A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.





Tuesday, March 13, 2012

In Flight Challenge

This is my first serious attempt to catch birds in flight. Most of these are at 1000th of a second. It was an overcast day and I was trying all types of settings but really was unable to get any faster shutter speed. I had the ISO up to 800 so they look a bit grainy. So all in all I was pleased with these and I know better can be had, if the sun were out and the ISO could be cranked down a tad.

The Purple Finch was the easiest of the lot. They fly slower and will hover somewhat looking for an open landing portal at the feeder.
Here an Acorn Woodpecker flew in to the other side and everyone scattered.
The woodpecker then moved over to the tray and I caught his landing but the take-off was very sudden and he is so fast that I missed it.
The real speed demon though is this guy, which I thought was a White-breasted Nuthatch, but it sure doesn't look like it here. He was darting in and out and this is the only inflight shot of him I was able to get.  Unfortunately the shutter speed was down to 640th at the time. 
Here he is stationary. I was shooting through a glass door for all of these and didn't realize the reflection was as bad as some of the pictures picked up. Next time I'll slide the door open. It's just I have to be aware of Sinbad wandering outside while I am focused on birds.
Finally a Scrub Jay. I never caught him in flight. Another fast fellow. Maybe next time.


29 comments:

  1. Photo 2 is awesome. I can't tell if the bird is trying to reach the feeder by flying or by trampoline.

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  2. This was an experiment I did last summer so I know how hard this is. I too was shooting through a window.
    I think you did a great job capturing them. Love the one of them all around the feeder.
    What a lovely shot of the Scrub Jay!
    Nice series!

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  3. love the nuthatches. and your scrub jay is so pretty, too. i think your 'sparrow' is a female house or purple finch, though!

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  4. Nice series of pictures. None of these birds ever appear on this side of the ocean (as far as I know) so the post is doubly interesting to me.

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  5. You captured some awesome shots of the birds in flight.

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  6. You did great -- I'd love to learn to take flight shots (or as one blogger I read says 'get off of auto'. Your bird feeder is beautiful and you have great backyard birds..

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  7. Wonderful images John... I have loads of these and mainly taken in error.. the subject deciding to leave as I pressed the shutter.. I call them angel wings.

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  8. Great selection. Those nuthatches are always difficult. Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

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  9. Great attempts. Keep at it. You will find keys that will help you be more successful as you continue.

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  10. a lovely commentary John; the first and finals so impressive regardless of what you said about ISO and speed settings; it isn't easy to have it right on the spot. I need to spend a lot of time learning this. Sinbad seems a pretty special cat and I hope he respects your birding passion.

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  11. Hi John...the second one is great lol....suspended in space...; }
    Looks like your having fun with all this...good job!!
    Grace

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  12. Great shots. Your photography is wonderful. I joined your blog, and look forward to seeing more.

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  13. Beautiful pictures John.
    Well captured.

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  14. Great photos and very interesting to read your camera settings. You inspire me to try again for some flight shots!

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  15. The Purple Finches are so beautiful, we don't have them here.
    You have very pretty models and a good excuse to photograph them again! :)

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  16. Good, first attempt John .... just keep practising.

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  17. Beautiful photos.

    Regards and best wishes

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  18. Great variety of colors. I really like the first shot.

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  19. Very cool, I love the shot when the woodie showed up. You have some great birds at your feeders. Wonderful photos!

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  20. Oh how fun! I absolutely adore "in flight" shots! They tend to be among my favorite pictures to see. I think you did a great job, especially since it was your first attempt. Also, thank you for visiting my blog and leaving such a wonderful comment about my Robin picture! Keep shootin!

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  21. Some great pictures. I thought the bird in the second picture was levitating to the feeder but I'm much more taken by the idea that your first commenter has that it's on a trampoline :)

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  22. OH! Wonderful captures of birds in the air!

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  23. You had pretty good results here. My only in flight shots have been pretty much by accident.
    That Scrub Jay is a beautiful bird.

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  24. They are so pretty and colourful! Superb series of photos!

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  25. you got some great shots. :) Some of them looks really cool. Nice work.

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  26. Great job John. You were having some serious fun. There is no greater challenge than taking pictures of small birds in flight. If you can do that, nothing else is impossible. Trying to freeze movement is tough below 1/1600. Your obviously on the right track. I agree, more sun is the ticket. My fav is the feeder shot with the mixed flock busting out. Great show!

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  27. Great captures of birds in flight...not easy.

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  28. White-breasted Nuthatches are definitly hard to photograph with their "grab it and run" attitude! I save all my in flight photos for when the Hummingbirds arrive.

    I had to laugh at the second photo of the Purple Finch, he looks like he is so verticle!

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