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Old Dec 24, 2006, 5:19 PM   #11
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Royce, it is a gift, great shots on the wing.

Ira
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Old Dec 24, 2006, 11:04 PM   #12
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It's actually a fairly long way for us to get to Orange County - our trip to the Long Beach Aquarium is as far south as I've been in probably a year. We wouldhave all of Los Angeles to drive through! But it looks like its worth it.

Is catching birds in flight something that can be learned?
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Old Dec 24, 2006, 11:22 PM   #13
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Really like your seagull flight shot.

Your clapper rail looks a bit like a whimbrel !!!

Merry Christmas

Ian Mc
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Old Dec 25, 2006, 2:43 AM   #14
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Royce, if you continue to develop with this speed, you'll soon be on the cover of National Geography! Keep posting!

Kjell
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Old Dec 25, 2006, 9:54 AM   #15
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Bolsa Chica is about 20 minutes south of the long beach aquarium.

I really enjoy photographing birds in flight. I definitely think it can be learned. I think the best way is to just practice. You really need to find a spot where there is a high concentration of birds so that they will give you many opportunities. I first practiced at a neighborhood lake shooting ducks. The ducks stayed relatively close to the shore and there were plenty of them.

Then it just a mattter of refining your ability to keep the birds in frame while tracking their flight path. This is where having the freedom to handhold the camera/lens gives you the most flexibility to track the bird. Using shake reduction and a fast shutter speed help to minimize blur.

The hardest part I find is to achieve autofocus fast enough to get the shot off. Sometimes I will be zoomed out to 300mm and will lose the bird when it flies out of frame. I will then zoom back to try to find the bird again. Once back in frame I zoom in. The continuous fire mode does help increase the odds of getting a decent shot. However it doesn't always work as planned. It will focus for the first shot only. After that if I am holding down the shutter and it is continuously firing off shots, if the bird is flying towards or away from me, then the rest of the shots will most likely be out of focus. I find that shooting in small bursts will force the camera to refocus more often. I have tried using the setting AF-C but it just makes the lens continually hunt and not allow me to fire off a shot.

One of the shortcomings of the K100d I found, is the lack of ultrasonic motor lens capability. I played around with my friend's nikon with its silent and super fast hypersonic wave lens motor and I was very impressed. The sigma 70-300 apo dg is a great lens and I am very happy with it considering the price I paid for it. However it is quite noisy when focussing and is not quite as fast. Autofocus speed is a big factor in photographing subjects in motion.

I think the k10d has that capability but I don't think there are any pentax/3rd party lens at the moment with ultrasonic motors. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they will pursue that technology with some of the upcoming lens in development.

Alot of it is chance and luck. For this last trip to bolsa chica I came home with over 400 shots on my memory card. A great majority of them came out rubbish, but I got a few keepers. So I increase my percent of keepers by taking more shots.

I originally thought that I needed ISO 800 for flying birds. Lately, I have tried using the Auto ISO setting where the camera choses between ISO 200-800. Interesting enough, all of my shots came out at ISO 200. I usually shoot in very bright sunlight conditions (between 10 am - 2pm). This lens does need alot of light to find focus since I am stopped down to f8 to get sharpest results.

Another tip is to set your autofocus point to center point only. Having too many autofocus points can confuse your camera as to where you want it focussed and may slow down your ability to aquire the target.

I hope my "dissertation" on photographing birds in flight helps. :lol: Thank you all for taking the time to view my pics and all the feedback. Happy holidays.

royce10


mtngal wrote:
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It's actually a fairly long way for us to get to Orange County - our trip to the Long Beach Aquarium is as far south as I've been in probably a year. We wouldhave all of Los Angeles to drive through! But it looks like its worth it.

Is catching birds in flight something that can be learned?
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Old Dec 25, 2006, 1:09 PM   #16
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Thanks for posting how you've been doing this - it's always interesting to read about other's techniques. Only 20 minutes south of Long Beach - that's not all THAT far. Might be a good spot to practice for our January trip to the desert and the Salton Sea. I'll have to work on it.

The K10 does have the capability of using ultrasonic motor lenses, but I think I read somewhere there was a hang-up with copyright/patents that was going to delay anyone coming out with a lens in the Pentax mount. Hopefully it will be solved quickly, I'll definitely check them out when they are released. At the moment the AF won't matter since my 300 lens is manual focus.

One of the options you can set on the K10 is how it comes up with exposure. You can set it to weigh shutter speed higher than aperture or aperture over shutter speed. I like using the P mode for just general walking around, but I've noticed with the K100 that sometimes it would "choose" a slower shutter speed and smaller aperture. Normally that would be fine, but not if I'm using the A*300, where 1/125 is slower than I want. With the K10 set to emphasize shutter speed, it'll stay at a larger aperture and choose a faster shutter speed - more to my liking with a long lens. With the K10 and P mode, I can always adjust things if I decide I want a bigger DOF for a particular picture.
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Old Dec 25, 2006, 3:40 PM   #17
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Nice photos, Royce. I especially like the last one of the seagull. I've tried getting them here on the east coast and know how difficult it was to get them just right. One day someone had disturbed them all and they were all flying all over. I just kept shooting and actually got some in the frame at the same time. Need to learn how to stay focused on one and just follow it, though.
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Old Dec 25, 2006, 9:45 PM   #18
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Fellow Twitcher, These are wonderful shots, your practice and patience is giving you the rewards you deserve.

Rodney
Happy New Year
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Old Dec 25, 2006, 10:38 PM   #19
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Have to say that the second (Pelican in flight) and the last shot (Seagull in flight) are my favorites!

Now i'm just mad that I didn't win the 70-300 sigma apo on ebay last time I saw it.

Keep up the great work Royce.

Fred
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Old Dec 26, 2006, 6:01 PM   #20
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Ah yes, I stand corrected. It is a whimbrel. Thanks!

Ian Mc wrote:
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Really like your seagull flight shot.

Your clapper rail looks a bit like a whimbrel !!!

Merry Christmas

Ian Mc
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