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Old Mar 6, 2011, 4:47 PM   #1
Join Date: May 2010
Location: wales , uk
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Default a study of birds in flight

I have been trying to get together a wee set of pictures of birds in flight. I'm really trying to avoid birds sat on perches if I can. Technically it seems the only way to do it with fast moving (ie small) birds is to fix the focus and let them fly into the frame , which is a bit hit and miss. The autofocus isn't quick enough for the small birds but I dont think I am either...
Bigger birds , the autofocus works but the results aren't so interesting, well, mine aren't. I'll put a link to the set if you are interested but heres a couple I liked.
the first was tits flying to roost as the sun was just about to go down and the light through their wings made them look like little angels...

P3010709_filtered by alexsally52, on Flickr

and this is the local chaffinches who almost hover when they fight over food and gave me half a chance of getting them in the frame...:

P3041163-1_filtered by alexsally52, on Flickr

heres the set if your interested:
all taken with the e-520 and 70-300
www.wildaboutfilms.com my olympus shots in video
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Old Mar 7, 2011, 10:16 AM   #2
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Alex: good job. #2 above is my favorite. Looked at your Flickr site, and you managed several good BIF captures.

(I guess I must need to practice more with my E520 and 70-300 as I have not been very successful with birds in flight shots. Most of mine end up deleted.)
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Old Mar 7, 2011, 10:30 AM   #3
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The three point AF system is a big hinderance with so little coverage across the frame to successfully hold focus once it's been achieved. The continuous AF system of Olympus DSLR's is something I never used successfully in a series of cameras, from the E520 to the E620 to the E30. Not sure if it will help much, but does the E520 (I can't remember anymore) have a C-AF lock option? If it does, turn it on. In theory, C-AF lock will, once a subject has been focused, retain the focus as you follow the subject, assuming you keep it framed over the active AF points.

It was not until I picked up my E5 that I had any success at all with continuous AF, and even then, it's pretty much been only with big birds like egrets to date. Small birds are so difficult to just see in enough time, much less get framed in the finder zoomed to a 400mm or 600mm equivalent view and focused in time to get a shot or two. It's the hardest type photography I have ever tried, and I wonder what the "hit" rate is for experienced bird shooters. I have a feeling a lot goes into the trash for even them because with experience comes higher expectations.
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Old Mar 7, 2011, 4:08 PM   #4
Join Date: May 2010
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I have a feeling a lot goes into the trash for even them because with experience comes higher expectations.[/QUOTE]

tokk approx 450. got 20 great ones of sat on perches "no action" got 30 "ok" in flight of them 12 real good 'uns (the ones in my link) so approx 450 to get 12 ...

whats that , about 1 in 40?
least digital is free.
oh and I shoot in continous shoot mode so theres bound to be lots of shots..
the more important point is time taken to get a nice set. lots. and I guess equipment doesn't change that. I was stood next to a guy with a canon that cost more than my car, a 100-400 L lens and flashlight who couldn't get a shot in flight. I got a dozen. The reason was he was there 1/2 hour I was there all afternoon. Also he was trying to use the canons lightning quick AF and his reactions weren't as quick as the birds..I wasn't even trying
www.wildaboutfilms.com my olympus shots in video

Last edited by alexs; Mar 7, 2011 at 4:12 PM.
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