Bird Watching (UK) - - Part Two Bird Photography Basics -

IN FLIGHT Birds be­ing birds are not al­ways sat on a con­ve­nient post, so un­der­stand­ing how to shoot good ‘in flight’ im­ages will pro­vide the avid pho­tog­ra­pher with an im­por­tant set of skills to cap­ture greats shots.

PO­SI­TION­ING Be­fore we even look for the bird, let’s get our stance right. For the best tech­nique, stand with your legs slightly apart and one foot in front of the other, to give you a good base. Slightly bend your knees to aid in move­ment. Tak­ing hold of your cam­era with one hand on the shut­ter, place the other hand on the bar­rel of the lens un­til you find the rough bal­anc­ing point, where the cam­era feels cen­tral. Bring your el­bows in tight and you’re ready to go.

TRACK­ING SUB­JECTS Watch­ing a sub­ject in the viewfinder, try to track them in po­si­tion over the mid­dle aut­o­fo­cus point. If you are strug­gling to pick sub­jects up and are us­ing a zoom lens, zoom out to find your sub­ject and then in again once you have them in the frame. The mid­dle AF point is the best to use as it’s the most sen­si­tive, and when start­ing out it’s the eas­i­est one to lock on with. If you find it hard to keep the sub­ject over a sin­gle point, work­ing with multi point AF around a mid-zone re­duces the risk of los­ing fo­cus.

EX­PO­SURE With birds be­ing in the sky they are of­ten between your­self and the light source (the sun) so, if you shoot an im­age with­out com­pen­sat­ing, you will sim­ply get a sil­hou­ette of the bird you are af­ter. To coun­ter­act this, you will of­ten need to over­ex­pose by around 2/3rd of a stop in or­der to get some de­tail in the un­der­parts of a bird in the sky. Of course, for the best chances to have flat­ter­ing light un­der­neath a bird, work with low morn­ing or evening sun.

Us­ing cen­tral AF point for track­ing

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