucurus
    Great shot!

  20. #20
    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Re: shooting birds in flight or motion!

    Hi Kathy... The noise is there but not seen as much in grey skies... but very apparent with blue skies which is when I like to take photos (I'll try another shot in a blue sky at a high iso, in focus and post later)

    But yes, achieving focus on birds in flight has been a real challenge with the Tamron 200-400 lens. (used and recently purchased) I get better shots with my Alpha Sony DSLR 200 70-300 mm...


    I typically focus on the bird in flight and track its path, panning, waiting to hit the shutter button until the bird is positioned right... And I'm finding it hard to pan with this lens as it is heavy and it is hard to hand hold with no movement.

    If back focusing (I'm still digesting all the info that has been posted on this subject) is releasing the focus for a bit and then refocusing, yes I do this... (and I have yet to learn to set the exposure on something in the area, and all the other technical information that everyone has graciously shared)

    No, the Tamron lens does not have a focus limit switch.


    Matrix Metering
    Continuous Auto Focus
    AF Assist on
    Auto Focus Area - Autofocus area AF (as opposed to dynamic area or single area) I've also tried using dynamic area.
    Center Focus Area - Wide Zone (as opposed to normal zone)

    I cropped just a little ~ 40% of the original size.

    Thank you.

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