Like many folks after I’ve been working hard, either physically or mentally, I like to grab a camera and relax by capturing a few images. This afternoon I finished building a ‘honey-do’ project in the backyard and I had a little bit of available time. So, I grabbed one of my cameras and headed off to Hendrie Valley where I spent an interesting hour capturing some images of birds in flight.
For most folks who enjoy photographing wildlife in general, and birds-in-flight in particular, having additional ‘reach’ with their gear is always preferred. I was out yesterday morning attempting to capture some Purple Martin in flight and came to the realization that sometimes shorter is better.
I’ve been quite busy with client work lately and I decided that I needed a break. So, today I headed out to photograph birds-in-flight with my Nikon 1 J5. As most folks know, this camera does not have a viewfinder, so I used four, thick elastic bands to attach my Zacuto Z-Finder to the rear of the J5. It ended up being reasonably snug against the back of the camera. While not particularly elegant looking, it did get the job done.
In today’s digital photography age, most novice bird photographers are happy just capturing a bird portrait with their cameras. After a while, the natural progression is to try and capture some action shots of birds in flight, but that is where most avian photographers struggle. Why? The answer is quite simple; they don’t have enough shutter speed!
No matter how much planning is done, depending on the photography genre weather can often be an issue – and sometimes you need the cooperation of a much higher power – Mother Nature!
I’ve been doing some experimentation the last little while photographing birds in motion at 60fps with my Nikon 1 V2. I thought Photography Life readers may enjoy seeing a few sample images captured at this fast frame rate. All images in this article are consecutive hand-held captures of individual birds.
During our recent holiday in the Myrtle Beach area of South Carolina I had the opportunity to spend some time photographing birds at Murrells Inlet. Early February is not the best time for bird photography as the number of birds and range of species is somewhat limited. Never-the-less I persevered and visited the inlet a number of times, usually going out to the end of the pier.
As photographers we all do our best to really think about the composition of our images and construct them to achieve a sense of balance. When we do this well we are able to control eye flow and create a pleasant viewing experience for people looking at our photographs. To accomplish that we often use the Rule of Thirds in our compositions. Obviously this is much easier to utilize when photographing static subjects such as landscapes and much more difficult to achieve when our subjects are moving.
If we’re lucky from time to time we get the opportunity to capture an interesting bit of nature playing out before our eyes. I had one such opportunity on Saturday afternoon when I was able to photograph a blackbird chasing a hawk in flight. I was sitting at my kitchen table having just returned from Grimsby harbour after trying to photograph some terns in flight with my Nikon 1 setup. It was a very dull, grey, overcast day so I cut my session short and had returned home.
Most people who enjoy taking images of birds will attest to the fact that it can be especially challenging to photograph hummingbirds. These little ‘pocket rockets’ dart around constantly and very seldom stay in one place long enough for us to find them in our viewfinders, let alone actually get an image. If you’re like me even being able to capture a decent image of a hummingbird on a feeder with its wings spread is an uncommon feat.