BIF shooters, please help

Started Mar 15, 2014 | Questions thread
R2D2 Forum Pro • Posts: 17,560
Re: BIF shooters, please help

You're far too modest. That's a great post (I'll repost it here for all)...

imqqmi wrote

What's not to like about shooting birds?

Here's some basics:

  • Find some white birds like egrets, gulls, swans etc. they are the easiest to shoot because you can use very fast shutter speeds. The larger the slower the bird.
  • White birds (partly white or entirely doesn't really matter) to keep highlights from blowing in sunny conditions use: 1/2000ss f/6.3 iso 400, shoot a white bird like a gull and check for blinkies. increase any of the settings if it's blown. 1/800 is the bare minimum, 1/1250 is better, 1/2500 is excellent. Focal length is irrelevant concerning shutter speed.
  • Use M mode. White birds will not change brightness and will be brighter than the brightest white clouds.
  • Shoot in sunny conditions, a slight haze will actually enhance the image.
  • Turn off IS, the shutter speeds should be sufficient to freeze the bird
  • Use AI servo, center point for busy backgrounds or all AF points for a clear blue sky.
  • Shoot near water or bright sand, it'll reflect some light under the bird
  • Shoot when the sun is lower in the sky with the sun at your back.
  • Mount the lens hood and hold the lens at the hood for more stabilization.
  • Slightly press the camera against the brow
  • Choose a far off bird flying towards you, keep tracking and shoot some shots until it gets really close and just keep the shutter button down until the buffer is full.
  • Track the bird by turning using your back rather than the legs. Set your feet apart in the Karate pose (slightly closer together for better comfort). Track with a deliberate motion.
  • Concentrate hard on your muscles, the flight pattern of the bird and keeping the tracking motion as smooth as possible. Keep the focus point on the bird, and on the eye if you can.
  • First practice on birds farther away. The closer they get the faster you need to be able to track them.
  • To find a bird at long focal lengths look through the flash bracket towards the tip of the hood and align the bird. All you have to do now is move up a bit to find it in the viewfinder, make sure you begin tracking while looking over the flash bracket, the bird will continue to move on and quickly flies outside the frame.
  • Pre focus if you have to, set it between 10 and 20m. If your lens has an AF limiter switch then set it to the farther setting unless you're sure you can get closer. This prevents the lens from focusing too close and completely blurring loosing the subject.
  • Lots and lots of practice!

I'd set the camera at raw only, saving jpeg and raw might slow down saving and will eat up valuable buffer space in your camera, you can't take as many consecutive shots at high speed.



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