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Thread: HELP!!!! need advice from bif guys --swallows in flight --GOT ONE!!!!

  1. #1
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    HELP!!!! need advice from bif guys --swallows in flight --GOT ONE!!!!



    help me.......i tried to get some shots of swallows in flight this evening....took over 30 shots of a group of them hunting mosquitos, and got 2 that are decent........not great......need advice from you bif guys.......brendan? where are you???[]


    shot with my XSi, 100-400L, at f/11, 1/400s, iso500......wanted to keep the apature at f/11 to try and keep as much depth of field as possible for all the diving, swooping, jinking, and doublebacks these guys do......man, are they fast and hard to follow[:S], especially zoomed right out at 400mm









  2. #2
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    Re: HELP!!!! need advice from bif guys



    In my opinion swallow in flight is the hardest hardest thing to shoot, simply because the bird is just too small and moving so erratic. Keeping the bird in the viewfinder is hard already, getting the camera to autofocus on the bird is even harder. BTW for any bird in flight 1/400 is just too slow, let a lone swallow in flight.

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    Re: HELP!!!! need advice from bif guys



    Your ISO setting is probably okay at 500. I like generally to use mine at ISO 400. Your shutter speed is WAY too slow. If you want to have any chance of catching a relative sharp shot of your bird, you need to shoot at least at 1/1600 sec or faster. In bright sun shine, your aperature will be around F/6.3 to F/8 which is all you will get without jacking you ISO way up and start to lose IQ on your shot.


    Trying to shoot small birds which are flying erratically will be extremely demanding on your AF. What you have on the XSi is probably not the fastest AF and it may get confused by locking onto the background. So to make things easier, try to take shots of small birds without any trees, grass, or other background that might cause your AF to focus away from your subject.

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    Re: HELP!!!! need advice from bif guys



    on an XSI I would imagine your AF is always going to be a little behind. Set your focus manually around where the birds keep flying (the mosquito's) set your camera on a tripod if you have one and shoot pictures as they fly by panning along the path they take.

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    Re: HELP!!!! need advice from bif guys



    thanks guys........i'll try next time to jack up my shutter speed to 1600, and i realize that the auto focus will prob always be slow when trying to track such a quick little bird, but i tried to compensate for that by leaving it in AI and trying to lead the swallows, which is hard, half the time, they have doubled back or jinked off in some other direction......i dont think using my tripod will help though, its a big field andthe swallowsare all over the place. unfortunatly, the mosquitos dont flock[:P] i was trying my 100-400L lens and its not bad to hand hold, and it gives me lots of reach.........i was also thinking of trying my 70-200f/4L (nonIS) with 1.4TC attached. which lens would be a better option? my 100-400 for the IS and reach, but slower focus speed, or my 70-200f/4 with TC, but no IS???


    jim

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    Re: HELP!!!! need advice from bif guys



    Hey Jim,


    f/11 isn't really necessary at 400mm for BIF. Small apertures like that (for the most part, at least) come into play in bird photography when shooting with really long lenses (600mm, 800mm) when DoF is tiny regardless of the small aperture. Shutter speed has to be at least 1/1000, with eagles you can usually get away with 1/800 but for anything faster you'll need a faster shutter.


    Unless you're shooting the swallows from a nesting box or a birdfeeder where you know they'll be it's incredibly hard (read: impossible) to get a quality BIF shot. Like nate said, they are tiny and don't fly in a predictable path. I haven't seen a quality BIf shot of that sort of bird. Ever.


    At fast shutter speeds IS is useless so if you prefer the focus of the 70-200 + TC and don't mind the EFL reduction I'd pick that combo. Just try not to frustrate yourself attempting to get a good shot of a songbird in flight. There are a select few who can take those shots (Alan Murphy comes to mind, but I don't think even he has a swallow in flight) and it might be (in my opinion) the hardest 'variety' of bird photography.


    Good Luck!


    brendan

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    Re: HELP!!!! need advice from bif guys



    GOT ONE........at least i think this is better [] took around 15 shots last night of a couple of the swallows burning around the field hunting, got a couple decent shots, and this shot i think is the best, let me know what you guys think, i'll put up the uncropped shot and the cropped shot. once again i used my 100-400L lens, handheld, with a shutter speed of 1/1000s, f/6.3, iso640. i am going to try my 70-200f/4L and 1.4TC combo today to see if i get a better keeper rate, but i am not at all disapointed in the fact i got a couple keepersout of 15 or so shots, especially on such a fast, unpredictable bird.......I'M HAPPY[][:P]









    thanks for the help guys, and please let me know what you think of this shot, both uncropped and cropped


    jim



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    Re: HELP!!!! need advice from bif guys --swallows in flight --GOT ONE!!!!



    Hi Jim -


    Wow, much improvement on your second attempt! The cropped version looks really good! Yesterday, I was at the Chicago Botanic Gardens and saw birds like this flying everywhere and you are right - they are not easy to photograph in flight! Here's a very cropped version of one I caught but I'm not sure if it is a swallow, it was flying with them & just as erractic over the water catching mosquitos. It's not very good since I took the photo with my macro lens [:P], I left my 100-400mm at home this time!! [] I just couldn't watch all these birds and not try to get at least one!

    [img]/cfs-file.ashx/__key/CommunityServer.Components.UserFiles/00.00.00.37.26/IMG_5F00_8570-resized.jpg[/img]

    Denise

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    Re: HELP!!!! need advice from bif guys --swallows in flight --GOT ONE!!!!



    hi denise......nice shot with a macro lens [:P] which one do you have? its the 100f/2.8L right? it looks like a swallow to me, hard to tell if its a barn or tree swallow though. i dont think its a purple martin though, toolight on the belly.


    jim

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    Re: HELP!!!! need advice from bif guys --swallows in flight --GOT ONE!!!!



    Quote Originally Posted by lynx0069
    which one do you have? its the 100f/2.8L right?

    Yes, it's the 100 f/2.8L IS. Not exactly a BIF lens but great for everything else I was photographing!

    Denise

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