A7R III + 100-400 - new to Wildlife/birds/etc, advice on focusing techniques?

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Teddy Bozeman
Teddy Bozeman Regular Member • Posts: 250
A7R III + 100-400 - new to Wildlife/birds/etc, advice on focusing techniques?

Hello there! I will be the first to admit, I'm fairly new to the world of photographing wildlife, birds, etc, so I was curious to see if people out there had any tips/advice/etc on focusing for doing wildlife/birds? I'm coming from a landscape background, and am gradually feeling my way through learning wildlife, but I can tell I'm kind of hitting a wall when it comes to my lack of knowledge and technique.

I was recently at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park in Eatonville, WA (Book a before-the-park-opens tram photo tour, it's great!), and I really got frustrated with not knowing what focusing mode to use on the A7R III. I was really struggling with the camera locking onto a layer of grass instead of the animal's head/face, etc., using my Sony 100-400. I took quite a few shots using a combination of zone, spots of varying sizes, expanded flexible spot, and Tracking, but I missed focus on so many photos, even when there wasn't a whole lot of movement involved in the animals I was photographing.

I'm sure the lower light due to the wildfire smoke we are currently being choked by, plus early morning light was part of it, but I also got so frustrated with how slow it is to move the focus point with the joystick on the A7R III, then getting only a small part of an animal's face in focus on a shot. (I also keep forgetting to use the darn touchscreen to move the focus point, but that requires me to remove my hand from the back-button focusing I'm trying to teach myself to use, so I was hoping for a better solution.)

Anyways, I'm getting too wordy here, but I would love to hear any tips or techniques that could help me improve; I've got some examples on my 500px page, but in general I'd say a fairly low percentage of my shots I'm truly "happy" with, and I'm more interested in general tips and tricks rather than having my poor attempts getting critiqued.

Thank you so much!

 Teddy Bozeman's gear list:Teddy Bozeman's gear list
Sony a7R III Sony FE 90mm F2.8 macro Sony FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 Sony FE 12-24mm F4 Sony FE 24-105mm F4
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Sony a7R III
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