Back to the Basics #2 and More

Wow!  I’ve been swamped.   Trying and failing to get my 2008 Income Taxes finished before I leave for the Galapagos this afternoon.  Doing 50+ posts per day on my beloved BirdPhotographers.Net, packing, and taking care of business.  I will be back in the office on July 20.

reddish-egrets-fresh-juvenal-plumage-_10j3307-alafia-banks-tampa-bay-fl
This pair of young dark phase Reddish Egrets was photographed with the Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens and the EOS-1D Mark III. ISO 800. Evaluative Metering +1 stop: 1/200 sec. at f/5.6.

To create this image I used One-Shot AF.  When using One-Shot AF you press the shutter button to focus.  As long as you keep the shutter button depressed half way, focus is locked.  (In Nikon One-Shot is called “S” for Single Servo.)  I focused on the eye of the bird on the left, held the shutter button down half way to lock focus, recomposed to create a pleasing juxtaposition, and created several images all while the bird held still.  Learning to use One-Shot or “S” effectively is a great way for you to learn to create pleasing compostions.

little-blue-heron-fresh-juvenal-plumage-in-flight-_10j3855-alafia-banks-tampa-bay-fl1
This juvenile Little Blue Heron was photographed with the tripod-mounted 800mm f/5.6L lens and the EOS-1D MIII. ISO 500. Evaluative metering +1 1/3 stops: 1/1600 sec. at f/6.3.

When photographing birds in flight, in action, or in motion, it is almost always best to use AI Servo AF or “C, Continuous with Nikon.  Both AI Servo and “C” track moving subjects and predict where they will be at the precise moment of exposure.  I almost always use the central AF sensor when doing flight photography.  Though not every image is sharply focused on the eye, both AI Servo AF and ”C” often yield fantastic results.

For the more advanced folks: when trying to photograph two birds interacting in a horizontal frame, you can either choose an off center AF sensor and try to lock focus on one of the birds, or you can first activate the entire grid of sensors.  Then acquire focus by putting one bird in the center of the array and recompose with one bird on each side of the frame.  And hope for the best.  (Neither of these techniques is foolproof. )

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