But in some ways it can help you with one aspect of bird photography and that’s being able to track something in flight. Oh sure, the plane isn’t flapping and depending on the type of plane it can fly from an easy to track speed to there goes something at Mach 1! In this case it was a biplane (no idea where it came from, what kind, who was flying it, etc.) that was easy to lock on and track.
The tip I’m sharing today is just one of many that can help you photograph something in flight and that’s shutter speed! What you set your shutter speed at will either give you a sharp image, a slightly blurry one or one that is totally blurred. If you are going for motion blur that is one thing but if you want your capture to be sharp then the correct shutter speed is paramount.
There’s this thing called the reciprocal rule which means in order to hold your camera by hand without introducing blur and camera shake your shutter speed should be no less than one over whatever your focal length is. In other words if you are shooting something at 200mm your shutter speed should be at least 1/200. Unless you are using a tripod then that doesn’t really apply because of its stability.
Photo math is easier than that high school Algebra class you took isn’t it?
What minimal shutter speed you use with birds also depends on if the bird is just sitting still or flying. If it’s sitting on a branch you can get away with a lower shutter speed than if it’s in the air or if it’s a twitchy little thing on the branch. But here’s something that’s a bit different when photographing an airplane compared to a bird. When photographing birds you want things to be as sharp as possible ergo a higher shutter speed. But with a plane (well one with a propeller anyway) you want to find that sweet shutter speed that will have the plane in focus but allow the propeller to blur giving you that sense of movement. The best advice I have for that – and in a way it also applies to birds – is to start with one shutter speed, take some test shots and adjust till you have things to your liking.
In the case of these photos I didn’t change my settings from photographing the birds in flight (f8 – ISO800 – 560mm – 1/2000) which gave me sharp images of the plane but no motion blue of the propeller. Its appearance was a surprise and I just turned from the gulls to it and then back again. Need to get a little quicker at changing those settings.
Cool plane don’t you think?
Bird photography is a very interesting, sometimes challenging and rewarding genre of photography. And even though species vary across the globe and even from one area of where you live to another, there are almost always some birds out there to photograph.
Birding was more of DH’s thing and I would either come along for the ride or find what appealed to me more and leave him to his feathered friends but with the onset of things being locked down and social distancing I discovered the joys (and frustrations) of bird photography.
It gets you outdoors and almost always far apart from other people!
And right now that works for me just fine and dandy. While I wish I could be places where they have some spectacular specimens of birds like Florida or the gulf coast, with the help of an app (there’s one for everything) called eBird, we’ve been able to explore areas in our state and have discovered more birds than we ever really saw before outside of an Audubon class or bird sanctuary.
Today I am sharing a rather common bird, the Ring-billed Gull. These critters will eat anything they can snatch be it from something they eat naturally, snatching part of your picnic or picking over a trash heap. I would imagine many birders don’t consider them a big deal as they seem to be omnipresent but for our purposes they fit the “bill.”
Feel free to groan at the bad pun.
Part of bird photography is being able to focus on the eye of the animal and to track it in flight. The first part isn’t too difficult if it’s a bird that is used to humans and doesn’t twitch about too much but the second part? That takes practice! So we went to a lakeside beach where we knew gulls amassed every evening and had at the practicing.
Will share more about birding and bird photography (the bits I’ve learned so far) later but here is one gull that I captured in flight. As these birds are used to humans they were not afraid to get close to us or us to them. That made practicing easier but still it pinged my fear of gulls from the movie The Birds. All I have to hear is that one noise they made at Bodega Bay and I’m ready to bolt!!
He was my go to person and expert when it came to identifying butterflies and a renowned English geologist. He was part of our wedding. We both enjoyed having a pint at the pub or wherever the pint may have been. He was a sweet gentle soul and a wonderful Uncle to DH all his life and to me for the past eleven years.
So it is with great sadness that I say goodbye and you will be dearly missed, Uncle, with a series of butterfly photos in honor and memory of you.
Love, Teri ♥
It’s been 2020 and it’s craziness here at my end of the internet. We had a tornado come through which didn’t damage anything around us but was scary; shook the house and our neighbor two homes away had to come and get their lawn furniture from our back yard.
