Birds in flight

Discussion in 'Photography' started by Phillip Mann, Apr 24, 2007.

  1. Phillip Mann

    Phillip Mann Guest

    I can't figure what settings to use as to iso, speed, f-stop and focus
    with my digital Olympus SP-55OUZ, of birds flying overhead. The sky
    varies from cloudy, bright, blue, etc.

    I'm kinda new to picture taking and would appreciate any help.

    Phillip Mann, Apr 24, 2007
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  2. I have no idea what the Olympus lets you do, but you'll want to use a shutter
    speed greater than 1/250th second: ideally 1/1000th or above.

    You might find it marked in just the reciprocal: 500, 1000, 2000 and it may be
    labelled Tv.

    If you can use shutter-priority, where you choose the shutter speed and let
    the camera adjust the aperture accordingly, then use that.

    Take a few test shots, if the results are a little dark then try again using
    exposure compensation. Set to +1 and try again. Tweak until satisfied. If too
    light reduce the compensation.

    With practice you'll get to know what amount of compensation to apply.

    The ISO setting is whatever the lowest you can get away with. If you can't
    capture the birds at 1/500s shutter when zoomed in, then try raising the ISO
    by one or two stops. You'll get more noise the higher it is set, but better
    that than not get the picture.

    You can experiment with slower shutter speeds if the birds are hovering of

    Use continuous AF with centre spot.

    Richard Polhill, Apr 24, 2007
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  3. Phillip Mann

    Ron Recer Guest

    When I am taking photos of birds in flight with my Canon 10D and 100-400 IS
    lens I generally use the following settings:

    ISO = 400
    IS = Off
    Mode = Av
    AF Mode = AI Servo (continuous focusing)
    AF Point = Center
    Metering = Partial
    f stop = 5.6 to 8 (depends on light, I usually want a shutter speed of
    1/2000 or faster)
    Drive = Continuous

    Slower shutter speeds seem to work well for the birds body, but wings will
    usually blur unless the bird is soaring. I try to position myself so the
    sun is roughly to my back. Your results may be different, but I have had
    good results with the above settings.

    Often the biggest problem is tracking the bird so that it remains near the
    center of the frame. It becomes easier with practice.

    Ron Recer, Apr 24, 2007
  4. Phillip Mann

    Paul Furman Guest

    Aperture priority at the widest aperture (smallest number) maybe need to
    increse ISO, maybe need to set exposure compensation for a balance
    between blowing out the sky & lightening the backlit dark bird, maybe
    need two blended steps of conversion to overcome that extreme contrast.

    Here's a recent one I think came out OK:
    Shot in raw and adjusted contrast tilll I got something useable.
    Cropped. Click for full pixel glimpse, unfortunately the head was not
    the sharpest so you'll want to track in continuous focus mode with the
    eyes in the center to overcome that.

    Here's another one, I believe full pixel crop:
    same 200mm lens with 1.4x teleconverter. I used VR (Vibration
    reduction/image stabilization for both.
    Paul Furman, Apr 25, 2007
  5. Phillip Mann

    Phillip Mann Guest

    WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Beautiful shots!!!!

    I couldn't get out yesterday because of the tornados.:(

    It's beautiful today but I don't see the hawk I want to capture. Hope
    I can learn to take shots half as good as you!

    Phillip Mann, Apr 25, 2007
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