Bird at flight (Part I)


Status
Not open for further replies.

tomshen

Senior Member
Feb 20, 2002
3,644
0
36
Singapore
With the given talent of flying, birds are the most attractive subjects for nature photographers. Comparing still life, however, flying birds are much more difficult to shoot. It's more challenging, and it's fun! I have started my flying bird shooting recently. The result is... not good, sigh... Thinking I will try more to increase my hit rate.

All shots taken with shutter speed priority 1/1000, ISO 400 (light condition was average, sometimes quite poor). I mostly use continous focus coz I found manual focusing is HARD! This is just a start. You will see more and more my flying bird series in the future;)







 

Goose

Senior Member
Jan 18, 2002
589
0
16
Visit site
These are good!! :thumbsup:
 

tomshen

Senior Member
Feb 20, 2002
3,644
0
36
Singapore
:) BTW, what's the name of this bird? Thinking I will also need to improve my bird knowledge, especially in terms of English names.
 

willyfoo

Senior Member
Jan 18, 2002
2,048
0
0
46
North
willyfoo.com
Originally posted by tomshen
:) BTW, what's the name of this bird? Thinking I will also need to improve my bird knowledge, especially in terms of English names.
If I'm not mistaken, it should be the "Cattle Egret" the colour is due to it's breeding plumage.

After check: Yup... it's the Cattle Egret..
http://www.stockpix.com/ce.htm
 

Falcon

Senior Member
Jan 18, 2002
2,768
0
0
41
I have a question here. Can the auto focus work so fast to determine the distance between your cam and the bird while they are flying? I am new to this so forgive me if this sounds stupid. Manual focus would be tough because it is difficult to guage the distance unlike taking macro shots. Am i right?? :)
 

tomshen

Senior Member
Feb 20, 2002
3,644
0
36
Singapore
To be honest, I am a newbie in bird photography. My approach is try and error. I did fail a lot *films* at the first try, but I also learned a lot from mistakes. Those of u really want to know how to shoot birds, dont rely on my post, better read something professional, hehe... But we can communicate directly here, that's the advantage!

Ok, I found manual focusing works difficult for me. You know someone has pointed out that for bird photography, anything (i.e. lens) shorter than 600mm will be useless. It's true but as we are talking about birds in the JBP, so this is quite another story. I use 70-200mm with a 1.4x TC. The D60 itself has a 1.6x multiplier, so all in all about 450mm max. Birds are generally not really far away, wihtin from 20m - 100m. And with D60's 6MP, i have quite big room to crop later. But anyway, for a decent bird photo, dont make the bird look too small.

I dont use manual focus coz feel that I cannot react fast enough to the change of subject's distance. In the best situation, birds fly from left to right or reverse, so the distance is almost not changed. In this case manual focusing is ok when panning. But you cannot predict how birds fly in most cases. In order not to loose many opportunities, I use AI focusing, so called continuous focosing. The drawback of AI focusing is that you have to put the bird on one of the focusing points (usually central point). And another drawback is I cannot focus on the bird's eyes but body instead. Otherwise the focusing point may hit the background and bounce back and forth.

I have learned to follow the golden rule: if you see it, you have missed it! in sports photography. It's true that if u see the most beautiful moment, you actually have missed the opportunity to capture it. What I follow is to predict the bird's action. The hit rate is dependent on experience and luck. So far I dont feel good enough in this aspect.

I use handheld coz it's not flexible to use tripod. As I put it b4, I use shutter speed prority 1/1000s, so hand shake has already been reduced. But when bird fly fast I do get blur image. Once again, need experience and luck here.

IMO, auto focusing system can react fast enough if you always point your camera to the subject correctly. What may fail you is not the camera, but the cameraman. Many times I react or shake too much, or dont fire in time. Solution: go back and practice:D
 

revenant

New Member
Apr 8, 2002
1,101
0
0
36
collinyeo.blogspot.com
Useful advise :thumbsup:

Another question, are your moving with your camera while attempting to shoot flying bird? Or you position your camera at a point and wait for the bird to fly across your "crosshair"?
 

Richard

Senior Member
Jan 16, 2002
522
0
16
Originally posted by tomshen
Ok, I found manual focusing works difficult for me. You know someone has pointed out that for bird photography, anything (i.e. lens) shorter than 600mm will be useless. It's true but as we are talking about birds in the JBP, so this is quite another story. I use 70-200mm with a 1.4x TC. The D60 itself has a 1.6x multiplier, so all in all about 450mm max. Birds are generally not really far away, wihtin from 20m - 100m. And with D60's 6MP, i have quite big room to crop later. But anyway, for a decent bird photo, dont make the bird look too small.
Aren't you still shooting at close to 600mm if you are cropping it? Afterall... what you're doing is just like your D60's FOV crop except that it's manual...
 

