Flight 11! During my travels to Kachemak Bay off the coast of Homer, Alaska, I was photographing Bald Eagles. This image I named Flight 11 simply because it was the eleventh flight shot that I processed from the many images I captured over the five days we were in Alaska. I have had many experiences photographing birds. If you click the above menu and go to my galleries, you will se one from Canada where I was photographing Snowy Owls a few years ago. The trick to a sharp focused photo of birds in flight is to try and pick one out as they are flying towards you. Track them with your finger on the shutter release tapping the release as they fly closer, keeping them constantly in focus. Once they get close enough to trip the shutter, the camera usually will stay locked on them as they dip into the water or fly by you in search of food. Having a camera with the ability to take multiple frames at a fast sequence is essential. I was shooting with my Nikon D3s for most of the flight shots as I found it to be the one most reliable in giving me sharp focus tracking. At up to 9 frames per second, the D3s worked well even in cold and damp weather conditions.
Some birds are difficult to capture in any sequence because they are much smaller and faster than the Eagles and the Owls. Puffins for example are pretty fast. You can use the same tracking method that I described earlier, just don’t expect the same number of perfect focused images. Some birds are just too fast or too small to track. In these cases the only hope is for them to perch on a tree or rock or something else and capture them as they wait to move on. If there is food in the area, birds often stop on a branch nearby and then jump to the feeders. They have a tendency to come back to the same branch each time. Patience and a steady hand will help in capturing smaller birds as they wait to move for their food. Some of the people I have encountered in my travel are just Bird enthusiasts. They seldom take photographs of landscapes or larger wildlife. They are just bird photographers and they are masters of their craft. Being a more generalized kind of photographer, I like to think my portfolio is more diverse and offer my clients many selections. Next trip, wildflowers in the Colorado Rockies just a few weeks away. Enjoy!