Then the internet and my phone decided to not cooperate with me so today I await the arrival of the service provider to see if it’s them or we need a new router. Why do they always give you a window of arrival time that’s so late in the day?
Back to that tornado… while it didn’t damage the house it damaged some mums I had just put in the front yard that very same day and snapped one of my tomato plants in half. Nature can be beautiful and beastly, can’t it? But on the positive side of things I have taken up birding with DH. It has taken me to places I never thought I would be stomping through like standing on mud flats and in high grass and reeds talking to a hunter who was showing me the ducks she had just shot and how tasty the species was. Ok…..
Now about the title of this post? Look at the swan and tilt your head to the right and you will see it!
Trumpeter swan: We are the rulers of this pond!
Blue heron: Yeah, whatever dude. I’ll go walk over here.
This was right before the heron tried to muscle some ducks out of the way (they did not take kindly to it and stood their ground) and before the swans chased off a flock of geese. There was a lot of wing flapping and honking but it ended quickly with the swans victorious.
Here’s to you having an enjoyable and scuffle free weekend – Teri
I am posting this to show a couple of friends that once upon a time I was a wild child; still a bit wild just not as often and a bit more mature now – sometimes. I forget how long ago this was but I do know that I was working as a teacher’s assistant in a high school. This was not my bike, it belonged to one of the schools resource police officers who took me for a ride when I told him I’d never ridden a motorcycle and always wanted to ride a Harley.
And purple too!
Put on my leathers and away we went. And this was the day I learned why bikers tie or braid up their long hair when riding. Hair stings when it whips you in the face when you’re going at high speeds. Need to find something wild and crazy(ish) to do soon besides playing Steppenwolf really loud.
I stepped into the internet with this blog. Since then the world of communicating online has change so much. For one, more and more of it is being done via mobile phones what with Instagram and TikTok and who knows what else – I can’t keep up with them.
There’s podcasting and vlogging and YouTubing as well but I am quite content to let my camera record images and not videos. I still prefer remaining behind the camera and not in front… well, the vast majority of the time anyway.
There are a number of you who have been with me since almost day one and I appreciate that very much (that’s not to say that I don’t appreciate those of you who are more recent you are appreciated too!) Some have ceased to blog and have disappeared; hopefully they have gone on to do something else enjoyable. And sadly, I know of one follower who passed.
How long will I or for that matter any of us continue to blog? Who knows! I am at the point of taking it and life one day (or week) at a time. Here’s to the future of blogging or whatever the heck it may morph into. The only thing I am sure of is that I will keep going with my photography… and who knows how that’s going to change!
Oh and here’s a flying swan for you 🙂
We were out looking to find not the elusive male wood duck but this time eagles and ospreys… oh heck! Let’s be honest here, we were looking to find any birds we could to photograph and if they happened to be some we’ve never captured before then even better.
We went to a spot recommended by a birder friend who captures some amazing bird photos by kayaking in the water. He said that by gliding slowly and low he is less likely to startle them. But anyway, at this spot we found this beautiful graceful pair. When I relayed this to my kayak friend later he said he’d never seen them there before.
Score one for me!
They did seem a bit out of place at Mud Hen Marsh but none the less gorgeous. Swans mate for life and supposedly if one dies the other perishes from a broken heart. How Romeo and Juliet of them. These are trumpeter swans (didn’t hear them trumpet or make any other sound) and for the first time I got to see swans flying; they are really big birds with a wingspan of 8 feet!
They had paddled to the far end of where we were stationed and were out of sight when something startled them I guess and with a loud flapping noise came flying past me and off to some other part of the marsh. When we walked towards the end of the water where they had come from all we saw was one very loud female mallard. I wonder if she started something…
(By the way… if you want to see and read about my first covered bridge, hop on over to What’s Happening Ohio!)
Posted in Art, black and white, Nature, Ohio, photography
Tagged bird photography, birding, fine art, mud hen marsh, nature photography, Ohio, swans
Today I found out why I’ve been seeing male and female ducks separate from one another. Mating and baby duck season is over and it’s back to their own lives. Ducks do not mate for life, instead they seasonally bond.
Will be sharing a mate for life pair next.