Jed

Senior Member
Jan 19, 2002
3,904
0
0
UK
Visit site
Originally posted by tomshen
I use 70-200mm with a 1.4x TC. The D60 itself has a 1.6x multiplier, so all in all about 450mm max. Birds are generally not really far away, wihtin from 20m - 100m. And with D60's 6MP, i have quite big room to crop later. But anyway, for a decent bird photo, dont make the bird look too small.
I'm with Richard on this. You're running effective to 600mm easy from what you're saying. If you take a 450mm lens, and crop it to 2200 pixels by 1500 pixels from your original, you are in effect stacking a 1.4x converter on, putting you into the 630mm range. If you crop even more, you can be reaching effectively into the 1000mm and beyond range.

In the best situation, birds fly from left to right or reverse, so the distance is almost not changed. In this case manual focusing is ok when panning.

Erm... not true at all. Unless the bird flies in a perfect circular arc the distance of the bird from you varies as it flies from left to right of vice versa. Do a bit of thinking before you give advice. Then read my signature... giving out advice and sounding sure, if you're not so sure of what you're talking about, is very damaging to fellow newbies, and I must admit it's a pet hate of mine.

* Jed koks tomshen *

But you cannot predict how birds fly in most cases.

Well, the bird's certainly not going to fly in a perfect arc.

The drawback of AI focusing is that you have to put the bird on one of the focusing points (usually central point).

As I've already explained in that lengthy sports thread, this is really not a drawback at all.

And another drawback is I cannot focus on the bird's eyes but body instead. Otherwise the focusing point may hit the background and bounce back and forth.

At the distances that you will be shooting a bird in flight, you should have enough DOF to carry across the bird.

I have learned to follow the golden rule: if you see it, you have missed it! in sports photography.

Good, nice to know you got something out of all that typing.

As I put it b4, I use shutter speed prority 1/1000s, so hand shake has already been reduced.

Erm. Why in the world is handshake an issue if you're whizzing the camera around at the speed of sound, and the bird is flying around at the speed of sound. I get what you're trying to say, but the issue is more subject motion blur than handshake. And it's not really handshake in the traditional sense of the word either. If anything, your hands following the bird actually help to reduce motion blur.

IMO, auto focusing system can react fast enough if you always point your camera to the subject correctly. What may fail you is not the camera, but the cameraman.

Agree on this.

Solution: go back and practice:D

Great advice too.
 

tomshen

Senior Member
Feb 20, 2002
3,644
0
36
Singapore
haha, Jed! Caught by u :embrass: I didnt mean to give false info. Maybe it's my ignorance:p

Just curious, when should I use manual focusing in bird photography? Slow birds? Low light condition? Or some other situation?

It's true that cropping with D60, I actually have something longer than 600mm. This is really wonderful for me coz long lenses are damn $$$$$

Revenant, I usually pan with the bird. It's not practical to wait and fire. Reasons: 1. you cannot accurately pre-focus or predict the focus; 2. you cannot respond fast enough to trigger the shutter button; 3. you may loose many other opportunities during the bird's flight. Just put the bird in your view finder, always predict it's movement. When you see something interesting is happening, dont hesitate to fire, in continuous mode!!! At any time, keep your camera stable and in focus.
 

StreetShooter

Senior Member
Jan 17, 2002
4,634
0
36
Katong
streetshooter.clubsnap.org
I don't shoot birds, I shoot kids who sometimes run very fast.

One thing I have found useful is to change the Custom Function (02) to value of 1, instead of default 0. Not sure if this works the same on the D60.

This allows you to use the FEL button (the * below your thumb) to activate autofocus. Then, at the right moment, you simply squeeze the shutter. There is the usual shutter lag, of course, but no autofocus lag. So you track the subject by continuously pressing the FEL button, and press the shutter when the shot you want is *almost* there.

The advantage of this is that you can use the autofocus to do "zone" focussing. ie use the autofocus to get the focus in the approximate focal plane, and shoot your subject when he or she (or it) comes into focus. At least, that's what I think zone focussing means. NOT SURE hor? ;) A little bit easier than manual zone focussing. (or maybe it's just called pre-focussing).
 

tomshen

Senior Member
Feb 20, 2002
3,644
0
36
Singapore
Streetshooter, this sounds fresh to me. Will try it later. I guess by doing so you still use 'one shot', right? So you achieve continuous focusing via keeping pushing the lock * button. It's the same effect as changing to AI servo focusing. A question here, will pushing the * button introduce more vibration to the camera? Normally I use AI focusing, half press the shutter button, keep the position, and push all the way down to fire it. In this way I can make sure the camera is in the most stable condition.

Correct me if I am wrong:)
 

Status
Not open for further replies.