Thursday, April 26, 2018

Photographing Birds in Flight

great egret in flight photo by mbgphoto

Review of Tips on Photographing Birds in Flight

  1. Patience-  This is #1
  2. Long lens- I used 70-300mm for most of my photos
  3. Find the right location--birds seem to congregate near water to find food so that is a good place to start
  4. Understand bird behavior-Observation is key here.  The more you observe the better your chances of catching birds in flight.
  5. Using right settings on your camera.  A shutter speed of 1/500 or higher is ideal
  6. GET CREATIVE and Have Fun!

Florida Wilderness Reserve

The area where we stayed this past March was a wonderful place to observe and photograph birds.  I spent some time each day walking along the reserve area of wetlands and observed the birds in the area.  After a few days, I got quite familiar with their behaviors and was able to find the right times to photograph them.  I found late afternoon and early evening to be a great time to catch the birds in flight.  I particularly enjoyed photographing the Herons, Egrets, and Ibis in flight.

First Tries

I found that my first attempts did not quite give me the results that I wanted.  I would have loved for the photo below of the Sandhill Crane and the Spoonbill Roseate to be in better focus.

sandhill crane in flight photo by mbgphoto

rosate spoonbill in flight photo by mbgphoto

In my attempts to quickly photograph birds in flight, I ended up with a lot of backsides of birds.
bird in flight photo by mbgphoto

With Lots of Patience

I eventually got a few shots of birds in flight that I feel were good.  Here is a blue heron.
blue heron photo by mbgphoto
 And I also like this  pair of egrets.
a pair of egerts in flight photo by mbgphoto

Slower Birds are Easier

I found photographing the Whistling Ducks in flight to be easier, but then they are a bit slower.
whistling duck photo by mbgphoto

whistling ducks in flight photo by mbgphoto

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  1. Excellent tips for photographing birds in flight, Mary Beth. I can just imagine how hard that would be to capture the moment perfectly and you have done a great job with these. Love the Florida birds. BTW, this article was timed perfectly as today is 'National Audubon Day'.

  2. That Blue Heron photo is lovely! It is really nice to see his beautiful spread of feathers. What a pretty bird. I also love the feather colors on the Whistling Duck. A very pretty fellow too. Photographing flying birds is really hard and I am most grateful for the tips.

  3. I appreciate those tips. I have a terrible time with birds in flight, but I only have a point and shoot. My worst problem is that the birds are usually so high, since I tend to most often see hawks and turkey vultures circling high in the sky above my head and they move fast. Love your photos.

  4. Wonderful tips. So much of it is a waiting and watching game. You are so right about the need to become familiar with the habits of your subject (and to be in the right place at the right time). Yesterday morning I was observing the Mountain bluebirds nesting in my yard. One of them happened to fly out of her birdhouse while I was waiting to snap a photo. The pic was slightly blurry, but I was happy to just be in that moment with mama bluebird. Your photography is lovely and always rising to new levels of expertise. I love how you are always pushing the envelope in your quest to perfect your skills. We all benefit from your learning and guidance.

  5. Your tips are very helpful. My son recently purchased a camera and I'll have to send him to your posts to get some tips on how to successfully take photos.

  6. Mary Beth, I love your tips! And your photos. The tip of patience and observation are very important. At a local marsh... I found that if i stay very still, the birds tend to fly in the same pattern. And I can start to predict where they might fly.


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